WordPress is easy to use. The self-hosted version can be installed in less than five minutes. With the hosted version, you can get started with a fully-functioning blog or website in no time.
However, what happens after you get your site set up?
In this article, we cover some of the most useful resources that any WordPress user should be familiar with.
Official WordPress Resources
Some of the best resources you can find are those put out by Automattic, the parent company behind WordPress.
In particular, you will find the following list of links helpful as you install, configure, and manage your WordPress website.
- WordPress Support: the official support page where you can find articles on getting started, installation, basic usage, administration, and more.
- WordPress Codex: where to go for in-depth documentation.
- WordPress Support Forum: if you can’t figure out which doc applies to your use case or you can’t quite wrap your head around your issue, you can post your question for others to answer. For the best results, review the guidelines provided on making requests.
Guides and Tutorials
Below as some of the best resources for learning WordPress.
- Level Up Tutorials: if you prefer to learn via videos, this company offers three WordPress courses, including a basics course and a course on customizing WordPress.
- Pluralsight: a premium website offering developer-education resources for users of all skill levels. Though their prices are high, they offer quality content. You can choose from a variety of courses on WordPress, including some on advanced concepts.
- WordPress Lessons: We’ve mentioned the WordPress Codex already, but we wanted to draw your attention specifically to WordPress Lessons, which walks you through every aspect of owning a WordPress site.
- WP Beginner: this blog features numerous WordPress tutorials and how-to guides. In addition to their robust beginner’s guide, WP Beginner offers a large number and variety of in-depth tutorials and guides.
- WPMU Dev Blog’s Tutorials: aimed toward more advanced users, the tutorials on this blog feature deep-dives into concepts like image optimization and hiding your login page.
- Speed Up Your WordPress Site: an introduction to speeding up your site with easy-to-follow instructions that takes you through the process step-by-step.
WordPress is the most commonly used CMS in the world. As such, most web hosts are capable of running it.
Nevertheless, not all hosts are created equal. The following are some of the better options available.
Official WordPress Hosts
WordPress officially recommends three hosting companies for running the CMS:
- Bluehost: a low-cost host with higher-level managed WordPress hosting.
- DreamHost: complete hosting provider with low-cost shared and higher-level managed WordPress plans.
- SiteGround: reasonably-priced shared hosting with solid servers and exceptional support.
Managed WordPress Hosting
There’s no strict definition on what constitutes managed WordPress hosting, but generally speaking, you can expect additional services that ease the burden of setting up, configuring, and maintaining a WordPress site.
Additionally, the provide servers that are tuned to run WordPress fast.
Four companies are particularly worth consideration when it comes to managed WordPress hosting:
- WP Engine: the original managed WordPress host, they are still the industry leader.
- Kinsta: a close competitor of WP Engine with better prices.
- Flywheel: focused more on designers, Flywheel provides very fast servers.
- Liquid Web: offers many kind of high-performance hosting including managed WordPress.
Themes and Plugins
Themes and plugins are key parts of what makes WordPress so flexible, and there are more places to get new themes and plugins than just the WordPress Repository.
Here are some options you should consider.
- Must-Have WordPress plugins: WP Beginner’s list of essential plugins. (See also WPMU’s list.)
- Elegant Themes’ Divi: more than just a theme, Divi can be used as a page builder and is therefore one of the more powerful and flexible options you can get.
- Envato Elements: offers responsive themes designed for a variety of use cases that can be downloaded and customized for your website.
- StudioPress: creators of the Genesis theme framework, StudioPress provides you with a template that you can use to build custom themes with ease.
- Templatic: over 100 premium themes, as well as 50 plugins.
If you’re interested in developing your own plugin, review WordPress’ Plugin Developer Handbook.
- Jetpack for WordPress: a multi-faceted product that comes with site management, performance, and security tools. More specifically, it helps you with site-backups, protection against unauthorized access and malicious attacks, and spam filters.
- 19 Steps to Lock Down Your Site: Kinsta’s in-depth blog post will walk you through many of the steps you need to secure your WordPress site against unauthorized access and malicious attacks
- 23 Simple WordPress Security Tricks to Keep Your Website Safe in 2019: There’s some overlap between this article and the one from Kinsta we mentioned above, but it’s always good to get information from multiple sources
- OWASP WordPress Security Implementation Guidelines: The Open Web Application Security Project has provided a full set of guidelines on what you need to do to secure your WordPress implementation
- Security: WordPress has released a free white paper discussing WordPress core software security
Analytics and Reporting
Data are indispensable for determining what works, what doesn’t, and what changes you need to make to improve your website.
The following is a list of analytics tools you might be interested in, as well as reporting tools to help you make sense of the data you collect.
- Google Marketing Analytics: king when it comes to gathering data. It’s not the most feature-rich option, but it collects a lot of data and is free to use.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress: ExactMetrics builds on what Google offers and allows you to view your data right inside your WordPress Dashboard.
- MonsterInsights: an analytics plugin that, like ExactMetrics, builds off of Google Analytics and makes all of your data available in the WordPress Dashboard.
- WPMU Dev: a tutorial on creating a good WordPress-oriented report, which is helpful if you’ve never done anything like this before.
- WP Engine Plugin List: data visualization and business intelligence plugins you may want to review.
- WP Report Builder: fast and easy report generator that creates either a Word or an Excel document with just one click.
As your website grows, your WordPress installation can become quite complex.
Here are some resources to consult if you find your website is broken and you need a systematic way to troubleshoot.
- WordPress Codex Troubleshooting: in-depth page that links to articles covering most of the commonly-seen issues.
- The Design Space: a blog post on troubleshooting five commonly-seen WordPress issues.
- Art of Troubleshooting WordPress: Perishable Press’ checklist that helps to find and fix problems.
The WordPress ecosystem features a variety of marketing tools to help you find your target audience and grow traffic to your site.
- Smart Insights’ WordPress Marketing: many helpful marketing tips and tricks.
- CreativeMinds’ WordPress Marketing: deals specifically with content marketing.
- HubSpot’s Best Marketing Plugins: plugins to consider when working with WordPress.
The core installation doesn’t come with much in the way of marketing features — you have to install these yourself.
Communities and Newsletters
- MasterWP: a weekly newsletter featuring useful tools, apps, and links. It’s geared toward those who work with WordPress professionally, and new editions come out on Wednesday.
- Smashing Magazine: a digital magazine geared toward web designers and developers, and it often features WordPress-oriented content.
- The WordCandy Weekly: features WordPress-related news, including notifications of security patches and updates.
- WordPress Newsletter: put out by WP Beginners, comes with tips, tricks, and tutorials, as well as news relating to the WP Beginners site — newsletter subscribers get access to all new content first.
- WordCamps: WordPress conference that meet all over the world.
- WordPress Community: the official WordPress community/outreach page.
- Make WordPress: opportunities to join the global community of developers.
WordPress is a very big subject. The tools we’ve discussed above so help you to understand and use it better.
Check back here because we will be updating this page as we find more resources.
Contributing editor: Frank Moraes