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Learn WordPress

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning WordPress

WordPress is a popular CMS (Content Management System) used to create dynamic, responsive websites and blogs. While you don't need coding or web development experience to make websites with WordPress, knowing basic HTML and CSS can allow you to use WordPress to a fuller extent.

So you want to start that blog you’ve always been talking about, or you want to learn WordPress for work, but you’re bewildered by all the options with which you are confronted? This guide should help steer you onto the right path. It will explain the different ways there are to learn how to use the CMS, point out some free resources of which you can take advantage, and go into the different career doors knowledge of WordPress can open for you.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an extremely versatile and powerful content management system (CMS) that is behind 43% of the sites on the world wide web. Yes, that’s well over a third of the internet. You can use WordPress for everything from constructing a simple blog to setting up a gigantic online emporium. It’s even being used today as a framework for creating new applications.

WordPress is open-source and free software. That means that the code is accessible to anyone interested, and you can download it without cost. (There are expenses involved in setting up a WordPress site, but WordPress.com makes it possible to create a blog or a simple website without any money changing hands.) Iif you wish to establish an online presence of any size, WordPress can help you.

Learn more about what WordPress is and the benefits of learning to use it.

What Can You Do with WordPress?

WordPress first came to digital life in 2003 as blogging software. It enabled people seeking to establish a voice for themselves on the internet to create blogs without the need for actual coding. As such, WordPress remains extremely popular with bloggers. Indeed, anyone seeking to set up a blog will probably find themselves directed to WordPress for its relative ease of use and wide variety of features that make it possible for lay users to create something “professional” in appearance.

However, 43% of all sites on the web can’t all be blogs, and, indeed, WordPress is currently employed for a great deal more than maintaining ongoing records of what its more casual users had for dinner. WordPress has grown exponentially over the nearly two decades it has been in existence and is used for a variety of purposes today. A range of software plugins allows WordPress to do practically anything. To choose one example from many, the WooCommerce plugin allows the user to turn a WordPress site into a store. As such, WordPress has become the internet’s leading ecommerce platform.

Perhaps the most salient aspect of WordPress is that the software is open-source and free. This has many ramifications, not the least of which is that it opens the software for use as anything a user can imagine. Thus WordPress has expanded beyond blogs and smaller websites and stores into major websites for major companies (zoom.us, indeed.com, and the cryptocurrency site coinmarketcap.com are all powered by WordPress; so is hairwrapsandbrading.au). The software’s server side has most recently begun to be employed as a framework for creating applications. And all these possibilities are within reach of anyone who knows how to make use of the software.

Careers That Use WordPress

The job title to which mastery of WordPress opens the door is WordPress Developer. It’s a general title that can mean a lot of different things, although, in its perhaps best-understood sense, it means someone who builds websites using WordPress. That’s not unlike a subset of Front End Developer, but without the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding knowledge required by that title. Because WordPress is capable of so much on its own, it can be used to carve out more than just a niche career: a knowledge of the system can enable you to construct a more-than-professional-looking website and manage it and the content that goes into it. (Some WordPress Developer jobs overlap with Content Manager roles.) With knowledge of the WooCommerce platform, you can also assume a role with any company that sells its wares using a WordPress-powered online store.

Perhaps the most elaborate definition of WordPress Developer is someone who can access and make something of the platform’s core code. WordPress is written in PHP, so you’d need to know that language (along with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) to tinker with the nitty-gritty of the system, but that opens up vast employment horizons. You’d be able, for example, to develop original themes and plugins and, if you like, even become part of the WordPress community that works (on a volunteer basis) with the core code.

People able to build WordPress sites can also become freelancers and create custom sites for clients using the building blocks the system makes available. You won’t be able to build thoroughly original sites (that does take some coding ability), but you can achieve so much with WordPress that clients probably won’t even notice that the site you created for them was done entirely with a CMS and no coding.

Why Learn WordPress?

Powering as it does over 64% of all sites using a known CMS, WordPress is a versatile software that allows you to create just about any variety of website you can imagine. That could be building an unassuming site with which to introduce yourself to the world, or it could be a multi-tentacled commercial site packed with information and even ecommerce possibilities.

