WordPress For Dummies

The WordPress For Dummies book is the biggest selling book of it’s type related to the much sought, but non-existent, Web Hosting for Dummies. It has many topics in common with this site.

I leave it to you to decide if you prefer book, or website format. This book covers some aspects of WordPress in more detail than I do on this website, though if you ask the questions, I’ll try to give you the fullest answers I can.

This review is designed to tell you the topics covered by WordPress for Dummies. It is not an in-depth review, so please feel free to add your own opinions if you have read this book.

One review of the book comments:

I recommend it to anyone wanting to gain basic familiarity with WordPress (and related technical jargon), see whether it’s the thing for you and, if so, get started using it.

My view is that you would get a much better feel for this by joining WordPress.com and just doing it – you can always shout out here if you get stuck.

WordPress For Dummies Topics

After the foreword and introduction, WordPress For Dummies is divided into six parts. Here is a summary of the chapters:

I. Introducing WordPress

1: What WordPress Can Do For You
The benefits of WordPress and choosing between the hosted version at WordPress.com, or self-hosting with WordPress.org, in single or multi-user varieties.
2: WordPress Blogging Basics
Describing blogs and introducing blog technologies including arches, feeds, trackbacks, and spam. Also, a (very) brief look at business blogs, with the very important advice on the need to plan first (which is why we have shrewdies.com).

II. Using the WordPress Hosted Service

3: Getting started with WordPress.com
Creating an account and finding your way round the key features and initial settings.
4: Writing and Managing Your Blog
A wide-ranging chapter covering all aspects of publishing and categorizing content, links, and users. I feel there are management and planning of some aspects, especially categorization, that warrant a separate chapter. You should have a categorized blueprint before you even begin to think about starting a website. Having said that, the book is about the mechanics of WordPress, so it is unsurprising that management aspects are under-represented.
5. Enhancing Your Blog with Themes, Widgets, and Upgrades
Enhancements with WordPress.com are much less than self-hosted blogs, so themes and widgets are covered. Surprisingly, there are no shortcodes listed, which is the way WordPress.com exposes the plugins it installs for you. This used to be limited to just a contact form, but is much more extensive now – ask if you want a feature on this growing aspect of WordPress.com.

III. Self-Hosting With WordPress.org

6: Setting Up Blogging Base Camp
Registering domains, finding a host, and running the installation.
7: Understanding the WordPress.org Administration Panel
The options and settings that you have to manage extra to WordPress.com.
8: Establishing Your Blog Routine
Expands on Chapter 4 to cover extra options you have when writing your blog on a self-hosted site.

IV. Flexing and Extending WordPress

9: Media Management: Images, Audio, and Video
Inserting, aligning, and managing media files.
10: Making the Most of WordPress Plugins
What plugins are, and how to find, install, and use them.
11: Finding and Installing WordPress Themes
Unlike plugins, we already know what themes are from the WordPress.com chapters, but now we can look for more. Then a look at some premium themes, though since I’ve never seen a theme yet that does not need editing, I think a look at the editor might be more appropriate. But wait, the next part is …

V. Customizing WordPress

12: Understanding Themes and Templates
The structure of themes and how template files work together. How to use template tags in posts and sidebars, and which are particularly useful.
13: Tweaking WordPress Themes
The basics of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and where to look for more.
14: Beyond Blogging: WordPress as a Content Management System
A miscellany of extra features that take WordPress beyond mere blogging. With the advent of Pods, the CMS angle is largely outdated, but the points are still relevant to how you organize and optimize your blog.
15: Deciding to Bring in the Pros
Roles played by designers, developers, and consultants, and how to make the most of them.

VI. The Part of Tens

Chapters 16 to 18 feature lists of 10 WordPress web sites used as a CMS, popular WordPress plugins, and free WordPress Themes. Poor trees 😥

Finally, we close with an appendix: Migrating your existing blog to WordPress, and the index.

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