WordPress Training Program

Are you interested in learning WordPress? This WordPress Training Program is a collection of articles from the presentations I give to my college students in my Web Design course. The students taking the Web Design course already have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS; however, you can learn WordPress without knowing those languages.

This training program starts with background information on WordPress (Part 1). I have found in teaching WordPress that students can learn it more easily by understanding some of the concepts first. Then, before my students create a WordPress website, I teach them how to create and edit WordPress posts pages (Part 2). Only after they know how to create and edit pages do I have my students create their first WordPress website (Part 3).

I hope you enjoy learning WordPress! If you need help along the way, send me an email and I'll see what I can do to help.

Part 1: Introduction to WordPress

These first three articles provide you with background on WordPress. When I teach this material, I have students study this content before they begin doing lab assignments in WordPress. WordPress is not terribly intuitive, and by starting with a focus on the bigger picture, my goal is that the pieces will make more sense.  If you prefer to learn by doing, skip to Part II below and come back to Part I later.

If you prefer studying in a slideshow format, the content of the Part 1 articles (Lessons 1-3) are in this slideshow:

Introduction to WordPress

Lesson 1

Why are most websites made with WordPress?

As of this writing, WordPress powers 43% of the World Wide Web. And, of websites using a content management system, market share is 64%. Why are so many websites made with WordPress? This article explains why WordPress dominates the web development marketplace. A strong understanding of WordPress is critical for students of web development.

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Lesson 2

How WordPress Works

If you only know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it can be challenging to wrap your head around how WordPress works. With HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you create and publish files to a hosting server. With WordPress, the website content and settings are not stored in the website files. Instead, the content is stored in database tables. In this article we’ll explain what the database tables are and how the website files interact with them.

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Lesson 3

WordPress 101: Logging In, the Dashboard, Editing, Themes, Plugins, and Customize

This article provides an overview of some WordPress concepts that you will need to master as you learn WordPress, including how to login and navigate to the dashboard, how to edit a post, how themes and plugins work, and how to edit your overall website design with Customize.

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Part 2: WordPress Content Editing

In this section of the course students learn how to add posts and products to WordPress. Part 2 is about hands-on exercises, so you'll need a WordPress website to practice on. For students in my courses, we work on live websites. However, you will find instructions on how to create a WordPress website on your own computer in Lesson 4 using Local by Flywheel.

If you are in a job that requires you to add and edit WordPress websites, this section will teach you the basics.

Lesson 4

How to Add Content with the WordPress Block Editor

In this article we will learn how to add and edit content with a WordPress Post (Article) with the Block Editor.

You need access to a WordPress website in order to go through the steps in this slideshow. In my college courses, I provide access to students to a WordPress website, WebDevPortfolios.com. If you are not in my course, then you will find instructions on how to set up a WordPress website so you can practice the concepts in this article.

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Lesson 5

Search Engine Optimization with Yoast

In this lesson we will learn how to use Yoast for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of making your website come to the top of search results. When you create a new website, the next step is to get website visitors, and the best way to do that is with SEO copywriting.

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Lesson 6

WordPress Page Builders and Beaver Builder

In this lesson we will learn how to create a fully designed web page with a WordPress page builder called Beaver Builder. Beaver Builder is a WordPress page builder used to make beautiful home pages on websites.

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Lesson 7

WordPress WooCommerce Product Entry

This article will teach you how to add a WooCommerce product. It assumes that you already have a WooCommerce website and simply need to know how to add a product. When I teach my students WordPress, I teach them how to add Posts, Pages, and Products to an existing website before I teach them how…

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Part 3: Create a Blogging Website

In this segment of the course students create a blogging website called, Gaming with Grandma. By learning how to create a blogging website first, students get a feel for how a posts and pages work together in a website. Unlike the lessons in Part 2, in Part 3 you will be working on your own WordPress website. We will start by creating the website and installing a theme and plugins (Lesson 8). Then we will learn how to design the website in the WordPress Customizer (Lesson 9). Finally, we will learn how to design the home page and add a contact form (Lesson 10).

Lesson 8

Create a New WordPress Website with Softaculous (cPanel)

This slideshow provides step-by-step instructions for creating a new WordPress website. We will be creating a website called, “Gaming with Grandma“, a blogging website that has articles about video games young people can play with the seniors in their life. The material is provided so that you can focus on learning WordPress. All of the website…

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Lesson 9

How to Use the WordPress Customizer

In this lesson in our WordPress series we will learn how to use the WordPress Customizer. Customize is where you design the website including the header, footer, and overall design decisions.  In addition, you use Customize to create menus for the website.  Think of Customize as where you work on everything except for the <main>…

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Lesson 10

WordPress Page Design with the Block Editor

This is our last week on the Gaming with Grandma website.  This week we will be diving into more options in the block editor to design the Home, About, and Contact pages, and learn how to use WordPress columns to make professional page designs. We will learn how to use more advanced blocks in order…

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Part 4: Create an E-Commerce Website

If you enjoyed Lessons 8, 9 and 10, you may want to continue on and make the Extreme Vacations website. In this segment of the course you will learn how to make an e-commerce website. Learning how to make an e-commerce website is a very valuable skill in the freelancing marketplace, if you are working for yourself or for an agency. E-commerce store owners need ongoing support, which can mean ongoing sources of revenue for agencies and freelancers.

