Tips For Designers Learning WordPress

Tips For Designers Learning WordPress

If you are a graphic / web designer accustomed to coding websites in static HTML, as opposed to PHP or some other database-driven system, making the move to WordPress can seem difficult and frustrating at first. Having had several clients who fit this description, I have noticed some common issues that prove to be stumbling blocks. Here’s my suggestions for those attempting to make the switch.

1) Beginner’s Mind Is Crucial
Forget almost everything you know. I know, it sounds terrible, but here’s what I mean – if you approach WordPress with the same mentality as you would approach building an HTML site, you will get frustrated very quickly. So act as if you know nothing and start from scratch. Once you gain an understanding of WordPress you can then apply the HTML knowledge you know. But doing it the other way round is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Building a database driven website is a totally different conceptual approach than building a static HTML site, so don’t let your current habits and knowledge get in the way.

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WordPress – Going Beyond The Basics – Slides from Wordcamp Seattle 2012

WordCamp Seattle 2012

This weekend I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at Seattle’s WordCamp. I have never attended a WordCamp outside of Southern California before and was pleased to experience the same feeling of community there that I have at other events.

My topic was “WordPress – Going Beyond The Basics: An Adventure Behind the Scenes of your WordPress Site!

The goal was to introduce some key files, concepts and best practices for WordPress users who are not developers but are ready to take their knowledge of WordPress further than the dashboard. The presentation included a quick live demo of how to make a CSS tweak using Chrome Developer Tools, by way of a child theme.

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Getting Started With WordPress – Explaining Settings

Once you’ve got your WordPress blog installed, there are a few tweaks you’ll want to make to the default settings. This is a quick overview of  the Settings area of the WP dashboard. You don’t have to tweak, or necessarily understand every single option – you can use this a rough guide as to what to pay attention to.

PERMALINKS

This is a Very Important Section!
I was going to go over each section in the order they appear in the navigation bar, but the permalinks setting is at the bottom and this is one of the most important sections. You are definitely going to want to change the default setting here so that your blog posts will have search-engine friendly urls with words in them, instead of the numbers that come with the default.

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