WordPress can therefore be a useful skill for you to possess for your own personal use, or it can become a highly practical adjunct to your professional toolkit. Many companies require staff who can maintain WordPress sites; knowing how the CMS works will enable you to fill such a role. You can also delve deeper into WordPress and be able to create websites, perhaps as a freelancer, which can be a remunerative career with plenty of built-in freedom. Finally, if you really want to become an expert at using the system (and acquire some coding knowledge along the way), you can become a WordPress Developer who can profitably develop new themes and plugins for the system.

Read more about why you should learn WordPress.

How to Learn WordPress

The most obvious way to learn WordPress is by attending a class in a brick-and-mortar school with a live teacher. That’s how you learned most of what you learned growing up, and nothing can compete with a live teacher to whom you can address questions when something doesn’t make sense. The 21st century, however, has brought into play the option of live online education, through which you become part of a virtual classroom and study with a live teacher, but in the comfort and convenience of your own space. Take a look at a listing of available WordPress classes and live online WordPress classes from which you can choose.

If your impulse when you have to learn something is to get the book and study at your own pace, you should consider an on-demand online class. Also called asynchronous (as opposed to a class with a live teacher operating synchronously with the students) learning, this method furnishes students with a series of video lessons that they can follow at their own pace, and sometimes with a human being to oversee students’ progress through the course. Self-starters will find this an effective means of learning (it is also considerably more affordable than a live class.) More information about on-demand WordPress classes is to be had simply by clicking the preceding link.

Free Introductory WordPress Course Online

If signing up for a class (and paying the tuition) seems like more of a commitment than you’re willing to make at this stage in your WordPress education, fear not: in today’s online universe, there is no shortage of ways in which you can get your feet wet for free. That means free online courses and tutorials, some of which are even offered by leading online schools. An example of the breed is the Introduction to WordPress free seminar from Noble Desktop, which takes students from an explanation of how websites work through to the creation and editing of WordPress themes, all without recourse to code. It should prove a well-spent hour and a quarter and will prepare you for a longer class, should you decide to take one.

Other providers of free online WordPress courses include Coursera and Udemy. The latter has offerings such as How to Make a Website Step by Step and a more advanced Learn SEO for WordPress Websites. It also has a selection of mini-lessons available that last around 15 minutes each and teaches single, simple WordPress skills.

Learn more about free WordPress videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost

To learn to use WordPress on a basic level is not overly difficult. If you want to master fancy plugins and the system’s ecommerce possibilities, you’re going to need to study quite a bit more, but if your goal is simply to create a website, you can grasp the necessary WordPress skills in a matter of hours. WordPress was at least originally designed to be easy to use, even if it has become more complicated as it has acquired more functionality.

You don’t need to know a great deal beforehand to be able to tackle WordPress. You need basic computer skills, of course, and you’ll need to know how to use a word processing program (like Microsoft Word) to understand the Gutenberg editor’s most fundamental operations, but you don’t need any knowledge that would be considered “technical” to get something out of the world’s most popular content management system.

WordPress is available for free at WordPress.org, although, to use it, you will need to invest in a hosting service so there’s a physical computer in which your site can reside. You’ll also need to pay to register your domain name. Those are the only unavoidable expenses, and they will set you back somewhere in the vicinity of $20 per month. You can get something truly for nothing by creating a free blog or site using WordPress.com, although you’re going to outgrow that pretty quickly. To get something more solid out of WordPress.com, you’ll need to purchase a subscription to its services; prices for those begin at $4.00 a month.

Read more about how difficult it is to learn WordPress.

How Does Learning WordPress Compare to Other Applications?

As WordPress powers some 43% of the web and is behind some 64.3% of all websites that employ known content management systems, there really isn’t any comparable competition on the market. There’s been perhaps a recent slight downtrend in WordPress’ overwhelming dominance, but still, its closest competitor in August 2022, Shopify, can only lay claim to a 6.2% market share of all websites with known CMSs.

Other CMS options do exist, however, and website builders like Wix and Squarespace have their uses. Most people are likely to find them easier to use than WordPress, largely because they don’t do as much as the market leader. Although there are some things you can do with Wix without having to pay for anything, their “freemium” model will probably have you purchasing a plan in order to have the kind of website you really want. Unlike Wix, Squarespace doesn’t have a free tier. And both Wix and Squarespace’s least expensive plans cost considerably more than those available from their WordPress equivalent, WordPress.com.

