Depending on your needs from the software, learning WordPress need not be an overly time-consuming process. You can learn your way to such basic tasks as starting a blog or using an extant theme to create a website in a matter of hours. On the other hand, there’s a lot more to WordPress than that, and learning how to use its more advanced features is going to take a while. You’ll find more information on the WordPress learning curve below, along with some pointers for accelerating the process.
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.
Average Time it Takes to Learn WordPress
The time it takes to learn WordPress varies from person to person and depends very much on how deep a knowledge of the software you wish to acquire. That’s going to be a reflection of what your needs from the system may be, and the range is anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of years.
WordPress was designed to be user-friendly, and you should be able to cook up a simple website in a matter of hours. It’s honestly not that difficult. The thing is that very few people want that kind of website and are going to have at least somewhat greater ambitions for what they can create using WordPress. Getting a handle on the (Gutenberg) block editor is going to take a little longer and probably will require that someone show you the ropes before you can manage them yourself. A fair estimate is that 10 to 12 hours of work will have you at a level at which you can perform all the basic operations of WordPress and use one of its many themes to create an attractive website.
You or your job may want more from your WordPress abilities, and thus, if you want to know how to use plugins, manipulate more complicated interfaces or even dabble in WooCommerce, you’re going to need more time to arrive at the level of an accomplished professional user. That time frame is from six months and a year, depending on how much time you put into learning how to use and exploit the platform.
If your goals lie beyond that— if you wish to become a WordPress Developer who can work with all aspects of the system—you’re going to need to invest even more time in learning WordPress. The good news is that Malcolm Gladwell’s figure of 10,000 hours of practice being necessary to master playing the violin or hitting a baseball is a bit excessive for WordPress. Still, two years of study and practice is a good estimate of how much time you’ll need to get to a point at which you can develop your own plugins and themes and generally own the system. (You’ll also have to learn to code in the process since true mastery of WordPress does mean the ability to use HTML and some PHP as well.) While two years must sound like a long time, the reality is that most people require a far more casual knowledge of the platform and that you will be able to amaze your friends (and supervisors) with your WordPress abilities in closer to six months.
There are other considerations: not everyone learns at the same rate, and not everyone has the same amount of time to devote to acquiring a new computer skill (thus the time ranges cited above). Your prior knowledge of computer operations and software will greatly influence the amount of time it will take you to learn WordPress. So will your level of motivation. And finally, although WordPress is ostensibly designed to function without its users’ recourse to code, the reality is that your coding knowledge will also affect your WordPress learning curve.
Basic Computer Skills
Although WordPress was designed to enable people of all sorts to establish an online presence for themselves, the ability to use the software depends on an understanding of the basics of using a computer. To tackle WordPress, you should be able to work with text and images: experience with word processing software will make it very easy to understand the most basic of editors, and the ability to move pictures around will prove very useful. Most people possess many of these skills already today. Iif you don’t, they are all easily acquired.
Having a Brain Wired for Learning New Software
If you’re familiar with the computer and have used intuitive software in the past, you’ll already have developed the neural pathways you’ll require to learn WordPress. Thus those with more experience using software of all kinds will have an easier time learning WordPress. Although WordPress is generally the first CMS people learn, experience with another CMS (Squarespace, for example) will also help you to understand WordPress.
You’re also going to have to be able to think logically to get a handle on WordPress. It’s intuitive, but where computers are concerned, “intuitive” is largely another way of saying able to think logically. That’s not to say that right-brain people stand no chance of using WordPress, but you are going to need your left brain to learn it. Therefore, people who are more logically grounded in their thought processes are going to have an easier time picking it up more quickly.
Also a factor in how easily and quickly you’ll pick up WordPress is the reason you’re learning it and, to cite an intangible, your level of motivation. If you’re starting a blog on a whim, you probably won’t be as energized to work than if you’re learning the platform to set up a store from which you intend to earn your livelihood. On the other hand, if you’ve been assigned to learn basic WordPress for reasons you can’t understand, you’re probably not going to be able to absorb the system’s secrets like the proverbial sponge. Even in that unenviable situation, you should bear in mind that WordPress is a valuable transferable skill, that the software can do a whole bunch of cool things, and that you’re likely to find that it will come in useful elsewhere in life.
Although WordPress is a CMS and designed to spare its users getting coding dirt under their fingernails, and while it is possible to do surprising things using the system’s many tools and even its plugins without recourse to coding, the reality is that to get beyond a certain point with WordPress, you are going to have to know at least some code. Even the system’s more basic functions can benefit from using HTML to customize your site, and, for the more advanced uses of WordPress, being a whiz at HTML and knowing some PHP are going to be a necessity. Learning basic HTML is not a time-consuming process, and if you’re at all serious about WordPress, you should study it. Whether you study it before or after basic WordPress is a matter for you to decide, but learning it first will probably make acquiring WordPress that much easier.
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.
Watch a Free WordPress Online Course
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.
- You can learn to use WordPress in anything from two hours to two years.
- People’s needs from the software can vary immensely, from starting a simple blog to running a complete online store. The time required to learn WordPress depends on those needs.
- Casual users can learn the software in ten to 12 hours.
- Those with more advanced business needs will find six to 12 months’ time will be required to achieve sufficient mastery of the system.
- Estimates place the time required to become a full-fledged WordPress Developer (capable of constructing themes and plugins) at between one and two years. Note that that type of control of the software is going to require coding ability as well as an in-depth understanding of the CMS’ advanced features.
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.