Posted On July 26, 2010 by Print This Post

WordPress for Non-Techies

Have you ever wanted a blog of your very own? Join me this week for the first three lessons on setting up your own blog – it’ll be a piece of cake!


Greetings! So, you want to start your own blog do you? I don’t blame you – they’re fun, addictive even and let you tell the whole world what you think!

There are a great many vehicles for you to use for your blog, but today we’re going to learn about WordPress – the same blog platform that RU uses! is the free version – not to be confused with which lets you download software and requires a hosting company. Same company, different setups entirely.

Our first lesson will show you how to sign up for WP, name your blog and change its appearance. Ready? Let’s dig in.

  • First, let’s go to
  • See the big orange button that says sign up now? Give it a poke.
  • Now let’s come up with a username. This needs to be something you’re going to REMEMBER, so think of it carefully.
  • Ok, got your name? Add in your password, email. Click the box by legal flotsam. What is legal flotsam? Basically it means that you aren’t misrepresenting yourself (I’m the REAL Nora Roberts!) and that you are responsible for what you’ve posted. If one day you decide to flame every single editor at a big publishing house and they decide to sue you for libel? Yeah, that’s YOUR problem, not theirs. Please remember, anything you post on your blog can and possibly will be read by anyone in the world. Including your ex-husband, your fourth-grade teacher and your mother-in-law.
  • Now click the radio button by ‘Give me a blog!”
  • Click

If your name was already chosen, the same screen will come back up and make you choose a different username. Sometimes you have to be creative, so think of several great usernames.

  • The next screen lets you choose your blog URL. Think carefully about this step. Mine is My pen name for MG/YA (never hurts to think big!) will be cc spencer, so my blog will highlight my writing and new projects I’ll be working on. You cannot change your URL once you’ve completed this page.
  • The next line is the title of the blog. Feel free to change it now, but this step can be changed at a later date.
  • Leave English checked, and make sure the privacy box is checked.
  • Click

Check your email. Usually it arrives in a few minutes, and then you’ll need to click the link to accept the WordPress agreement.

Ah, there’s mine already.

Another browser window opens that says “Your account is now active.”


You can now click view your site or log in.

  • Go on, view your site, then click the back button and let’s log in.
  • Put in your username and password – remember? Sure you do.
  • Click the ‘remember me’ box, and then log in.


Take a deep breath, and we’ll go through it step by step. dashboard

This is called your dashboard. This is the action behind the blog. This is where you’ll spend most of your blogging time, and we’ll get more familiar with it next time.

However, *rubbing hands together in glee* let’s change the appearance first. There are millions of themes out there, and one of them is going to be juuuuuust right for you, Goldilocks!

Word Press Appearance Menu

On the left hand side is a button that says Appearance. Go ahead and click on it, then if ‘Themes’ isn’t already highlighted, click on that as well. The theme that is currently used for your blog is at the top. Mine says Twenty Ten by the WordPress team. Below that is Browse Themes – Random, A-Z, Popular, Recently Added.

There is also a search button, so if you are determined that your blog feature flowers, type in flowers. Truly, I never have much luck with the search feature unless I’m looking for a specific color. I almost always look through Popular or Recently Added.

So, here’s your homework assignment for the week. Go through the themes and pick out one you like. Go ahead, try a few on for size by clicking the Preview button under each theme. Don’t like the preview? Hit the ‘x’ in the corner and you’ll be back at the original screen. When you’ve found one you’re happy with, click the Activate button.

Now, you’ll notice at the top of the screen your new theme name. And in a yellow bar across the top of the page it says, Visit site.

Click it.

*Waiting for the oooh and ahhhhs*

Come back Wednesday for Lesson Two and we’ll learn a bit more about your dashboard and the difference between Posts and Pages.


Carrie is a junior faculty member on Romance University. In her spare time she manages a restaurant, designs jewelry and websites, and is writing three manuscripts concurrently. She lives on a farm in Iowa with seven cats, a husband from England and, as was discovered in the mudroom last week, two skunks. You can visit her blog anytime at Smart Ass Romance.