If you’re out to open an online store, WordPress, through WooCommerce, is again the market leader by a substantial margin. It is followed (surprisingly) by Squarespace and then by Shopify. Unlike the former two, Shopify didn’t start life as blogging software or as a website builder and was always designed for ecommerce. However, Shopify isn’t the easiest platform to figure out at first and has been known to cause frustration in its newer users. It’s also emphatically not free, and Shopify shopkeepers can very quickly get tangled up in transaction fees and commissions. Still, Shopify does what a CMS is supposed to do and allows people with no tech background (but quite a bit of patience) to start their own virtual marketplaces.

The choice between these options is going to depend on personal taste, your programming skills, and your budget. There is some good news in that Wix.com has a free tier as well as a free trial of its paid plans. Free trials are also available from Squarespace and Shopify. Compared to that, WordPress.org is, of course, free, while WordPress.com has a free tier but no free trials for its subscription plans.

WordPress, while a good skill to possess in and of itself, and a highly valuable one if you’re seeking to create a website for yourself or your own business, isn’t the entirety of the web design picture. You may wish to consult an article on web design to learn about other ways in which you can bring your design skills to the web.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn WordPress

Choosing the right teaching modality for learning WordPress depends to a large degree on you, what you want to learn, and, yes, what’s in your wallet.

To get started, or to get a blog or a modest website off the ground, you may be able to get by with introductory videos on YouTube, the more reliable ones over at WordPress.com, or, maybe even better, a free introductory class that will guide you on your first few steps in using the CMS. You can produce something basic but attractive on WordPress without an enormous amount of knowledge since, at its roots, WordPress was designed to put blogging into the hands of those with ideas but not a lot of technological ken.

If you want a fancier website or if you want to use WordPress professionally, you’ll probably profit most from attending a class or even one of the briefer bootcamps. These will give you a more solid grounding in the basics of using WordPress, along with training in some more advanced features that can be extremely useful to users of this type.

Finally, if you have your eyes on making a career of WordPress (say as a WordPress or Front End Developer), you’re probably going to be best served by one of the more extended certificate programs. These will teach you how to use the system plus additional skills, such as HTML, that will help you get started on a new career. Knowing how to launch your own blog about your latest finds at Dollar Tree isn’t going to be nearly enough if you’re to make a living from WordPress. For that, you’re going to need a significant amount of education, although the good news is that such an education is readily available through online and in-person classes from a large number of established and reputable schools. Moreover, you’ll even find that many schools have affordable payment plans that put this type of education within just about anyone’s reach. (Some longer programs even have payment plans that don’t require you to pay anything until you get an in-field job.)

Learn WordPress with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

A highly effective way of learning to make the most of WordPress would be to take a class in the subject at Noble Desktop, a leading purveyor of live in-person IT training in New York City. Noble teaches extensively online as well, which puts its classes within reach of anyone in the world with internet access. Noble Desktop prides itself on its hands-on learning model, small class sizes, experienced and talented instructors, and a free retake option that makes it possible to cement or refresh your knowledge of what you’ve learned within the space of a year. Noble Desktop offers a wide variety of WordPress classes and bootcamps, one of which is sure to further your goals in using the CMS.

Noble Desktop’s WordPress Bootcamp is designed for students with a background in HTML and CSS who are seeking to learn how to use the system whilst bringing their knowledge of coding to the WordPress table as well. The course of study runs for three weeks, two nights a week for three hours a session, and takes WordPress novices through to customizing a website in ways that aren’t possible if you are limited to communicating in English with the software.

While WordPress can be used to create impressive websites, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in WordPress’ philosophy. For those interested in learning about WordPress in tandem with other tools for front end web development, Noble Desktop also offers its students a Front End Web Development Certificate program that teaches not only WordPress but also HTML, CSS, and the language so essential to the creation of interactive and dynamic websites, JavaScript. Or, if the design aspects of website creation interest you as well, Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program that teaches, in addition to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WordPress, the underlying principles of UI (user interface) design.

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