How to do stuff in WordPress when you don’t know how to do stuff in WordPress.

It’s a common thing. Many people want to set up a website of their own for a blog or a small business and can’t afford to hire a freelancer or agency to do it for them, so they read up a bit and ask around their friends and land with WordPress.

It’s fair enough, it powers (currently) 25% of all new sites on the internet, including this one, and 30% of ALL online eCommerce sites run WooCommerce on WordPress. And as the BBC would point out, other eCommerce systems are available. Which means that WordPress powers MORE than 30% of all the eCommerce sites online. Shopping is a long way from blogging.

It’s pretty simple to get to grips with. If you have used a word processor to write a document before you are already half way to being able to use a basic WP install. It’s all about the writing after all. But there are other things you can do. Millions of them. This is where it all falls down. WordPress as a tool is both simple and complex at the same time. Like a Swiss army knife with a million attachments that only shows you the first six until you need to get something out of a horses foot.

Want to run a blog? Simple. Run it out of the box with the default theme of the year. There you go, done.

Want to put your shop online? Refer to paragraph 2.

But what do you do when you get stuck?

There are plenty of tutorial sites on the internet and as usual Google is your frenemy. Type your problem and watch a thousand answers to your question appear. You, of course, being new to the whole game have no idea which if any are right so stick with me and I’ll tell you.

Number one choice is any link that leads to Stack Overflow. All of life’s programming questions are answered there.

Number two is any link that leads to CSS Tricks. If the problem you have is in the way your chosen theme looks or behaves then here is where to start. It has a WP specific section full of helpful snippets of code too.

Number three, which before anyone starts I agree could easily be number one is http://codex.wordpress.org/. This is aimed more at the technically minded user I think, and in my experience isn’t always the easiest explanation of a thing. On the other hand it will teach you everything you could ever need to know if you just look hard enough.

Smashing Magazine, Lynda.com and Sitepoint are also good places to look to help you get started with tutorials.

Anyway… The point.

As part of my ongoing and yet, usually, failing mission to write more I’ve decided to write some simple tutorials myself. And believe me they will be simple. I get asked regularly by beginners how to do what I may think, and I’m not an expert by far, are the simplest things. They’re only simple if you know how to do it though. So instead of answering the same questions over again I’m going to answer them here in their own special section of a site nobody visits. If this site is basically my shed, I’ll leave the tutorials on the WordPress shelf over there on the left. If you want to ask me a question tweet me with the hashtag #WPshelf and we’ll see what happens.