WordPress is increasingly becoming one of the most influential technologies on the web thanks to an incredibly powerful admin panel, a myriad of ready to use premium themes, and tons of useful plugins. I personally switched over to using WordPress solely as my technology of choice about 3 years ago when I realized just how powerful a tool it is for clients to be able to manage a site completely on their own once I’m finished designing it.
Why You Should Learn WordPress
With any new technology, you’ve got to look at education as a sort of investment. Put simply: the question you’ve got to ask yourself is “Do I stand to make more by knowing this new technology than I’ll spend on learning it”? In that light, the arguments for learning WordPress are simple:
- You can raise your freelance hourly rate far above what you’d get for a standalone HTML site (from as little as $15/hr to $40/hr +)
- You’ll have less headaches after you walk away from a project.
- The learning curve isn’t steep compared with other technologies and education is easy to find.
- You can learn as much or as little as you want and still be a rockstar.
- You are not alone! Chances are good that whatever you want to do, it’s been done already and has been documented somewhere.
- Did I mention that you’ll be able to raise your rate?
What’s best about WordPress is that with a couple serious days or weeks of study, you can literally go from a complete novice to an intermediate WordPress designer; Plus, you’ll have all the tools at your fingertips to take the next step towards becoming a master. So where to start? This list is comprised of the top five places that I frequent for WordPress know-how:
My Top Five Favorite Places to Learn WordPress:
- WordPress for Designers , at In The Woods, by Drew Douglass. This is easily my favorite series of tutorials on WordPress, and for good reason. Drew takes you through each major step in great detail with screencasts, downloadable files, and excellently written articles. Don’t miss this series:
- Day 1: Installation
- Day 2: The Admin Panel
- Day 3: Creating a Theme from Scratch
- Day 4: The WordPress Loop
- Day 5: The Sidebar
- Day 6: The Templates
- Day 7: Widgets!
- Day 8: Comments
- Day 9: Tweaking the Comments
- Day 10: Your First Plugin
- Day 11: The PSD
- Day 12: Slicing
- Day 13: WordPress Coding
- Day 14: Custom Fields, Functions, and Queries
- Day 15: The Slider
- Day 16: Creating a Custom Page
- Day 17: The Slider (more)
- Day 18: The AJAX Contact Form
- The WordPress Codex. The WordPress Codex is the definitive, official library of information on all things WordPress related, so it’d be dumb to leave this off of your list. While many of the articles are written at a higher level than you’ll understand right out of the gates, there simply is no better place on the net to get information on the technical ins and outs of WordPress. Here are a few great starting points:
- Nettuts: WordPress Section, by various authors. Another favorite spot of mine, Nettuts has an exhaustive set of great tutorials for everything from setting up your first theme to integrating custom fields, features, sliders, and more! What’s best about this resource is that it’s always being updated… so today, tomorrow, and next year it’s going to be a solid place to come back to. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Ultimate Guide to Learning WordPress 3.0, by SixRevisions. One of the trickiest parts of learning WordPress is getting your head around the new features. This was especially true with the latest version (3.0 as of writing this article) – with brand new Cutom Menu features, custom post types, and tons of other great stuff, it’s often helpful to have a spot to go to that focuses exclusively on what’s new. Here’s a few other great WordPress 3.0 specific articles:
- Creating A Quality WordPress Theme: 12 Points to Consider, by Noupe. Last but not least, this has been a favorite article of mine from the standpoint of strategy. While all of the other tutorials focus on the details of using WordPress as a programming language, this article focuses on some of the bigger picture topics like Standards, Commenting your code, and more. Noupe also happens to have a great listing of WordPress Tutorials as well.