Making websites with WordPress

Tonight I’ll be giving an introductory presentation on using WordPress as part of the Trade School workshop series. Unfortunately my session is already full, but I’d like to do this again in the future (perhaps for The Public School?). In any case, here are my presentation slides (pdf).

Trade School has an interesting model: students bring an item or perform a task in exchange for the teacher’s time. In my case these objects (no tasks in my case) fall into two categories: personal enjoyment and materials for my projects. They range in “material value,” but the point for me isn’t so much that I get a fair exchange. Besides, our society is really bad at arriving at a reliable price on education.

When proposing my class I asked that each participant bring one of the following items for barter:

  • 1 page (two-sided) handwritten letter to a stranger
  • A mixed CD of your all-time favorite music
  • A small trinket you wouldn’t mind parting with
  • A low capacity (like 8MB or 16MB) CompactFlash card for digital cameras
  • A Belgian or Belgian-style bottle-fermented beer (something like Ommegang Three Philosophers or Westmalle Tripel)

Here is an outline of the topics I’ll be covering:

  1. How to begin
  2. Demo of how to use wp-admin
  3. WordPress themes
  4. Keeping things running smoothly
    • How to back up
    • Upgrade aggressively
    • Required plugins Links: WP-Super-Cache, Akismet
    • Customization
    • Run your site locally
  5. What to do when things go wrong
    • Remember those backups?
    • Practice restoring from a backup
    • What to do if you get hacked
    • Debugging strategies
    • Where to find help Links: WordPress forums, IRC chat
    • How to find coders