Best resources for learning Wordpress?


I am in the process of (re)learning Wordpress. General searches return a plethora of resources for learning, but it's difficult to cut through the clutter. What resources do folks here recommend?

Also, any recommended sites for good, free templates / plug-ins / etc.?

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asked Nov 14 '09 at 06:23
298 points
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4 Answers


For learning Wordpress, I found it best to grab a few templates (lots of free ones out there) and see how they work. Very quickly you see the basic tricks.

For plug-ins, go to the standard plugin site and go through all of the "popular plugins." There's a zillion, but you'll probably have 10-15 installed before you're done, so it's worth pawing through them. Maybe decide to add one a day.

There's also the curated plugins that WPEngine has. (Fair warning: I'm a co-founder.)

For more specific reference, these are the plugins I use (yes, actually USE) on my blog :

  • Akimet (spam protection -- MUST have this; bots are crazy)
  • CommentLuv (auto-adds links to latest post from your commentors -- a way to thank and promote people who comment)
  • Get Recent Comments (sidebar of latest comments, again to thank/promote)
  • Comment Relish (auto-email person first time commented to thank them etc. -- people write me back a lot of times resulting in a tighter bond)
  • Google XML Sitemaps (creates proper Google sitemap automatically)
  • No Revisions (Wordpress saves a post revision every time you hit "save." Yes you can revert but this fills your database with crap which slows down the database.)
  • Robots Meta (automatically create a "robots" meta-tag so search engines strobe your site correctly)
  • Secure WordPress (alerts you to common insecurities -- Wordpress is easily hacked!)
  • WP-phpMyAdmin (puts phpmyadmin inside wordpress - just convenient if you like to look inside MySQL)
  • WP Greet Box (messages like "hello digg user!" customized to source URL encouraging them to subscribe or whatever you want to say)
  • WP Super Cache (automatically caches plain-HTML versions of your pages so when you get slammed by Hackernews your Apache doesn't crater. This saved me completely!!)
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (adds "related posts" at the end of posts -- people really do click those and it's great for new subscribers who haven't seen your old stuff. This plug-in does a good job scoring what "related" means.)

Final caveat -- You'll notice these on my blog, plus things like the "Tweet this" magic button. Most of these I've un-hooked from their standard installation and re-hooked using my own custom PHP, so that's why some of it will act/look differently on your site.

That's just the cost of getting things JUST the way you want. But out of the box all these plug-ins are good.

answered Nov 14 '09 at 07:00
16,231 points
  • Fantastic info! Thanks a ton. Will definitely be checking out everything you've mentioned. – Joe 14 years ago
  • Jason, does WPEngine gives you all of the above or do we still need to add these things ourselves when hosting a blog with WPEngine? I noticed that your advice above was before WPEngine was born. – Ricardo 13 years ago
  • WPEngine does not restrict the plugins you can use, so all are available. – Jason 13 years ago


I actually like books to learn things. Much less stress, and you can do it on the bus or in your backyard.

One I really liked was the Dummies book: WordPress for Dummies. It's fairly up to date and has a good description of the best plugins to use.

For more detail, try WordPress 2.7 Complete

answered Nov 14 '09 at 14:54
1,471 points


One of the better places to learn WordPress by asking questions is the recently launched WordPress Answers by StackExchange (from the same company that runs this forum.) If you have a WordPress question chances are excellent you can get it answered WordPress Answers just like you can get startup questions answered here.

answered Sep 4 '10 at 07:09
Mike Schinkel
111 points


I go to Smashing Magazine for all things Blog Creative.

They just tweeted a link to the Ultimiate Wordpress 2.8 Optimization Guide - very interesting.

answered Nov 17 '09 at 03:22
Rs Holman
596 points

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