Let me share some tips for using WordPress.com (which is used to build this site) and WordPress.org which I use to build business websites for clients. [updated June 10th, 2014]
WordPress.com is a free blogging hosting platform, which has paid for add-ons to add capability. This website is made using WordPress.com. I have only paid $12 per year to remove the “wordpress” from the URL. It is very versatile and at any point you can export your site and take it to your own hosting server using free software from WordPress.org. However, it takes considerable skill to setup and maintain a website using the software from WordPress.org.
Therefore, if you want to launch your own blog or website for a small charity, club, or organisation at very low cost, I highly recommend WordPress.com. However, if you need a more powerful site, then I recommend free software from WordPress.org and contacting a developer (link to my website portfolio) to help you if you are not comfortable installing it yourself. If you want to go about this on your own, I can recommend 1and1.co.uk as a website hosting provider. Please follow my affiliate link to purchase your package using this link.
Choosing a theme
Using the default theme
The default theme is now twenty fourteen. Frankly it is the best ever default theme WordPress has ever made. Go with it to start with, and consider changing your theme later. If you want to make some changes to a theme, look into making a child theme (WordPress.org only).
Choosing a ready made theme
If you would like to choose a ready made theme, I can recommend Yoo themes. Alternatively, there is Theme Forest (affiliate link) however, let me warn you: it takes a long time to sift through all the options there.
Plug-ins should be chosen carefully. I have dedicated a page to my top picks.
Altering functions.php within your theme folder unlocks powerful features. I have dedicated a page to my top WordPress functions.
WordPress experts should look to make their own themes and I can recommend bones as a template. It’s responsive, based on less and sass, built upon the HTML5 Boilerplate, and best of all is free.