How to Write and Format Your First WordPress.com Blog

On the WordPress Dashboard, click the Add New link on the Posts menu to display the Add New Post page where you write, organize, and publish your first post. Start by thinking up a name for your post and entering it in the Enter Title Here text box.

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You can make the name snappy and fun if you want, but don’t be cryptic. Use titles that give your readers a basic idea of what they’re about to read in the posts. No set of hard-and-fast rules exists when it comes to creating titles for your blog posts, of course.

Have fun with your title, and let it reflect your personality and writing style. After giving your post a title, write the content of your post in the Post text box.

The area in which you write your post is in Visual Editing mode, as indicated by the Visual tab above the text. Visual Editing mode is how WordPress provides WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) options for formatting.

Rather than embedding HTML code within your post, you can simply type your post, highlight the text you’d like to format, and click the buttons that appear above the box in which you type your post.

If you’ve ever used a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, you’ll recognize many of these buttons:

  • Bold: Embeds the <strong> </strong> tag to emphasize the text in bold (example: bold text).

  • Italics: Embeds the <em> </em> tag to emphasize the text in italics (example: italic text).

  • Strikethrough: Embeds the <strike> </strike> tag to put a line through your text (example: strikethrough text).

  • Unordered List: Embeds the <ul><li> </li></ul> tag to create an unordered, or bulleted, list.

  • Ordered List: Embeds the <ol><li> </li></ol> tag that creates an ordered, or numbered, list.

  • Blockquote: Inserts the <blockquote> </blockquote> tag to indent the selected paragraph or section of text.

  • Align Left: Inserts the <p align="left"> </p> tag to align the selected paragraph or section of text against the left margin.

  • Align Center: Inserts the <p align="center"> </p> tag to position the selected paragraph or section of text in the center of the page.

  • Align Right: Inserts the <p align="right"> </p> tag to align the selected paragraph or section of text against the right margin.

  • Insert/Edit Link: Applies the <a href=" "> </a> tag to the selected text to create a hyperlink.

  • Unlink: Removes a hyperlink from selected text.

  • Insert More Tag: Inserts the <!--more--> tag to split the display on your blog page. It publishes the text written above this tag with a Read More link, which takes the user to a page with the full post. This feature is good for really long posts.

  • Toggle Spellchecker: This is a perfect tool for you if you make spelling errors while you type. Use it to check your spelling before you post.

  • Toggle Full Screen Mode: Expands the Post text box to occupy the full height and width of your browser screen. Use this tool to use the WordPress Distraction-Free Writing feature to focus on writing without being distracted by all the other options on the page. To bring that Post text box back to its normal state, click the Toggle Full Screen Mode button again, and voilà — it’s back to normal.

  • Show/Hide Kitchen Sink: Displays a new formatting menu, providing options for underlining, font color, custom characters, undo and redo, and so on — a veritable kitchen sink full of options. The option’s name is just a metaphor to describe the advanced formatting options available with the Visual Editor.

If you’d rather embed your own HTML and skip the Visual Editor, click the HTML tab to the right of the Visual tab above the Post text box. If you type HTML in your post — using a table or embedding video files, for example — click the HTML tab before you insert that code. If you don’t, the Visual Editor formats your code, and it most likely looks nothing like you intended it to.

WordPress.com has a nifty autosave feature that saves your work while you’re typing and editing a new post. If your browser crashes, or you accidentally close your browser window before you save your post, the post is there when you get back.

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