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WordPress Tips for Beginners – WordCamp San Diego 2013 Session

The above slides as well as the notes below come from my session at WordCamp San Diego 2013.  My session, “Tips and Tricks to Make Any Beginning WordPress User A Star” contains wordpress tips for beginners.  WordPress isn’t just about knowing the software, or knowing how to edit the code. It is far more. A skilled WordPress user has a host of tools at their disposal to create awesomeness. There are many useful plugins, resources, and workflow tips that can make any WordPress user shine. These session notes have wordpress tips for beginners that contain WordPress technical information as well as “soft skills” that will help beginners learn to use WordPress.

WordPress Tips for Beginners

Click here to view the session notes on Google Docs

** – Denotes tips, tricks or resources that are for the intermediate user not mentioned in the presentation, but worth noting here.

What You Will Not Learn

  • PHP, CSS, Javascript
  • WordPress Loop, Hooks or Filters

What You Will Learn

  • Soft skills critical to a WordPress user
  • Not necessarily a definitive list of all of the best tools and resources, but how to think and how to make decisions on using those resources

My Journey

  • As a clinically trained social worker who has also worked as a non-profit executive director of two different non-profits, I come to the world of WordPress in an atypical manner.
  • This experience plays a critical role in how I work with WordPress and the WordPress community.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Recreate the Wheel – Good themes are just one example of this
  • Automate and Use Templates When Possible — ie. Canned Responses in Gmail
  • **Folder of Code Snippets — ie. my dashboard customizations

Optimize Work Space for Efficiency

  • It is important to feel comfortable at your desk and in your work space.
  • Ergo Friendly
  • 2nd Monitor is almost a must these days
  • Manage tabs wisely – not too many and not too few
  • Use tabs in a consistent logical sequence every time so as not to cause excessive searching
  • Use of full screen real estate  — See slide “four corners”

My toolkit (not an exhaustive list, but some of my favs)

Technical Stuff

  • Learn a good back-up system
  • Create a sandbox/Dev environment and play
  • Inspect Element/Firebug
  • Coda 2
  • Codecademy

Themes – My favs (fwiw)

Plugins — Be discerning

Podcasts

Blogs and Videos

Be Not Afraid

  • …when you have a good back-up plugin and a sandbox or dev site.

Get Going… to Events — There is room for everyone to get involved.

  • Developers
  • Designers
  • Newbies
  • Meeting and event planners for Meetup and WordCamp
  • Bloggers/recorders
  • AV/Tech assistance

Embrace the Role of Learner

  • Be an active learner – Google, Youtube, WordPress TV WebDesign.com, wpbeginner, wp101
  • After you learn something, write it down – blog post, new content for your website or guest post?
  • Project manage your learning — Set a schedule, goals for learning, reading, watching video and incorporate those into your daily or weekly schedule.
  • Be patient with yourself

Seek Out a Mentor

  • At least one, maybe more
  • Hang out with smart people

Know when to ask for help and HOW to ask

  • Great article
  • Remember it is a free, open source project
  • Troubleshoot as much as you can – disable plugins
  • Use the right channel to ask for help

Attack the Challenge

  • Go for it

And Enjoy the Ride

  • Have fun

My Personal Mission Statement

  • “I will live my life with purpose, embracing opportunity for growth, while avoiding stagnation caused by fear and immobility.  I will seize the day, Carpe Diem.”

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