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11 Online Places To Learn WordPress Inside And Out (Paid And Free Options)

Posted on March 18 by in Resources | 52 comments

11 Online Places To Learn WordPress Inside And Out (Paid And Free Options)

WordPress is running over 17% of the Internet nowadays (and that number keeps growing). It’s being listed as a job skill on job boards. It’s what the technical and non-technical alike are using to build websites. Simple date-based blogs to full-fledged e-commerce solutions and news agency sites are being built with this same core functionality.

So it’s time we learned about this open source software, and time to learn where we can do that learning!

The great thing is that some sources for learning WordPress are free! Better quality, more structured training may come at a small price, but when you think of how well you’d be able to sell yourself on the job market after learning WordPress professionally, they are totally worth the pocket change.

Another great thing is that different resources can apply to different learning levels. Whether you want to learn WordPress from scratch, or learn the latest techniques to grow your development skills with WordPress, the Internet is a great place to do that.

Here is our list of 11 online places to learn WordPress!

1) Lynda.com with Morten Rand-Hendriksen (paid)

lynda-wp-masterclass

This is a super professional way to learn WordPress and is feature rich. Not only are the training videos quality-made, they also come with course files, FAQ abilities, and transcripts, to allow for different learning styles (in case you like reading better than watching a video).

Some videos feature a very fast talking, which are harder to follow, but the more frequently authored ones are by Morten Rand-Hendriksen who takes a very step-by-step and easy-to-understand approach to teaching WordPress. He’ll even use his Legos to help you understand the concept of child themes, if it comes down to it.

But Lynda is not just for learning WordPress, and this is an important point. If you want to get really good at WordPress, you also need to know about other coding fundamentals. Heck, you even need to know how to be a good writer or business owner to make a living from WordPress. Lynda has training on all of that. Here is how Morten describes it:

Lynda.com is a full-breadth training library and resource for web design, development, graphic design, professional skills, management, and beyond. WordPress is one of a large number of sub-segments that are covered in the library and all the different segments within the library are tightly knit together. To fully understand and master WordPress you need skills in everything from core languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP) to UX design, content management, project management, server infrastructure, and beyond. The lynda.com library covers all this and more, all presented by industry leading professionals. We are not geared towards one specific group but rather have options for anyone whether they are starting from scratch, come at the topic from a design or development perspective to solve a specific problem, or want to become a professional designer, developer, or both.

What differentiates our WordPress training is that that we have a far broader range and depth of WordPress courses – and the supporting courses that help them truly be successful as WordPress professionals – than our competition.  Unlike many other WordPress training options, we cover all of the market segments … (beginner, intermediate, advanced, designer, developer, manager, etc). We provide a holistic learning experience that supports everyone from the web designer looking to design beautiful WordPress sites, the web developer looking to build apps on top of the WP core, the business or editorial manager who needs to simply have control over the content they publish, and everyone in-between those personas.

2) Team Treehouse with Zac Gordon (paid with free trials)

teamtreehouse-wordpress-training

Another high quality and professional option for learning WordPress along with other coding essentials, this site formalizes training by offering videos, transcriptions (broken down by the second), project files and forum boards. To help complete the learning cycle, there are also quizzes to take. They have a “Workspace” that you can use to start coding and launching websites within their system. In addition to their browser-based site and iPad app, they also allow you to download their videos using iTunes.

There are two amazing things about training with Treehouse:

  1. Their user interface is very well designed and super easy to navigate and use – you won’t get lost, wonder where you are or what the purpose of each page is for. This is essential for a learning environment.
  2. Their WordPress presenter, Zac Gordon, is slow-paced (in a good way), gradual and extremely clear when teaching. The progress and logic makes sense and you can easily follow along. You can both absorb what you’re watching on the screen and what you’re listening to with the vocal instructions.

Treehouse is ‘5 star’ quality WordPress training and caters to both beginners and advanced users.

