18 Resources for Getting Started with WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms and content management systems on the planet. Created by Matt Mullenweg and the team at Automattic, it’s an open source and free tool using PHP and MySQL for creating just about any kind of site you can imagine.

Today I’m going to cover a load of resources for getting yourself familiar with WordPress, what it can do, and how to expand and develop for it.

Basics

Before we get into the technical stuff, we need to cover the basics. You won’t get very far if you don’t know how to install it or navigate its interface.

**The WordPress Codex

**This might be the single best starting point. Coming straight from the source, every single person new to WordPress needs to read the getting started guid on the WordPress Codex. This guide describes where to start from the very beginning: what a weblog is really all about. It continues from there to making a plan regarding your hosting situation, installation, setting up, working with themes and plugins, and finally getting into some more advanced topics.

**WPBeginner

**Another great beginner guide comes from WPBeginner.com. Like the Codex but more summarized, the guide from WPBeginner gets you running WordPress “in a week (or less).”

**WordPress.com

**If you’re looking for a hosted solution, there’s always WordPress.com. With that comes a great guide on getting started there from the folks that make WordPress.com happen. If you’ve never used WordPress before, WordPress.com might be the single easiest way to get familiar with the software before diving into hosting it on your own.

Plugins

Hongkiat

If you want a good overview on how to make a good quality plugin, Hongkiat has you covered. They cover basic folder structures, naming conventions, best practices, filter, and more.

Tuts+ – Jeffery Way

Jeffery Way has a crash course on plugin development in video format on Tuts+.com and covers all the basics to make a good plugin. In this scenario, Way covers how they made an actual plugin to serve a real-world purpose and how he planned it out.

Themes

Plugin development is only a small part of a successful and well-oiled WordPress site. the other portion is a quality theme. Why? Your theme is what people see and having it work properly and be as efficient as possible practically goes without saying.

Make

**WordPress Codex

**If you want to make your own theme, you can, should you have the proper front-end development skills. The Codex has a rather extensive list of lessons on various elements of theme developments.

Tuts+ – Sam Parkinson

Another WordPress pro, Sam Parkinson, has a rather exhaustive tutorial on creating a WordPress theme from scratch. Parkinson covers the structure of a theme, what the files should look like, and what various functions look like that you’ll likely be using.

Buy

It’s ok to admit that you’re not good at developing WordPress themes. I’ll admit that, too. Here’s a list of my favorite theme developers.

**Ecko Themes

**Their shop doesn’t have a lot in it, yet, but the quality is great and the price points are exactly where they need to be.

ElegantThemes

This shop has been around for a while and their list of themes is extensive. At the time of this article, they have 87 themes that come as one large package for $69. That comes out to be around $.80 a theme. if you’re a developer or want lifetime access, you’re looking at still low prices of $89/year or $249 one time.

Mike****McCallister

He’s been in it for a while and his collection of themes serves a wide audience and great support comes with each theme. You can buy each theme individually or get access to the whole collection for $199.

Free

It’s also OK to go with a free WordPress theme if you’re finding what you looking for without spending any money. Frankly, WordPress themes can be expensive, too.

Modern Themes

The team behind Modern Themes is shooting for creating quality themes that don’t cost money. Just because a theme doesn’t have a price tag on it, doesn’t mean it has to be sub-par. Modern Themes hosts a variety of themes that cost zero dollars, with premium options that offer up additional features for a fraction of the price of most premium themes.

Anders Noren

A Swedish developer, Anders Noren creates great WordPress themes, mostly for free. As someone who’s used several of this themes in the past, I can vouch for the quality.

WordPress.org

The WordPress Theme Directory is the go-to repository for every WordPress.org approved theme. Each of the themes on this site meet strict quality standards and there are literally thousands to choose from.

**WordPress.com

**if you’re rocking a hosted WordPress site on WordPress.com, this site will become a favorite for you. At least 345 themes are featured here of both free and premium varieties.

Extra: All-Encompassing Video Courses

Lynda.com

If you like video training, Lynda has just about anything you could hope for, including WordPress. Prices are great at least than $30 a month.

**Treehouse

**If you’re a fan of a track-based development course that covers the whole gamut of WordPress development, Team Treehouse has a course you’ll be interested in. It covers the basics like going over the Codex, getting a local development environment set up, theming and templating, Bootstrap, customizing the administration panel, and more. It really is an all-in-one course. Treehouse isn’t free, but for $25/month, you can consume as many courses of their as you like.

WordPress.tv

Great free training and lectures from key players in the WordPress community. If you miss various WordPress events, you might also find them here.

Udemy

Udemy is good for more than programming courses. WordPress development and administration is on their menu, too, and prices are hard to beat.

**WP101

**A great video library that you can browse on their site. Created by Shawn Hesketh, a 26-year freelance development guy, he’s made likely a literal ton of WordPress sites for his clients. His tutorials have helped over 100,000 people get into WordPress and build their own sites.


Bulk Updating Any Meta Values in WordPress Posts Automatically

I updated the look of my site, today, and with that came a non-standard setup for featured images and the realization I’d have to manually update a lot of posts.

The theme requires custom meta be used for the featured image setting to determine how to display an image. As of this post, I have roughly 170 blog posts in the database that would need updating from the beginning of January until now. I definitely didn’t want to spend the next 60 minutes (170 posts * time to click) updating each post, so I did a bit of quick and dirty PHP coding.

Placing the code within the_loop() allowed it to run automatically for each post that was presented. Setting the per-page post count to 200, I effectively had all 170 posts pushed on screen at the same time. This subsequently updated all 170 posts at the same time. This of course put a little bit of a hit on my SQL database, but not so much that it bogged it down. I’m sure having 170 * 2 reads then writes all at once blew out a few of the cobwebs. Most of this site is cached pretty effectively so the database doesn’t do much.

Screenshot 2015-05-02 18.23.56

You’ll see in the image above where I made the updates. The first spike should have been the only one, but I entered the wrong value for one of the custom meta fields so I had to go back and do it again. The code has logic so if it was already correct, it skipped it, hence the smaller second peak.

If you’re curious, the above came from NewRelic, a service offering made by some pretty cool people. They’re free to use for the basic stuff and their customer service rocks. </shameless plug>

Anyway, without further delay, here’s the code that made this happen:

Pretty neat, eh? I know it’s nothing spectacular but it gets the job done, for sure.

Share this post with everyone you know who’s even just remotely interested in WordPress development. One could even bulk-update posts themselves with zero clicks or interaction necessary.

I feel like I did a great thing, today. Time for a beer.


Redis

I’m always looking for interesting things I can do to my site and the series underneath if it means providing some sort of benefit, even if just a small one. I also like learning, so I got the best of both worlds when I took the time a few days ago to set up Redis as a front-end cache for WordPress.

Installing it was dead simple. I already had the PHP PECL module installed, so all I needed to do was install it via apt-get, install a WordPress plugin, and I’m on my way. It took less than ten minutes. Way cool.

Page loads drops by about half. I like that.


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