Munching into… ‘Digging into WordPress’ (Version 3)
I have followed one of the authors Chris Coyier through his existing site called csstricks, a must for all webby pro’s out there and that is what led me to my first book review on a book about WordPress. I have had the pleasure to speak to the other co-author Jeff Starr. Both of who claim to eat their own words.
Digging into WordPress is perfect name for the book I’ll be reviewing as it really does go into detail all the important bits for self hosting your own WordPress installation (wordpress.org) though some of the tips and advice on how WordPress works would be useful to anyone who uses a hosted version like student geek does now at wordpress.com (that was a shameless plug for WordPress, but seriously give it a go… have passion for something interesting start writing).
The book has a lighthearted style of writing similar to the way Student Geek ‘me’ page is with a touch of humour (better than ours!) to lightened the load with detailed technical details and pinch of inspirational quotes which makes me want to abandon wordpress.com and go cold turkey on my own in the world-wide web with self hosted version.
The book is ideal for beginner as it even explains terminology used in the WordPress community even the obvious and obscure one’s like premium themes to hooks. Try finding that in a dictionary! While it is perfect for advance users of the system too with wisdom on its own is worth the book. There are enough code samples to satisfy a hungry monster and access included to some of the themes discussed as well as many link resources to the web related to the topic, hand picked by the expert authors.
The book has 446 pages from the front cover to the last page at the back so it does have a lot to read in and the book itself is designed in landscape mode reading (Which I like). There are 12 chapters in the book, that I will skim through quickly below but does not contain all the details on the topics covered within the chapter to keep the review short.
The first three chapters gives you a gentle introduction slowly getting you into nitty-gritty understanding of the inner working of the WordPress platform. Including setting up your own WordPress system with some great advice on securing the installation from the start. (which I never knew about myself…)
The fourth chapter looks at making your WordPress install pretty by helping you to design and develop your own theme. (Never know you might start making money out of it by selling it online)
The fifth chapter deals with giving your WordPress blog superpowers with plugins. They don’t actually call it super powers in the book but I do! The next two chapters deal with RSS feeds and comments. The chapter about feeding visitors mind with the blog’s RSS Feed shows you how to customise the feed and advance features like setting a buffer before your blog posts it fed through the RSS feed of your blog so any last-minute changes (mistakes) are not published as well.
By now you the reader would have been inspired enough to install your own WordPress blog, made it secure, made it look good, publish few posts and now you have a flood of comments (Which I want for this post! hint.. hint..) from your lovely visitors like you are to our Student Geek blog/site. The seventh chapter will guide you through in making sure all your comments are looked after and all the important details and wisdom is covered.
Craving for more attention you look at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). An important tool in the internet and quite expensive affair to hire people to manage it for you so the book’s eighth chapter has great advice to cover the scene and let you save those pennies from hiring consultants for advice.
After all that reading, scribbling notes, coffee/tea/hot chocolate, you want to make sure that it all remains safe online and your blog remains healthy (who knew it needed to be kept maintained) chapter nine will be the Doctor in the house, keeping you and your WordPress blog in order.
The tenth chapter is the extra bits, by now your want to squeeze every bit of info out of this book to get your money’s worth and it satisfies me. Finally last two chapters look at the latest two updates with WordPress and explains the new features. Phew!
I hope to refer to this book throughout other WordPress related posts and will guide you to the page where possible within the book.
Jeff Starr speaks to us…
Here at student geek we don’t like to just review a book and leave at that what’s the point when you can read many reviews online but this part is special to us…
I am a huge fan of WordPress security (and web security in general), so that part of the book was pretty great. Everything else WordPress is just so awesome that it’s hard to pick favorites, but I think that the geekier stuff like importing content, working with custom fields, and configuring things in general are the most enjoyable. It’s all good though, as they say – WordPress rocks!
Like Chris Coyier always says in his interviews, “practice until your fingers bleed,” or something along those lines. And I agree fully – determination, motivation, and TONS of practice are what it takes these days for a successful web career. There is a LOT of competition, so start now and practice every chance you get. When you can’t practice, read about it – design books, books on SEO, security, and everything else (there are many related topics) – or get online and learn to sharpen your search skills. Search skills are critical to successful online work.
Find out the best sites in your niche and subscribe to their content. Interact with your peers with comments, tweets, and anything else that works. The people you get to know online are the key to opening doors and seizing new opportunities. Above all, be yourself. Visitors can grab information from a million different sites that do it better and faster than you ever will. But what people can’t get anywhere else is YOU. Share your personality as you define yourself online, and let people know what you’re all about.