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28 Responses to “WordPress for Non-Techies”

  1. Hey Carrie,

    Thanks for the great post! I’m really looking forward to your WordPress series and watching everyone build their site.

    If you’ve worked with Blogger, can you tell us the pros and cons of setting up a blog in WordPress vs. Blogger?


    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | July 26, 2010, 5:03 am
    • Morning Tracy…

      I have a blog with Blogger as well – I have no blogging control. =) I do believe the dashboard in WordPress is easier to work with than Blogger, but Blogger has a bigger variety of templates you can use – but that’s just my personal opinion! I’m sure others would say differently. =)

      Otherwise, they’re pretty interchangeable!

      Thanks Tracy!


      Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 26, 2010, 8:36 am
  2. Carrie –

    Where were you a couple years ago when I needed to build my site? How long do you feel it takes to build a basic WordPress site? How often should people login to the back end of their site to ward off hackers and other problems (asked by a gal who’s been hacked!).

    Thanks for the great post!

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | July 26, 2010, 7:33 am
    • Morning Kelsey!

      When using, you can build a site in a matter of hours. Literally. What actually takes the longest amount of time is writing the actual posts! =)
      Logging in just depends on how often you post. I recommend three times a week as a minimum, just to keep new posts out there for people following you to read. As for hacking, is harder to hack than a site, simply because is on it’s own enormous servers. and they keep up on upgrades and security for you.

      Thanks for asking Kelsey!


      Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 26, 2010, 8:47 am
  3. What perfect timing, I just started setting everything up last weekend, hope to get some good and helpful tips.

    Posted by Melanie Sands | July 26, 2010, 7:57 am
    • Morning Melanie!

      Good for you! Sometimes the dashboard can be a little overwhelming and scary, but there’s so much great stuff in there to enhance your blog! Stick with me kid, and we’ll learn the WP ropes!


      Thanks for stopping by!


      Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 26, 2010, 8:50 am
  4. Hey Carrie,

    I’m starting a new business called “Swift Editing,” and my webgal, who’s retiring (boo-hoo) recommends that I use wordpress for the site. How does setting up a site differ from setting up a blog? And I own Can I point that URL to my wordpress site?

    Sue Swift

    Posted by Sue Swift | July 26, 2010, 11:43 am
    • Morning Sue!

      I would highly recommend you use for a business site. Why? Because of the flexibility it offers. Your theme choices will be virtually limitless and you have more control over the smaller elements like font styles than the free site offers. It would cost more, as you’d have to buy a hosting account, but that generally runs about $4-$5 per month, but you’ll have a HUGE amount of space for photos etc.
      Basically the only difference between a blog and website, is the way you set it up. A blog lets you post a new comment and it always appears on top. But, if you set your page to be static, then it looks like a website. For example this site, always looks the same, and one of their links points to a blog. The entire site however, is One page is set up to be a blog, the others stay the same.
      Make sense?
      But with WP, YOU can do the text updates yourself, and that’s the most important part.

      Hope that helps, let me know if I can explain further!

      Thanks for posting!


      Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 26, 2010, 12:15 pm
  5. Hey Carrie!

    I press on the “orange button” and start building my blog and I’m suddenly called away…like I ran out of chocolate and must run out to get more, can I
    “save” what I’ve completed so far on the blog, or must I begin again if I “sign off” the site? Am I making any sense? 😳

    And since I plan posting pictures on my blog/website, should I opt for as opposed to

    For non-techies, like myself, your post is invaluable. I’ve been thinking about a blog for a while. Looking forward to the next session. Thanks!!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | July 26, 2010, 5:46 pm
  6. Hey Jennifer!

