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Geeky Skills to Work Smarter: Intro to WordPress


In a world where WordPress commands an astounding 43% of the internet and boasts a 65% market share, mastering this platform is not just a smart move, it’s practically a superpower. Picture this: a landscape teeming with endless opportunities, where clients abound and support is just a click away. 

Now you’ve probably heard that WordPress is the most hacked Content Management System (CMS), and with 2 out of every 5 sites on the internet running on this platform, it’s not surprising! So even though the market is saturated with people offering ‘WordPress Services’, how many of those people know how to code, are comfortable with the backend of WordPress, and can actually fix a hacked site?

Whether you’re aiming to elevate your online services or reclaim control of your own site, understanding WordPress’s pivotal role in the digital ecosystem is your first step towards internet greatness.

Demystifying Coding

Think coding is just for tech wizards? Think again! Anyone can learn to code with the right community and support and it’s a vital skill for any WordPress user. Understanding the basics of coding can help you customize sites to fit your unique vision and troubleshoot common issues, empowering you to take control of a website’s look, feel, functionality, and security. 

Keeping your cool when things go wrong…

Most WordPress users don’t know how to fix a hacked site or the dreaded “White Screen of Death”! But don’t worry- you can set yourself apart from the crowd by understanding some basics.

Due to its popularity, WordPress is a prime target for hackers. The majority of these security breaches (44%!) are due to outdated versions of WordPress, plugins, and themes. Understanding how to keep your site updated, and the basics of WordPress security, like strong passwords and secure hosting, can significantly reduce the risk of your site being compromised. 

If you’ve ever faced the dreaded White Screen of Death, better known as a “WordPress Critical Error”, you know how daunting it can be. This error typically indicates a problem with your website’s code or a conflict between plugins or themes. Taking a deep breath, reverting to a backup, and deactivating recently added plugins or reverting to an older theme through your dashboard can often resolve the problem. 

HTML & CSS

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are fundamental languages of the web. HTML lays out the structure and content of a webpage, while CSS adds style and design elements. Grasping these languages enables you to customize colors, fonts, spacing, interactive effects and more, creating a visually appealing and unique website experience.

Tools

  • Inspect Element (Chrome, Safari, Firefox)
  • ChatGPT 
  • CodePen

Utilizing the browser inspect element, you can peek under the hood of any webpage to learn from existing sites or troubleshoot your own. You can even ‘ethically hack’ published websites by altering the CSS within inspect tools to explore changes in real time without affecting the page for anyone else!

Tools like ChatGPT can offer coding assistance if you know what to ask and what to do with the output. You can even take the code generated by a good prompt and then test and refine it in a platform like CodePen. 

WordPress 101

Local Development

Setting up a local WordPress environment, such as with localwp.com, gives you a sandbox for experimentation and safe development without affecting a live site.A few of the advantages to a local environment: 

  • test themes, plugins, and custom code
  • troubleshoot to resolve any site issues
  • design a new site with total freedom
  • get feedback & collaborate

Themes & Customization

Once you have that environment set up, it’s time to start customizing the site. Themes are the skin of your WordPress site, determining its aesthetic appeal. Customizing a theme involves tweaking its CSS, and sometimes HTML, to adjust visual elements. The Gutenberg editor, with its block-based approach, simplifies content layout and design, allowing for more intuitive control over how your content is displayed.

Plugins & Widgets

Plugins and widgets are the backbone of expanding WordPress’s functionality. They can add complex features like SEO tools, security enhancements, social media integration, and more, without the need for extensive coding knowledge. Understanding how to select and configure the right plugins can greatly enhance the functionality and user experience of your WordPress site.Here are a few plugins to start with:

  • Wordfence for security
  • Updraft for backups
  • SEOPress for SEO

Your journey through the WordPress universe is filled with learning and growth opportunities. Each challenge is a step towards becoming a WordPress Rockstar: equipped with the knowledge to create, customize, and secure your digital presence and say “YES!” to any WordPress request.

Become a WordPress RockstarDiscover more by exploring all GeekPack’s Free Resources HERE or if you are ready to join the the Ultimate Training for Website Building (a la WordPress) + Community + Business Badassery for The Next Generation of Geeks (even if you suck at math and tech, or think you’re too old), check out WP Rockstar.

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