I built my first WordPress blog last year – and boy, did it take forever.
I have no background in web design or anything remotely related to that. I simply wanted a website to showcase my portfolio and my business, and didn’t need a lot of the fancier bells and whistles that you see on other websites.
WordPress is incredibly easy to use, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can take some time to learn the ropes by yourself. Later, I found a helpful course on Skillshare called WordPress for Beginners – Build a Pro Website in Less Than 50 Minutes.
I wish I had found this course sooner!
After taking this class, I feel confident that I could go back and build another WordPress website in a mere matter of minutes. With this class, you will definitely be able to, too. Here’s what you need to know.
What is WordPress – and What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
If you’re interested in building your own blog or website for your business, WordPress is the way to go. It is one of the simplest and most popular ways to do so, serving as a website and blog creation tool as well as a handy content management system.
If you’re ready to learn how to build a WordPress website – completely from scratch. It’s a great class for beginners, especially if you’re short on time. The class contains the following modules.
In the first section of the course, Sinead Geraghty gives an overview of what you will learn in the class. You will learn not only how to plan your website, from the images to the layout, but you’ll also look at hosting, themes, and uploading blog posts and pages. You’ll learn how to edit your pages and optimize your site so that it shows up well on Google Search.
Planning Your Website
The first main module of the course deals with the planning stage of building a website. Before you can build it, you have to plan it out. Geraghty stresses the importance of proper planning before you start building – if you don’t plan ahead of time, it will take you two or three times as long to create your website. You need to consider what the website will look like as well as your target audience.
A great way to do this is to look at competitor websites and see what you like and what you dislike. What can you improve upon? That way, you’ll have lots of ideas to help you create your own website. The instructor gives you some planning documents that you can reference to develop, design, and plan your own website, including everything right down to the information related to search engine optimization.
Optimizing Your Images
Next, Geraghty walks students through the process of uploading images to their sites and making sure that they are optimized. This means that they are the smallest size possible without reducing their overall quality. If the images are too large, it can slow down the speed of the website, which won’t help with search engine rankings.
Geraghty tells students in detail how to optimize their images and make them the highest quality possible for their websites.
Buying Your Website Domain
For many students, this next section of the course has the potential to be the most daunting. Fortunately, Geraghty walks students through this step in a clear, calm, and easy-to-understand way.
When it comes to buying a domain, you need to consider all the different websites you can use. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your domain name is available. She also recommends adding things like privacy protection and walks you through all the steps on purchasing your domain before you start building your website.
Setting Up Your WordPress Hosting
The next step in designing your website is to set up your WordPress hosting. In order for your website to be found, you need hosting – this is where your website is stored online. Naturally, since your website is a WordPress website, you will need WordPress hosting, but it can be difficult to choose. Geraghty recommends that students check out her blog on the best five or six hosting options, but if you’re in a rush you can go with her top picks – Sequoia or Cygwin.
She will show you how to purchase and set up your hosting before moving on to the next section.
Choosing and Uploading Your Theme
Next, you will choose a WordPress theme. She explains what exactly a theme is (a pre-built template that is professional looking and already prepped to be used). All you have to do is upload the template and you can edit it so that you can develop your own high-quality website.
Geraghty gives some tips on how to choose and upload a theme, giving us some actionable steps we can take to pick the themes that are right for our own websites.
Editing Your Theme
Next, you will learn how to edit your theme. This section of the course is vital for people who want to create a professional-looking website that is not only functional but also attractive. The first thing you will need to do – which Geraghty will walk you through – is to customize your header and logo. You can then update everything from link colors to backgrounds colors, titles, and descriptions before hitting publish.
Even though you are using a preset theme, you can edit just about any aspect of it to make it fit your desired aesthetics and goals.
Once you have your website in place, it’s time to learn how to create a blog post. Geraghty will again guide you through every step of this process. In order to create a blog post, you’ll need to go into the dashboard of your WordPress website and add a new post via the left-hand menu posts. You’ll be able to use the Basic Editor of WordPress with this function, but Geraghty doesn’t recommend using the Basic Editor because it will require a more advanced level of understanding.
Instead, she recommends using the drag and drop option or elementary editor, which will be much easier for you to use and will also allow you to create a website that is more consistent with the rest of your branding.
She tells you everything you need to know to format your blog post – besides the actual writing of the content, that is. You’ll have to handle that yourself!
