The key in learning complicated things is that you need to be intrinsically motivated. What does that mean? Well, for example, if you wanted to learn web design in order to make a website for your business, you have a clear goal set in front of you.
You know all the benefits and advantages of acquiring this knowledge, which means that even when the going gets tough, you will be motivated by this personal reward.
Next, you need to keep in mind that the best way to learn a thing is by actually doing it. Sure, in most cases making mistakes and learning from them can be incredibly pricey. Luckily, this isn’t the case with web design. Therefore, the easiest, most efficient way to learn web design through WordPress (WP) is to just sit down and start poking around.
Here are a few additional tips on ‘learning by doing’ in WP.
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Take it Easy on Tutorials
First things first, even though WP was made to be extremely intuitive and give you quite a simple grasp of the learning curve, you still may need a bit of theoretical knowledge to back you up. Because of this, you may want to look into some of the best-rated WordPress tutorial websites. Nonetheless, even when it comes to these tutorials you shouldn’t push it too far. Keep in mind that this kind of study is just the first step on your path of learning. In fact, you should tend to it just enough to become comfortable enough for you to actually start designing. A lot of the aforementioned tutorials are actually quite simple and could often be found in a form of video or text.
While most of these tutorials tend to be quite thorough, sometimes you will find yourself face to face with an unknown term. Words like frontend, backend, dashboard, admin, admin area, posts, and pages will be something you will meet on a regular basis. Then, there are also terms such as shortcodes, taxonomies, widgets, custom fields, and permalinks. If at any point, you encounter a term whose meaning you are not familiar with, you can simply look them up on the WordPress dictionary.
Knowledge of CSS Helps with WordPress
Even though in theory you don’t need any knowledge of CSS in order to design in WordPress, keep in mind that WP themes are driven by it. Because of this, you may want to expand your knowledge a bit and learn at least the basics of CSS. Later on, you can learn how to add custom CSS to your WP theme, which might come quite handy. Sure, some will argue that not having to learn the code is the whole point of WP, but additional knowledge can only benefit your web design efforts.
Start a Project
Once you have all the basics figured out, you might want to start a project of your own. In this way, you can apply the theoretical knowledge you have acquired from the aforementioned research and finally get to see what’s what. Starting a blog on wordpress.com is completely free and so are some themes that come along. The best part of it all is that you don’t have to overthink any of it. Most minor mistakes can easily be fixed. If not, well, you can always start over (as we already mentioned, it’s completely free).
After you set up your blog, you can try to inspect it and see how it looks from the inside. All you need to do is press right-click anywhere on the page and then select the ‘inspect element’ option. Now, the panel that pops up may seem scary, but it’s not that big of a deal. On the left, you see the HTML panel and on the right, there is a CSS one. If you have any questions about the specifics of the code, you can just Google them and see first-hand what they stand for. In this way, WP can teach you some basics of the code on its own.
Learn from Others
There is a common saying (attributed to various authors including Wilson Mizner, Ralph Foss, and Steven Wright)- “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; If you steal from many, it’s research.” Although in some cases, this might not be exactly ethical, when it comes to learning this is always the case. In other words, nothing prevents you from simply going to someone else’s website and trying to figure out what they did right or wrong. After you learn a bit of web design, you will get a completely new perspective on this entire field.
The most important reason why people choose to learn things through practice is that all the knowledge acquired this way is bound to stick. As for WordPress itself, this platform is easy to learn, but hard to master. Still, for the time being, the first will be exactly what you need. Once you walk past that threshold of beginner, the whole world of web design will appear less daunting and more inviting. Where you go from there is completely up to you.
Article By: Ryan Burchey is a serial entrepreneur specializing in website design and development. He is the owner of Ryan’s Web Development Sydney.