How to Learn WordPress Inside Out In 7 Websites
So you want to learn WordPress? Whether you’re a noob trying to set up a blog for the first time or a developer with PHP SuperPowers, there’s resource out there for you.
To save you time tracking down the right training website for you, we’ve rounded up the best training websites that offer WordPress courses and online classes.
Years ago, the best way to learn WordPress was with a combination of hacking your way through the Codex and figuring things out in the context of live projects. Both of those approaches are still admirable, but sites such as Lynda, Treehouse, Udemy and Skillshare can now also be used to save you a significant amount of time.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the major pros and cons of these new options in general before we look at the providers themselves in detail.
We’ll kick things off with the plus points:
- Learn by doing. No boring, long-winded lectures or idle navel-gazing. Simply watch a short video and apply what you’ve just learned immediately.
- Suits a wide range of needs. The sites we’ll cover are equally suitable for non-technical people seeking to up their game, non-WordPress developers looking to break into a new market, and advanced WordPress users rounding out their skill sets.
- Self-paced. You’re free to match your learning to your own schedule.
- High-quality production values. There’ll be no dodgy audio, blurry images, or random irritating background music to suffer through here – you’ll be enjoying high-definition screencasts and crystal clear walkthroughs.
- Highly Affordable. For a low one-time or monthly payment, you get access to hours and hours of high-quality learning resources. A WordPress course offered in any formal education environment such as a college or a university is priced far higher in comparison.
Into every life, a little rain must sadly fall, however. There are also a few potential snags to consider:
- Lack of accountability. Self-paced learning is incredibly convenient, but there’s nobody there to crack the whip when motivation flags. You’ll be responsible for maintaining your own interest.
- Risk of overwhelm as a beginner. If you’re relatively new to WordPress, the sheer variety of content might be intimidating. The providers we’ll be looking at offer structured learning paths to mitigate against this, but it can be a little overwhelming looking at some of the curricula if you’re tackling this for the first time.
- Slight paucity of advanced material. Advanced topics are out there if you look for them, but the market as a whole, perhaps understandably, skews towards beginners and intermediates.
Let’s kick off this round-up with our online learning school for WordPress, The Academy. We launched it in April and we’ve had an overwhelming response from members eager to soak up knowledge from experts in their niche.Almost 450 people enrolled in our CEO James Farmer’s business course Dream Small, Market Big & Don’t Do It This Way and each and every one of those students had direct access to James so they could pick his brains. He got a real kick out of reading everyone’s business plans and offering advice on how to move forward with their ideas!
Almost 450 people enrolled in our CEO James Farmer’s business course Dream Small, Market Big & Don’t Do It This Way and each and every one of those students had direct access to James so they could pick his brains. He got a real kick out of reading everyone’s business plans and offering advice on how to move forward with their ideas!
Meanwhile, a huge 500+ people enrolled in WordPress Development for Beginners. Long-time developer Daniel Pataki runs this course and you’ll know him from our blog, Smashing Magazine and his presentations at WordCamps. The course walks students through getting started with PHP and how to build themes and plugins.
Enrollments are now open for three new courses: WordPress Multisite Masterclass, WordPress Development for Intermediate Users, and (by popular demand) James’ hugely successful Dream Small, Market Big & Don’t Do It This Way.
If you’re a WPMU DEV member, you can enroll in any – or all! – of these courses for free!
LinkedIn’s recent purchase of Lynda.com for a cool $1.5 billion dollars raised more than a few eyebrows worldwide, and showed just how valuable companies in the online learning space are becoming.
Lynda.com is one of the industry’s pioneers and has been going strong since 1995, with over 4,000 video courses covering a staggering range of topics. The site is known for reaching out to top experts in each topic, putting considerable effort into production values and offering advanced features such as custom playlists and advanced bookmarking. Pricing is incredibly reasonable also, starting at just €19.95 per month.
WordPress-related content leans towards the beginner end of the spectrum, with courses covering essential training and WordPress workflows being good jumping-off points. More advanced topics such as the WP REST API and site migration are also covered.
The brainchild of Ryan Carson, Treehouse has been going strong since 2011, offering a wide range of online training aimed primarily at technical topics. Pricing is pretty straightforward; you’ve got a straight choice between a basic plan at $25 per month or a pro plan at $49 per month.
Learning options are nicely broken out by different modalities, and you’re free to choose between taking a track, project, or topic-driven path. It’s an interesting approach that enables you to get clear about your overall learning goals straight out of the gate.
Beginners are particularly well-served with introductory courses such as WordPress for website owners, but more advanced users will also find topics of interest such as the WordPress Customizer API course.
Udemy is another of the big players in online education and has served over nine million students across more than 35,000 courses since being founded in 2010. It is more orientated towards being a platform for independent experts to set up their own topics, and courses are individually priced.
A quick search for “WordPress” will get you a solid mix of courses aimed at all levels of experience. Two that stand out for beginners are Andrew Williams’ WordPress for Beginners and Michael Shen’s Create Your Website with WordPress. More advanced users are also catered for with courses such as Brad Hussey’s WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap and Joel Funk’s Ultimate WordPress Plugin Course.
The sites we’ve covered so far offer a huge range of subject areas, but WPSessions is our first purely WordPress affair. You can pay for individual courses or take advantage of a flat rate of $299 for access to all content.
Content is split somewhat arbitrarily between sessions and courses, but both are worth reviewing in detail, as there’s a huge amount of very specific and high-quality content on offer here. Two advanced courses that stand out are WordPress Plugin Development with Composer and Utilizing the WP REST API.
Thanks to their enormously successful theme marketplace, Envato should be a familiar name for most people in the WordPress community. They’re also the people behind our fifth training option, Tuts+. An enticingly low flat rate of $15 per month gets you access to a huge library of learning across over 600 video courses, tutorials and eBooks.
The list of topics on the site in general is vast, so a quick search for “WordPress” is your best bet for getting started quickly. You’ll find a range of material split out across development and design, such as Designing for WordPress and Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development.
The amount of specifically WordPress-related content isn’t enormous, but what’s there is solid and the wider range of subjects covered on the site makes it an attractive learning proposition at the price point.
Skillshare is another generalist provider with courses across a range of creative topics for just $10 a month. WordPress topics are relatively thin on the ground here, but there are a small number of detailed courses on subjects that may be interesting for those near the beginning of their WordPress journey.
Our final choice, WP101, kills two birds with one stone. On the one hand it’s an excellent source of high-quality instructional videos for beginners to get up to speed, and it also offers the ability to provide those videos to clients on a white label basis.
You’ll find a range of introductory videos available for free, while more advanced topics are available to members only. There’s not a huge amount on offer here for advanced users, but it’s early days for the site and they have some interesting partnerships, so we can expect the range of topics to expand rapidly.
The level of progress in online learning in the last few years is genuinely startling. It’s now possible to tackle even the most advanced topics for pennies a day, with access to some of the world’s best teachers across a huge range of topics.
All of the providers on our list have something to offer for different learners, but we’d single out Lynda.com and WPSessions in particular for those at either end of the experience spectrum. Beginners will be excellently served by the former, while experienced WordPress users will find plenty to get their teeth into with the latter.
We’d love to hear how you’re tackling your own learning needs. Are you already using some of the sites we’ve highlighted or do you have other resources to recommend? Get in touch via the comments below and let us know.