WordPress Web Design For Dummies Paperback – Jun 15 2011
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From the Back Cover
Express yourself with WordPress! Create a custom site with e-commerce, social media, and more
WordPress has grown up! No longer just a blogging tool, it has secret powers that enable you to include features like photo and video galleries, portfolios, directories and contact forms, client testimonials, integration with Facebook and Twitter, and a whole lot more in your Web site. The secret is out — read on and learn what you can do!
A solid foundation — understand what a content management system is, how a blog differs from a Web site, and what you need from a Web host
The right tool for the job — learn about FTP, types of editors, graphics programs, fonts and colors, and image libraries
Choose your theme — discover the anatomy of a WordPress theme and how to use template tags to display different content
It's all yours — create a unique, customized site using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML
Pick plugins — use plugins to add galleries, social communities, and forums to your site
Open the book and find:
Why WordPress is perfect for e-commerce sites
Steps for installing WordPress on your Web server
How plain text editors differ from WYSIWYG editors
Hints for creating dynamite design
What you can do with widgets
Examples of content types and formats
Tips for using WordPress as a content management system
How template tags work
Create custom, feature-rich, dynamic Web sites using WordPress
Customize your design using CSS, HTML, and PHP
Develop company sites, online magazines, and e-commerce Web sites
About the Author
Lisa Sabin-Wilson is founder and Creative Director of E.Webscapes Design Studio. Lisa is a frequent public speaker at events like SXSW Interactive, Blog World Expo, and various WordCamps on the topics of WordPress, design, and social media. She's been designing Web sites with WordPress since 2003.
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Top Customer Reviews
She leaves out a few details that I had to research elsewhere but that's forgivable because it's hard to hit every point in a complex subject. Highly recommended for us dummies.
Still, the book is pretty thick, so for 25 $ you have a nice clip board
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am absolutely dumbfounded that some editor allowed this book through to the printer. This book should ONLY be considered reference material for someone who already knows ALL the material in the book. I have been working with WordPress in its simple blog format for several years, I've read several books on WordPress basics, and after reading this book all the way through 3 times cover-to-cover, I still can't interpret 90% of the content.
The book is altogether lacking in EXAMPLES. The author THINKS she is providing examples, and perhaps in her advanced mind, she is. For for a "DUMMIE" reading this book, her examples completely fail on most levels.
FOR EXAMPLE...In Chapter 12 (to which I randomly opened...every page of this book is completely lacking in practical examples), page 207 she says "WordPress lets you create categories and assign posts to a specific category (or multiple categories)... The /<?php wp_list_categories(); ?>/ template tag lets you display a list of your categories by using the available parameters and values. (Table 12-4 shows some of the most popular parameters)." She follows the table with "a couple of examples of tags used to display a list of your categories" and lists some specific lines of php code.
HOWEVER...nowhere in the entire chapter does she indicate WHICH FILE this code should be placed within...nor WHERE in the file the code should be placed. Both of which are critical, indispensable bits of information, without which her exhaustive coverage of Template Tags in this chapter and the following ones is useless. php is a finicky thing. It does not like experiments or approximations. Only someone already highly experience in php would be able to divine her intentions for where this code should be applied.
The information in this book is presented in a reckless, haphazard way that is not remotely practical.
This book is missing CRITICAL and APPLICABLE examples on virtually every page.
FOR EXAMPLE...in the example above, Ms. Sabin-Wilson should provide a real-world example at the end of this section. "If you would like a page on your site to display ONLY posts tagged to the category RECIPES, first create a document in your text editor titled category-recipes.php, and copy and paste the information from the existing category.php file. Insert the following code /code/ into the category-recipes.php file below the /</head>/ line, and change the following entries..." etc.
Finally, this book is missing a step-by-step walk-through of how to build a sample site. "Our site is going to have a static landing page with 3 columns, a static ABOUT US page with 2 columns, a static CONTACT page with a single column, a BLOG page listing all posts tagged to the category BLOG, and a MUSIC page listing only custom posts. And here is how we're going to build it, each step of the way."
