WordPress.com allows people to create and run their own blog that can reach a worldwide audience. The basic package is free and various premium features are available for purchase, including a custom domain name that excludes “.wordpress,” extra storage, the ability to upload videos, and banning ads from your blog. WordPress.com hosts more than seventeen million sites that are viewed by more than 281 million people. http://en.wordpress.com/stats/
The WordPress.com website is simple and elegant. The process of signing-up and creating a blog is very user-friendly, designed to be approachable and fun- not intimidating. It emphasizes that users need know nothing about code!
Getting started is very simple. Just click the orange “Sign up now” button on the top, right-hand side or read the 10-step walk-through guide that includes video demonstrations. Everything is meant to be easy, especially for those with minimal experience with digital media.
In sum, one begins by doing the sorts of things common to registering on all websites: choosing a username and providing a valid e-mail address. The real fun begins upon completing this and personalizing your blog.
First, WordPress.com offers some brainstorming exercises deigned to simulate creativity and generate ideas for blogs. A blog need not be restricted to text-only, but can also feature or incorporate videos or photos. If you find yourself in need of some inspiration, just follow this link to WordPress.com’s most popular blogs so you can learn from the masters! http://botd.wordpress.com/?lang=en.
Next, personalize your blog! Set the tone by picking one of more than 100 available themes. Add widgets to give flair. Then start writing, click the publish button, and, presto, “you’re a published author!”
Now, you want to get people’s attention so that their desire to read your posts will be insatiable. The web is a free-for-all fight for audiences and WordPress.com warns that “your competition isn’t just other blogs. It’s video sharing sites like YouTube, online games, email, Twitter updates, online social networks, and that’s before you even think about what’s going on beyond the computer screen. Time to fight fire with fire!” Beat your completion down by creating the most epic blog ever.
Once you’ve begun, WordPress.com is there to help you thrive. Add “tags” so that your post will show up in the search engine. The website also gives tips for comment etiquette (respond to comments about your posts and don’t delete critical ones just because you don’t like them) and encourages you to make it easy for fans to keep up with your blog by linking it to your Twitter account and adding the blog subscription widget.
Also, the site offers tons of “stats to obsess over”- these enable you to thoroughly know your audience and figure out how to target other demographics. And spice it up and keep it loose by adding user polls.
Finally, you can manage your blog on-the-go from your mobile phone by e-mailing photos, videos, and new posts to a custom e-mail address that will automatically upload them.
Altogether, WordPress.com offers a spectacular product: it’s free, easy-to-use, and makes the entire blogging experience fun. No wonder it’s so popular!
Above all, the website has a very egalitarian ethos. WordPress.com is built upon the premise that everyone can write something interesting and that the opportunity to reach other people in writing should not be limited to the few who can get published in print. The website sprinkles quotes from Leonardo Da Vinci, Mark Twain, and other literary and historical figures throughout its set-up pages to convey the idea that digital media is the new frontier of communication. It is equal, or perhaps superior, to printed texts.
In some ways, blogging is the most democratic method of communication of all. Every person can be a pundit about any possible topic. The trick, though, is to gain a following and become popular. WordPress.com acknowledges the tensions and difficulties inherent in this.
While promoting the prospect of having a worldwide audience, it also concedes that people’s attention spans are limited and that innumerable other websites and forms of digital entertainment will compete with your blog. It tries to resolve this crux by telling users that no matter how successful one’s blog may be, ultimately the process of creating and running it should be fun. In that sense, you are your most important audience.
What do you think of WordPress.com and/or blogging? Do you blog? What is the ultimate point of blogging: a means of self-expression or self-entertainment, to communicate information, to create community or something else entirely?