3) WP Beginner by Awesome Motive Inc. (free)

As their name says, this is for beginners; like, absolute beginners. If you are a developer, this is the site you would send your clients to so they know how to use the site you just built them. If you have never been exposed to WordPress and are trying to learn how to set things up on your own as a DIY user, this is a good starting point.

The great thing is that it’s a free resource with several types of content – written articles, videos, guides, a useful glossary; the whole gambit. They’re also very open about what they use to run their own site, many of which are freely available or well-known plugins. They’ve also got a newsletter to send you multiple types of content, including coupons.

The only catch to getting into their video area is that you have to sign up with your e-mail address. Not a difficult sacrifice to make when you consider the quality of free training you’ll get in return.

There are no extended materials beyond the videos in the members-only area. This means no transcripts or formal teaching materials. Just straight up video content.

4) WP Apprentice by Kirk Biglione (paid)

wp-apprentice

This is an option for those who want to build their own website and have never done anything like this before. It can also be good for those who are not technical and want to be able to manage their own site that a developer made for them. However, it also has some very basic-level tutorials that you could get for free through some of our other mentioned resources.

Beginner-level topics include things like “Using Screen Options” and “How to Use WordPress Widgets.”

On the flip side, the course offerings also include some more intermediate-level courses such as the “WordPress Theme Mechanics Webinar,” which helps you understand the inner workings of a WordPress theme.

The presenter is very calm and speaks slowly, which makes it a great option for those who really need a lot of hand holding, or want to take notes as the video is playing. Here is how Kirk, the owner, explains WP Apprentice’s differentiation in the WordPress learning market:

The first iteration of my course was actually designed for my clients. These are non-technical business people who need to get up to speed quickly. After a time I realized that more people could benefit from this sort of training. Most of the other WordPress training sites out there seem to assume some level of web design/development experience.

I sometimes feel like those other courses are created by developers for other developers. That’s definitely not the case with my training. I work on the assumption that my members have almost no experience creating websites.  It’s actually something of a challenge and I find myself constantly refining the course to make various web concepts more clear to the web novice.  As an example, last year I added a web basics module to the course when I realized that members were struggling with basic concepts like FTP and DNS.  I continue to expand the training based on member feedback.

As for the individual lessons, I try to add some depth to the training by explaining the hows and whys. It’s really not enough to give a novice a list of steps that they need to go through without providing some background along the way.  I also try to anticipate common pitfalls that trip up new WordPress users.

5) WP101 by Shawn Hesketh (paid, with free samples)

wp-101

These are easy-to-understand, medium-paced videos on the fundamentals of WordPress. This is another resource a developer could use to send their clients to, much like WP Beginner (in fact, they’ve got white label options and a plugin available for developers who want to use their videos for their clients).

This is not where you would go to learn how to develop WordPress sites. The “Intermediate” videos, for example, explain what RSS is and how to understand permalinks. It’s a great resource for bloggers and content creators who want to switch to using WordPress, or who have just begun using WordPress as a website for showcasing their work.

The site itself also has a Q&A Forum available for paying members, which may come in handy for more learning.

6) WordPress.tv by Automattic (free)

wordpresstv-photo

This is where all the talks from the amazing WordCamps are posted. The great thing about WordPress.tv is that even if you didn’t get to attend all the live talks you wanted to see at a WordCamp (since they overlap during conference schedules or are too far to get to), you can reference them here later. The only downside is that the event videos are slow to make it on to this site after they’ve happened. So you’d still be better off attending WordCamp anyway (and make new friends while you’re at it!).

7) WebDesign.com by iThemes (paid)

web-design-dot-com-wordpress-live-training

This extensive training library is brought to you by the same company behind iThemes, which develops products like BackupBuddy, Exchange and many other plugins and themes. The topics covered are vast and suitable for advanced or intermediate WordPress users. It’s great for designers or developers who want to brush up their skills or start selling web development services as freelancers.

Their WordPress training courses are a little different than others in this list, in that they are presented as live sessions that include chat and interactivity between the listeners and the presenter.

