Learning WordPress a Little Bit at a Time


I began learning WordPress in 2008 when I saw on a call on Church Mag for guest bloggers. I didn’t know anything about WordPress, but the idea of sharing my thoughts on church audio production (my occupation at the time) with others intrigued me. I filled out the topic submit form with an idea for an article and got approved to start writing a few days later.

I remember when I logged into WordPress to submit my first article. I had no idea what I was looking at. I stumbled my way through finding the Add New Post screen. I pasted my text into the content editor, but wasn’t sure what to do next.

After a few emails with the Church Mag team, I realized I needed to click the big blue “Save Draft” button. (I only had an author role, so I couldn’t publish the post myself). Over a span of about a year I wrote an article a month on audio engineering tips and tricks in the church space. Over time the posting process got easier and easier.

I dove a little deeper into WordPress when my church needed a site built for an event we were hosting for adults with special needs. I don’t remember all the specifics, but it was basically me fumbling around with my limited HTML and CSS knowledge hacking at a theme that I somehow had got installed on the site.

I had no idea what I was doing, but I was having fun.

After the site launched I decided to start my own blog. I signed up for a free account on WordPress.com and began writing on a semi-consistent basis. I didn’t do any coding, but I did become familiar with the user interface. I loved how easy it was to write a post, add an image, and respond to my reader’s comments.

Granted, my mom wrote most of the comments.

That blog on WordPress.com was the gateway drug for me. When I wanted to customize the look of the site myself, I started digging into hosting WordPress using WordPress.org.

Somehow I managed to install WordPress on my hosting account, create a child theme, and tweak my site to look the way I wanted. I used the blog as my personal sandbox to level up my WordPress skills. I learned basic theme development and experimented with many different plugins just to see what they would do.

I was hooked, and haven’t stopped learning since.

Oftentimes new users feel overwhelmed the first time they see the WordPress admin screen. I understand. I felt the same way the first time I logged into the WordPress backend. But don’t worry, everyone starts somewhere.

Ease in a little here, a little there.

If you’re new to WordPress, just start using it. Write your first post. Reply to a comment. Try a different theme. If you get stuck, ask for help on the support forums or on Twitter.

The best way to learn is to just roll up your sleeves and use it.

One thought on “Learning WordPress a Little Bit at a Time

  1. This is how I started learning too! A personal blog at wordpress.com that someone liked and then they asked me to set up their self-hosted WordPress site, which I did as a favor. Eventually I decided to go self-hosted myself and that’s when I really started diving into the code. I love that about WordPress – that it can be learned a little at a time as you go.

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