WordPress: The Missing Manual

A few years ago, when I started creating my first wordpress site, I was told it would be easy. Because wordpress is based on themes! So just buy the theme you want (from a super-smart developer) and then add your content. Voila! A custom website! Well… Not so much.

Sure, there is plenty of documentation on how to use WordPress. Just check out the WordPress Codex. But really, what designer wants to wade through thousands of pages of technical mumbo-jumbo? (Pages I might add, that have no pictures. Gasp!)

This book is in plain English and nearly every spread has one to two clearly labeled screen shots. It’s written in such a way that even if you don’t know the official WordPress lingo, you can still find the information you want. It’s also very well indexed. Throughout the book, the author offers solution for a variety of problems, and even gives links to his favorite WordPress plugins that can handle special tasks. (My personal favorite is called One-Click Child Theme. Thanks to that one, I can actually keep my themes updated now!)

Here are a few of the difficult issues that the author tackles and provides solution for:

  • What is the different between a post and a page?
  • What is a widget?
  • How to add custom menus?
  • What is the purpose of a featured image?
  • How do I update my theme when the developer comes out with fixes?
  • What is a child theme? And how do I create one without going stark-raving mad?
  • What if I want to change to a different theme while still keeping my existing site live (and functional) for current viewers?
  • I have to learn PHP? Really?!? How much?
  • How to simply put a video into my page, without any special plugins or code?
  • How to make just a small portion of the article appear as an excerpt on the home page?
  • The benefits and perils of plugins
  • Why you should use permalinks (meaningful URLs composed of words rather than URL with months and page numbers)
  • How to develop a wordpress site in private so the entire world doesn’t see my errors as I’m working through them?
  • The different roles of Author, Contributor, and Administrator (who’s allowed to do what)
  • Tricks for avoiding spam
  • Linking your blog up to social media
  • Adding a shopping cart

If you’re going to be working in web design, do yourself a favor and get this book! You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

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