WordPress out of the box is quite grand. Grand I say, mighty grand. With a little poking and prodding around, you can start creating content and fire it out to the interwebs. You don’t have to know how to do everything before you start doing anything in WordPress (and you’ll never know everything, so don’t worry about it). Joomla (another Content Management System) and DOS for that matter, are at their base essentials “get trained before you try and do anything” while WordPress is “doing is your training” which very much agrees with my learning style.
Having said that, man alive there’s a lot of learning that can go into WordPress. There’s just so many layers and sides to the dang thing. You might want to brush up on PHP, mySQL, CSS and more once you get into the think of it. Thankfully WordPress is a community project and, good or bad, the community supports its own. Good in there’s a lot of help out there, bad as in there’s no control so the “help” resources you find may not be of the best quality but there’s definitely lots out there.
Thanks to a recent WordPress meetup this very issue was discussed and some great resources, vetted by pros, and at least one employee of Automattic, await you below:
I just want to write something.
You’re just starting out and you’re already lost. No worries. It happens on this big place called the internet. There are a lot of resources out there to get you blogging on the WordPress platform in no time. Specifically, you can start here: https://wordpress.com/
No one can help you if you don’t have a blog after all. It’s easy to get going and that’s the whole point. If you’re of the mindset that you want to follow a plan instead of just wandering around and discovering head on over to http://learn.wordpress.com/quick-start-guide/ This site will guide you through getting your blog up and running and lots of the amazing features you’ll find along the way.
Specifically I’d suggest going with the .com version which is letting them handle everything complicated for you and you just create (mostly). Once you start thinking .org (install and host your own WordPress back and front end) you’d better know your way around the dashboard a bit.
Still, you may need help getting there, but you have to know what kind of help you need at that point.
Are you a designer who’s been shoved a little to far into the website development side of your job? Been there and found all the resources you’ll need to survive in your new found responsibilities.
wpmail.me deserves your attention for the forward thinking designers out there. Each week they collect best posts about themes, plugins, and wordpress in general and send you an email with links to them. It may not have exactly what you want, but not one week goes by where I don’t read at least one post in these emails.
Despite it’s seemingly innocent name, WPBeginner, isn’t for those just starting out. This site has great tutorials for running a self-hosted site, adding and deleting functionality, and how to survive when things go wrong. Definitely add that site to your RSS feed (yes, I still use and believe in RSS feeds).
Also, this resource, can go here or into theme problems, but knowing a CSS trick or two can definitely help you solve problems and create something beautiful at the same time. Try http://css-tricks.com/ for help there.
Some Theme is Missing
Ah crap, now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve installed a theme and things are not what you expected. Functionality is broken, you can’t get it to match the demo experience, and you don’t know where to start to fix it.
First place to check is the support forums for the theme you purchased. If it’s a reputable firm, they’ll have FAQ’s, support tickets, a feedback process, and more. Others, such as themes from themeforest.net have well, let’s call it, inconsistent support. Those themes are build by and sold by individuals and so the level of support can range from non-existent to excellent. Your best bet is to check the theme support and forums BEFORE you purchase to determine if they’ve already provided good support. And to be fair there are lots of theme’s on themeforest that are well supported by some very nice people.
Coders and Codexs
Now the serious stuff, and honestly, I can only point you in the right direction here, I’m trusting smarter WordPress people than myself on this. If you’re building components for WordPress such as themes and plugins you may need to up your game in terms of who you reach out to for support. First stop should always be the Codex for WordPress, the online living manual for operating within WordPress and then onto the developer code reference manual for WordPress. Both of which you could help work on if you’re so inclined. WordPress is a community of people helping out and that includes helping out the people helping out, if that makes any sense. Sorry, tried to help but wound up not helping much there.
Need more WordPress help?
Of course you do, we all do. Along with the resources listed below the best help you’ll ever find is the community of people who love WordPress, those clever and passionate people that fill the WordPress Meetups out there. Here’s Winnipeg’s WordPress meetup group. Come on out one night and you might even stay around for the extra chatty help at the King’s Head afterwords. Well worth the cost of a beer or two. Cheers!