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Nov
21

WordPress for Dummies Book Review

By Char

WordPress for DummiesOne of my favorite readers is Lisa Sabin-Wilson, the owner of eWebscapes design company and author of the blog Just a Girl in the World. When I found out that Lisa was authoring a book on WordPress, I could not wait to see it. I followed her journey through writing the book all the way to press time and I can tell you that she poured her heart and soul into making WordPress for Dummies the most complete reference on WordPress.

Lisa sent me a copy of the book to review (and I’m giving one away at Casual Keystrokes right now). All I can say, is that it doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced WordPress pro or a brand new blogger needing all the basics, this book is worth every penny. There are over 350 pages of how-to’s, screen shots, tips, and real life examples for WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and WordPress MU.  There is even a foreword by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress.

Lisa starts the book off by explaining benefits of WordPress – what it can do for you and she then talks about Blogging Basics – from personal blogging to business blogging.

One whole section of the book is dedicated to using the WordPress.com hosted service and how to make the most of its features.

Another section of the book is about self hosted WordPress.org usage starting at the very beginning from buying a domain name to file transfer and installing WordPress. She explains the administration panel and its capabilities and how to establish a blogging routine.

Chapters 9, 10 and 11 are excellent resources for the intermediate to advanced user who want to customize the look of their site using templates, themes, plugins and such.

Do you want to run multiple blogs with multiple authors with a single installation? WordPress MU could be the solution you are looking for. Lisa dedicates another whole section of the book to explaining MU, how to install it, configure it and how to make it your best friend.

My favorite section of the book is the chapter on using WordPress as a Content Management System. More and more I am moving traditional web sites to WordPress for quicker development times and easier updates from the client side. WordPress for Dummies chapter on WordPress as a CMS is a must see resource if you are considering using WordPress for this purpose.

As a bonus, Lisa has included the best free WordPress themes and plugins that she recommends.

I am very impressed with this book as a whole and fully expect my copy will rapidly become dog-eared as it gets daily use!!

You can get a copy of WordPress for Dummies for yourself at Amazon or your local bookstore, but if you act quickly, you can win a free copy of the book at my other site, Casual Keystrokes by simply leaving me a comment over there. Either way, you need this book.

22 Comments

1

I’m sure the book is very good but everything you have said is in it is easily available online.

2

Pete – you are right – everything is available online, but the benefit to the book is that you have all the information you need in one place from a source that you know you can trust.

3

Char – I’m sitting here trying to decide which part of your post I like best… the part where you review the different sections of my book, or the part where you call me one of your favorite readers! :)

Thank you for such a thorough review, and I’m very happy to see that it’s a positive one and that you found the book to be a useful resource to those using WordPress.

@Peter – lots of WP informaiton can be found in various bits and pieces scattered throughout the web, it is true. For those of us savvy enough to find and decipher it, online WP resources are a great find, all the time! However, my own hosting and design business proves to me that not everyone is adept at locating and understanding some resource sites out there.. so I did make the attempt to make the content and information in this book as easy to understand, and organized in as logical a fashion as possible. Also, for some folks, it’s nice to have a ready reference sitting right on your desk! :)

Char, thanks again for a wonderful post! Happy Thanksgiving!

4

Hopefully it won’t go out of date too quickly! but otherwise sounds great (plus there’s always potential for a second edition!!) :D

5

This book will be a godsend for several of my friends, as well as my father. I’ve managed to get them all into blogging with WordPress, and they’re just starting to ask questions about themes, plugins and (oddly enough) SEO. I think this will be the perfect Christmas present for them all :)

6

:) I’m getting my hands on one after winning in Lisa’s giveaway. :) I can’t wait for it to arrive since I know I will be learning a lot from it. With this review I’ve gotten more excited to read it when it gets here.

7

Wow! WordPress as a content management system would be great. Especially if the site doesn’t look like a blog then. A free copy would be great :)

Best Regards from Germany

Markus

8

Char,

This is a very nice review of Lisa book. And I absolutely agree with you that convenience of information been available right when you need it and easily found is important and that is why this book has value.

Plus someone like me, who loves the web – I still enjoy to simply sit down and read regular book :) I’ll be picking up a copy for my x-mas vacation, so I could review it later. As much I know about WordPress, sections on wordpress.com and MU will be most welcome information.

Thanks again for great review.

