Teach yourself the basics of WordPress
From a developer’s perspective, WordPress is a dream platform — it’s versatile, powerful and enticingly easy to use. But for the uninitiated business owner or creative, it can be a bewildering place.
The good news is that there are plenty of great resources for learning WordPress. Some of them may come at a price, but when you consider the hand-wringing and wheel-spinning saved (not to mention the practical skills and knowledge gained), they’re totally worth the investment.
With 23 percent of the internet now running on WordPress, it’s the one platform that’s worth getting to know, whether you’re updating your site on the regular or just swapping out images now and then.
Here are a few tips for getting started teaching yourself the basics.
Hit the books
It might sound old school, but for some of us there’s nothing quite like cracking an actual book when it comes to learning something new. WordPress for Dummies is still a great primer for Dashboard rookies, as is Digging into WordPress. When you’re ready to take things to the next level and delve deep into custom plugins and navigation, check out Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog.
Ask an expert
A developer’s job doesn’t end once the code is written. A good one understands that building a website or theme is one thing — empowering people to use it effectively is another. Even veteran bloggers need a lesson (or five) when dealing with new plugins or unfamiliar functions, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help from the pros. Your success is, after all, their success.
If learning the ropes over someone’s shoulder isn’t your bag, consider installing the WP101 plugin. The basic tutorial series includes 20 videos on the most popular topics (posts vs. pages, managing comments, etc.) and lets you learn right on your Dashboard without having to leave your site in search of a janky how-to video. We also recommend the pro-quality tutorials from Video User Manuals (learn in three different accents!) and Treehouse’s ever-excellent interactive education platform.
Crack the Codex
Up for a challenge? The WordPress Codex isn’t exactly geared at beginners, but it is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to all things WordPress. From themes to plugins to semantics, it’s all there — somewhere. The tricky thing about the Codex is that there’s so much content, it can be tough to find what you need. Plus, a lot of articles are written in a technical jargon, so if you’re someone whose eyes glaze over at the slightest bit of code, you may want to steer clear — for now.
With enough time and persistence, anyone can learn the basics of WordPress by simple trial and error. In fact, we think it’s one of the best ways to learn. You can pick up a lot just by poking around the Dashboard, so even if you’re not ready to fork over the cash for professional video tutorials or enter the Codex, you might be surprised at what you can learn on intuition alone.