The following instructions assume you don’t have a website yet, and haven’t registered a domain name. However, these instructions are also helpful for someone with a self-hosted WordPress website wanting to use the JetPack plugins suite — which requires a WordPress.com user account. Keep these instructions open in a window as you go through the process.
WordPress.com offers the following basic plans. Additional paid plans offer more storage.
- FREE. At the free level, you get a website address of YourName.WordPress.com and your posts may have some advertising at the bottom of the page to subsidize this service.
- $18 PER YEAR. At the $18 per year level, you get YourName.com (domain registration), hosting, and your posts may have some advertising at the bottom of the page to subsidize this service. Support is limited to the online community forums.
- $35.88 PER YEAR. At the $35.88 per year level, you get YourName.com, no advertising, free private domain registration (an $8 / yr. value), email services, and access to online support.
You’ll learn more about the pricing options and fees later when you signup for a paid website with a domain name.
Registration and Setup Process
STEP 1 – LAYOUT
Go to WordPress.com and click on the Get Started button (or click here) which should take you to the first step of the process as shown below. Of the available layout options, “Start With a Website” is probably the best choice.
STEP 2 – THEME
Next you’ll choose a theme. Pick any theme. You can change it later.
STEP 3 – SITE NAME
Next you’ll choose a name for your website. When you type in a name in the space provided, you will see below some of the options for that name. You’ll notice that YourName.wordpress.com is free. The various .com and other extensions will require that you purchase a paid WordPress plan. So, choose the Free web name to get started.
STEP 4 – HOSTING PLAN
Next you will choose your hosting plan. Each website you create will have a hosting plan. By setting up your initial WordPress account with the Free lifetime membership, you’ll have a WordPress user login you can use indefinitely regardless of the other websites you setup. This initial free login is what you’ll use to access your various WordPress sites in the future.
STEP 5 – CONFIRM EMAIL
The final step requires that you provide your email address and setup a username. For the username, it’s best to use your name since this is the account you’ll use with your various WordPress websites. Provide a password and then click the “Create My Account” button.
Congratulations. You now have a free WordPress user account and blog. You can now begin purchasing and setting up .com websites.
To Setup New Websites
As you create new websites, you’ll always start at WordPress.com/start/design-type and go through the same process as above, except when choosing the hosting package you’ll need a paid package to setup a .com domain name website.
You will want to provide a credit card that can take regular renewal billing (annual or monthly).
That’s all there is to it!
An alternative method is to login to WordPress.com and follow the instructions in the visual guide below to get started.
WordPress.com hosting offers just about all the features and performance that anyone could possibly need. However, if you eventually want a completely customizable self-hosted site, with custom plugins and more theme options, you can transfer your WordPress.com site to a self hosted site with BlueHost.com. There’s a site migration service available that costs about $150.
Before setting up your .com website with WordPress, it’s a good idea to work on a demonstration site using the free blog just to examine various WordPress themes, layouts, and get the basic content created. The basic pages and content need to be created anyway and can be copied and pasted later to another site when needed.
If in developing the demonstration site, it seems like WordPress.com doesn’t do what you want, then you’re not yet committed to having the domain name and .com website with WordPress.com.
Companies like Wix.com and Weebly.com provide nice website designs worth considering.
- Wix templates are here http://www.wix.com/website/templates
- Weebly themes are here https://www.weebly.com/themes
Wix and Weebly are a little more expensive, but some people feel they are easier to use and offer more modern designs.
It’s important to know that once a site is developed on these proprietary hosting platforms, there’s no easy way to migrate them to another hosting company. They aren’t basic HTML sites you can backup and then restore elsewhere. You’d need to copy and past the content to a new site. So, transferring an elaborate site could be a large project. For this reason, keeping sites fairly simple is a benefit initially.