Author: Chuck Tomasi & Kreg Steppe
Publisher: Sams, 2010
Aimed at: Would-be bloggers
Pros: Clear and concise
Cons: Lacks in-depth discussion
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
Titles in Sams' Teach Yourself in 10 Minutes series do not imply there is only 10 minutes of value in the book but that the skill you desire can be acquired in 10-minute sessions. In this case there are thirteen short chapters, each a self-contained lesson.
The first, Introducing WordPress, starts with an overview of the three editions of WordPress - the free .com version which is the hosted service, the .org version that requires to be downloaded, installed and requires hosting, and the multi-user version which is beyond the scope of the book. On the fifth page we reach Getting Started with WordPress.com and within seven well-illustrated steps you can be signed up with an account and ready to proceed. The approach is perhaps too quick in that it doesn't draw attention to some of the options you'll accept by default - but you can always make changes later.
Lesson 2 covers completing your profile using the WordPress Dashboard. This, it could be argued, is a bit advanced or even of secondary concern for the complete beginner who might be anxious to press on and start posting but the lesson does include uploading your Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) so that when you do start posting readers will "see" your chosen avatar from the outset.
Lesson 3 will take longer than 10 minutes in that not only introduces creating posts, but also cover editing posts and creating pages. It looks at both the Visual and the HTML editor (which it rightly points out you probably won't use on a day-to-day basis) and, not content with basic pages,goes on to adding hyperlinks and images.
The following lesson is about configuring your blog settings and covers all of nine of the subpanels that are accessed in the Settings section at the bottom of the right-hand side menu. As elsewhere in the book screen dumps make this straightforward - and many readers will consider that the brief treatment doesn't add much to reading the screens themselves. There are, however, a few useful nuggets of extra information and advice.
Lesson 5 is devoted to the comments readers make - whether to allow them, how to deal with spam, how to manage comments and use the Comments List.
Using themes and widgets to personalize the appearance of a blog comes next and the lesson also returns to the topic of links.
Setting up an RSS feed is covered in Chapter 7 which also covers backing up data, migrating your blog and importing from another blog.
After this the focus moves from WordPress.com to the org version with Lesson 8 being about external hosting for your blog, Lesson 9 covering installing the WordPress software, Lesson 10 returning to the topic of Themes and Lesson 11 looking at the plug-in dashboard and the range of plug-ins available.
Lesson 12 is about setting up your blog for remote access so that you can blog while "on the go" and the final lesson, on WordPress Support, points to sources of help including the WordPress documentation. This rather raises the question of whether this book adds to the available documentation and I think the answer is that is does, particularly as it has a comprehensive index that enables you to locate information quickly.