WordPress: The Missing Manual Paperback – Nov 1 2012
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The Complete Guide to Building Blogs and Corporate Websites
About the Author
Matthew MacDonald is a science and technology writer with well over a dozen books to his name. Web novices can tiptoe out onto the Internet with him in Creating a Website: The Missing Manual. HTML fans can learn about the cutting edge of web design in HTML5: The Missing Manual. And human beings of all description can discover just how strange they really are in the quirky handbooks Your Brain: The Missing Manual and Your Body: The Missing Manual.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
In 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."
I found this book to be informative and well written. It contains numerous screen shots of actual WordPress configurations screens and detailed step by step instructions for doing various tasks. The book is organized to get the reader's blog up and running quickly and then advances to more challenging tasks.
Links to the WordPress Codex and other resources are abundant and useful for additional information. For example, using shortcodes to embed video is discussed in the media chapter and a link to the Codex provides additional information regarding parameters available for use.
The book has two Appendixes that may be very useful depending on your situation. The first details how to migrate an existing blog from WordPress.com hosting to a self hosted environment. The other Appendix lists useful links by chapter.
I would recommend this book. There is a wealth of information available that ties in nicely with the Codex, which at times can be a bit obtuse. At 558 pages this book is not a lightweight. I would rate this book as best for novice to intermediate users.
Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy for review purposes.
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