WordPress is the number one option to set-up your website right now and it will probably stay that way. The biggest reason for this is the simplicity and user-friendly design, but at the same time access to practically unlimited options.
If you have enough interest to start a website, that is enough interest to get you through the basics of WordPress.
And once you get the basics, it’s just a matter of choose-and-pick.
Not to sell WordPress short, there is a reason why WordPress web-design is a lucrative business. It’s not something you manage overnight, you need to put a few hours in.
But it is designed to get out of your way and help you get to the gist of it. The same goes for coding for a new WordPress website project.
WP uses the PHP programming language, as well as HTML and CSS for other needs.
PHP is known as being one of the simpler options when it comes to learning how to code. It’s open-source, free and has a shorter learning curve than most other programming languages.
So, if your needs outgrow the basic WordPress package, you can continue developing by yourself. You wouldn’t be the first one to make this transition, from using WordPress to help you to set-up a web page to using it as a platform for developing your own.
The PHP programming language has a big and engaged community, as well as active and fast support. There really should be no problem finding the materials, as well as support, either with information or motivation.
And just for good measure, learning to code will never be a waste of time. As the internet evolves with lighting speed it might as well be that in the future some form of coding will be considered basic computer skill knowledge.
A good starting point
You don’t have to enrol in a web design or coding academy to start learning how to code. The need, or just the idea of learning how code will present itself naturally.
For me, it was the need to use a custom font that no WordPress theme supported. Uploading a custom font can be done in various different ways, but the one that is important regarding coding is using the style sheet.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a language that you use to organize how different HTML elements will appear – like fonts, colors and sizes. That means that you don’t have to know how to use HTML to use CSS successfully, however it would help.
Useful tip: If you’ve ever wanted to see what makes a specific website special and unique, there is only one way to go about it – using a WordPress plugin detector.
Learning how to use CSS is fairly simple if you keep it simple.
For beginner tweaks like changing fonts, colors and sizes, it boils down to pasting just a few very simple lines of code into the “Additional CSS” area. You can access it from the Appearance menu in your WordPress dashboard by choosing the Customize option.
Once you open the WordPress Customizer you can choose the Additional CSS option in the menu on the left.
The empty box is where you can write the code for the changes you need. A big help is that this editor will warn you if you make any obvious mistakes in your code.
Just like spellcheck, it will highlight your mistakes.
From here on, it’s easy pickings. Start by changing colours, fonts or sizes manually. All it takes is basic searches for how to do it via CSS, and just past the codes into the editor.
In a short while, you will remember some of the code and you will start to do it by yourself.
When all else fails – Reset!
On your path of learning the skill of coding you will surely have ups and downs.
Mistakes are bound to happen.
If they don’t it means you are not playing on your edge, you are not testing yourself.
There is no reason to be scared of these mistakes because there is a reset button. WebFactory has developed a plugin for developers and those starting out. It’s called the WP Reset and it boasts as “the most advanced WordPress reset tool”.
Be it beginner developing mistakes, be it experienced developing mistakes or just using a bad plugin, the WP Reset comes to the rescue.
WP Reset is designed to make its use simple and fast. It’s like using an eraser when solving a math problem.
Search for it in the Plugins > Add New option.
Keep in mind, though we do recommend it, this is not the only reset plugin. So try not to get lost when searching for it.
You can recognize it by the red and black ying-yang like arrows that make up the logo.
Once you download it first you need to activate it in the Plugins > Installed plugins, and you can access it from there since you are already there.
Usually, it can be accessed from the Tools menu. When you open the WP Reset plugin the first thing you will see is a big list of all its functions.
There will also be a reminder to take SNAPSHOTS before you reset your page.
As we said, WP Reset is optimized so it can get you back to your customizing and developing in no time.
Snapshots act as backups or checkpoints to which you can return. That way there is no fear of losing any data you didn’t plan on losing.
This is exactly why WP Reset is such a great tool when learning to code. You can experiment with your new coding skills and try them out without fearing any unwanted irreversible changes.
The fact is, when learning to code, a lot of times you won’t even know there you screwed up. It’s just the nature of the game.
This is why just backtracking and correcting mistakes just isn’t enough, or even possible. That is why you use WP Reset, to get you back to that point where you know everything is working and there is overseen bug that will haunt you as you code.
So with Snapshots, not only can you set-up checkpoints to revert to when everything goes wrong, they will “protect” your work from the resetting function of WP Reset.
These are the basics! If you are just starting out with WordPress and just getting hang of the plugins and everything, or you want to try your hand ad coding – there is no way around it.
WP Reset is one of the basic tools in your tool web design tool belt. It will give you a sense of safety once you start tweaking your page.