WordPress Prerequisites

What to Learn Before WordPress

Discover the power and potential of WordPress, the content management system (CMS) that currently powers 43% of all websites. This guide will help you explore the various applications of WordPress, its ease of learning, and the pre-requisite skills needed, including the benefits of basic HTML knowledge.

Key Insights

  • WordPress is an extremely versatile CMS, enabling users to create everything from blogs to online stores and new applications. With its open-source and free software, it's accessible to anyone interested.
  • 43% of all websites today are powered by WordPress, showing its widespread use beyond just blogging.
  • WordPress can be learned easily with basic computer skills and understanding of website structure. Having some HTML knowledge can open up more possibilities with the software.
  • Learning with Noble Desktop provides hands-on experience with WordPress, with options for online and in-person classes.
  • Noble Desktop offers a variety of WordPress classes and bootcamps, including a WordPress Bootcamp designed for students with a background in HTML and CSS.
  • For comprehensive learning, Noble Desktop also offers a Front End Web Development Certificate program and a Web Design Certificate program.

Using a content management system (CMS) removes the need to code from the process of designing and managing websites websites. While there are unquestionably WordPress users who possess considerable coding knowledge, a sizable proportion of the 455 million WordPress sites out there were created by non-programmers using the platform without recourse to additional coding. The following guide should make it clear to those wishing to wade into WordPress gently that there’s a great big shallow end to the software into which they can safely wade as they learn to progress into deeper waters.

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.) If 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.

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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.

Is WordPress Easy to Learn?

In a word: yes.

In a few more words: yes, but maybe not as easy as all that.

Part of Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little’s goal when they forked the blogging software b2 and came up with the world’s most popular CMS was to democratize the blogging world. Keeping the software open-source and free was one aspect of that; another was to create software that nearly anyone could use. Most people will have an easy time with WordPress they exercise just a modicum of patience. Because the shallow end is so big, you can even jump in and start noodling around with only your own intuition to guide you.

Although rushing in and pushing buttons until something happens is a method of sorts, it’s not necessarily the best way to learn WordPress. But you also don’t need months of instruction to see your way through to using the software. The learning curve is easy, and in a lot of ways intuitive, so a class like Noble Desktop’s WordPress: Creating a Website or Blog may be all casual users of the software may require.

While you can learn to do quite a bit with WordPress in fewer than ten easy lessons, the ability to code (even in rudimentary fashion) does unlock some aspects of WordPress that aren’t readily available to those using it strictly as a CMS. It’s a bit contradictory, but you certainly won’t regret having taken a class in basic HTML either before or after you tackle WordPress.

What to Know Before Learning WordPress

The good news for novices contemplating learning WordPress is that the underlying skills required to use the CMS are all pretty basic. If you were able to find this article online, you probably already possess most of the skills you need to learn elementary (and not so elementary) WordPress.

Basic Computer Skills

The first thing you do need if you’re to be able to use WordPress is the ability to operate a computer. That means knowing how to use a keyboard and mouse, preferably knowing how to touch type, and knowing how to navigate the web. As far as WordPress is concerned, it matters not whether you’re used to using a PC or a Mac: the system works equally as well on either.

Because the interface of WordPress is similar to Microsoft Word (or even Google Docs), knowing how to use a word processing program is also an essential prerequisite for using WordPress. You’ll need to understand how to input text on a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) screen and how to perform such basic operations as highlighting text, copying, and pasting, and changing text to italics or bold. These are all things that most computer users today take for granted, but you do need to know them in order to use WordPress.

The other computer skill required is the ability to move photos around if you’re planning on using images as part of your site (and even the most text-centric of sites is going to require an image here or there). While you certainly don’t need Photoshop skills to use WordPress, knowing how, for example, to crop or rotate a photo will also come in useful. So will knowing how to download photos from the internet to use on your site (but do take some friendly advice and always be careful to make sure the images you use on your site aren’t subject to copyright).

Understanding What Goes Into a Website

Using WordPress also does require that you have a sense of how websites are organized. If you’re going to build a website, you need to understand what such things as homepages, menus, and links are and how they work as part of a whole website. If you plan to start a blog, you’ll need to know the difference between a page and a post, as well as that between a view and a visitor. This knowledge isn’t that hard to acquire: find a website that’s about the proportions of what you’re imagining starting, and look at the site map so you can study the site’s construction. Although many things involving the internet aren’t intuitive, the structure of websites largely is since they have to be navigated by users who know a whole lot less about how websites work than the people who construct them.

One more thing you should have, especially if you’re starting a blog, is something to say. That’s considerably more abstract than the rest of the advice above, but it is a sine qua non of any good blog. Yes, you can blog about anything. You can blog about what you had for dinner, but that’s probably not going to make for compelling reading. You don’t exactly need to get a gimmick to start a blog, but you do need an angle that will attract readers. As a bonus, you’ll become a much better writer if you have a focus for your project.

The HTML Dilemma

A third thing you may want to learn before you tackle WordPress is basic HTML. There are times in using WordPress when the only way to get the platform to do precisely what you want it to do is to bring up the Custom HTML block and start typing in code. It doesn’t happen often, and each subsequent release of WordPress seeks to make recourse to HTML less and less necessary, but the fact is that you will have a wider range of WordPress superpowers if you have a few HTML commands at your disposal.

There is, however, a chicken or the egg issue here: do you need to learn HTML before WordPress, or would it be just as simple to learn WordPress first and then mix in the bells and whistles by adding HTML to your toolkit? There’s no absolutely right answer to the question:: if you want to learn WordPress and perhaps never have to bother with HTML, you can go ahead and learn the former without the latter. On the other hand, learning basic HTML before you tackle WordPress will allow you to learn how to use the two together while you’re learning WordPress. Knowing some HTML may also give you a better understanding of how the CMS works, which is never a bad thing. Knowing what a catalytic converter is can be a useful bit of knowledge, even if you have no plans to fix your car on your own.

Key Insights

  • WordPress is fairly easy software to learn to use, and the preliminary knowledge required to grasp it is minimal.
  • You need basic computer skills and the ability to manipulate text and images, as well as an understanding of how websites are organized.
  • Having some knowledge of HTML can be a help; you can also just as plausibly decide to learn HTML after you’ve conquered basic WordPress.
  • Before you start learning WordPress to keep your own blog, make sure you have something to say.

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.

How to Learn WordPress

Master WordPress with hands-on training. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) commonly used to build websites and blogs.

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