Head First WordPress
A Brain-Friendly Guide to Creating Your Own Custom WordPress Blog
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 2010
Pages: 370

Whether you’re promoting your business or writing about your travel adventures, Head First WordPress will teach you not only how to make your blog look unique and attention-grabbing, but also how to dig into the more complex features of WordPress 3.0 to make your website work well, too.

You’ll learn how to move beyond the standard WordPress look and feel by customizing your blog with your own URL, templates, plugin functionality, and more. As you learn, you’ll be working with real WordPress files: The book’s website provides pre-fab WordPress themes to download and work with as you follow along with the text.

  • Gain immediate experience with WordPress 3.0, the June 2010 release of the software
  • Get your site up and running by setting up a MySQL database and creating configuration files
  • Work with the Wordpress platform to create posts and pages, learn the difference between tags and categories, edit content, moderate comments, and manage spam
  • Explore how to extend Wordpress with plugins and templates
  • Convert custom designs (in HTML and CSS) into functional themes and use them in WordPress

We think your time is too valuable to waste struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First WordPress uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

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O'Reilly MediaHead First WordPress
 
4.1

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (10)
  • Helpful examples (9)
  • Accurate (6)
  • Well-written (6)
  • Concise (5)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (10)
    • Intermediate (5)
    • Student (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (8), Designer (7), Sys admin (4)

    Reviewed by 13 customers

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    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    2014: outdated

    By Fred Flintstone

    from NYC

    About Me Designer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Difficult to understand
      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

        The Head First series is great. I think it's the best learning format out of all books by far.
        However, as of 2014, this book is outdated. The theme on which this book is based is no longer. Therefore, you can't even get past chapter 2.
        And due to updates in WordPress, even installation did not make sense.

        Lots of typos too!

         
        4.0

        A good guide for starters

        By Binoy

        from Kuwait

        About Me Maker, Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

          A good book with details on how to build a wordpress based web content. It appears that the book has focused on the beginners; however, it is a good read for others as well.

           
          5.0

          Concise but Deep when it's Needed

          By shawnday

          from Dublin, Ireland

          About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate
            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

            Head First by Jeff Siarto is one of a superb series of Head First books that adopt a visual approach to teaching. This particular volume is very well done and offers a deeply basic introduction to setting cup, configuring and managing a WordPress blog. It takes a new user through the basics and then provides a hands-on practical experience with all the appropriate skills to meet basic to intermediate user demands. It is well written and comprehensively delivered and if you are either a visual learner or a person who does not want to sit down with a stock manual than this is the approach for you. It combines exercises so you can pursue a self-directed and paced course while at the same time finding enough background information when demanded to make you a skilled blog administrator.

            Not a criticism, but merely a guidance, this is a largely basic text as it advertises. Ten next topics are identified and given one-page treatments at the end of the volume and for me those where I would really have liked to explore further - but then that is the point. This volume gets you in and doing and thereby gain familiarity. It gets you and you blog up and running and runs through some common avenues of customization taking you into the WordPress cycle and working with themes and plugins to meet your needs. It doesn't deman familiarity with PHP, although there you go you'll be working away modifying themes (in the approved fashion) to suit a variety of challenges. I was pleased to see it venture into security issues as this is something that inevitable emerges and the chapter on 'Locking it down' gives some great advice and identifies good practice and available plug-ins to accomplish this.

            I really like the approach taken and it works for me. Siarto has a great style and this book will not disappoint those looking to gain an immediate and up to intermediate familiarity with how and what you can do with WordPress. Fun, fast, and deep where it needs to be, this is a recommended read.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Great for Designers and Wordpress Noobs

            By firmtofu

            from MKE

            About Me Designer, Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples

            Cons

            • Not about themes

            Best Uses

            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

            I am a designer/developer. I found this book to be an easy read. Some things like setting up a server and how to make a post were very, very basic, but none the less, the author did a good job of making things understandable. Knowing CSS and understanding bits of PHP would be recommended before reading this. 90% of what I needed to do to customize my site was done through CSS.

            It was refreshing to see examples in the book appear the same way within the Wordpress environment. I wasn't left wandering around the Wordpress interface looking for a button or a file.

            This book is NOT for people who are trying to create their own themes or customize Wordpress's php. Rather, the book simply breaks it down on how easy it is to set up a simple wordpress blog and skin it. As you'll find after reading, most of the files in Wordpress you won't even need to touch. Prior to this book, I've looked at all of the Wordpress files and thought this wasn't going to be easy.

            This would be a great starter book for working with wordpress, but it leaves me wanting a sequel for more advanced techniques... custom themes, developing plug-ins and using custom widgets in non-typical situations.

             
            4.0

            Get your head into WordPress

            By Dave Greenbaum

            from Lawrence, KS

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

            "Head First Wordpress" is a funny and iririrreveren guide to getting yourself up and running with Wordpress in a engaging and dynamic way. This is part technical manual, part exercise guide and part comic book - a weird amalgamation of learning modalities that keeps the reader from skipping over critical sections and avoids talking down to the user or above their head. This is a excellent intermediate to advanced guide.

            This isn't a reference guide but a how to book not just about the technical aspects of Wordpress, but how to create a really great site using Wordpress as an example. The book gives varying viewpoints on the nuances of a site such as ftp clients, themes and most importantly, security. You'll learn how to use categories and tags effectively (they always confuse me). After completing the exercises in this book you'll have a rock-solid site designed via Wordpress and know how to fix and modify it. You'll know which functions are important and how to incorporate them into your site. Kick your consultant to the curb because after this you won't need `em.

