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“WordPress : The missing manual” – Matthew MacDonald.

April 3, 2016 book review, programming
Must have.

"WordPress : The missing manual" - Matthew MacDonald.

When I started thinking about setting up this website, my first idea was to create it from scratch just like I did with my previous websites.
I don’t know why I suddenly decided to use WordPress instead.
Maybe I was feeling adventurous …

Fortunately for me, right at about that time, I stumbled upon “WordPress : the missing manual” by Matthew MacDonald.

What can I say ?!

The book has 600+ pages, but I read it from front to back (almost) in just a couple of days. It is very well written, with just the right amount of detail. I never had the feeling that I was struggling to get through a boring manual. All the information was relevant, and presented at just the right moment.

In his book, Matthew MacDonald starts by explaining that there are 2 types of websites (blogs) you can set up. You can either go with a free account at WordPress.com, or, you can sign up with a ‘regular’ web host such as BlueHost (or any other web host for that matter).
WordPress.com is great when you are just starting out : it’s free, there’s a community, and you don’t have to worry about any of the ‘tech’ stuff. The downside is, that you are limited in what you can do with themes and plugins. You are also not allowed to use third-party advertising networks (eg. Google AdSense).
If you go with a ‘regular’ host, you will need to pay a small fee each month, but then you are absolutely free to do as you like. And in case you are wondering : most web hosts have a 1-click install for WordPress, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy at all.

After his explanation of web hosts and how to set up a website, Matthew then starts talking about picking a theme and how you can tweak it. He also describes a number of ‘must-have’ plugins for spam control, website caching, backup, etc. He next explains in detail how you can create posts and pages, and how you can spice them up with pictures, music, and video.

Other topics in the book include : setting up a collaboration with other authors, letting readers share posts on social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). There is also a chapter on eCommerce (which I’m saving for later), and last but not least, some very good information on how to secure your website.

The only thing I did not like in this book, is the 20 pages or so where he talks about ‘Editing the Code in Your Theme’. The reason I don’t like this bit, is because 20 pages is not enough to explain something as complex as editing WordPress PHP code. This should have been a separate book.

All in all, I was VERY HAPPY with the content of this book. Also, everything is explained in as simple a way as possible. I think this book is suitable for people that are new(ish) to WordPress, regardless of their knowledge of html, css, or PHP. It is an excellent book for people that want to set up a blog.