WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder and content management system, powering over a third of the world’s websites with over 22 billion monthly page views. This is largely because WordPress is versatile, scalable, and easy to use, even if you aren’t a web designer or developer. Learning the basics of WordPress puts you in control of your site – and you can get all the help you need along the way from a worldwide community of courses, tutorials, and support. This WordPress guide will cover why it’s important to know WordPress and other useful tips on how to get started with the learning process. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge needed to understand the basics of  WordPress for beginners.  

WordPress Is a Content Management System for Everyone

Back in 2003, developers Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little created a site building framework that they hoped would make it possible for anyone to publish content online easily and directly, without the need for complex and expensive web development. The result was WordPress, a set of free code files designed with blogging in mind. Over time, WordPress has become the site builder and content management tool of choice for websites of all kinds and sizes, thanks to its generic core structure and potential for nearly endless customizing with an array of premium and free WordPress themes and plugins to suit a variety of purposes.

All of these options, and the fact that the basic set of WordPress files consists of multiple lines of code written mostly in the programming language PHP can make it seem impossible for a new user with no web design expertise to learn WordPress at all. However, there is a way of learning WordPress to suit the needs of all kinds of users, whether the goal is to simply master the tools on a site’s admin dashboard in order to create blog posts and pages, or to make advanced modifications in the WordPress source code itself in order to add highly specialized custom functions to the site.

These paths aren’t mutually exclusive, either. A casual user who simply wants to know enough about WordPress to publish blog content in a short amount of time might later find that it would be useful to learn how to make deep changes in the site’s framework and style sheets. Whatever a user’s goal might be, there’s a way to learn WordPress for that.

Why Should You Learn WordPress?

Learning at least some WordPress basics can be a smart move, no matter what kind of site you are creating. Hiring a designer can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you’re a blogger or a small business startup, and you might still need a site administrator to handle the ongoing management of the site itself. Learning WordPress step by step allows you to:

  • Control the look and functions of your site. Once you know how WordPress works, you can either work with the settings options available in themes and plugins or modify your site’s code and style sheets to completely customize it to meet your needs. This gives you complete control over all aspects of your site, and the option to make changes whenever you like.
  • Save money. Learning WordPress yourself allows you to set up your site and maintain it without the need to hire a developer or outside IT professionals to keep it running smoothly. Additionally, since WordPress itself is free to download and install, your web hosting service becomes your primary expense.
  • Connect with other WordPress users. Whether you’re a beginner with no knowledge of WordPress, or a casual user looking to take your skills to the next level, learning WordPress can connect you with the worldwide WordPress community of learners, developers, and site runners – and, if you choose, with potential customers who don’t know WordPress and would be willing to pay for your help in setting up their own sites.

Learn WordPress at Any Level

The way you approach learning WordPress depends on your goals and your existing familiarity with the platform. If you’re a complete newcomer to WordPress and have never worked with this kind of content management system, learning about WordPress begins with becoming familiar with the tools on your site’s admin dashboard, and learning how to do basic tasks like set a header image, create blog posts, and install widgets and plugins. For some users, those skills may be the only ones needed to set up and run a site.

If you’re already familiar with those tools and want to know how to work directly with WordPress code to customize your site, learning WordPress will focus on the next level of skills. These include how to modify WordPress site files, customize style sheets, and even create your own themes and plugins. And to work with WordPress on the developer level, you’ll also want to become familiar with programming languages like PHP and JavaScript.

Ways to Learn WordPress

If you have decided to give learning WordPress a try, you’ll find hundreds of free and paid resources available on just about every topic you’re interested in, including:

WordPress Courses and Certificates

Complete courses on WordPress are available for learners at all skill levels. Offered by WordPress focused providers such as WP Beginner and WPApprentice, as well as general online learning platforms like Udemy and Lynda.com, these courses cover a range of skills and strategies geared toward users at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Many also offer certificates to demonstrate mastery of the course material.

Tutorials for Targeted Learning

Video tutorials from a wide range of WordPress experts and WordPress.org itself are available in both paid and free form from a variety of sources that offer short tutorials on a wide range of skills related to computers and digital technology. Unlike full WordPress courses, video tutorials are typically targeted to a particular issue or problem, such as how to install a widget or create a child theme. Users can mix and match tutorials related to the skills they are interested in learning, and teach themselves how to use WordPress at their own pace.

WordPress Workshops and Bootcamps

Because WordPress is so widely used around the world, it has also inspired a thriving community of users at all levels who work together to share knowledge and contribute to the constantly evolving source code and WordPress theme and plugin directories. Local WordPress communities regularly sponsor workshops, groups, and events known as WordPress boot camps to teach new users the basics and advanced users new tricks, as well as to provide troubleshooting help and general support for anyone who uses WordPress.

WordPress is a versatile, dynamic content management system that can be used by anyone from complete beginners to experienced developers, and you can learn how to use it in whatever way works best for you and your website. With a multitude of free and paid learning options for getting the skills you need, learning WordPress can put you in charge of your website and save you money.

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