That being said, the recorded versions can be cumbersome to watch only because the presenter takes the time to answer questions and deal with technical issues during the webinar, which may not be applicable after the event is over. However, the live web-based events are excellent and informative, especially considering they are given in a group setting to people of various learning levels. The teaching is clear and sequenced.

Do note that their webinar schedule can be taken up by sessions that show you how to use their iThemes’ products. It’s not the only thing they teach, so be sure to check out their upcoming schedule and the library of past videos to see if they’ve got topics that would interest you.

8) BlogAid by MaAnna Stephenson (paid but starts at $1)

blog-aid-wordpress-classes-video

When I first saw this site, I thought, ‘this is so cool!’ The name was very fitting for the content it provided. Then when I saw what was in the members-only video library I thought, ‘WOW!’

The instruction is very high quality, very sequenced and very easy to follow. The best part? A 20-video set starts at just $1 for a six-month subscription. Yes, just $1. The second-best part? It’s not just WordPress training – the advanced library (which costs more) includes training on basic SEO and MailChimp as well. Essentially, you get the fundamentals for setting up a new site and marketing it well.

MaAnna is the host on all these videos, and also offers live training or pay-as-you-go sessions to help you get your site going. This is the perfect solution for business owners who want to make their own websites and need the helping hand of an expert along the way at an extremely reasonable price.

The thing I love about the videos is that MaAnna doesn’t forget to explain the little nuances that create question marks inside our heads when we first start using WordPress and some of its popular plugins (like what each little TinyMCE editing button does, or why hitting “enter” on our keyboard in Text mode doesn’t create an extra space between lines on the ‘front’ end of our site). Every little thing on the screen that she’s working with is explained. But it doesn’t drag out or get exhausting. There are no “uuuuummms” and “aaannnds” that make the videos boring. They are well paced, well prepared and well delivered.

Here is how MaAnna describes her courses:

What makes this library unique is that my videos are super easy to see, hear, and understand. I set a high standard for quality content and production.

My teaching style is very focused and explains everything to a non-geek audience. The library also has depth to help new site owners advance through their learning, and to help experienced site owners harness the full power of WordPress. The library is kept up to date, and I keep the format consistent.

9) BobWP by Bob Dunn (paid)

bob-wp-tutorials

Bob Dunn is a WordPress consultant and avid blogger who recently started his own training site with videos and written tutorials. He is very calm when teaching and takes his time to explain things so you can follow along and take notes. These aren’t formalized training sessions with sequenced modules and quizzes, but rather a casual way to get started with WordPress by being able to watch a video on something you need to learn on a whim. For example, learning how to use a plugin or particular theme, or finding out what would happen if you changed your theme.

This type of training is geared towards the DIY WordPress user who wants to learn how to set up a website quickly and easily. With that said, most of his examples and tutorials cover either Genesis or WooThemes. If you’re having trouble setting up a site using either of those frameworks, you’ll probably get some valuable help from BobWP training.

10) Udemy courses by various authors (free and paid)

udemy-courses-wp

Udemy is a platform that delivers training on all sorts of subjects, and WordPress is a big topic being taught there. Like Lynda.com, you can learn a variety of topics in one place.  But it would be far fetched to say that Udemy is similar to Lynda’s courses. Here anybody can host a course on pretty much anything, while using the interface and tools that Udemy provides, which are excellent. The user interface and intuitiveness behind Udemy makes it easy to navigate through course material, take notes, have discussions, see your course progress and of course, watch videos. Udemy also has apps that work well on mobile phones and tablets, which increases the accessibility of course content.

Each course is run by an independent author. The caveats with these ‘open’ platforms for delivering course content is that there is virtually no quality control apart from the ratings that learners give to each course. So you might win with some, or you might lose, but either way, you can try out a few to get your feet wet, until you find a presenter that suits your style.

