WordPress has become one of the premier do-it-yourself website programs available today. Pretty much anyone, regardless of technical background, can build a web presence with an easy install and a little knowledge of how WordPress works. Some people may have no problem just diving into the interface itself and figuring out what to do by trial and error. Others with less experience or less confidence may want more detailed and structured guidance. Others still may have even found themselves lost or confused after throwing themselves into the guts of WordPress and found it less intuitive than they imagined. The latter two groups would benefit greatly from reading "WordPress 24-Hour Trainer." Though, like all of the titles in this series, it takes much longer than 24 hours to complete, it presents information in handy and easily digestible snippets requiring very little effort to comprehend.
WordPress is easy to use overall, but some of its nuances remain unintuitive, such as the difference between a post and a page or how to change the header graphic or customizing a theme. Those with little technical background may find themselves stumbling around a bit. This book lays it all out. Pretty much everything anyone needs to know to install and setup a basic WordPress site sits between this book's covers. But don't expect anything too complicated. This book mainly aims at absolute beginners.
Regardless, it does cover a lot of ground and manages to introduce some advanced topics later on. But before dazzling the world with a site design worthy of Dali, WordPress needs to get installed and configured. After a short section on planning, Section II plummets right into installing the program. Of course many ISPs and services allow for highly automated installs at the push of a button, so these sections might be redundant for some. But for those more stalwart souls installing WordPress cold right into a web server file structure, this book covers what they need too.
After discussing setting up pages, posts, pictures, video files, audio files, the book jumps into managing widgets, post categories, comments, links and multiple users. Then the ever expanding and seemingly infinite topic of themes emerges. One of the most useful chapters involves installing a child theme, a process that might intimidate some at first glance. Thankfully, the book gives very clear instructions on how to accomplish this seemingly difficult task. Then the more advanced stuff begins. Site optimization, monitoring, backing up and managing plugins follows. A final chapter gives a taste of where to go next. It discusses topics such as building custom templates, but only in a cursory and introductory manner. The book leaves that very popular topic to other books. After all, that topic can take up an entire book in itself. There is also very little discussion on PHP, the dynamic webpage programming language used to build WordPress. In fact, it only appears in the glossary. Some very basic CSS show up, but not very much. The book largely focuses on using the WordPress interface.
Anyone wanting to get up and running from absolute beginner to website could benefit from this book's quick learning method. The end of each chapter also includes a "Try It" step-by-step exercise on that chapter's topic. Finally, it includes a DVD that literally walks through the lessons multimedia style. Anyone who reads this book and doesn't learn how to use WordPress wasn't paying attention. Absolute beginners will benefit the most. Lastly, this book covers WordPress 3.1. As of this writing, the latest version is 3.3.1. The curse of all technical books is quick obsolescence. Thankfully, things haven't changed too much between these versions to make much difference for this book yet. That will of course change in the not too distant future. But for now it provides a quick and easy way to get a WordPress site up and running.