How to Edit a Blog Post
Next, you will learn how to edit a blog post. This is fairly easy to do – you can click any of the blog pages in your WordPress website and edit them directly, just like you would a regular webpage. You can use the drag and drop builder or the backend WordPress editor. She recommends the elementary editor, which isn’t quite as text-heavy and complicated to use (and she will also walk you through how to use that, too).
Geraghty will also tell you how to upload your post as a draft so that you don’t need to post it right away. You can save it as a draft so it’s ready to go whenever you’re confident that it’s as polished as you’d like.
Yoast SEO & Search Engines
The next section of the course gets a bit more complicated, but as long as you’ve been paying attention throughout the rest of the course, you shouldn’t have too many problems with this one. Your next step is to use Yoast SEO & search engines to make your website easier to find on Google. Yoast SEO is one of the most helpful plugins you can use and it’s also easy to add. You will learn all the benefits of Yoast as well as how to use it in this section of the course.
Yoast SEO Page Optimization
You didn’t think you were done with Yoast yet, did you? In the next module, you’ll learn more about optimizing your page with Yoast. Geraghty teaches you how to write a meta description, add a focus keyphrase, and much more.
At the end of the course, Geraghty takes the time to wrap up everything that she discussed in the modules and to recap your next steps. She recommends that students follow her on Skillshare for new tutorials (unfortunately there haven’t been any to speak of as of yet) as well as insight on how you can improve your own website.
The Course & The Instructor
To date, the WordPress for Beginners – Build a Pro Website in Less than 50 Minutes class on Skillshare has had more than 8,042 students. It is best for students who want to master WordPress at an elementary level and who have very little experience working with this platform.
The class is taught by Sinead Geraghty, a WordPress Developer, Digital Marketer, and SEO Expert. Geraghty started building websites as a hobby when she was only a teenager. Now, she has a master’s in eCommerce along with her own digital agency. She is highly proficient in delivering digital strategies to clients and teaches us how to build a WordPress site from scratch in this course.
The Skillshare Platform
This course is one of several that I’ve taken on Skillshare to date, and to be honest, I think it’s an online learning platform that has both its benefits as well as its drawbacks.
If you’re looking to learn any sort of creative or technical skill, I think Skillshare is the way to go. What I have found is that all of the tutorials offered on this website are easy to follow and taught by knowledgeable instructors who can break down their instruction clearly and succinctly. I have not had a bad instructor on Skillshare to date – although I’m sure they are out there, as some course reviewers will be quick to point out.
The beauty of Skillshare is that it is still relatively new, and as online education and learning opportunities continue to grow, I believe it will only continue to expand its offerings. As it is, there are thousands of classes in dozens of different niches. If you sign up for a membership, you will get unlimited access to all the classes. That said, there are quite a few free classes, too.
You’ll find classes broken down into four main categories – business, technology, lifestyle, and creative, with multiple “sub-disciplines” among these four, too. Each class is taught by an instructor with some sort of professed expertise in that niche and while there are some poor quality classes on there, the platform is continually working to improve itself and will actually remove these bad classes.
The main downside of choosing Skillshare for your online course is that none of the classes are accredited. You will not receive any sort of certificate at the end. That said, you will be able to tap into skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
For learning something like WordPress, it’s really not a big deal that there is no accreditation or certification offered at the end of the course. You probably aren’t going to be trying to get licensed in WordPress – that’s not even a thing. If you wanted to take a class in something a bit more stringent, like a course in the medical niche, for example, turning to another course platform that actually offered certification would definitely be preferred.
Related reading: Skillshare Review – Is It Woth It?
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Clear Learning Objectives
Whenever I take an online class, it’s essential that it offers clear, actionable learning objectives that I can view before I even start to work on the coursework. This class has some helpful learning objectives that are worth mentioning.
By the time you finish this class, you’ll know how to set up an attractive, professional WordPress website – all in less than an hour’s worth of work. You will learn:
- Which web hosting to use and how to set it up
- How to buy a domain name
- How to install WordPress onto your hosting service
- How to choose and install your WordPress theme
- How to plan your site content so it works for you
- How to customize your WordPress theme
- How to create a blog post
- How to optimize your content for Google
- Which plugins to use
- How to create SEO rich content
Access to Projects Feature
Something that I love about the Skillshare platform is that it enables students to upload their own projects to get feedback from the instructor and fellow students. You can upload whatever it is you are working on and see where you stand or you can head over to Geraghty’s page and check out her projects. This is incredibly helpful if you are looking for an example that you can use to guide your own work.
