Beginner’s Guide to WordPress | WordCamp Montréal 2011


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Presented by Shannon Smith & Kathryn Presner

This introductory session is geared for bloggers, web designers and programmers who are new to WordPress. Even those who don’t know a Codex from a Cadillac will feel comfortable here. Delving into WordPress from a beginner’s point of view, we use unintimidating plain language to explain the fundamental concepts of WordPress, from themes, to widgets, to plug-ins. We go spelunking in the admin panel and show real-world examples of what WordPress can do. Questions are welcome, and no query is too basic, so don’t be shy!

For beginners to WordPress, no knowledge of HTML required.

Kathryn Presner of Zoonini Web Services takes a holistic approach to web design and development, building unique sites that work well, look great, and are easily found in search-engine results by the target market. She is passionate about helping people avoid common website pitfalls and enjoys speaking to entrepreneurs on the topic. A moderator in the WordPress support forums, Kathryn has given talks on WordPress for beginners at events including Girl Geek Dinners and WordCamps in Toronto and Montreal. Follow @zoonini on Twitter.

Shannon Smith is the founder of Café Noir Design a boutique Montreal web design company specializing in bilingual web design. She supports web standards, semantic markup, microformats, open source products, and sustainable business practices. Shannon works with a number of PHP/MySQL content management systems to create clean, minimalist designs, that adhere to W3C standards. She holds graduate degrees in journalism and psychology. Also a foodie and mother of three. Follow @cafenoirdesign on Twitter.

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  • \n
  • Kathryn \nI’m Kathryn Presner. Been building Web sites for over a decade through Zoonini Web Services. My background in communications leads me to look at web design holistically, taking into account design/technical aspects/content/optimization. I'm a moderator in the WordPress support forums and particularly enjoy helping newbies because I remember very well what it was like to be new to WordPress.\n
  • Shannon\nShannon Smith is the founder of Café Noir Design Inc., a small boutique web design company in the Montreal area specializing in bilingual web design. She supports web standards, semantic markup, microformats, open source products, and sustainable business practices. Shannon works with a number of PHP/MySQL content management systems to create clean, minimalist designs, that adhere to W3C standards. She also holds graduate degrees in journalism and psychology. Also a foodie and mother of three.\n
  • Shannon\n
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  • Kathryn\nWhat is WordPress? \n- popular open-source blogging platform that started in 2003\n- two distinct flavours: &\n- .org - need your own Web host server but the basic software is Open Source, meaning that the source code is made available to anyone, free of charge and free of copyright restrictions\n- .com - WordPress hosts site for you, there are commercial limitations (advertising, affiliate links), limited choice of themes or plug-ins, can’t install your own plug-ins or custom themes, to access certain features & customization you need to buy credits, URL like (you can upgrade to use your own domain). may display ads on your site unless you upgrade\n- our focus today is on\n
  • Shannon\n\nThis blog for an illustrator allows the designer to share news easily\n-Typical blog format, few plugins\n
  • Kathryn\nWordPress doesn't have to be used like a traditional written blog - example: (video blog), can also be used solely as a CMS (content management system)\n\nThis site for a business coach incorporates a blog as well as informational pages (CMS part). Each section has a different colour scheme.\n
  • Shannon\n-plugins here are mostly for navigation, audio\n
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  • Kathryn\nThis portfolio site for a film & TV editor features dozens of video clips. “Premium theme” purchased & customized.\n
  • Shannon\n\n-Doesn’t look like a blog\n-Uses few plugins\n-Uses web tools instead (Google interactive maps, Wuforms, Email Signup, etc.\n
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  • Shannon\nSome technical things that are helpful to understand at least the basics of:\n- WordPress runs on PHP (scripting language) PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor& MySQL (type of database)\n-Php allows for a dynamic site\n- Difference between database vs. files\n- file - document\n- database - bits of information that can be interconnected in different ways\n- WordPress - and most other CMS’s - use both files and a database to allow quick updating and access of information\n- What is PHP and how does it differ from HTML. Do you need to know HTML or PHP or CSS to use WordPress? No - BUT a little bit can go a long way.\n- We will assume most of you know at least a little HTML but little-to-no PHP\n-On top of these can be added javascript, flash, etc.\n-Javascript is a programming language designed for performing dynamic tasks.\n-Flash is a multimedia platform that is popular for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. It contains a scripting language called ActionScript.\n-Ajax uses a combination of HTML and CSS to mark up and style information. The DOM is accessed with JavaScript to dynamically display, and to allow the user to interact with, the information presented. JavaScript and the XMLHttpRequest object provide a method for exchanging data asynchronously between browser and server to avoid full page reloads.\n
  • Shannon\n- Posts vs. Pages \n- Pages are just what they sound like - whole pages on a site\n-meant to be used for static content - content that rarely changes\n-example : the about page\n
  • Shannon\n- posts are individual entries within a blog, they can include things like:\n- the title of the entry, the date, tags, categories, comments\n-typical blog entries, but can also be any dynamic content (events list, etc.)\n
  • Shannon\nIntro to themes\n- a theme is a collection of template files that tells WordPress what your site should look like and how it should work\n- (X)HTML files & CSS stylesheet\n- Where to get a blank theme\nHow does a theme file work - i.e. usually pulls in header, footer, sidebar\nTheme file structure \n(Good intro for beginners here:\n\n\n
  • Shannon\n-List of typical theme files\n
  • Shannon\n-Typical layout\n-Atypical layouts can include multiple sidebars, special files for repeating sections, like contact info, etc.\n
  • Shannon\nFree, easy to use\n-Can also make your own\n
  • Shannon\nCan be paid or free\nSmashing magazine often has roundups of attractive pre-made themes\n
  • Kathryn\nPlug-ins add extra functionality to the basic WordPress setup, so you only have to install what you need. This keeps your base installation as lean & mean as possible. \n\nThe WP plug-in directory lets you choose from thousands of plug-ins contributed by the WP community.\n\nYou can often get added functionality without a plugin - see\n
  • Kathryn\nPlug-ins do everything from encrypt email addresses to make them harder for spammers to harvest to... to generating a complete database backup of your site and emailing it to you.\n\nThose things are “behind-the-scenes” - often plug-ins are more up-front, too - like rotating testimonials or social-bookmarking tools.\n
  • Kathryn\nWidgets allow you to drag-and-drop ready-made bits of functionality to a pre-designated spot on your site. It could be a search box, a text bock, a calendar, or list of archives in your bog... just for starters. \n\n-You can widgetize many areas of your blog, not just the sidebar. \n\n\n\n
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  • Kathryn\nIntro to the admin panel: see\nWordPress 3.2 is due out June 30\n\n
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  • Kathryn\n\nTheme Test drive might remove widgets or theme-specific settings.\n
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  • Beginner’s Guide to WordPress | WordCamp Montréal 2011

