66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Getting started with WordPress is a lot scarier than it has to be. I struggled at first, trying the online documentation, which is written more like an encyclopedia rather than an instruction guide. I made a lot of mistakes along the way.
To give you an example of something that confused me when I first got started, just the phrase "WordPress" can be confusing if you don't have someone explain it to you. The term "Wordpress" refer to the software (which you can run yourself or get an account on a hosted site), wordpress.org is where you get the software (and docs on how to install it), and wordpress.com is where you get an account on a hosted installation.
What I like the most about this book is that it applies a lot of structure to learning how to get results with WordPress. This Missing Manual puts these items into perspective, making it very clear how to get going with wordpress.org/wordpress.com (Note that the Amaazon reviewer who stated that this book is only for wordpress.com is incorrect. In fact, installation is covered starting in chapter 3).
Instead of trying to teach you how every knob works, it teaches how to get started, make your first post, then start customizing with the existing tools, then customizing with add ons and changes to themes.
My favorite part of the book is explanation of how the gallery system and adding audio/visual elements. Very nice to have it explained in a way that I can now see the big picture of what's going on, and how to add things like carousel.
I like the number of screenshots of the topic being explained and the results of what happens. That element is a welcome change to anyone who's spent a lot of time with just the online docs.
There are two things I would have liked to have seen different. One, I think the book could benefit from a chapter that explained how to get started and posting in X number of steps. As it stands, the book is thorough but it takes over a 100 pages until you know how to post content. Getting some results quickly right off the bat (or at least explain the steps of what needs to be done to get results) would help people start feeling successful right away.
The second thing I would have liked to have seen is some focus on building one site rather than jumping around several. There are many different web sites used as examples. It would have been nice to seen how one site gets built from the ground up rather than flipping around so many pre-built examples.
That said though, I think the missing manual is very valuable, and easily one of the best ways to get to know how to use it. Now I can finally enjoy using Wordpress without all of the frustration I had before.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2012
Title: WordPress: The Missing Manual
Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
In the beginning of his book, "WordPress: The Missing Manual," Matthew MacDonald writes about the website, WordPress, "You probably realize that it's a brilliant tool for creating a huge variety of websites, from gossipy blogs to serious business sites. However, you might be a bit fuzzy on the rest of the equation - how WordPress actually works its magic, and how you can use WordPress to achieve your own website vision."
With five hundred and forty-five pages, this softbound, thick book is one of "the missing manual" series that states, "the book that should have been in the box." Geared to anyone who wants to know more about practically any topic, these books cater to the minutiae missing when one wants to learn, use and expand knowledge regarding a subject. This issue is about the famous online blogging website, WordPress, and how to maneuver within it.
The book is arranged into five sections regarding the nuances of WordPress: starting, building, supercharging, customizing and appendixes. Designed as a textbook, one can easily search a topic via the fourteen page index or flip through the pages, as each top corner has a shaded square stating its contents. In addition to step by step instructions in each chapter, there are bolded, highlighted and boxed tip and note sections along with photographed computer screens depicting directions, samples and pointed areas discussed.
There are two distinct ways to approach WordPress - setting up the simple free hosting service or installing their software on another web host (self-hosting) for a monthly fee. Both types of sites are thoroughly discussed and explained early in the book and then shown their differences and applications throughout the chapters.
In the first chapter, one learns how to sign up and set up a blog or install the more complicated self-host option. The second chapter explains how to create a post, choose a theme, energize written posts, add pages and alter visitors' content. The third chapter discusses the more complicated plug-ins, adding media, maintaining users and attracting a crowd. The final chapter concentrates on the more complicated and in-depth self-hosting avenue. The appendixes offer both migration and useful websites for more assistance.
This knowledgeable manual is the perfect tool to keep nearby if one has a WordPress blog and either does not know where to start or has to correct, change or trouble-shoot his or her own self-hosted blog site. Kudos to MacDonald for writing and explaining such a complicated topic in layman's "computerese."
