“WordPress: the missing manual” by Matthew MacDonald; O’Reilly Media

WordPress is a hugely popular web publishing tool responsible for nearly 20% of the world’s websites and with well over 50% of the market share for content management systems. Although primarily a blog-based content management system, it can also be configured to be used to create more traditional looking websites with the the right knowhow.

This book provides a very thorough and in depth guide to WordPress written is a very clear and understandable style. The book starts with an excellent introduction that covers what WordPress is, how it works, what you can do with it, when you should use it, and when another  content management system might be a better choice. The difference between using hosting from wordpress.com and self hosting is clearly explained together with the advantages of each approach. The following chapters in the book introduce the whole process of setting up and using WordPress for the first time whether you are using wordpress.com or self hosting. These chapters include creating an account, installing and maintenance for self-hosting, creating and organising posts, using the Dashboard, using widgets, and selecting a WordPress theme. More advanced techniques for creating compelling content are described including creating galleries and slide-shows, adding video and sound, customising posts and URLs, and extending self-hosted WordPress instances using plug-ins. The book also covers how to customise your WordPress site beyond basic blog functionality through the creation of pages, custom menus, and creating a custom homepage, and provides useful advice on how to attract an audience to your site, search engine optimisation, working with comments, multiple authors, private communities, and publicising your site. The final section of the book details the creation of an advanced WordPress site for really making your website look the way you want it by planning the site, customising the theme, creating page templates, organising the pages, and adding paypal and a shopping cart to your site.

Through the book clear instructions are provided, and examples of real web sites to show the possibilities. This book should be of benefit to both current WordPress users who want to do more with their WordPress sites, and also to anyone thinking of setting up a web page and wanting to use a content management system to make their lives easier. A found this to be a very well written, interesting, and comprehensive book.

Find out more at the O’Reilly Product Page.

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