Here is a quote from Page 57 of "WordPress All-in-one for Dummies" that ought to be highlighted on the cover of the book. "The self-installed version from WordPress.org is the primary focus of WordPress All-in-one for Dummies." What does that mean?
WordPress is the popular software that allows for the creation of blogs and it comes in two versions. The version of WordPress found on the .com site (which I think of as the on-line version) allows the user to set up a free, full featured blog that will satisfy the basic needs of many bloggers and that is slightly customizable at no charge, and then, still more customizable for some small fees. The .org (or self-installed) version is meant to be loaded onto a hosting computer and is fully customizable although one will have to be familiar with the workings of software and capable of writing code to accomplish this.
Like the self-installed version, the on-line version operates from a main "dashboard", which is by no means instinctive. Its use can be learned from the software's help facility but a guide devoted solely to this version would be extremely useful. Some of that information can be gleaned from this book, like the method of installing one's own graphic in the header, instead of the WordPress defaults, but one will have to sort through the information in the book. If you just want to set up a blog, for whatever purposes, or if you just want to make a start in getting into blogging, the on-line version will prove adequate, and, especially if one is willing to invest in upgrades which are available for a small fee, can be tailored to give a distinctive enough look.
Most of this book will help you if you want to set up a blog that you can tailor to your own desires, including even showing you how you can set up the software for multiple users. On the other hand, you will probably have to learn to code Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and even a little HTML and to read the WordPress code to make adjustments. The book will explain to you, for example, that you can change the width of a sidebar, and even tell you which file on your host you must open and alter to do so. However, the authors could easily have included the code for, say, a theme, and then showed you how to change that code rather than talking in general terms. The reader who doesn't know CSS and HTML coding will be disappointed.
Although there is plenty of information here, there is nothing to tell you about creating the content for your blog, or suggesting which of the easily installable widgets that allow you to do things like add convenient indexing to your blog pages will be most helpful to you in achieving the purpose of your blog. Similarly, even though WordPress can be used to set up something like a photographer's gallery, there is no discussion of other options for achieving the same purpose, like creating straight web pages with HTML or software like Dreamweaver.
The bottom line is that if you are interested in setting up a blog to convey your ideas, you probably can get started with the on-line version of WordPress and can pass this book by. On the other hand, if you are intent upon tailoring your blog to a specific layout, and are willing to learn and use coding, this book may be a good start,