    God forbid you should run out of chocolate whilst making your blog! lol….It’s super easy to save anything. While you’re in the middle of a post, you can save it as a draft. We get to that in lesson 2. Any other changes update immediately – as soon as you hit that update now button! And as a matter of fact, you can stay logged into your WP site for quite some time before you have to log in again.
    Your average site comes with 3GB of storage. That’s a LOT. (750+ BIG pictures) So if you’re posting a picture with each blog post, you can go for years without a problem. Or you can buy an upgrade for more space at If you’re going to run sound files or video files you need or a space upgrade on
    If you need a blog – or remember, it can look like a website! – right now, for no money, with no tech skills? is the way to go!

    Thanks for posting Jen!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 26, 2010, 6:27 pm
  7. Carrie,

    This is super.Oh and make mine chocolate cake on second thought Black Forest Cake! Just think it is like your a surrogate mom and all these are RU offspring. Okay that might be a bit over the top but this is really fantastic. Back later time to go play!


    Posted by Holly | July 26, 2010, 7:30 pm
  8. Hi Carrie:

    THANK YOU!!! I’ve been thinking about starting my own blog and here you are with all the words of wisdom I need to get one started. I’m sending you a virtual box of chocolates (as soon as I can figure out how to do that!).

    Amy V.

    Posted by amyvil | July 27, 2010, 10:25 am
  9. 🙂

    What a great lecture! Since I’m just getting my feet wet, this is wonderful timing. You can bet I’ll be back for lesson 2.


    Posted by Jenny B | July 27, 2010, 12:55 pm
  10. Oh Carrie, I can’t believe you did this post yesterday. I didn’t read RU yesterday because I spent too much time trying to set up my blog on wordpress!! LOL!

    Would I be too greedy if I asked three questions? Truly, if you could explain even one of these, I’d probably erect a statue of you in my backyard. I am soooo clueless!
    1. I want my blog to be static. How do I get rid of the “feeds” do-hickies up the corner? They’re little orange things that have something to do with RSS, whatever that is! (Please refrain from ROTFLOL until I’m not looking.)
    2. Is it appropriate for me to put in links to my two posts here at RU?
    3. What if I want to switch from being to My DH got my domain name for me. But if I move to that domain name, what will happen to what I created?


    Posted by Sally Bayless | July 27, 2010, 8:33 pm
    • Sally….I can honestly say no one’s ever erected a statue of me in their backyard. Front yard yes, backyard no. =)

      Ok, let’s dig into these.

      1. Are you using one of the free themes that come with WP? If so, try this. Go to Dashboard> Settings> Discussion> and way at the bottom there is a subscribe to blog/subscribe to comments. Uncheck those, click save changes and see what happens. Let me know if it doesn’t work!

      2. You bet! =)

      3. If you go to Dashboard>Upgrade you can purchase “mapping” for $9.97 a year. Your official domain name will then point to, but you can be reached by either URL. is convenient and free, and that’s a super simple way to start. You can move your content if you decide to go with by exporting your information, and then importing it on the new blog. Information on that is here.

      Now about that statue…..



      Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 27, 2010, 10:46 pm
  11. Believing in building a platform before a possible time crunch, I have worked with a WP blog for two years, practicing before anyone but family would bother checking (grin), and already learned from your first lesson and replies to comments. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to review and improve, and know I will learn new things and solve problems that have frustrated me. Thank you so much! I posted the URL on my blog to get others to have a look.

    Posted by Marion Spicher | July 29, 2010, 1:11 pm
  12. Just saw your great WP tips in Amy’s blog. I recently set up my WP blog. You say,
    •Leave English checked, and make sure the privacy box is checked
    I’m not sure if I checked the privacy box or not. Can I tell and what problems might I have if I didn’t? Thanks much.

    Posted by Cathy Neumueller | August 2, 2011, 5:52 pm
  13. Весьма признателен за занимательное чтиво.
    Воткнул не по детски в ценную мы.
    Как видно из текста, что продвинуться здесь практически невозможно?
    Много думал.

    Posted by интернет казино игровые автоматы | December 19, 2015, 1:44 am


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