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
WordPress: The Missing Manual is an excellent tutorial for someone who has general web site building knowledge but wants to learn how to build a site using WordPress. The book introduces the various components of WordPress in a logical and orderly manner so that a "newbie" can learn how the trees make up the forest. The books strikes a good balance in providing sufficient detail to be useful without overwhelming. Prior to reading this book, I had purchased another WordPress manual and also had done a fair amount of material related to WordPress on the web. However, it wasn't until I read this book that I felt comfortable about tackling a project in WordPress. Also, the other reference materials that I had read approached WordPress from a blog perspective and then kind of threw in "oh, by the way, you can also do more conventional websites", whereas this book balanced the two uses for WordPress. Before purchasing this book, I was concerned by review comments which indicated that the book was biased towards using WordPress.com versus using WordPress on a site hosted elsewhere. I did not find this to be the case; in fact, I thought that the author was very conscientious about explaining the differences between the two situations.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The first book I read for guidance on using this web-design software is "Wordpress: 24-hour Trainer." It has some strong points, but it left me with loose ends and questions. This book, "Wordpress: The Missing Manual," provides full information and includes answers to all my questions. Admittedly, I'm only about 3/4s through the book at this point, but I have been fully satisfied with each section so far. It provides clear priorities and clear instructions about pursuing those priorities, and inspires me to proceed to implementing new ideas. I prefer to focus on the content of my website, rather than to tinker with the technology, so this book provides just the level of technical information that I need to pursue my objectives.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
WordPress: The Missing Manual is a comprehensive guide to using the popular blogging/CMS software. Many comparisons are made between the blog hosting service at WordPress.com and installing the WordPress software downloaded from WordPress.org in what would be described as a self hosting environment. Reviews stating that the book only addresses blogs hosted at at WordPress.com are inaccurate and misleading. This book covers self hosting WordPress as well as WordPress.com hosted blogs.
I found this book to be informative and well written. It contains numerous screen shots of actual WordPress configurations screens and detailed step by step instructions for doing various tasks. The book is organized to get the reader's blog up and running quickly and then advances to more challenging tasks.
Links to the WordPress Codex and other resources are abundant and useful for additional information. For example, using shortcodes to embed video is discussed in the media chapter and a link to the Codex provides additional information regarding parameters available for use.
The book has two Appendixes that may be very useful depending on your situation. The first details how to migrate an existing blog from WordPress.com hosting to a self hosted environment. The other Appendix lists useful links by chapter.
I would recommend this book. There is a wealth of information available that ties in nicely with the Codex, which at times can be a bit obtuse. At 558 pages this book is not a lightweight. I would rate this book as best for novice to intermediate users.
Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy for review purposes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
First, understand that "missing manual" does not mean that it's an exhaustive treatise, but instructions to get you going. In that respect, this is an excellent manual for someone who doesn't know anything at all about Wordpress, someone who needs to learn the landscape and the lingo. It does this quickly and succinctly, fills in the gaps left from Web-surfing the subject, and leaves you knowing where you want to go next.
Think of it as an indepth "tour guide" of Wordpress-Land. It won't make you a native, but you'll know your way around.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2013
Like many others from “The Missing Manual” series do, this book covers virtually every aspect of the topic, from the very jumpstarting to advanced customization tasks.
What really caught my attention the first time I opened it, was the extremely granular structure of the Table of Contents.
Later I was definitely impressed by the ability to move from one topic to another with caution and an analytical approach.
The discussion is divided into 4 main macro Areas, 4 boundary lines the first of which is the starting point, the second one is positioned between chapter third and fourth, the third one between chapter eighth and ninth, and the fourth one between chapter thirteenth and fourteenth.
In spite of this subdivision, the chapters are consequential, from the beginning to the End.
I find crucial for a reader to take a look at this organization before purchasing or plunging intoreading.
I try to summarize the Table od contents, leaving out themore specificsections between every chapter.
