The Best Ways to Learn WordPress

WordPress adoption is increasing rapidly

I don't know if you noticed but WordPress continues to grow – and in the last year, it's grown at a rapid pace. Adoption over the last few years has been good, but nothing like 2020. As we start the new year, W3Techs puts it at 39.6%. Now, more than ever, is the time to learn WordPress if you haven't already. And I'm not talking about becoming a senior engineer. I'm talking about figuring out the best ways to learn WordPress enough so that you can get in and edit a WordPress site.

There are multiple resources for learning WordPress

The good news is that there are tons of available resources. But just because there are many doesn't mean that they're all great. In fact some of the things you get when you do a google or YouTube search are out of date (even if they're popular). This is the challenge when it comes to learning something online.

The nature of SEO drives you (often) to older content with more backlinks, than to newer and updated content that may not yet be as “connected,” online.

That said, here are several resources that exist that you might want to use to brush up on those WordPress skills (especially since Gutenberg – the block editor – has changed things over the last couple of years).

WordPress.com has its own site dedicated to helping you. It's free and useful, but it's mostly focused on doing it within the WordPress.com environment. And that's great if your site is hosted there. But if you've hosted your site anywhere else, it may not be a perfect match. Nevertheless, it can definitely introduce you to content that will help you learn WordPress.

WPBeginner also has a ton of resources for helping you learn WordPress. For the longest time, most of the education was text articles, which is perfect for some but not for others. In the last couple of years, they've been focused on adding a lot of video content to their site and YouTube channel.

WPCrafter comes to mind when we're talking about education on YouTube. His channel is full of valuable tutorials that will teach you WordPress. It's perfect when you have a specific question rather than trying to navigate a curriculum that scaffolds the content in a particular sequence.

Lynda.com is another place where you can learn, with Morton's courses being the best on the platform as you're getting started. His essential training is pretty up-to-date and he's an educator and knows how to help you learn. While the other options are free, this one has a cost.

The best ways to learn WordPress

Of course, I left the best for last. Because when it comes to the best ways to learn WordPress, there are two that stand out above all the rest.

The first is to check out WP101. Taught by an educator who navigates each step of the process in a digestible way is critical. Because without that, you're just bouncing around topics hoping that you can put it all back together in your head in a way that makes sense. Shawn, the guy behind WP101, also makes a commitment to re-record every tutorial video every time WordPress changes. So you know you'll get the latest.

Another added bonus is that even though you can get away with only spending $49 for a year, to get all their courses (more than just WordPress 101, but also all their others on Jetpack, BeaverBuilder, WooCommerce and more), you can also spend $89 and get access to everything for a lifetime.

So that's the best way.

The second best way? I bet you can guess.

The second best way to learn WordPress is to actually start trying to build something. Get your hands dirty. Even before you start a course. It will create some cognitive dissonance, I'm sure. But it will also help create space for the learning to stick, once you've tried some things. Not everyone is a hands-on learner. I get that. That's why I started by telling you about WP101.

But nothing is as good as giving yourself a weekend to play and seeing how far you get.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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