Lesson 11

Create an E-Commerce Website with WooCommerce

In this lesson will make a WordPress eCommerce website using the WooCommerce plugin and the Storefront theme. This Lesson assumes that you have completed Lessons 8-10 in our WordPress Training Program. If you are already confident working in WordPress and simply need to learn how to make an e-commerce website, you can probably jump right…

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Part 5: Advanced Skills

There is a lot more to learn about WordPress. This section includes articles that cover specific topics you will run into with WordPress. The article on WordPress Skill Levels can give you a road map for gaining experience with WordPress.

WordPress Skill Levels (IMO)

I created this break out of the various WordPress skill levels for my Web Design students at Saint Paul College. These levels are my opinion and may differ from the opinions of other WordPress developers. I provide this information to my students so they can put their learning about WordPress into context of where they…

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tool box image showing a box shadow

How to Add Additional CSS in the WordPress Customizer

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that is open source and highly customizable with a knowledge of CSS and how to add it in Customize -> Additional CSS. Many of my clients know WordPress well. A few of my clients know more about WordPress than I know! Since I know how to code and…

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pinkish axolotl smiling in an aquarium

SEO 1-2-3: A Simple Explanation of how SEO works

Thinking of search engine optimization (SEO) through the eyes of your customer will help you understand how SEO works and improve SEO on your own website. Let’s step into the shoes of your customer. For example, let’s pretend you have a pet store and you sell axolotls. Your typical customer wants to buy an axolotl….

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Compass over a colorful map

Keyword Strategy Tool

The most difficult part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is deciding on the right keywords for your SEO copywriting. Before you begin copywriting, your first task is to find your keywords. Don’t know where to begin? We have created a Free Keyword Strategy Tool that you can use to develop your strategy. Keep reading to…

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WordPress Image Management

Are you concerned about the cost of website hosting? This article explains how WordPress handles the images that you upload to the Media Library and how to conserve server space with WordPress images. It includes what you need to know about WordPress Image Management. Why is image size important? Image size is important for two…

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Computer screen with e-commerce on it.

Planning Your E-Commerce Website

What you need to know before you hire a developer When you decide that you want to make an e-commerce website, there are a lot of decisions to be made. You need to know what you want to sell and be prepared to present your products to the world. In addition, you need to make…

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A 3-Step Process for Adding Features to WordPress

This scenario happens every day. Your client calls and wants to add a feature to their WordPress website. Here are some technology they may ask for to give you an idea of the types of features they would like added: What Do You Do? Follow this 3-Step Process for Adding Features to WordPress How can…

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Price Promotion Options with WooCommerce

There are many free price promotion options with WooCommerce, the plugin that is used in combination with WordPress for e-commerce. With WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin you are able to run an e-commerce website at a very low cost. WordPress and WooCommerce are both free. Without adding paid plugins to WooCommerce, you can run the…

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Part 6: Freelancing as a WordPress Developer

I encourage my students of Web Design and Development to find opportunities to make websites while they are still in school, in order to gain experiences and build up a portfolio. These articles cover how to charge, how to find clients, and how to run a small freelancing business. Some of these articles can be applied to web development work outside of WordPress.

Shipping Your Website: The Final Checklist

The beauty of working on websites is that they are never “done”.  Unlike print, a website is something that you make continuous quality improvements throughout the life of the website.  Even so, before you announce the completion of your website, there are some steps you should take: We’ll cover each of these in detail. 1….

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Finding Freelance Website Gigs

Are you getting started as a web developer and ready to find a freelancing gig? This article will help you find clients for freelance website gigs. You can add to your experience and portfolio as a web developer through freelancing while you are a student and supplementing your income after you start a career job….

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Setting Up Your Freelancing Business

I recommend that students of Web Development try to find freelancing gigs in order to learn their trade and make a little money at the same time. This article describes how to set up the business side. (See the separate articles on What to Charge and How to Find Clients.) Choose a Name for your…

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“What Should I Charge?”

If you are an aspiring web designer or developer, I recommend that you look for opportunities to work on websites to build your portfolio. Perhaps you find a family friend that needs help with their website. Perhaps you hear about a possible internship. At any rate, you have found a possible client who needs your…

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