WordPress training isn’t like getting Microsoft or Oracle certified, because there isn’t an official certification program. Learning something new is always tough; learning a powerful software suite like WordPress can be frightening. It need not be. WordPress is actually approachable and easy to start with. Badly written course material can cast a pall over what should be a kick in the pants, because WordPress lets you do great things very quickly.
Here’s what to look for as you evaluate WordPress training courses.
oClear indication of the version being taught
oStep by step all the way
oBrief explanations of theory along with the how-to
oWordPress is far more than just a blogging application-do the course developers know?
WordPress changes fast-what version do they cover?
WordPress has transformed dramatically in the last few versions from highly capable blogging application to enterprise-ready content management system. New versions with major feature changes appear at least twice a year-much more quickly than most enterprise apps. Make sure the training materials you’re evaluating cover the latest version.
Vendor should give away great content
You should have absolutely no questions about the quality of the material you’re about to shell out good money for. That means the vendor should have the guts to give you a free sample that’s so good it leaves you no doubt that you’re getting serious value for the money. Take advantage of this very competitive market.
Step-by-step instructions so good you can learn just by looking
When you evaluate the free sample, it should tell you clearly what you’re about to learn, then show you with specific, fully illustrated step-by-step illustrations that you learn something new even if typing each command computer. You should be able to drop into the learning materials at any point and know precisely how to go about any specific step.
Here’s an example. If it says something like “Install the WP-DBManager plugin,” you’ve found a loser. Why? They’re leaving way too much up to chance. How do you get the WP-DBManager plugin, anyway? Can you get it through the WordPress dashboard or do you have to go straight to the developer’s site? (The former.) Is there anything you should know about that particular plugin after you install it? (Yes. You need to ensure immediately that it mails backups to your free email account every day, so you’re ready when disaster strikes.)
Instead, you should see clear instructions on how to install the plugin, and how to configure it, in such a way that even an unsophisticated user can do the job.
Sell the Theory
On the other hand, very often training materials show you how to do things without explaining exactly why you’re doing them. Everything you learn should start with an introduction explaining not only what you’re learning, but they should sell you on learning it. And I mean sell it. If you start a new section and can’t tell after the introductory paragraph how that section will make your publishing task easier or better or both, then that section has failed you. It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that the publisher hasn’t done its job.
WordPress is Big. Your Training Shouldn’t Be Small
WordPress is so accessible it’s easy to forget that it has gone far beyond blogging. It is so extensible through plugins and themes that you should have a solid reason for not using WordPress to to launch any small to medium site. If the training material doesn’t address larger issues, such as how to create a site that doesn’t look like a blog at all, you know the publisher is simply not with the program. Move on. There’s plenty of choice in the world of WordPress training.