How To Get Started With WordPress

I get often asked as to how to get started with making a living in the field of WordPress. In this article I am going to provide links to resources (mostly videos – all free) that are prerequisites if you want to master WordPress.

Stage 1: Learn HTML and CSS

WebDesign.com 2013-05-10 10-52-27

Watch the videos by WebDesign.com here: http://webdesign.com/free/htmlcss

Stage 2: Learn basics of WordPress

WordPress 101 | iThemes 2013-05-10 10-57-54

Watch the videos by iThemes.com here: http://ithemes.com/tutorial/category/wordpress-101/

Stage 3: Learn about WordPress web design and development

Web Developer Training | iThemes 2013-05-10 10-56-42

Watch the videos by iThemes.com here: http://ithemes.com/tutorial/category/web-developer-training/

Stage 4: Learn basics of PHP

In the Woods – Diving into PHP: Video Series 2013-05-10 11-04-36

Watch Diving into PHP video series here: http://blog.themeforest.net/screencasts/diving-into-php-video-series/

Note: You do not need to memorize or take-in everything shown in the above PHP course. Just watch all the videos once to get a understanding and overall idea of how PHP works.

Stage 5: Learn how to customize WordPress themes

Wordpress Theme Development Training Wheels | Wptuts+ 2013-05-10 11-06-23

Go through WordPress Theme Development Training Wheels

The ThemeShaper WordPress Theme Tutorial: 2nd Edition | ThemeShaper 2013-05-10 11-08-27

Read The ThemeShaper WordPress Theme Tutorial: 2nd Edition

Also noteworthy: A Guide To The Options For WordPress Theme Development

Stage 6: Improve your troubleshooting skills by solving WordPress problems

WordPress › Support 2013-05-10 11-10-13

Create a account at http://wordpress.org/ and start helping others (and yourself, actually) by answering the questions asked at http://wordpress.org/support/, especially in “How-To and Troubleshooting” and “Themes and Templates” sections.

If you have followed and done all the above diligently, you should now be at a stage where you can take up theme customization jobs. So the next thing to do is

Stage 7: Take up WordPress jobs

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Head on over to http://jobs.wordpress.net/ and start sending those emails!

Stage 8: Pick a theme or two and become a master

The Exhaustive ManageWP Guide to WordPress Theme Frameworks 2013-05-10 11-12-09

The next stage would be to able to re-create any existing website in WordPress. For this you can either do it from scratch or be smart and use a theme framework. Personally I chose iThemes Builder. Whichever framework(s) you end up choosing, become very good at it. You should be able to

  1. make any design changes in the theme (or the child theme)
  2. take a PSD and convert that to a WordPress site using the framework
  3. re-do a existing site in WordPress using the framework

Stage 9: Start your blog/portfolio site

You need to have at least 1 website of your own where you write about what you learn, share your code snippets and essentially establish yourself as a authority or someone with enough knowledge to inspire confidence in your potential clients to give you work.

If you want an example, check out my BuilderSnippets.com.

Stage 10: Create Plugins

WordPress Plugin Development from Scratch, Part 1:4: Basic Structure 2013-05-10 11-13-12

Once you are comfortable with theme aspect of WordPress, it’s time to be able to create plugins from scratch.

Read WordPress Plugin Development from Scratch

I have not yet reached this stage and am still doing reasonably good financially (at least when compared with a standard IT job in India) just with the knowledge of everything above this stage.

Stage 11: You tell me!

By this time you will be knowing what you are going to do. It could be

  • Offering WordPress web design and development services to clients
  • Your own theme and plugins shop
  • Gathering a team to outsource to and managing everything
  • Setting up a membership site where you offer some WordPress related products or services to clients
  • or something else that no one has come up with so far.

That’s it. If all the above seems like a lot of work, perhaps it is especially if you have never touched HTML or CSS. But note that it is just a matter of spending time, absorbing things and putting it to practice. Luck comes only to those who put in the hard work. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!