I had a great talk with a friend of mine, Carolyn Van about a year ago about what direction I should head in for my career. I’d heard of WordPress before, but didn’t know a heck of a lot about it. I’d done some web design many years ago and did some programming during my degree, but I wasn’t really interested in spending a few more years just learning how to code all this stuff. She gave me the simplest advice possible, but it has been the most valuable: Buy a book.
After our chat, I walked over to the nearest Indigo book store and picked up this book: WordPress All-In-One for Dummies. I’d never bought a “Dummies” guide before, but I figured eight books for about $40 is a worthwhile investment to see whether or not I can hack it (no pun intended). Some of the topics that are covered in the book include the basics, installing a single or network version (or multi-site), designing themes and plugins, and SEO. It goes from the simplest of instructions to the most difficult. A guide for all.
I have to say, this has got to be one of the best books I’ve picked up in a long time. I learned WordPress through this book. But don’t think this is the end-all-be-all. The beauty of WordPress is that there are so many resources out there, including forums, companies that do nothing except design themes and plugins as well as meetups where you can meet others who work in WordPress, that you don’t have to know it all. I don’t know how to do a plugin or design a theme, but I have a tonne of resources from which I can draw.
One of those is the Toronto WordPress Group. They meet at least once a month in a very social setting and I usually get some great advice with good company. It is very popular and does sell out quickly. I even got an invitation to a special VIP event back in February and had the pleasure of meeting Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress! Big thanks going out to Craig Taylor for inviting me. I was fortunate enough to make him a Japanese Crane that he said he’d take on his next flight and was so kind and easy to talk to. I also attended a barbecue that they did last summer that was really a lot of fun too. Hope they will repeat it. This is the crew that does WordCamp every year as well, authorized by WordPress.
For those outside of Toronto, there is also the Niagara WordPress & Internet Marketing Group. I haven’t been to their meetups as yet, but they certainly have some topics that are of interest to me, and it’s just as close for me, living in the Hamilton area.
I usually recommend WordPress to my clients because it is easy for them to use themselves. I believe that small businesses should be able to make simple changes to their website without having to deal with a lot of coding. The interface is very simple to manoeuvre and is intuitive. Once set up properly, writing a post or adding a page takes only a few minutes.
If you’re interested in learning how WordPress works, I would highly recommend picking up this book and just start playing around with it. The book is a great investment, even if you don’t read every single chapter or mini-book, you too can learn WordPress. Enjoy!