Although downloading the software from WordPress.org is free, there are start-up costs when it comes to using WordPress. You’ll need to secure a domain name, and then you’ll either have to pay for hosting from a service such as Bluehost or SiteGround or purchase a plan from WordPress.com. Nevertheless, learning how to use the CMS doesn’t need to be one of your initial expenses. Indeed, you can learn quite a lot about the most popular CMS in the world for free. Keep reading for information about these no-cost opportunities to get you up onto your feet and functioning with WordPress.
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.
One great thing about 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.
A very frequently asked question is, “can I learn WordPress on my own?” The answer is a qualified yes, as you’ll need some grit to keep on learning without the momentum a class and a live teacher generate, but it can certainly be done. You can also do it for free, assuming you can find a good tutorial (or set of tutorials) and an online teacher who’s reasonably good at inspiring you.
The biggest problem you’re going to face when it comes to learning WordPress from free online tutorials is the sheer abundance of videos from which to choose. A recent Google search for “free WordPress tutorials” turned up, in a matter of 0.62 seconds, roughly 40 million results. While it stands to reason that not all of those results link to actual classes, you’re still going to be faced with a choice between the more than 100 classes that do turn up before Google starts going off on tangents that still include instruction in other aspects of the software in question.
What if I don’t want to watch WordPress: The Movie?
There are many ways to learn, and watching video tutorials may not bring out the most receptive parts of your brain. There are alternatives, however. Some people learn better from a book than from a head talking on a computer screen. Perhaps the book has more perceived authority, or perhaps people do better just hearing their own voices teaching them inside their heads. Or perhaps they’re from the not very distant day and age before the advent of video-streaming services when books were the things from which you learned.
Books, however, get rapidly out-of-date and, generally, aren’t free, although Amazon does make quite a few books about WordPress free to users of their Kindle reader. There’s still some tech involved, but it does make a viable option for people who’d prefer not to learn from a video tutorial.
Another option is taking advantage of the substantial selection of online tutorials in .pdf format. These allow you to read rather than listen to what you’re learning, which will make it easier for some people to learn. You can also print out the PDF document and have it as a book, leaving you free to use your computer screen to navigate the examples and exercises. The PDF route can therefore be very successful for some people seeking to learn WordPress, and it comes with the same attractive price tag of nothing. There’s a bonus to learning from a PDF tutorial, too: no commercials.
More or Less Official WordPress Videos
If you’ve made the decision to throw in your lot with WordPress.com, the helpful people there have a whole series of videos, free materials, and even daily live webinars to take the pain out of learning to use the platform. You may be a bit overwhelmed by that selection too, although they do make an effort to take you along step by step through the process of creating a website or a blog. Perhaps the biggest downside to the WordPress.org materials is that they are all relatively basic and devoted to getting you started with the platform, although these “Quick Starts” do cover such topics as WooCommerce and monetizing your site. (Some of these resources are even disponibles en español.) These videos and webinars will, however, get you started, although you’ll have to look elsewhere to make more elaborate use of what WordPress.com has to offer.
If you’re using the so-called “real” WordPress (i.e., WordPress.org), there’s an enormous selection of educational videos from which to choose, in languages including Japanese, Korean, and Argentine Spanish, and subtitled in everything from Bulgarian to Bahasa Indonesia. As WordPress is open-source, so are these educational videos, meaning they’re produced by members of the community and aren’t official utterances the way the WordPress.com videos are. Nonetheless, there is some degree of oversight before an instructional video makes its way into the WordPress.org repository of learning. WordPress.org also offers virtual meet-ups facilitated by members of the community. The real shortcoming (if shortcoming it be) is that these tutorials can be rather involved and advanced; thus, WordPress.org probably isn’t the place to turn for basic instruction in how to use the CMS.
Where Best to Turn?
The WordPress.com and WordPress.org video tutorials are valuable resources for a product that doesn’t come with an instruction book in the box. They’re absolutely worth perusing, and you’re almost sure to learn something from one of them. They are, however, hardly the be-all and end-all of video tutorials. You should probably look beyond the more or less official WordPress offerings.
All video tutorials are emphatically not created equal, and just because something’s on YouTube is no guarantee of quality. It’s also no guarantee that it contains correct, up-to-date information. You can often tell what kind of video you’re dealing with by looking at the first few minutes of it, but that can get time-consuming, given the sheer volume of videos available. There are other metrics by which you can judge the reliability and effectiveness of a video tutorial without having to watch the whole thing, however. Although the comments on YouTube often produce the same effect as watching a train wreck, you can always consult them to see what people, some of whom may know more than you do about WordPress, have to say about a given video. The number of views is also a sometimes reliable barometer of the quality of a video. That’s not to say that dancing baby sharks are the best teachers of WordPress, but at least the number of views (and likes) is an easy resource to consult and might give some insight into which WordPress tutorials are worth your time.
A further option is to concentrate on videos that originate from dependable sources, such as online schools that have developed their reputations for solid teaching over the years. Udemy is one such well-known example, and it offers free as well as paid classes in WordPress. You’ll find a WordPress 101 class among the former. There are, in fact, a lot of classes using the not overly original moniker of WordPress 101, but there is an “original” series of WordPress 101 videos that is available online; the introductory video is free. NobleDesktop, a New York City-based online school also offers its own free online WordPress class (it’s far more extensive than, say, the last mentioned one from WordPress 101). You can click on the link for more information on free WordPress videos and tutorials.
- Free online videos and tutorials about WordPress abound.
- WordPress.com provides a series of videos geared to the beginning user.
- WordPress.org’s free videos are more advanced and are produced and curated by the WordPress community.
- There are online print resources to assist beginners in learning WordPress as well.
- Choosing an instructional video from a reliable and established source, such as a well-known school, is always a good bet for making the best use of your study time.
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.