Alex

9

I bought it last month. But I already knew about everything that was in it. But it’s still a good book. :)

10

Just ordered it yesterday. While everything may be available online, I personally like to break away from the computer screen and read a book for a change, highlighting where neccessary and then taking it into my home office. Good reference books are still a must for me!

11

I can’t wait to get my grubbies on Lisa’s book – just as soon as it arrives through my letterbox!

I’m sure a lot of the information will be available somewhere online – but that’s not the point of a book is it? I’m looking forward to having all of those little gems together in something I can read in the bath or on the train! ;)

12

Hey everyone:

I was among the earliest people to receive Lisa’s book since I had “pre-ordered” it through Amazon.

I’ve already gone through the entire book and I highly recommend it. Yes, there’s lots of stuff on the Internet but I ordered it because:

1. I used her WP template when I made the transition from Blogger.com to WP. She did such a wonderful job with it that I simply had to have her book.

2. I wanted a bunch of tips to be in one location, in a book that I could pick up anytime and look up what I need to know.

Overall she does an excellent job and I recommend it to you whether you’re a novice or experienced. Novices will especially appreciate it though cuz it’s written in an easy-to-read-style with illustrations and so forth.

Get it! :)

13

I’ve heard that Lisa namedropped me in the book. That’s not fair. I didn’t even have a chance to respond… ;-)

14

I’ve only recently started to fully grasp the potential of blogs/Wordpress, so I`ve been looking for a good book to bring me upto speed.

Sure the info is there on the web, but you cannot beat a good book on the sofa for actually digesting the infomation, rather than an evening hunched over a PC/Laptop finding snippets here and there, and having to work simply to gather what you need as well as read and digest it too.

Praise be to Books! :)

15

Does anyone remember Remington typoewriters, copy paper and offset presses? Circa 1960?

Today – literally – I am starting me WordPress blogging career. It’ll be a few days before it’s up.

I spent considerable time reviewing other blogware (new word?) but WordPress wins in large part because of the online tutorials.

But to have all the basics in one place as I get started will be much more time-efficient than surfing tutorials.

Good move Lisa.

It’ll be a few days before it’s up…but I intend to buy this book -

16

Thanks for an informative review, I would like to know if there is a section on the book that talks about how you can drive traffic to your blog, or get visitors. Is there a section on this book that deals with the subject?

17

I read the comments about the info being available on the web but really looking forward to getting a copy of the book for convenience and time saving value of a single volume. Lisa has done the leg work and made the job of getting to grips with WP so much more convenient.
My web projects will take off with the help of this volume.

18

I guess this book will help those newbies like me. I’m now on the process of going over the ‘wordpress boat’ from Blogger.

19

This looks like a great book. I also noticed it was published in November of 2007, so it is fairly recent. Since WordPress is actively developed and new upgrades and bugfixes come out all the time, this is definitely important. Hopefully with the new version of WordPress coming out soon (version 2.5) this book won’t fall behind too much.

20

Is there a lot about WordPress.com in this book?
I’m considering buying it for a friend who’s just started a blog on WordPress.com. She’s very keen in learning how to customise it herself (I’ve been teaching her little bits of CSS), and I’m wondering if this book will suit her.
Thanks!

21

excellent book

22

I am still trying to learn wordpress myself, and the learning curve for designing a blog is quite a bit steeper for me than it was for me to design a standard website, and some rather professional looking ones at that, so I don’t get this myth that designing a blog is easier than designing a website. I don’t find that to be tha case at all.

One of the main problems is that there is never an up to date book on wordpress. WordPress changes versions way too quickly for authors and publishers to keep up, so it appears no one will ever have all the accurate information they need from any book on WordPress.

I read that Lisa herself had this problem when trying to keep her book up to date.

I purchased one of her earlier WordPress for Dummies book (was like for wordpress 2.5 or 2.6) thinking that even though it was not an up to date version, that the current version of wordpress at the time would not be that much different than the info in the WP for Dummies book. Even though it was outdated, it was the latest version of the book at the time.

Many new versions of a lot of software are hardly different than previous versions of the same software, but as my luck would have it, the info in Lisa’s book and the info one needed to use WordPress 2.7 was very much different, which made it very difficult to figure out how to use WordPress.

So no offense to Lisa or any other author of WordPress books, as I know they have no control over how quickly WordPress changes, but buying or reading any book on WordPress is pretty much a waste.

Misato K.

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