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128 of 132 people found the following review helpful.
Just what I was looking for
By Book Lover
I bought this book about a week ago, and since then I've given myself a bit of a WordPress intensive. I decided to buy it because I'd tried to start with WordPress by using various online resources, and I quickly discovered that it was way beyond me. Just to give you some idea, here are some of my early missteps:
- I signed up for a wordpress.com account, then tried to install a theme (a friend had suggested one). I soon discovered that I couldn't, which left me completely confused. A bit of online research revealed that there's wordpress.com and wordpress.org and the two are quite different. A day wasted, and a frustrating waste of time.
- I then went to wordpress.org and discovered an 'easy 5 minute install'. Great, I thought, I'm in the right place. So I started to do it and soon discovered I was out of my depth. Download the zip file, open it, go in and change a line of code, upload various files to your web server using ftp... again, completely bamboozling for someone who was hoping for a 'drag and drop' website creator. I happened then to be on an online forum and saw mention of 'softaculous'. I then went into my web host's cPanel (somewhat nervously) and discovered that you can actually install WordPress with ONE CLICK. Another day wasted.
I share this because it will hopefully give you some sense of my level of experience. Not exactly an experienced developer, but also reasonably comfortable with searching online to find answers.
I also share it because once I decided to actually buy this book, I discovered that the first chapter was about the distinction between wordpress.com and .org, and the second chapter was about how the 'easy 5 minute install' is actually quite difficult, and it's much easier to install it through cPanel using a one-click installer like Softaculous.
In other words, what had taken me two frustrating days to discover, I could have learned in 10 minutes of reading.
Since then I've burned through the book and I am now feeling very confident with the basics of WordPress. I saw some comments on the previous edition saying it focused too much on wordpress.com, but I would have to disagree. If anything, I was oblivious to wordpress.com throughout, and in general he simply says "this is how it works on wordpress.com, but on self-hosted wordpress.org sites, here's how it works". Regardless of the actual specific weighting either way, I found it provided me with all the information I needed to know.
One comment I would have is that there was a plug-in mentioned that I tried to use, only to discover that it was no longer working for the latest version of WordPress (3.9.1 at time of writing). This was One Click Child Themes - so it would probably be worth having a site with the most up-to-date plug-ins. I tried using it and it didn't work, and it took a while to discover that it was only compatible up to WordPress 3.2.1.
Another thing I couldn't see mentioned were tools like the Firebug extension for Firefox, or Chrome's Developer Tools, which reveal the CSS for web pages. Very useful.
But overall this book was exactly what I was looking for, and my only regret was that I didn't buy it earlier. For $9.99 I've gone from a frustrated WordPress noob to a pretty confident WordPress user in under a week - although a fairly focused week - doing pretty much everything I need to do.
If you're looking into WordPress, I'd recommend it. One thing I would say is that WordPress is NOT a basic drag-and-drop system like a Squarespace or Virb. (I've built sites with Squarespace and it's much easier for the everyday person). It helps a lot if you have some familiarity with html or css in particular, which is something I hadn't expected. It also comes with its own security issues, and you do need some familiarity with ftp and your web host. So while it's achievable, I wouldn't call it lay-down easy. I ended up buying Web Hosting for Dummies just to get my head around some of that stuff, and in combination the two books have been exactly what I needed.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
Its a really great book, however if you have some experience building ...
Its a really great book, however if you have some experience building web sites (like i do) you might want to skip it. Author assumes you don't even understand html or css. I read the whole book anyway and saved myself some time of clicking around wordpress dashboard, but i could have done that instead. I really liked the way author explains things, especially when he is talking a little bit about php at the end, i think it should be easy to understand for beginners. I read lots of web design and programming books and i can tell that M. MacDonald has a really good style of writing, he doesn't skip anything and makes everything clear and easy. So if you don't feel like exploring wordpress on your own and want to sit back and relax while learning i think you should get this book. Well not really, you still need to open your wordpress dashboard and explore as you read. Author also mentions a lot of useful links and websites that might be helpful in the future, i didn't know some of them but I'm glad i do now.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful.
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If You Want To Get Into WordPress - This Is Highly Recommended
By H. A. Cohen
My tendency to compare every Missing Manual and tech writer to David Pogue is probably the reason I can't give this a 5 star review, although a lot of thought, knowledge, skill and expertise went into this book. I bought Mac For Dummies in the mid-ninties back when I bough my first Power PC, and I'm sorry, MacDonald doesn't have that quick wit hat I've always enjoyed form Pogue. However, what
"WordPress: The Missing Manual" lacks in entertainment value, it more than compensates fro in usefulness. And let me say this - if you are about to enter the world of WordPress, this is probably the best of the instructional references on the subject. I have spent hours in a Barnes and Noble brick & mortar store poring through other WordPress books and this is the most complete and up to date book I could find. There are other more advanced WordPress books - some that delve more deeply into niches (such as blogger or website specific or business and marketing specific). But this covers a WHOLE LOT of ground and you can be a total newbie and/or a reasonably advanced user and still find this a useful reference to keep handy in your library or by the computer workstation.
As with all the other "Missing Manual" series books, there is a "Missing CD" website where you can find links to toehr resources and files referred to in the book as well as updates to the content.