WordPress: Absolute Beginner’s Guide – Hussey

How easy is it to set up a WordPress blog? With the right guidebook, it’s as easy as pie. My computer skills are limited: familiar with Microsoft Office, can back things up myself, not too familiar with Facebook and LinkedIn, no coding experience. But, with the right guidebook, I was able to set up Doing Melpomene’s Work. The guidebook in question was: WordPress: Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Tris Hussey. Published by Que in 2014. 410 pages. Lots of full colour screenshots. I read it in a week. After reading it, I was able to create the blog in an evening. You can do it too. BTW, as I write this in September 2015, the book is still very much up to date.

Hussey, WordPress: Absolute Beginner's Guide

Hussey, WordPress: Absolute Beginner’s Guide

WordPress: Absolute Beginner’s Guide Back Blurb

More than 70 million websites and blogs run on WordPress: it’s the world’s #1 web development tool. Now, you can make the most of WordPress without becoming a technical expert. WordPress Absolute Beginner’s Guide is the fastest way to get comfortable and productive with WordPress and its most powerful tools. Whether you’re new to WordPress or not, this practical, approachable book will show you how to do exactly what you want, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time – all explained with full-color illustrations.

Leading WordPress instructor Tris Hussey provides step-by-step instructions for every task requiring more than one step. Screenshots and illustrations guide you through complex processes, so you’ll never get lost or confused. You’ll find friendly, patient, crystal-clear coverage that always respects your intelligence, and never patronizes you. Hussey covers all this, and much more:

  • Understanding the mechanics of a WordPress website
  • Installing WordPress yourself, along with the themes and plug-ins you want
  • Using WordPress.com if you don’t want to run WordPress on your own equipment
  • Setting up your site right the first time, to avoid problems later
  • Tweaking themes to make your site look perfect
  • Integrating images and media
  • Making your site mobile-ready
  • Using basic search engine optimization techniques to get your site discovered
  • Troubleshooting, maintaining, and performance-tuning your site

WordPress: Absolute Beginner’s Guide Author Bio

Tris Hussey was Canada’s first professional blogger, and has since become a freelance writer, bestselling author, technologist, and lecturer. His bestselling books on social media and technology include Create Your Own Blog, Using WordPress, and Sams Teach Yourself Fourquare in 10 Minutes. Hussey has taught social media, WordPress, and podcasting at University of British Columbia and produced the WordPress Essentials video collection.

Hmm, I wonder if it should read ‘Tris Hussey is Canada’s first professional blogger’?–he seems like a young guy!

The Book

I had originally planned to review a newer book that just became available at the library: WordPress: The Fast and Easy Way to Learn 3rd ed. by George Plumley. It’s part of the ‘Teach Yourself Visually’ series. The Plumley book is shorter (310 pages) and newer (2015). If you like screenshots on every page, go for the Plumley book. If you like a more detailed explanation, Hussey is the better option: there’s more text. If I were to start all over again, I’d go for the Hussey volume. The Plumley edition is even more basic than the Absolute Beginner’s Guide.

WordPress is pretty simple to use. The jargon is complicated though. WordPress today is like what computers were before Apple made everything simple: it’s not complicated but appears complicated if you’re not familiar with it. Hussey cuts through all the jargon. For me, that was a big help. For example, there’s wordpress.com blogs and wordpress.org blogs. And then, of the .org blogs, you can do install your own web server or you can find a host that offers an easy or one-click installation.

There’s chapters in Hussey’s book on both wordpress.com and wordpress.org but the book is more geared towards the latter. I imagine that’s what most people will be interested in. BTW Doing Melpomene’s Work is a wordpress.org blog hosted by GoDaddy. One-click installation. It’s been running just over a year without any major problems. The only problem was one time I changed pages while one of the plugins was still updating. GoDaddy helped me resolve the problem in about 10 minutes. Not bad.

In addition to chapters on setting up and installing, Hussey also guides you through the process of selecting the plugins you really need. Plugins are little widgets and tools that make your site more user friendly: social media buttons, comment boxes, and things like that. And then there are chapters on attaching media into your blog: video, photo, and sound files.

Usually I like the ‘Missing Manual’ series. But, after looking through the 10 or 15 WordPress beginner books they had at the Vancouver Chapters, I went with Hussey. It had the right blend of screenshots and text. Explanations were easy to follow. The writing was interesting (he relates how things have changed since he started blogging in 2004). If you’re thinking of starting a blog, this is a good place to start doing research.

Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong and thanks to Tris Hussey’s help, I’m Doing Melpomene’s Work.

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