I’ve recommended WordPress several times to friends and family members. I decided to write this post to back up my recommendation with support options!
In 2019 most of the popular website platforms offer free websites and a host of free tools for beginners learning to create new websites or blogs. No one in the industry would argue the claims that the WordPress platform is the largest (by a pretty significant margin too!)
WordPress achieved such lofty goals by maintaining it’s platform as open source. This in turn led to the creation of legendary numbers of resources both for uniqueness in site ‘styling’ and for learning how to use those resources. The vast majority of the tools available for learning to use WordPress continue the ‘open source’ tradition and are free for any and all to use.
While the same can’t be said for site building resources, after all web coders need to eat too…the sheer volume of material developed so far surpasses anything that even remotely competes. Because the ‘open source’ mentality permeates this too…I think I can confidently state that no other web platform can approach the sheer volume of free design resources that are available at WordPress.
When I first began using WordPress I’d come from the much smaller platform of Weebly. At that time Weebly’s Beginner Tutorials were somewhat lacking…a situation which has been corrected in 2019. But for some reason they were much easier to find than WordPress’s too. Looking back this problem was simply because there were too many options available to me to look for answers.
One Downside of Being the Biggest
I discovered how much the WordPress platform is used web-wide and world-wide right around the time I began using it myself. One problem with such significant user numbers is that there’s so many online resources it’s nearly impossible at first to choose the right ones. Primarily because it’s hard at first to know which ones are the best ones (or at least are quality options) and which ones to stay away from.
After roughly 4 years of my using WordPress I recently realized that I’ve developed an impressive array of personal ‘go to‘ tools for when I need to learn how to accomplish something new. The same wasn’t true when I was a beginner at WordPress. I initially struggled a lot to find the right learning resources. But now I know immediately where to go for various kinds of information.
Assuming that the same holds true for newcomers today I thought it might be helpful to share my favorite ‘go to‘ resources with others who might be just starting out at WordPress.
My ‘Go To’ List of Free Tools for Learning the WordPress Platform
One reason there are so many great tools right now is because WordPress recently completely overhauled their web-building engine. As a consequence WordPress themselves created a complete new set of tools for even experienced users to learn this new platform.
WP’s Blogging University offers a ton of highly useful self-guided tutorials for both beginners and experienced site creators. You can see the types of courses offered in the screenshot below. To date I’ve only taken one of these courses. But I plan on taking more of these courses because they are constantly evolving and new ones are being added all the time. The one course I did take was so much better than I’d anticipated! It just requires time…a resource I have precious little of!
The significance of having a real live person that you can direct your questions too and a forum of students also taking any given course can’t be overstated. In both cases I found those aspects to be the ones I learned the most from.
Like the Blogging University’s tools, the support site’s articles are vast in number and well written. I did pretty much all of my learning using this one resource.
A second option for using WordPress Support is their ‘Topic Index.’ This is generally my main resource now.
WP’s Happiness Engineers have adequately answered just about any question I’ve ever thrown at them through the years. Whether or not the answers I received were via email or instant online chats, the quality of their assistance has been undeniably very effective.
For me, seeking answers from forums is usually a last resort. But every once in a while, when I encounter some randomly freak occurrence, inevitably someone else has also experienced the same thing. That’s the onetime that I turn to the forums for answers sooner rather than later.
WPBeginner’s YouTube Channel & Website
WPBeginner is an awesome resource for several reasons. First, the content they create is extremely well done and easy to follow. 2nd, the site was created by one person who was frustrated with the amount of learning literature that was available to him in 2009 when he was just starting out.
Syed was a 28 year old entrepreneur, originally from Pakistan, who achieved fame with his websites and was recognized as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the United Nations. You can read about his whole journey here.
While I’d imagine WPBeginner’s website predates their YouTube channel, the 14+ million views of this channel’s ‘About‘ page hints of the channel’s success! Maybe because it’s free?
I almost forgot about WPBeginner initially because it is an outside resource…not a WP one. That’s kind of unusual because their tutorials and educational resources are excellent and rival WP’es own. I think that most private parties aren’t especially interested in developing a ton of free literature for using websites that aren’t even their own.
I must follow them, because a great post that they recently published ended up quickly on my radar. I’d written my own post on the topic too but it took me a long time to figure it all out and it was clear to me my newly gained knowledge was tenuous at best.
Anchor Links is the topic I’m referring to. They’re also known as…Jump Links…which is what I call them in my post. Regardless of what you call them they still perform primarily as internal links within a document…be it an html one. That requirement makes this kind of link well-suited for Table’s of Content…which is an excellent reader aid to include if your posts tend to be long form. Giving readers the tools they need to easily navigate longer posts like most of mine tend to be.
Anchor links aren’t difficult to master which is why I don’t really get why I struggle so using them. But I do struggle…so WPBeginner’s coverage of the same topic is much appreciated.
Truthfully…I still don’t entirely get them. Well, I I do but I don’t if that makes sense. I think I don’t completely visualize all of their nuances and that’s what’s making it extra difficult for me to really retain my knowledge of anchor links. While retention isn’t mandatory…it’s desirable because the ability to crank out the occasional anchor link quickly without having to first find my post about how to code them, makes their much use less objectionable for me to employ on a frequent basis.
One reason for that is because inevitably I’ll end up noticing some problems or errors that need correcting on my own post (it seems that no matter how many times I proofread a document it’s almost never enough! Sometimes it’s just bad dates or broken links. Ultimately regardless of what needs fixing I almost always make all the necessary corrections immediately upon discovery. That all takes time. So, right now, at my current level of understanding, using jump links or anchor-links is usually prohibitive due to the amount of time I personally need.
Some of my newer followers may not know that keeping detailed and comprehensive notes on how to handle various aspects of my websites and my YouTube channel was one big reason why I began vsatips in 2014. By having great instructions at the tips of my fingers makes the work immeasurably more pleasant imo.
So, the solution for me in utilizing more frequent jump links would be for me to become so familiar with using them that I could get them installed into any post quickly and easily. Which is why WPBeginner’s coverage of them is invaluable to me currently.
go gutenberg is the Official WordPress Site for learning how to use the new WordPress editor (which is named ‘Gutenberg!’)
If you’re the kind of person who learns best in person, you’ll most likely find one or more Meetup groups in your location that are dedicated specifically to WordPress. Just use my Meetup link above to search for your country, then city, the type of WordPress group that interests you.
WordPress TV isn’t the easiest site to navigate nor is it all that helpful for learning for those completely new to WordPress. I’m including it here not because it’s great for learning but because it’s a great place to discover what’s coming soon with the platform as well as historically how it’s evolved. It’s also a great place to watch Matt Mullenweg who’s perhaps the most well-known of the WordPress founders.
There are many, many, more resources that I could share with new users, but that would only confuse most people I think. The ones I’ve included are by far the best and truly all that’s needed for learning everything you need to get started building an amazing website of your own!