By the end of your journey through this book, you'll be infinitely more befuddled that you were when you began, and you'll be ready to hire Ms. Sabin-Wilson to build your site for you. But perhaps that was her intention all along?
This book lacks clarity, simplicity, and most of all...EXAMPLES. Do not buy this book if you do not already have a firm understanding of php, css, and have not already built several website using WordPress that required you to reach into the code beyond the available widgets and themes. This is a reference book. It is not a how-to book. And it is MOST CERTAINLY NOT for "Dummies."
I would have given it 5 stars except for there is a slight credibility issue. She does give a lot of good links to get free utilities and find resources. She also gives links to programs in which she recommends that do require payment to use. My issue with this is, the link that is given is not straight to the program but through a link on her own website, and she then gets a kickback for being an affiliate. If she had mentioned that this what she was doing that would have been marginally better, but to not mention it, and receive an additional benefit seems sleazy to me and therefore makes you wonder how credible the link. Is this really the best tool or one that she recommends because she benefits from the link? The savvy user should just do a quick google search and come up with the link and evaluate whether it really is a tool that you need to use.
Worth getting and a useful book.
Update: I appreciate the author responding, I still feel that it would have been appropriate to disclose the reason for the redirection and to disclose that the author is getting compensation for some of the plugins that she is recommending. Since the book is an educational book, disclosure would have been best, so I still stand by my concerns, if it had been a self promotion advertisement than I could see not mentioning that fact. I added a star because of the disclosure from the author. I still recommend the book and did in my initial review.
I read both books, cover-to-cover, as well as spending a lot of time exploring premium theme options online. I also looked at hundreds of websites made with WordPress, including the ones mentioned in Ms. Sabin-Wilson's books. In the end, I concluded that WordPress, beyond the blog, is much, much more complicated than most people can handle. This doesn't mean I have given up on my own project. I have invested too much time to abandon it now. This said, I don't feel the books are worth the time and money I've invested in them.
Sabin-Wilson takes so long to get to the point that whatever point she's trying to make gets lost in all the repetitive verbiage. This makes a ponderous subject even more ponderous. I give the book three stars because it is packed with information the author genuinely wants to impart. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of step-by-step tutorial the novice requires.
The book tries to simplify something that can't be simplified because it's not simple. It's complex. To get what you want, a polished, non-template looking website, you have to learn how to write and edit code. That's what I learned hundreds of hours later.
WordPress Web Design is most assuredly not for the novice. Even after taking in everything Sabin-Wilson has to share, you will be sorely tempted to call on her company to help you out. Maybe she can offer a coupon code in her next book for new clients.
After reading front and back covers, Author's Acknowledgments, About the Author, Publisher's Acknowledgments, Contents at a Glance, and Table of Contents, I believed that this book would give me the knowledge I needed to build my website using WordPress (which I was also brand new to) so I purchased this book. I was very shocked to find a subsection around the 20th physical page titled "FOOLISH ASSUMPTIONS". In that section, Lisa Sabin-Wilson reveals that this book will not be of use to me unless I already understand the innermost workings of WordPress. It goes on to tell me that if I don't already understand WordPress, I should first purchase and study another book authored by her in the for dummies series.
That information made the entire purpose of buying this book worthless. After all, if I already understood WordPress I wouldn't need THIS book. Based on all of my other for dummies books, I consider the title and covers of this book to be a gross misrepresentation of the actual contents. I wouldn't mind so much if the cover revealed that this is a book for techs who already know and understand WordPress, but it doesn't. This is definitely not a book that should be in the "for Dummies" series. I would never buy another book either written or co-written by Lisa Sabin-Wilson under the guise of it being for dummies (ie: people who do not already have an understanding of the topic). I will also seriously look deeper into the actual contents of any other "for Dummies" book before buying in the future just in case they are now starting to sell you one book only to tell you that you need to purchase another one in order to understand it.
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