STARTING OUT WITH WORDPRESS
1. The WordPress Landscape
2. Signing Up with WordPress.com
3. Installing WordPress on Your Web Host
Building a WordPress Blog
4. Creating Posts
5. Choosing and Polishing Your WordPress Theme
6. Jazzing Up Your Posts
7. Adding Pages and Menus
8. Comments: Letting Your Readers Talk Back
Supercharging Your Blog
9. Getting New Features with Plug-Ins
10. Adding Picture Galleries, Video, and Music
11. Collaborating with Multiple Authors
12. Attracting a Crowd
From Blog to Website
13. Editing Themes: The Key to Customizing Your Site
14. Building an Advanced WordPress Site
Its granularity converts this manual into a handbook to refer to on a daily basis when needed.
The book has over 500 pages ... For this reason, I recommend the electronic version :-)
Although the author takes nothing for granted and starts from the most basic concepts on which you could feel already prepared, it could be a shame to skip the first few chapters because they contain interesting observations and valuable practical advices.
Chapters 11th / 12th are of a more general nature, so are also suitable to be applied in different CMS.
Very useful the final section devoted to the collection of recommended sites or of sites mentioned in the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
When we want a simple and easy to use website, that just gives us what we want, it's often now a WordPress site, but most of us don't know code or templates, or the rest, and the folks that created WordPress, know all of that, but fail to tell us, so thanks to O'Reilly Media and author Mathew MacDonald, we now have a well written book to follow and use.
Mathew has a down to earth approach that talks to us, not down, and yet, offers more information about blogging, creating corporate sites that I had found in a concise book. Well Done. The books' 500 plus pages really goes through the steps, from beginning to end in a way I could easily follow. Since I wanted to create a WordPress blog site, and then be able to add features, he really 'walked' me through the steps. and I knew the book was written as a resource, meaning I could go back to it on how to do things and add features. Here's from the book:
The important stuff you need to know:
-Create a blog. Get a free WordPress.com account, choose the right theme, and start publishing content. -Build a website. Produce a professional-looking business site by customizing a WordPress theme. -Add features. Choose from thousands of WordPress widgets and plug-ins to extend your site's features. -Mix in multimedia. Include slideshows, video clips, webcasts, podcasts, and music players. -Involve your readers. Let readers leave comments, contribute to your site, and carry on a dialog. -Build an audience. Learn search-engine optimization, measure your reader's favorite pages, and publicize your site. -Create a community. Use social media tools such as "Like" and sharing buttons, and provide RSS feeds of your posts.
If I was talking to the author now, the only suggestions would be to a quick step guide to setting up a site, you know, using 1 - 10 or how many, I did have to jump around to find it all. And more screenshots, we are all visual people, and more would be better to expand his points, but he does have many.
76 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I don't like to write a negative review about any Missing Manual. This series is so useful, and Matthew McDonald really knows how to break down complex programs into understandable explanations. But this one is advertised inaccurately and is really kind of deceptive. It looks great at first-- sections on installation, building the blog, plugins, etc. etc etc. BUT.... this applies ONLY to wp.com. There's a short section at the end on using WP.org, and that's it. Why wasn't all of the content on the only variety of WP worth bothering with? Who knows.
This could have been so useful for people running blogs on WP who are not experts. It's hard to find and digest and learn all of the WP information you need to know, and the expert techies can be very rude when all you're doing is trying to learn by asking questions.What a wonderful resource this book could have been. But it isn't. I'm giving it two stars because I do think that it's useful for those who actually have the .com version.
In short, the title is "Wordpress: The Missing Manual." NOT "Wordpress.com: The Missing Manual." But the second title would have been accurate; the first one is not.That tells you all you need to know. This book will be returned.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very helpful for me who knew nothing about Wordpress before reading this book. I've done my own website work (Bissellwoodworking.com) for 15 years, know html and css and have used Dreamweaver for many years but never WordPress. This book has given me an excellent overview of WordPress. It definitely covers both WordPress.com sites and self-hosted sites. I haven't quite finished the book yet but it's been an easy cover-to-almost-cover read so far. This is my second missing manual book (Dreamweaver CS4 is the other) and they've both been great. I highly recommend this book if you're thinking about a Wordpress site or have one and want to get the most out of it.