11) WPSessions by Brian Richards (paid with free samples)

This is a new(er) place to learn about niche topics related to WordPress, much like WordPress.tv. Instead of being structured courses or tutorials, the presentation style of the videos is more like the specialized talks given at WordCamp gatherings (designed that way on purpose). The next one coming up, for example, is about building a membership site.

These are not targeted at beginner-level students, and some of them delve deep into plugin development and coding tactics that require you to have a previous background in WordPress to be able to catch on.

The sessions are given by WordPress experts over Google Hangout. The owner, Brian, hosts multiple experts in a session, each of which takes a turn speaking about a sub topic. For the time being, some of the sessions are paid, while a few are free. The idea is that eventually they will all be free.

To Conclude: there’s more than one way to learn WordPress!

The great thing with this list is that not all the options will cost you, especially if you are brand new to WordPress. There are multiple places to learn WordPress and you can sample them all until you find the one with the teaching style and method that works well for you.

None of these training sites will replace the school of trial and error, however, which is often the best way to learn. You’ll need to practice, practice, and practice more! Sometimes the struggle of trying to apply what you’ve learned is the best way to get good at something. So even if you’re undecided on a training resource right now, try playing with WordPress, seeing what you can catch with your own wit alone, and then finding a training program that suits your learning level.

52 Comments

  1. Excellent resources Joyce. +1 for both MaAnna and Bob who understand where a beginner is coming from and have a knack for speaking on those terms.

    • Hi Bob
      I’m a big fan of Bob Dunn and as you say he keeps things simple but still teaches you something.

      Bob has also produced a lot of Genesis videos, which I believe are free.

  2. FWIW, “WordPress is used by 60.2% of all the websites whose content management system we know.”

    http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all

    That comprises 21.6% of all known websites, but doesn’t mean that the same ratio isn’t running WordPress, just that they don’t know what they are running on.

    So, simply saying it appears that “most” websites run on WordPress (as far as we know) would be accurate.

    • Thanks James, this would be a great stat to show my non-WordPress-using friends and gloat about it :)

  3. Loads of good resources there.
    I can recommend Lynda as I have been using it recently. Also Udemy often has offers and sales on, I recently bought a coders bundle through cult of mac deals for what worked out at £5 for (I think) 7 courses.
    Also, when you buy from Udemy, you have those courses for life, unlike lynda where you need an ongoing subscription.

    But I have to say, you have overlooked the forum and blog here at Elegant Themes,
    I have learnt so much from reading through the support forums here. There are true genius people on this site and working for ET.
    Some of the quick CSS tricks posted on the blog really get the imagination going about what is possible.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

    • Hi Ed, I didn’t mean to overlook things :) That’s why I put a specific number in the title, saying I’ve only got “11” – you can see I tried to stick to video courses that are more structured. There are so many blogs and google-able resource online yes, and that’s also how learned. Sometimes though I find that I could save a lot of time by just going with something more structured :)

  4. Once again I am impressed by this blog’s content, I am definately keeping this info handy. Can you recommend any developer companies that do both coding and training on how to customize Elegant Themes?

    • I don’t have any companies to recommend for Elegant Themes specifically, but there are a lot of great places online to find freelance developers. You might check out Microlancer, which is a new freelancer community with a focus on WordPress.

    • Hello Anne,
      I’ve worked a lot with the great themes of Elegant Themes, and am able to do customizing of the themes. Also, I’m planning to give trainings from may 2014.

      Regards, Marcel

  5. Some great pointers here, but also there’s a lot to learn from blogs, including this one. A few well chosen subscriptions can seriously improve your knowledge.

    • Yes that’s true. It’s a different kind of learning, but blogs are great for keeping up your knowledge and staying current.