    1. 1. A Beginner’s Guideto WordPresswith Shannon Smith & Kathryn Presner July 9, 2011
    2. 2. Kathryn Presnerof Zoonini Web
    3. 3. Shannon Smithof Café Noir Design
    4. 4. What We’ll CoverWelcomeIntro to WordPressIntro to the Admin PanelResourcesClosingQuestions
    5. 5. Intro to WordPress
    6. 6. Diving into WordPress What is WordPress? vs. What is it used for?
    7. 7. Blog
    8. 8. CMS+Blog
    9. 9. CMS
    10. 10. Photo Portfolio
    11. 11. Multimedia Portfolio
    12. 12. Examples of Interaction
    13. 13.
    14. 14. Some WordPress Basics Structure Presentation Markup Language ➜Database vs. filesPHP vs. HTML Dynamic Functions ScriptingDo I need to know Language ➜PHP? Data Database ➜
    15. 15. Posts vs. Pages Page
    16. 16. Posts vs. PagesPost
    17. 17. Introduction to Themes A WP Theme is a collection of Template files - (X)HTML + PHP + CSS The CSS (aka stylesheet) usually controls the layout and design Only two template files are required: index.php, style.css Some are optional: sidebar.php, comments.php, etc.
    18. 18.
    19. 19. Get Started WithBlank ThemesStarkers Blank Theme Boilerplate
    20. 20. Get Started WithA Pre-made ThemeWooThemes Madness on WP Candy
    21. 21. Introduction to Plugins What is a plug-in? Where do you get plug-ins?
    22. 22. Managing Plug-ins
    23. 23. Introduction to Widgets What is a widget? What is a widget-ready theme?
    24. 24. Intro to the Admin Panel
    25. 25. The Admin Panel Let’s go spelunking!
    26. 26. WordPress Resources
    27. 27. (of course!)The Codex: WordPressCommunity on Facebook on LinkedIn
    28. 28. Cheat SheetsWP Candy Cheat Sheet - Basic and Advanced Template Tags Reference Guide Cheat Sheet for WordPress 3.0-Ready Cheat Sheets Cheat sheets need to be current
    29. 29. Theme Development ToolsTheme Test Drive Plugin Theme Development Checklist & Sample Data Digging Into WordPress and In-Person Classes
    30. 30. WordPress InspirationWe Love WP Float Showcase
    31. 31. Kathryns Must-HavePluginsAll in One SEO Pack 3 security plugins:WP-DB-Backup WordPress File MonitorMaintenance Mode Secure WordPressFeedsmith WordPress ExploitObfuscate Email ScannerSubscribe to CommentsExtremely helpful ifneeded: Widget Logic
    32. 32. Shannons Must-HavePluginsWP-DB-Backup WP Super CacheContact Form 7 WP MinifyJetpack WP-smushitphp-enkoderWordPress SEO (feedburner, google analytics, wufoo forms,Google XML Sitemaps microformats)Simple Image Widget
    33. 33. Closing
    34. 34. What Next? Questions?Get the presentation at Slideshare links http://www.cafenoirdesign.comTwitter links @zoonini @cafenoirdesign
    35. 35. Thank You