Way back in October, Travis surprised me with my domain name and a year of hosting service. I was shocked, awed and super excited. You see, for months we’d be searching for a solution to how to better get the printables to you. Google Docs is a fine service and auseful tool, but there were two issues that I was running into. The first, and most important being that when there was a problem, I had no way to go in and fix it. Sure I could double-check settings and links, send out an email, but then I had to wait for someone to get back to me. The second issue, was that I was running out of space. Between the blog, the printables, Google+ and Picasa I was quickly filling up my allotted storage space. Of course I could purchase extra space, but that only addressed one problem.
The solution we came to, was to go the self-hosted route, which also meant finding another blogging platform because Blogger isn’t set up for self-hosting. We settled on WordPress for many reasons. The forums for support are incredible; the number of brilliant, innovative people working on future development and support is immense; they allow self hosting; the customization features are awesome (in amount and just plain awesomeness) and the list could go on and on and on. But I was sitting on the fence. WordPress was a whole new world, a completely different ball game even though it’s played on the same field as Blogger. I stayed there, stagnant, uncommitted. Travis, knowing me as well as he does, made the decision for me. He had heard about a great deal through the Linux Action Show over on Jupiter Broadcasting. One of their sponsors is Go Daddy, and they get some crazy savings they can pass on to their viewers. So Travis signed me up!
All right, this was just the kick in the pants I needed. He walked me through setting things up, and the back-end of the site, and then the fun began, and by fun I mean hair pulling indecision, confusion, and a whole lot of “I don’t know if I can do this”es. I was lost! Until my knight in shining techy awesomeness, Sir Travis, found and ordered me this book:
This book, WordPress All-in-One for Dummies, completely changed the playing field for me. Like all the books in this series, it is filled with how to’s that take something that seems so complex, and breaks it down into small steps and most importantly, uses easy to understand language. I prefer to have a book for reference when learning something new, and this little baby is 8 in one! There literally is something in this for almost everyone.
Each mini-book addresses a different part or aspect of WordPress. From setting up your first account to customizing your theme. There’s a book that explains WordPress and how open source works. Chapters on administrative tasks like back-ups and so on… There is even a book about SEO and Social Media. It truly is a comprehensive volume.
It was a tremendous help. It took much of the scary, unknown stuff out of the equation for me. Helped me understand what I was looking at on my dashboard, and really helped me find the confidence to jump in and get my feet wet. The authors of the books are all WordPress users, so they really understand what they’re talking about. They’ve had years to learn WordPress, and it quirks and foibles, and they share that knowledge with the reader through tutorials and fabulous chapters full of useful information.
While this book is great and full of great information, it does need to be said that it will not answer all the questions you might have. There are some incredibly helpful forums out there including the Support Forums on WordPress.Org, and I strongly recommend you check them out when trying to figure things out. Many of the answers I was seeking were found through a combination of using the book and then heading over to the forums to check out what they had to say.
WordPress can be very intimidating when you first start, especially if you’re coming to it from another platform. I strongly recommend this book if you’re starting on WordPress and looking for a little help. Or even if you’re just looking for a good WordPress reference book to have on hand, this book tops my list!
Do you have a favourite go to reference book? Know of any other good How-To books for WordPress, Blogger, other platforms, or blogging in general? I’d love to hear about them!