  6. Hi there!!

    Great post!! I’m writing a WordPress course and I ignored the existence of this sites. Good info Joyce ;)

    • Yes I also realized as I was researching this, that there are already so many resources, I probably don’t need to do manual training with my clients – I could just send them to these sites where the wheel has already been invented :)

  7. Justin Tadlock, Pippin Williamson and Konstatin Kovshenin (just to name a few) provide solid in-depth knowledge on their sites. Either free or premium for less than $10. Worth every cent :)

  8. you forgot all the you tube videos that are available also

    • Thanks Ruth. I didn’t forget them. I knew they existed. I was going for something more structured and admittedly there are so many resource for learning WordPress, so I specified in the title that this list only has 11 of those options.

  9. Joyce,

    Great list! I used some of those resources back when I was a WordPress noob myself.

    As a long time customer of Elegant Themes – and ET Blog subscriber, I’d love to throw my own WordPress Video Tutorial Site here as well if you don’t mind.

    http://GuessPress.com

    We have WordPress video tutorials as well (all free of charge to access). We also take requests to help out as many as we can facilitate.

    If anyone needs help with something WordPress related (Including several popular plugins – and all Elegant Themes products) we will be happy to take your requests (again….all free of charge to create and access).

    To make a request, simply visit: http://guesspress.com/wordpress-video-tutorial-requests/

    We’ll be happy to oblige.

  10. Thank you everyone for all the positive comments! Glad you’re finding this useful!

  11. Wow, thanks for the mention, Joyce! Happy to be listed among such great learning resources. We’ll be rapidly expanding our learning content in coming months, so stay tuned! ;)

    • Of course! If it’s a good resource it deserves to be on here :)

  12. I send my clients over to http://wpbeginner.com … they offer free tutorial videos and maintain a very useful blog for more advanced users.

  13. Would LOVE to see a series of tutorials on building webpages with DIVI. Not how to build “Cheesy” looking websites which so many of these listed above teach…how to build “real world” nice looking webpages. Maybe take a site like Nike or Adidas, deconstruct it and reconstruct it using DIVI and WordPress!

    • Hi Robbie, I don’t think any of the above listed resources teach you how to make ‘cheesy’ websites. They teach you the fundamentals that you need to then go out and make your own site. If your site turns out cheesy after you’ve started implementing the techniques you’ve learned, that would be due to your own efforts :) But I do think it would be nice to have more tutorials of DIVI, or a showcase of how far you can take it.

      • We’re actually about to release a series of in-depth wordpress tutorials covering absolute beginners to more advanced tutorials (how to create a real estate listing site, how to create a job board, stuff like that) – as well as comprehensive tutorials on working with Divi and brief tutorials on customizing the previous themes.

        They’ll all be free to watch and use, I can send you links once they’ve been released for anyone who is interested. Don’t want to spam anything on here.

        • Please add in your list – how to design a directory listing site for community advertisers/subscribers including an added membership area.

        • Hi Dan,

          I could really use this type of training. How do get on your list and when will it be released? Thanks.

          • Sorry, meant “how do I”…

  14. Very good article Joyce :). But I want to learn how to create WordPress theme. I mean if I have create HTML, .PHP or PSD file then how can I convert it in to WordPress?

    • Hi Redolph, you’d have to start learning through one of the above resources to get to that stage.

  15. Joyce, thank you so much for including my site in this stellar list. Of WordPress training resources. Much appreciated.

  16. very nice and informative article Joyce. As in the concluding part you mentioned.. there are other resources but nothing can replace the school of trial and error method.. So, just on a lighter note, I would also say.. it’s sometimes better to learn yourself… Install LAMP/WAMP/XAMPP, install WP, take to Google, Youtube, StackFlow, WP forums ( and so) and try yourself until you think you fully know WP.(All are absolutely free).

    Also, not to mention Elegant Themes Support also.. this is also a massive way to learn certain tweaks of WP..

    By the way, a wonderful article in the end.. Will surely deep into this.

    • Yes I agree, thanks Kalyan! I think Googling and trial and error and asking on forums was my best educator on very specific things that I needed to learn how to do, and still need to learn on.

  17. Thanks Joyce, great info!

  18. With Lynda you will get a training session from top notch authors. Not that I’m pitching in Lynda but I’ve never tried anything as long as their is lynda. I might give a try to teamtreehouse too.

