Learning WordPress in 2024

Calendar with Learn WordPress written on January 16
WordPress Hartford CT Meetup
January 16, 2024
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Watch Recording

Click below to watch our January 2024 meetup on YouTube, or visit

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  • Speaker Introductions
  • What Is WordPress?
  • Getting Started With WordPress (Peter)
  • Using “Learn WordPress” (Laura)
  • Going Beyond WordPress (Ray)
  • Wrap-Up
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Ray Michno

Cute Yellow Wapuu WordPress Mascot
  • Hartford WordPress Co-Organizer
  • 25+ years in IT
  • Developer/Software Architect
  • Pratt & Whitney, Aetna, UnitedHealthGroup
  • 7+ years using WordPress
  • Self-employed – CTWebGeek
  • Married, No Kids, Lives in Newington, CT
  • Geek
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Peter Ingersoll

  • Hartford WordPress Co-Organizer
  • 25+ working on the Web
  • Marketing, communications, design, tech guy
  • Hartford Courant, logistics, agency
  • 10 years using WordPress
  • Self-employed – Ingersoll Interactive
  • Married, two adult kids, lives in South Windsor, CT
  • WordPress Admin and DIY Advocate – IngersollWP.com
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Laura Adamonis

  • Website designer/owner Add A Little Digital Services
  • Content creator & team rep 2024 for Learn WordPress training team
  • WordPress Educator
  • Helping to empower others in tech
  • Married, two adult kids, lives in North Carolina
  • Previous robotics, engineering, and coding teacher/coordinator
  • Loves Lego
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What Is WordPress?

  • Web Publishing software you can use to create a website, blog, e-commerce store, etc.
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Open-Source
  • *Free (website hosting and domains are not)
  • Powers over 42% of all the websites on the Internet
  • Made for people without any coding experience
  • Highly customizable and flexible – through the use of Themes and Plugins
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WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

  • WordPress.com is a managed hosting platform that operates on top of the software from WordPress.org
  • WordPress.com is a PAID service, although there is a limited free option
  • With WordPress.com, updates, backups, and free domain SSL are all handled automatically.

  • WordPress.org is where can download the WordPress software for free and use it with any hosting provider
  • WordPress.org is also a repository where you can access plugins and themes for customizing your website’s look and functionality
  • WordPress.org is the “Community Hub” for the WordPress open source project
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Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc.

  • Other all-in-one website publishing platforms exist
  • Shopify – specializes in e-commerce, has built-in payment processing, etc.
  • Squarespace – specializes in easy-to-use website building interface and modern, beautiful design templates
  • Wix – similar to Squarespace
  • Cons:
  • “Closed platforms” – hard to migrate your data or content
  • Limited extensibility
  • Limited Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Limited community/external support
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Getting Started: Setting the Stage

  • Be aware that there are “countless” ways to use WordPress
    With great flexibility comes a great chance for confusion.
  • Don’t feel bad if (when) you are confused
  • Take a breath and seek help
  • As you proceed, get really good at what works for you
  • The path you follow may be set by the first tutorial you use or what you inherit from an existing site.
  • But you can change paths…
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Searching for Help

  • Much of what you find may not apply to your situation
  • Date of info, versions, and tools used are very important
  • Use search filtering (e.g. within last year, -elementor, etc.)
  • Get a general idea (as we are doing here) and then focus
  • Filter out what you find doesn’t apply to you
  • Avoid the “best” trap
  • Hint: there is no absolute best
  • Try not to feel pressured by opinions or distracted by shiny things
  • Be aware of possible bias by affiliate or originator profits
  • e.g., Instructions to use a specific host or premium tool
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The Things That Change WordPress

  • Themes – 11,718 in the repository, plus premium
  • Defines not just how site looks, but how it functions
  • Classic themes and block themes work differently
  • Plugins – 59,555 in the repository, plus premium
  • Add a wide range of functions
  • Page builders – change the editing experience, often dramatically
  • Custom code
  • Your hosting environment
  • Web hosts may include there only interface enhancements
  • What you see in a tutorial will very often not match your install
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Experiment in a WordPress “Sandbox”

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Start Simply – Learn the Building Blocks

  • Using a sandbox like Local allows you to start safely and simply
  • Become familiar with the basics before delving into the complex
  • Build carefully – try not to over engineer the solution
  • Troubleshoot thoughtfully – try not to overthink the problem
  • The more familiar you are with the building blocks and how WordPress works, the better prepared you will be to build, enhance, and maintain your site.
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Learn WordPress


  • Resources to help you learn more about WordPress.
  • Learn has a collection of tutorials, lesson plans, courses, and online workshops.
  • We will navigate the Learn WordPress site to find where resources are located.
  • Tutorials: Short one-subject walk-through videos
  • Courses: A series of lessons pulled together under a specific topic
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Learn WordPress – Workshops

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Learn WordPress – Coming Soon

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Going Beyond WordPress

  • Most websites are built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • These languages follow standards set by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • This allows most modern browsers to behave the same. In the past many features would not work across browsers.
  • Websites using standards can work on various devices – unlike desktop/mobile applications that are tied to a platform (ex. iOS, Android, etc.)
  • WordPress uses additional technologies on the “back-end” – PHP, MySQL
  • Understanding some HTML and CSS will allow you to better customize your website design and resolve issues that may occur
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Free Coding Courses

  • W3Schools – free, excellent resource for CSS and HTML online tutorials and reference guides
  • freeCodeCamp – non-profit organization that offers free, complete interactive coding courses and resources
  • Codecademy – similar to freeCodeCamp, offers free and paid courses and certifications
  • All of these offer exercises, learn-by-doing examples and quizzes to help your retain what you learn
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Paid Coding Courses

  • Udemy:
  • An online learning and teaching platform for many different topics, including software development
  • Courses can be purchased individually or as part of a subscription
  • Quality can vary, but some are excellent
  • Frequently on sale!

  • LinkedIn Learning – formerly Lynda.com, similar to Udemy, may be offered free by your local library or employer!

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Other Coding Resources

  • YouTube – good when you’re looking to solve a specific problem, but easy to get lost in poor-quality content.
  • Hartford WordPress YouTube Channel – “Getting Started with CSS” – Oct 2022 Meetup
  • CodePen – a safe “sandbox” to practice learning HTML and CSS
  • Chrome Dev Tools (aka Inspector) – other browsers have similar built-in developer tools; learning how to use will be extremely helpful in investigating issues or understanding how a webpage works
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Wrap Up & Q&A

Wapuu with laptop and cat
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Some Tutorials for Specific Installs

More Helpful Resources

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