There is a low barrier to using and working with WordPress. In fact, anyone with knowledge of PHP or with design skills can start using WordPress immediately and see results.
But if you want to really succeed with WordPress, build a strong business and gain respect, you need to be an over-achiever. Why? Because there are plenty of other WordPress developers out there who are also vying for clients and trying to earn a buck.
Luckily, there is a plethora of information available so you can move beyond the basics of tweaking a site so you can start calling yourself a fully-fledged WordPress pro. It also helps to pay attention to what the actual pros – the WordPress core developers and contributors – are doing.
So if you’re ready to kick some serious ass, read on.
It goes without saying that every good developer who wants to be great references the Codex. The Codex is, essentially, the WordPress bible.
If you’ve never used the Codex before, even for the basics, like setting up a Multisite installation or for reading up on detailed information on a function, then you’ve probably been living under a rock or in a dark, dank cave, with only a generator to power your MacBook Pro.
Make WordPress Core
Make WordPress is the official blog of the core development team for WordPress.
The site features regular updates on new features for upcoming version of WordPress. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening in WordPress, this is the place to be.
If you can’t get along to WordCamps, WordPress TV is the next best thing. WordPress TV features recorded videos from WordCamps held around the world.
It’s easy to search through the site for videos on any topic, plus watching someone give a presentation can be a lot more engaging them simply reading a blog post.
Let’s start easy. If you think you’re too good to read a beginner site, think again. Syed Balkhi’s site is the largest unofficial WordPress resource on the web and is updated daily with new tutorials and how-tos.
While many of the site’s posts may seem too easy, and even trivial for advanced users, there are often interesting tips and tricks that are helpful for any good developer.
If WP Beginner is too easy for you, then Tuts+ is the place for you. Since Tom McFarlin recently took over the editing gig at Tuts+, the site has gone full throttle with advanced topics, such as object-oriented programming in WordPress and using WordPress for web application development.
Speaking of Tom McFarlin, his personal blog is a thoughtful and informative extension of his work at Tuts+. The topics he writes about are heavily geared towards programmers, but these are interspersed with posts on discussions such as The Hate and Vitriol of WordPress and Developer Distractions: The Available Tools.
Smashing Magazine is one of the first web development/design blogs I remember reading. The WordPress articles are posted almost monthly, but the site contains a large back catalog of articles by some recognisable WordPress personalities, such as Siobhan McKeown and Tom McFarlin.
The posts are usually in-depth and well-researched.
WP Mayor regularly publishes how-tos, just like WP Beginner. The posts are usually a mix of beginner and intermediate level stuff, with a few promotions thrown in for good measure.
ManageWP is another regularly updated WordPress blog featuring, tips and tricks, how-tos and reviews.
The site has a lovely mix of intermediate level articles, as well as information on third-party plugins and themes.
Blogger and web developer Paul Underwood maintains a fantastic collection of tutorials, snippets and other resources on his personal site.
His blog is a great place for intermediate and advanced level, including cool topics like Create A Clock In CSS and how to Programmatically Add Menu Item.
If you haven’t heard of Pippins Plugins, you’ve probably just finished a stint serving time in solitary confinement. Pippin Williamson has coded so many plugins, his products alone could fill the WordPress Plugin Repository and Code Canyon. Well, almost.
Pippin’s blog is a great mix of thoughtful reviews, tutorials on advanced topics and how to use features such as the WordPress heartbeat API.
Konstantin Kovshenin is a developer for Automattic and in his spare time he is… a developer for WordPress core. There isn’t much about WordPress this guy doesn’t know.
He regularly updates his blog with posts on advanced topics like Understanding _n_noop() and more reflective stuff relevant to all plugin developers like Lessons Learned from Building and Supporting a (Fairly) Popular WordPress Theme.
Otto on WordPress
Otto’s blog is where I go when I want to feel completely out of my depth. His blog focuses on advanced WordPress topics like Making a custom control for the Theme Customizer and Theme/Plugin Dependencies.
While his blog is updated sporadically, it’s a great place to go if you want to get stuck into the nitty gritty of code. Otto is also a great proponent of internationalization, and some of his posts look at how to make themes and plugins translation ready.
While Mark Jaquith doesn’t post all that much on his blog, his posts are an interesting take on WordPress development from a core developer. Hopefully we’ll see more posts from Mark soon.
