How to Learn WordPress
Ease of use is one of the best things about WordPress which makes it the world’s most popular website builder.
Learning WordPress does not require a lot of time or money. You can do it on your own, at your own pace, and then build upon it as you go.
In this article, we’ll show you how to learn WordPress. The goal is to help you familiarize yourself with WordPress, so you can build websites on your own.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is probably most commonly known for blogging. At least, in its earliest form that’s how it started out. But it has since grown well beyond blogging, and can now power a huge variety of websites. This is because, at its core, WordPress is a powerful CMS. CMS platforms allow work groups or individuals of any skill level to publish content, formatted consistently, to their website quickly and easily. No coding or technical skills are needed at all.
But where WordPress’s real horsepower comes in is its customizability and flexibility. In its early days, WordPress caught on not only because of its ease of use but because it’s also open source. This means that more technically skilled users can dig into WordPress’s background code and customize it in all sorts of different ways. What’s more, a large community of developers has grown around WordPress, building and releasing all kinds of add-ons and extensions, enhancing the power of WordPress.
Why Should You Learn WordPress?
Before we go any further, you might wonder why you need to bother learning WordPress in the first place. What makes it better than other options like Wix or Shopify?
There are hundreds of reasons why you should learn WordPress, but for this brief section, we’ll just cover two big ones:
- Because it’s free and open-source. While you will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting, WordPress itself is totally free. Since it’s open source, it also means your data can be exported at any time. Overall, WordPress is far cheaper and far more user-friendly than competitors, which tends to lock you into their ecosystem and make it hard to export your website data.
- Because it’s flexible and can be modified to fit virtually any project. With over 50,000 themes, 10,000 plugins, and a global community of millions, WordPress can be customized to create blogs, magazines, forums, eCommerce shops, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Is WordPress Easy For Beginners?
One of the best things WordPress has going for it is that it’s easy to learn. WordPress itself isn’t hard to get started with. In fact, you can learn the fundamentals pretty quickly. This is one of the reasons why WordPress has gained such huge popularity.
Before WordPress came along, building websites was pretty technical and frustrating. Only designers and developers with a firm understanding of HTML, CSS, and compliance standards could build websites well.
And even though we had web design applications like Dreamweaver well before WordPress came along, they functioned more like word processors. You’d choose File > New, and then have to build your web pages from scratch, every single time.
But WordPress has largely eliminated these technical barriers. Anyone with any skill level — even just general computer skills — can use WordPress to build and run their website.
How Long Will It Take to Learn WordPress?
Have you ever heard the old saying, “How long is a piece of string?” The answer, of course, is that it depends. Mastering WordPress is the same.
- To just learn the basics of WordPress, takes a week or less. WordPress is very user-friendly and can be understood by pretty much anyone that has basic computer skills.
- If you want to make specific minor changes to your site, learning basic HTML and CSS will take a week, at most. These are very simple markup languages and mostly just require you to look up specific items (like text-align: left;) online.
- Becoming a “power user”, may take a month or two. This means you’ll know all the shortcuts, locations of different settings, the best plugins to use, how to modify your theme using the customizer, and so on.
How to Learn WordPress
What do I need to learn WordPress?
Learning WordPress is easy as long as you are willing to commit a few hours each day for a week.
You would need some very basic search skills (i.e know how to use search engines like Google), and the ability to follow instructions.
No, you don’t need to know HTML or other programming languages to code a website. It will be helpful to learn them in the future, but you don’t need them to make a website using WordPress as a beginner.
The majority of WordPress users don’t have coding or programming skills, and they have been using WordPress for years.
Similarly, many successful WordPress developers started out just like you, and now they are making websites as full-time web developers.
Even though the web is filled with videos, blogs, and forums all about WordPress, this might actually be the slowest way to learn WordPress.
There are two types of WordPress websites. First, there is WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress, and then there is WordPress.com.
We recommend using self-hosted WordPress.org because it gives you access to all the WordPress features out of the box. For more information, see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
Now that you have chosen the right platform, the next step is to choose your domain and web hosting.
Your domain is the website address that users will type to visit you (for example wpbeginner.com). We have a guide that will help you pick the best domain name for your website.
The next step is to choose web hosting. This is where all your website files will be stored, so users can view your site.
Once you have signed up for a domain name and web hosting account, it is time to install WordPress.
How Does WordPress Work?
Because of its versatility, there are different ways that you can go about using WordPress. Primarily, you’ll either use WordPress.com (called a hosted option) or WordPress.org (a self-hosted approach). And, you can even install and run WordPress directly on your computer. But this third option gets more advanced, and I don’t want to cause confusion here because WordPress doesn’t function like traditional web design software, say Dreamweaver.
Traditional web design software functions more like a word processor, where you simply open, edit, and save files. And with those sorts of tools, you’d build a website on your computer and then upload it to your live web server once it’s complete.
But WordPress works very differently. Unlike a piece of software that runs on your computer, WordPress runs directly on your live web server. So with WordPress, you’d log into your website and then work there, live on the web.
With a traditional tool like Dreamweaver, you create the files that become your website. But with WordPress, it is your website.
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