Jenia asked me to prepare some materials and lead a small group discussion at the Houston WordPress Meetup for some of the attendees who are newer to WordPress. Below is a summary of most of the items covered in the discussion.
By the way, I had to switch WordPress themes to post this information, so I will have to fix my website later.
Quick Overview of WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
Per participant request, we started the discussion with the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. If total control over your site including no restrictions on themes and plugins is more important to you, go with the WordPress.org. WordPress.org is also sometimes known as the self-hosted version because you must have your own hosting account. If ease of use including low maintenance is more important to you than complete control, I recommend WordPress.com. See what WordPress has to say about the difference.
Regardless of which version you go with, I recommend using your own domain name. You can always migrate from one version to the other later by the import/export functionality in the control panel.
First places to go for help
Ask google. Check the WordPress website including the WordPress codex which is the official documentation for WordPress.
Best WordPress Blogs to get you started
- Lorelle on WordPress contains varied and detailed information, reviews and opinion. She has created one of the most comprehensive resource lists on WordPress.
- Yoast is a prolific plugin author who provides lots of WordPress information including an easy to understand SEO guide.
- Smashing Magazine has lots of lists of WordPress Themes
- Mashable has easy to understand WordPress tips section
- Weblogs Tool Collection
- Keep googling because there are tons of other good sites available such as WordPress Candy.
Useful WordPress Forums
WordPress Video Tutorials
- WordPress 101 has a pay what you want price and occasionally announces via Twitter or Facebook that signing up is free.
- Lynda costs $25/month and seemed to be recommended by a few other participants in the discussion.
- Jeff, who runs WordPress Tavern, also has the WordPress weekly podcast. Possibly the most useful part is the live chat that goes on during the recording of the podcast, but you can still learn a lot from the 100+ archived chats.
- Webmaster radio has a WordPress podcast
- WordCast has three different WordPress related podcasts.
Asking for Help
- WordPress Questions — you can pay as little as $5 to get your question quickly answered if forums are not fast enough for you.
- WordPress Answers — similar to WordPress questions but free. (Recommended by Chris)
- Use the #WordPress hashtag on Twitter.
First things to do after you set up a WordPress Site
Part of the discussion turned to the first things that you need to do once you set up a WordPress site. Sure there are lots more things to worry about, but this will get you started.
- Make your permalinks include at least the post title. For example: /%post_id%/%postname%/
- Turn on Akismet to stop most spam comments.
- Install a contact form plugin if you need it. Contact form 7 or the premium Gravity Forms are two of many alternatives.
- Install a SEO plugin such as All in One, Ultimate, Yoast, or switch between the plugins.
- Change your theme.
- Post some content.
Any other items you would recommend for people new to WordPress?