Can Be Taken At Your Own Pace
This class, like most of those offered on Skillshare, is convenient for busy part-time learners because you can take it whenever it’s convenient for you. Most classes are only half an hour to an hour long (this one is just under an hour) with modules that are broken down with their own short timestamps, too. You don’t have to dedicate a ton of time to taking a class – it’s not like those online courses you took while you were earning your bachelor’s degree!
These courses are meant to be enjoyable and therefore, they’re structured in a way that won’t take up too much of your time. You can watch just a quick five-minute module, feel like you learned something, and then go about the rest of your day.
Since you can return to the course modules at any time, you have a lot of freedom to go back and review material you may have missed or not understood, too.
Great for Beginners
Students who took this class and then reviewed it gave it overall positive reviews. Many of them cited how easy it was to follow for beginners, saying that it was loaded with practical, actionable information. It’s helpful for anybody who is at any stage of building a website.
Sadly, if you like Geraghty’s teaching style, you aren’t going to find many other course options on Skillshare – this is the only one that she has taught as of the writing of this article.
However, there are several other courses by similar instructors that you might consider taking. These include:
- Build Your Online Portfolio Without Writing Code by Mat Vogels
- Step-by-Step Child Themes for New & Existing WordPress Sites by Christine Maisel
- Localhost Setup for Web Development: APache, WordPress & Drupal Setup
You may want to give them a try once you’ve mastered the core content of this basic WordPress course.
Complaints About the Course
I didn’t have too many major complaints about this course – for the most part, any complaints I had would be best directed toward the Skillshare platform rather than this course in and of itself.
Before I take any online class, though, I always take the time to skim through past student reviews to get a feel for other pitfalls and struggles that past students have experienced. Although reviews of this course were largely favorable, some students had issues that I think are worthy of expressing here as general complaints of the course.
For example, some users had trouble figuring out the links that Geraghty provided in the course. They stated that the templates were difficult to use and that there were some sections of the course that weren’t truly designed for beginners but were best for developers with a more intermediate level of understanding.
Many students were not able to create their own pages or use the page builders that were recommended. There were some users who complained about videos being choppy and having trouble loading, but this was not something I noticed personally. It’s important to note that taking this class while working with WordPress and its plugins at the same time can occasionally bog down your Internet connection, so I would recommend not trying to multitask while you work on this class.
Another major complaint about the course is one that I noticed as well – unfortunately, it’s one that I have noticed not just when taking this course but also while working on a number of other online courses via Skillshare, too.
It can be hard to get in touch with the instructor if you have any questions. That’s one of the biggest disadvantages when it comes to online learning in general – getting in touch with the teacher is a struggle if you are learning remotely. Many instructors on Skillshare seem to post their classes and then walk away, not bothering to take the time to interact with students later on.
Although there is a discussion section of the course where you can interact with other students and ask questions of them there, it would be helpful to also be able to interface with the instructor from time to time. According to user reviews, very few students have actually been able to do this for this class.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of bells and whistles with this class. Many of the classes I’ve taken on WordPress include graphics, videos, and audio content that make it feel as though you are actually in a class or an innovative learning experience rather than just listening to a lecture from the instructor.
This class consists mostly of the instructor talking to you along with some screencasts showing you what to do as she moves through WordPress. Although there’s nothing wrong with a simple style of instruction like that, sometimes, it takes a bit more to hold my attention!
You also won’t get any certificate of completion after finishing this class. That is something that is true of all Skillshare courses. Unlike other course platforms, like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning, that offer certificates of completion when you wrap up the course, you won’t get that with the WordPress for Beginners class.
Although that might not be something you care about, I personally like to have something concrete showing that I finished the class (even if it’s just a simple credential I can tag to my profile so that my followers know I have that skill).
Who is the WordPress for Beginners – Build a Pro Website in Less Than 50 Minutes Course on Skillshare Best For?
This course is a great option for anybody who is new to WordPress and wants to learn how the platform can be used for gorgeous professional website creation.
If you’re a beginner who doesn’t have a clue how to install or configure WordPress (or just someone who wants a WordPress-powered website in general, without having to spend hours working on it), then this class is for you. It’s great for aspiring bloggers, business owners, people trying to drive sales to a product or service, and business owners.
Long story short, this class is worth taking for just about anyone. It’s such a quick class and an easy skill to master, there’s really no reason not to sign up and give it a try today.