            Even though I've read multiple books on Wordpress and have many sites already up and running, I wish I read this book from the beginning. I learned way too much the hard way and this book covers it all. The format made it a quick and easy read and although they say don't skip the exercises, I did because I already have a site up and running. An excellent table of contents and index made it easy to find the features I wanted to learn about and skip the stuff I already knew

            Pros: Outstanding how-to guide to creating a Wordpress site and optimizing its features as well as taking your site to the next level.

            Cons: Not for beginners or those that don't like cute fun. If you think a mullet is unprofessional or are afraid to rip the tags off your mattress, this book isn't for you.

             
            5.0

            Top Notch!

            By MichaelW

            from Hastings, MN

            About Me Designer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Novice

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

              I learned more about Wordpress in the 2 hours it took me to work through this book than in the many many hours I spent reading documentation online!

              THANK YOU!

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Excellent Word Press intro

              By Jaype

              from Chicago IL

              About Me Designer, Developer, Sys Admin

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate
                • Novice

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

                Head First has a great visual teaching style that will help you set up your first Word Press site. You'll learn all you need to know about installing, configuring, and administering your blog. It's great for beginners and intermediate users. It's probably too basic for advanced users though.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Great Beginner Book

                By The Professional Heretic

                from Independence, MO

                About Me Designer, Developer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Easy to understand
                • Helpful examples
                • Well-written

                Cons

                • Not comprehensive enough
                • Not enough on themes

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate
                • Novice

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

                Head First WordPress by Jeff Siarto is a very interesting book for a first time WordPress blogger. Part of the O'Reilly Press "Head First" series which offers a quick introduction to a topic with a quirky and off beat style, this book follows well in that trend.

                The book starts with the installation process, which has become much simpler and it goes through most of the normal administration tasks as well as the normal day-to-day operations of a blog. I have enjoyed the book's style and I appreciate how he addresses many points of note for the new administrator or author.  However, I was disappointed that there wasn't more information on theme development and plug-in or functions.php coding. These are topics which, as a former administrator of a larger blog and current administrator of my own and possibly another one, I am most interested in.

                There are a few tricks I have picked up along the way with this book that I didn't always know or think about earlier, especially when it comes to embedding media such as video and audio, but overall, I didn't get as much out of this as I would have liked.

                Having said that, I would tell you that if you are just starting a blog or you're about to take over administering a blog, get this book, read it, and then when you feel comfortable, enter the WordPress developer and administrator community and you will enter in good stead.

                (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Good Book for Beginners

                By dpeach

                from Pensacola, FL

                About Me Developer, Sys Admin, User

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Chapter on Securing WP
                • Great for beginners

                Cons

                • No depth of topics
                • Too basic

                Best Uses

                • Novice

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

                This is the first book in the Head First series I have read. I thought it was a great book for someone who has never installed WordPress before. The book format makes it a little less daunting than I think most people imagine WordPress to be. For that, the author and O'Reilly did a great job.

                If you have ever installed WordPress previously and used it for any length of time, then you should probably skip this title. Everything is an overview. While there is some talk about theme modification and setting up more advanced page structures, you probably learned that already just managing a WordPress install. As a current user of WordPress, you should not look to this book to be a reference that will take you to the next level.

                The advanced topics it did cover seemed to be skimmed over. As a podcaster, I was thrilled to see that there was a whole chapter dedicated to podcasting. Though it was not handled poorly (in fact, it was one of the best explanations of how podcasts work that I have read), there was not nearly enough information for a reader to confidently set up his own podcast.

                Looking at this book on the shelf and reading through the chapter titles, I would have been thrilled at the thought that I could learn how to modify a theme and set up a podcast. The truth is that the overviews given throughout the book show that I would have been better off buying books on specific topics.

                When I was given this book as a review copy, I really thought I would learn something about WordPress. But having been a user and administrator of WordPress blogs since 2005, there was little in this book for me.

                The two biggest strengths of the book are that it alleviates the fear of installing WordPress and it has an excellent chapter on securing WordPress. However, the biggest problem, even for a new user, is that nothing is covered in sufficient detail for a reader to confidently say they understand what they are doing with their WordPress install.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                A great fit - for a specific audience

                By BrianMulawka

                from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

                About Me Communicator, Designer, Developer, Social Networker

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Concise
                • Easy to understand

                Cons

                • Requires background info

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First WordPress:

                Summary: Very practical, in-depth guide to setting up, customizing and using WordPress blogs – but does require a fair bit of background knowledge

                Head First WordPress Book Review"Head First WordPress" by Jeff Siarto does a great job providing helpful and often very in-depth information about how to use the WordPress blogging software. To really get the most out of the book, though, you do need a fair bit of prior knowledge to go with it.

                The book is presented in the light-hearted style consistent to the "Head First" series, and I've always enjoyed that style, especially for quite technical – and often quite boring – information. It starts by outlining the steps required to set up a blog, then gives detailed customization information and concludes with some creative suggestions on how to use your new site.

                I would strongly recommend the book to anyone thinking of using a WordPress blog, or considering new uses for existing blogs, but with one caveat. There are a few spots in the book where a fair bit of technical knowledge is assumed in areas like HTML/CSS coding, web server setup and so on. If you're willing to fill in the blanks in any areas where you might be missing some background knowledge, then this is definitely one of the best WordPress guides you'll find.

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