WordPress is one of the most versatile web site tools available for both web designers and those who want to manage and administer their own websites. At the time I began writing tutorials I’d been working with WordPress for about three years, but you can add a few years since these were originally written. Because WordPress possibilities are endless, I feel like I’ve still only scratched the surface. It’s built in versatility is one of the things (maybe even the thing) that makes it so popular and why today I’m making so many sites built on the WordPress system.
You Could Learn from the WordPress Codex but …
Each time I build a web site in WordPress that’s destined to be administered by the site owner and/or member of their staff, I provide them with “How To” instructions custom written for their unique web site. Couldn’t I just send them on over to the WordPress site and tell them to “have at it”? I could — but I find the documentation on the WordPress site (also known as the WordPress “Codex”) to be confusing and pretty overwhelming for a beginner. The word “Codex” should tell you something about what you’d be looking at if you’re not web site savvy.
The Codex uses a lot of developer and PHP terminology that WordPress newbies simply aren’t going to understand or at best will have difficulty understanding which makes it not so user-friendly for beginners. In my humble opinion, the Codex on the WordPress site is more geared to be used by those already at least at the intermediate level of web design experience and have at least a basic understanding of website coding and PHP programming knowledge. Some of you may disagree and would have little or no trouble with the Codex, but I honestly learned more from other designers and WordPress users than I ever got from the Codex.
Because each web site is different, up until now I’ve custom written very specific instructions for each individual client. I didn’t just toss them a set of cookie-cutter instructions and cut them loose to let them flounder through their learning curve. Writing WordPress instructions is very tedious, time-consuming work for me and a job that I don’t relish doing. Ok … I’ll be up-front with you … I hate writing instructions and how I wished for a way to simplify the process. The biggest kicker came when I realized that my clients have had to wait for me to have the time to do this which absolutely isn’t fair to them. They have a brand new website and some are quite anxious and exited to get going — only to find themselves in the “hurry up and wait on me” stage. You have no idea how grateful I am for their patience (thank you!).
The writing was on the wall — and it was only going to get worse with each subsequent WordPress site I developed. My decision to do write basic tutorials was not an easy one. When it hit me that it simply wasn’t acceptable for my clients to have to wait on me, I had to face the fact that I could no longer compose custom instructions for each one. It was time to teach them in a more efficient way.
So, What Makes You a WordPress Expert?
I don’t consider myself to be a WordPress expert, but I feel I know enough to not be dangerous anymore. Additionally, I’ve gotten some flattering feedback from clients who’ve received my instructions and realized that I must be doing a pretty good job of it and so I decided I would put some basic “Working in WordPress” tutorials on my own website. I hope my tutorials allow my clients to begin working in their WordPress interface without having to wait for me to provide them with the basics.
Special features will always require me to write custom instructions but by putting the basics online they can get to work more quickly. I’ll save my clients some money and me some freedom from constantly having to write so many instructions.
Keyword Here is BASIC!
Please remember that these instructions cover the BASICS and they’re just to get you started. Every web designer has their own way of doing things, this is mine. As you progress in your learning you will more than likely come up with your own way of doing things. Remember, these instructions are written for the way *I* do things and are geared for my own client’s use. They’re basic enough that they should work for just about anyone but they are somewhat dependent on what version of WordPress your site is built on which could potentially make some difference in what you see in the admin panel and how things work. If you are not one of my clients and you follow my instructions — I cannot and will not be held responsible if you use them on your site and something goes wrong!
What NOT To Do!
For my own client’s protection I try hard to keep options that they can do damage with out of site, but some options just cannot be hidden. One important thing I would like to stress is that even though I know it can be very tempting to play …. if you find a feature or option in your admin section that you have not been directed to or instructed to utilize, please DON’T TOUCH! At the very least — check in with your designer before touching. It’s doubtful that you’d totally crash your site if you experiment but there is a chance you might do something that you yourself cannot repair or undo and may have to pay your designer to fix.