  19. Here here on the value of this blog! I was just thinking about the incredible extra value of buying an elegant themes membership was that I got introduced to this blog. Of course was always free but being a member I subscribed and am so glad I did.

  20. Great finds. There are a lot of resources out there. Youtube is a great place for free videos too! I know, as I make some :)

  21. These are great resources, Joyce!

    What I’ve found is that once you reach a more advanced level you are pretty much on your own. I just changed the set up of my site to Genesis and now I’m using Dynamik to finetune the look and feel. Obviously, I’m looking to Genesis and Cobalt App (Dynamik) to answer my questions with their FAQs, knowledgebase and videos, but some of the issues aren’t addressed directly so it’s either hunting for the solutions in various blogs or by trial and error and learning on your own.

  22. Thanks a lot for that great list. I’ve been actually looking for some free resources just to start with the learning, but the paid options are looking good as well, so I guess I should consider them too.

  23. That’s a great list to learn WP.
    I have found a website with lots of free content
    http://77webstudio.com/
    There’s a lot of videos on Yoytube as well from the same author.
    it’s worth looking at.

  24. Hey Guys, great list, just to let you know –
    I offer free WordPress tutorials on my website as well :D

    http://www.letsbuildwp.com
    Let’s Build WordPress….Together!

  25. I’ve used alot of these tutorials and they are all great. There are some sites offering live WordPress help for those who get stuck or have custom templates, post types etc. http://www.wp-tutoring.com offers live online training for customers as well who may just need a little help and can’t find it in tutorials, or videos.

  26. I have one question. Are these sites teaching wordpress.ORG or wordpress.COM?

  27. WP Beginner is my choice, its have details tutorial for someone new in WordPress. thanks for another reference :)

  28. You Must add WP Tuts+ on your list, its have good documentation about wordpress :)

  29. That really awesome collection. I want to start learning WordPress development i was not getting any free stuff. So now i can start my work thanks a lot.

  30. Thank you for this great list. We have used many of these resources like Lynda.com when putting together our Live Classes. If you are interested in Interactive Training Classes taught by myself, please click on my name above.

    Again, great job on the list. There are a lot of great free and low cost resources out there to learn WordPress.

  31. Thank you. Starting my WordPress journey and some things just dont seem intuitive so figured I should do some training. Options are seemingly endless :(

  32. Really appreciate this article. One thing I wanted to respond to: despite its name, I don’t find WPBeginner to be for “absolute beginners”. There may be some lessons at that level, but I find that the majority are geared towards beginner *developers*, with a lot of coding. It’s an excellent site, but I’m not sure why they use that name!

  33. I’m a web designer who learned her craft from hand-coding HTML pages on a text editor. WordPress is probably THE most frustrating thing for me since I can’t customize most of the things that I want to.

    I’m now having to work on my second WordPress site, both of which were designed by someone else, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do the SIMPLEST things (how do I add a Social Media bar, like the one on the left of this page, for example).

    Almost every one of the sites you listed are paid sites. I don’t want to have to pay to use what everyone touted as an “easy” way to create a web site. Are there *really* any free learning sites other than YouTube??

    And are there any sites that are for those of us who code and/or use Dreamweaver in our daily lives, and just need to tweak customer websites every once in a while?

    Sorry for the semi-rant — nay, it’s pretty much a total rant — but I just got my third RFS for website maintenance and it’s, yes, yet another WordPress-developed site…

  34. This looks like a really nice tool – thank you – I would love some people’s opinions.

    I’ve just recently signed up to iThemes Training and I just can’t get my head around it, there feels like there isn’t any structure to the training – just a big bulk of videos, where I have to search for what I want to learn, but with little experience I don’t know what I am searching for.

    I’m a bit of a beginner to the whole website building world and I want to find a course that offers me a structured step by step break down, so I can get from the beginning to the end in terms of building a website.

    Any advice or opinions would be great – thank you.

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