Core developer Andrew Nacin rarely posts on his blog, but when he does he’s got a lot to say. Take his latest post for example, The qualities of a great WordPress contributor, which comes in at a lazy 2869 words. It’s a great read if you’re thinking about contributing to WordPress.
Hongkiat’s WordPress category features a regularly updated stream of how-to and list posts covering everything from how to install WordPress locally and 20 WordPress Shortcodes and Plugins You Might Want To Try.
The site is well worth reading for tips and tricks or theme inspiration.
Much like WP Mayor and ManageWP, WPLift offers a varied collection of tutorials, guides and WordPress round-ups.
WPLift posts a great weekly round-up of new, tutorials and resources published on third-party sites.
Matt Medeiros’s site focuses on the business of WordPress, with a mix of interviews, tips and reflections on working in the WordPress ecosystem.
Matt is also well-known for his Matt Report podcast and in-depth interviews with WordPress personalities.
Chris Lema’s site completely veers away from the development site of WordPress, instead focusing on the entrepreneurial aspects of using the CMS.
WP Kube is in the same vein as WP Lift and WP Mayor with its mix of list posts and how-tos.
This site is more targeted at intermediate level developers who are looking for curated information on plugins and themes.
WP Explorer is another how-to site, with interesting content on topics such as creating a WordPress theme and customising the admin user interface.
Genesis developer Carrie Dils blogs about all things WordPress, such as How to Run a Successful Affiliate Campaign Without Being a Douche to How To: Add a Logo to a Genesis Theme.
Carrie’s blog is a great mix of development and reflective articles with an emphasis on Genesis.
I would be remiss to dismiss this very site, WPMU DEV Blog! We post daily on everything from the best free themes available to reviews on plugins and WordPress services.
On Saturdays and Sundays we publish Weekend WordPress Projects, an ongoing series of quick projects you can complete in under an hour to improve your WordPress site.
WordPress Development Stack Exchange
Stack Overflow is a fantastic question and answer site for programmers who are stuck and need a hand with frustrating code. The site’s dedicated WordPress area, WordPress Development Stack Exchange allows you to search through questions and tags and post your own question for other developers to answer.
Reddit features two dedicated subreddits – WordPress and ProWordPress. The ProWordPress forum is targeted at advanced users and offers a community for developers to exchange ideas. Brad Williams from WebDevStudios creates ProWordPress, which he moderates along with Travis Northcutt and Michael Beckwith.
ProWordPress isn’t a place for beginners, so much as it is a place for developers to ask questions, seek advice and talk code.
With almost 5000 members, the Advanced WordPress group on Facebook is a popular place for WordPress developers to meet, share ideas and knowledge about advanced features and functionality. This is definitely not the place for beginners.
WordPress Co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s news site is updated daily with articles on new WordPress plugins, themes, services and events.
Vladimir Prevolac launched his WordPress news curation experiment, ManageWP.org last year. The site encourages WordPress users to share articles in return for up votes and community cred.
The site offers an easy way to stay on top of the latest articles published about WordPress.
You’re not a member of the WordPress community if you’re not subscribed to wpMailme. This weekly newsletters it published weekly and includes a curated round-up of WordPress news and articles, themes news and releases, plugin news and tutorials.
Post Status is another dedicated WordPress news site. It featured curated links to announcements and articles, and sometimes posts on community topics.
Web host WP Engine launched its news site, Torque, last year at WordCamp San Francisco to much fanfare. The site publishes a mix of articles on WordPress and non-WordPress topics by contributing writers.
Like Codeacademy, Treehouse offers online classes. The site has been gradually adding to its collection of courses and in January announced a new beginner’s course in the WordPress track. The site has since added six other WordPress courses, including How to Build a WordPress Theme and Local WordPress Development.
Wprecipes features quick code snippets to help developers make the most of WordPress, such as How to change the title attribute of WordPress login logo and Easily delete WordPress post revisions using your functions.php file.
WPSNIPP is another great code snippet site, featuring 622 snippets and counting. The great thing about this site is the accompanying comments where developers often discuss ways to alter a piece of code or add extra functionality.
WP-Snippets offers a collection of more than 200 snippets designed to make WordPress development easier.