Best resources for learning Wordpress?


3

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
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Joe
298 points

4 Answers


5

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
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Jason
16,231 points
  • Fantastic info! Thanks a ton. Will definitely be checking out everything you've mentioned. – Joe 9 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 8 years ago
  • WPEngine does not restrict the plugins you can use, so all are available. – Jason 8 years ago

1

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
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Lkessler
1,471 points

1

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
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Mike Schinkel
111 points

0

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
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Rs Holman
596 points

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