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WordPress: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)

Posted on September 22, 2013 by Blog Design Journal

Whether you’re a budding blogger or web development professional, WordPress is a brilliant tool for creating websites—if you know how to tap its impressive features. This jargon-free Missing Manual shows you how to use WordPress and its themes, plug-ins, and widgets to build just about any website you can imagine, from a classy blog to a basic e-commerce site.

The important stuff you need to know:

  • Create a blog. Get a free WordPress.com account, choose the right theme, and start publishing content.
  • Build a website. Produce a professional-looking business site by customizing a WordPress theme.
  • Add features. Choose from thousands of WordPress widgets and plug-ins to extend your site’s features.
  • Mix in multimedia. Include slideshows, video clips, webcasts, podcasts, and music players.
  • Involve your readers. Let readers leave comments, contribute to your site, and carry on a dialog.
  • Build an audience. Learn search-engine optimization, measure your reader’s favorite pages, and publicize your site.
  • Create a community. Use social media tools such as “Like” and sharing buttons, and provide RSS feeds of your posts.

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3 to “WordPress: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)”

  1. Masa says:

    “The Missing Manual” is an apt description Getting started with WordPress is a lot scarier than it has to be. I struggled at first, trying the online documentation, which is written more like an encyclopedia rather than an instruction guide. I made a lot of mistakes along the way.To give you an example of something that confused me when I first got started, just the phrase “WordPress” can be confusing if you don’t have someone explain it to you. The term “WordPress” refer to the software (which you can run yourself or get an account on a hosted site), wordpress.org is where you get the software (and docs on how to install it), and wordpress.com is where you get an account on a hosted installation.What I like the most about this book is that it applies a lot of structure to learning how to get results with WordPress. This Missing Manual puts these items into perspective, making it very clear how to get going with wordpress.org/wordpress.com (Note that the Amaazon reviewer who stated that this book is only for wordpress.com is incorrect. In fact, installation is covered starting in chapter 3).Instead of trying to teach you how every knob works, it teaches how to get started, make your first post, then start customizing with the existing tools, then customizing with add ons and changes to themes.My favorite part of the book is explanation of how the gallery system and adding audio/visual elements. Very nice to have it explained in a way that I can now see the big picture of what’s going on, and how to add things like carousel.I like the number of screenshots of the topic being explained and the results of what happens. That element is a welcome change to anyone who’s spent a lot of time with just the online docs.There are two things I would have liked to have seen different. One, I think the book could benefit from a chapter that explained how to get started and posting in X number of steps. As it stands, the book is thorough but it takes over a 100 pages until you know how to post content. Getting some results quickly right off the bat (or at least explain the steps of what needs to be done to get results) would help people start feeling successful right away.The second thing I would have liked to have seen is some focus on building one site rather than jumping around several. There are many different web sites used as examples. It would have been nice to seen how one site gets built from the ground up rather than flipping around so many pre-built examples.That said though, I think the missing manual is very valuable, and easily one of the best ways to get to know how to use it. Now I can finally enjoy using WordPress without all of the frustration I had before.

  2. connywithay says:

    WordPress for Unknowns & Know-It-Alls Title: WordPress: The Missing ManualAuthor: Matthew MacDonaldPublisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc.ISBN: 978-1-449-30984-8In the beginning of his book, “WordPress: The Missing Manual,” Matthew MacDonald writes about the website, WordPress, “You probably realize that it’s a brilliant tool for creating a huge variety of websites, from gossipy blogs to serious business sites. However, you might be a bit fuzzy on the rest of the equation – how WordPress actually works its magic, and how you can use WordPress to achieve your own website vision.”With five hundred and forty-five pages, this softbound, thick book is one of “the missing manual” series that states, “the book that should have been in the box.” Geared to anyone who wants to know more about practically any topic, these books cater to the minutiae missing when one wants to learn, use and expand knowledge regarding a subject. This issue is about the famous online blogging website, WordPress, and how to maneuver within it.The book is arranged into five sections regarding the nuances of WordPress: starting, building, supercharging, customizing and appendixes. Designed as a textbook, one can easily search a topic via the fourteen page index or flip through the pages, as each top corner has a shaded square stating its contents. In addition to step by step instructions in each chapter, there are bolded, highlighted and boxed tip and note sections along with photographed computer screens depicting directions, samples and pointed areas discussed.There are two distinct ways to approach WordPress – setting up the simple free hosting service or installing their software on another web host (self-hosting) for a monthly fee. Both types of sites are thoroughly discussed and explained early in the book and then shown their differences and applications throughout the chapters.In the first chapter, one learns how to sign up and set up a blog or install the more complicated self-host option. The second chapter explains how to create a post, choose a theme, energize written posts, add pages and alter visitors’ content. The third chapter discusses the more complicated plug-ins, adding media, maintaining users and attracting a crowd. The final chapter concentrates on the more complicated and in-depth self-hosting avenue. The appendixes offer both migration and useful websites for more assistance.This knowledgeable manual is the perfect tool to keep nearby if one has a WordPress blog and either does not know where to start or has to correct, change or trouble-shoot his or her own self-hosted blog site. Kudos to MacDonald for writing and explaining such a complicated topic in layman’s “computerese.”

  3. T. Karwin "Garden Book Reader" says:

    Complete information at Last! The first book I read for guidance on using this web-design software is “WordPress: 24-hour Trainer.” It has some strong points, but it left me with loose ends and questions. This book, “WordPress: The Missing Manual,” provides full information and includes answers to all my questions. Admittedly, I’m only about 3/4s through the book at this point, but I have been fully satisfied with each section so far. It provides clear priorities and clear instructions about pursuing those priorities, and inspires me to proceed to implementing new ideas. I prefer to focus on the content of my website, rather than to tinker with the technology, so this book provides just the level of technical information that I need to pursue my objectives.

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