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Review – WordPress for Dummies 3rd Edition

September 28, 2010

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

3rd Edition (2010)

Lisa begins with a fresh, amusing introduction, sure to peak your interest and draw you into the book. This is a book that I have added to my own library. It covers so many details that it deserves a companion guide written at a higher level.

As anyone familiar in the slightest would expect, the book introduces you to how easily WordPress is to setup. An engineering feat, I’m sure, but unfortunately the famous “5 minute install” just one small step in context of hours the average person must initially commit to setting up their blog. The author does eventually note this point once the topic of hosting is discussed. Don’t be scared away though; it’s worth it! You will get hooked. You will come to understand why the community is fiercely loyal to WordPress.

The book describes the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, but does not lay out the decision tree that users must face. Personally, I think topic deserves a chapter. If you are not familiar with WordPress, then WordPress.com is a worthy sandbox for familiarizing yourself with the product. However, when it comes to creating a professional blog, found by search engines and fully featured, you will want to be self-hosting with WordPress.org and choosing a hosting company. How important? Only then can you use the myriad of plug-ins that many of you will find vital to your blog.

The book is an excellent instruction manual to follow step-by-step in setting up an initial blog. I think the reader would benefit from an explanation of the relative importance of each step. Following the text, you will walk through the features of setting up a blog, but not necessarily understand why you are doing it nor whether or not it was important. In any case, pay careful attention to the tips. These highlighted items are worth remembering and revisiting once you have more familiarity with WordPress.

When it comes to setting up self-hosting, Murphy’s Law is ignored. Everything is assumed to go well in this guide. I would like to have seen some discussion of the essential configuration database tables and values that you may run into during the self-hosting setup. Rarely, will hosting technical support take the time to explain to you what you need to know. Often either they fix it for you or point you at their online documentation to hunt through. I hope that a future edition will cover this as much as Themes, Templates and Styles Sheets are covered.

While I like things explained to me in easy to follow instructions, my mind wanders around exploring all kinds of ideas. So when I got through most of the book, a warm feeling came over me as Lisa explained how to create the front page of my site. WordPress is not just a blog editor. It is a content management system. You can create a complete site of pages without ever having published a single blog post. Being able to mix and match features, allows you to create very professional looking sites.

Lisa’s book leaves you with complete confidence to rapidly setup a site and perhaps dreaming of the possibilities. Enjoy!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 29, 2010 12:00 am

    I’ve read a mag-book (book in format of a magazine) that outlines how to use WordPress.org’s platform, I’d like to read this one too, it seems better suited for the “.com” WordPress platform.

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