Most helpful customer reviews
130 of 134 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.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
Great "starter" for WordPress
WordPress: The Missing Manual is an excellent tutorial for someone who has general web site building knowledge but wants to learn how to build a site using WordPress. The book introduces the various components of WordPress in a logical and orderly manner so that a "newbie" can learn how the trees make up the forest. The books strikes a good balance in providing sufficient detail to be useful without overwhelming. Prior to reading this book, I had purchased another WordPress manual and also had done a fair amount of material related to WordPress on the web. However, it wasn't until I read this book that I felt comfortable about tackling a project in WordPress. Also, the other reference materials that I had read approached WordPress from a blog perspective and then kind of threw in "oh, by the way, you can also do more conventional websites", whereas this book balanced the two uses for WordPress. Before purchasing this book, I was concerned by review comments which indicated that the book was biased towards using WordPress.com versus using WordPress on a site hosted elsewhere. I did not find this to be the case; in fact, I thought that the author was very conscientious about explaining the differences between the two situations.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful.
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Great for newbies through intermediate
By D. Preston
An excellent, up-to-date introduction to WordPress. Good for beginners who have little or no experience with website creation, as well as for those with some familiarity with HTML, CSS and PHP (the basic building blocks of WordPress).
Even at almost 600 pages, it can't cover everything, but MacDonald provides plenty of links to more info on the web (including the "missing CD" with links organized by chapter).
One area the book ignores is the idea of setting up a local development environment on your own computer, rather than on a live, publicly-viewable site. While it's fine not to tackle that in detail in a beginner-friendly book, some basic guidance for readers and some links would have been a good idea.
I've read the book from start to finish, and am combining it with an online video training course. In sum, a very well-written, well-organized learning tool, to take you from newbie up to at least an intermediate level.