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Need your input for WordCamp SF Presentation!

Oct. 4, 2014

Hi everyone,

I'll be presenting at upcoming WordCamp San Francisco on the topic of "The Art of n00b: Tips for Beginners in the World of WordPress". I'm super excited to talk about my experience as a WP beginner, and I'd love to include any of your tips as well. It's a "flash" talk, so time is limited, but I'm thinking of possibly including a link to a separate blog post including what I can't cover in the talk itself. Anyways, I would love to hear your ideas on any of the following:

- Your best advice to new arrivals to the WP community looking to get more involved
- Beginner resources you can't do without
- Folks/blogs to follow
- Tactics/methods you used to just build as much as you can (I think this "production mode" was - and continues to be - a great way for me to grow - make, make, make!)
- Other words of wisdom for n00bs

Thanks everyone. Please let me know if you DON'T want me to mention you in the talk. Like I said, I probably can't get all your sagely wisdom in there, but I can definitely get some :)

14 votes   Flag
Vladimir Prelovac

Congrats on the opportunity! And looking forward to meeting you there together with the rest of ManageWP.org community.

I just shared this managewp.org/articles/7798/the-most-detailed-how-to-start-a-blog-guide-i-ve-seen perhaps you can get some ideas from there.

As for folks/blogs to follow it is clear - if you follow ManageWP.org you follow them all :)

Tom Harrigan

- Learn to do things the WordPress way rather than looking for shortcuts or plugins that seem like magic
- Never, ever use the code editor from Appearance -> Editor. Understand how FTP works.
- Ask for help before leaving 1 star ratings on .org plugins. The plugin devs have spent time and effort, for free, to get that plugin to you, give them the chance to help you before bashing their work
- If you want to learn, find people in the community you respect and read everything they produce. For writers, I like Chris Lemas blog a lot. Tom McFarlin has a great blog.
- wordpress.stackexchange.com is probably the best place in the world for code questions
- Read the codex
- If doing consulting work, get good at CSS, understand template tags. Take pride in your craft, you're representing the community. When I see "consultants" who can only point, click, change settings and install plugins, it makes me sad...and also angry.
- If the Codex doesn't have what you need, read the source code. There are lots of inline docs
- The IRC channels are also great. I frequent #wordpress and #woocommerce a lot.
- Find a local meetup. They're everywhere
- Whatever you're working on is never going to be good enough to you. Accept that. Publish it. Iterate fast. The only way to improve is to get you code/writing in front of people. Get feedback, fix, rinse, repeat.

Matt Cromwell

- To get involved: Contribute regularly with questions and contributions in the Plugin/Theme Repo
- Blogs to follow: Follow Lucy Beer at webtrainingwheels.com/
- Tools: Buy DesktopServer to have a local playground you can break and recreate and destroy again. Best investment you'll make
- Advice: Muscian's say "instruments are jealous things", meaning, if you put it down for too long it'll never let you play it well again. Same thing with all things Web, practice as often as possible and build on your previous knowledge, do what you can to build on knowledge rather than re-learn the same thing over and over again.

Looking forward to hearing it Mickey!

Michael Beil

So many good pointers this far!

A few thoughts:
- Persevere. Don't give up when you don't understand something. Baby steps.
- Challenge yourself to do something scary and new everyday. This could be new in general, but definitely along the lines of learning a new function, language, programming method, etc.
- Have fun! Take a break when you need to and connect with others in the WordPress community.

Tim Nash

I think my advice would be:
Get along to WordPress Meetups, WordCamps and other local events, and bring the discussion offline it also allows you to make amazing connections. Don't have a local meet up start one?

My second advice, don't be put off by people talking about contributing no one expects you to start submitting patches into core, squashing bugs etc If you want to help there are many ways, but one of the simplest is simply to talk about WordPress, what you do with it, what you want it to do be it with co-workers friends, or the guy you met on the subway (just remember to not creep them out)

When and if you are ready and can help answer someones query or just point them in the right direction then do, again this doesn't have to be complex, simple "hey I did it this way" sort of thing and it doesn't have to be on WordPress.org, their are many locations to contribute, be it Facebook Groups, Chat rooms, ManageWP.org etc

My final bit of advice, be careful about following advice, WordPress has grown up fast and a lot has been written about it, if you are reading posts, check the date while some resources are timeless others maybe referencing older versions. It's always worth checking for other sources or asking questions either online or at your local WordPress group.

Mark Gavalda

I know it's self promotional and I don't do this very often (or do I? :) ) but I think the History and Ecosystem longread we put together is an excellent starting point for newbies! kinsta.com/learn/wordpress-history/

Mickey Kay

Great tips everyone! Feeling gratitude.