WordPress Web Design For Dummies


Continuing along with my line of WordPress-themed books, I am currently working on adding a new title to my WordPress arsenal:  WordPress Web Design For Dummies (published by Wiley Publishing: For Dummies division).

I would give a word of thanks and gratitude to Wiley Publishing, in particular my editor Amy Fandrei for their continued support, encouragement and faith in me as an author of their most popular series of books on the WordPress platform!

WordPress Web Design For Dummies will focus completely on designing web sites with WordPress.  The book assumes you already have knowledge of how to use WordPress (ie: you have already read my other book, WordPress For Dummies) – and you want to learn more about designing web sites with WordPress.

This book is for:

  • Bloggers who want to spice up their existing WordPress blogs
  • Designers who want to delve into WordPress theme design practices
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to make child themes based on popular theme frameworks
  • Folks who would like to explore using WordPress as a CMS to create sites for
    • E-Commerce to sell products and services
    • Photo Galleries and Portfolios
    • Social Communities using BuddyPress (extending on the information in my other book,BuddyPress For Dummies)
    • Small and large business
    • …and more!

I am currently in the process of writing this book (yes – in tandem with my other new book: WordPress All In One Desk Reference!) and have fast-tracked the writing process in hopes of getting it out on the shelves by early 2011!

I would like to hear from you!

As I am delving into the chapters over the next 2-3 months – I would love to hear from the WordPress designing public on what topics you would like to see covered in depth in a book like this? I cannot promise I will cover every single possible design topic known to man – – but as it relates to WordPress, would love to hear of any areas you would like to read and learn about and I will do my absolute best to make sure its covered.

What do you think? What areas of WordPress web design would you like to read about??

36 thoughts on “WordPress Web Design For Dummies”

  1. It sounds like you already have this covered but I would be really interested to know about straightforward and secure shopping cart plug ins. I’ve been researching this recently and have been overwhelmed by the options and the huge variation in reviews. Some pan a product as buggy, then the next review raves. Some guidance would be appreciated.

  2. one of the things that I hear the most, specially from newbies to wordpress is the misconception they have about how CSS and wordpress relate to their design.
    Maybe you should dedicate a little area about CSS and word press.

    Another aspect would be designing websites with mobile media in mind. In other words, a design that’s easy to view on an iphone or iPad. I know there’s a theme that i use that takes care of that for you, but again, most people are not aware of designing for mobile devices.

    Just my two cents


  3. Wow, have I got a long list from you. So I ‘ll just start with the first question on my hugely long wishlist:
    Custom Content. I have yet to find a good tutorial on that. There are several that get close but don’t succeed, at least not for me. There’s one that would be great – if only he would show a before / after visual to show what was accomplished. But instead it’s just the code. If you need more clarification, just let me know!
    btw, I loved your first book. It was so clear & it really brought me to a new level in understanding WordPress. So thank you! And I can’t wait for your next book. And thanks for that great iThemes seminar on multiuser sites.

  4. What I would like to know…

    One thing that would be most helpful would be a list of what all those folders inside the WordPress directory hold inside. Which files/folders are sacred, which can be moved and which can be deleted (if any).

    What is the basic structure of EVERY WP site?

    I would like to know how to build a theme from start to finish!

    How to install a working and effective CAPTCHA on the website to cut down on spam.

    That’s all I can think of now.

    Good luck – [ Jeff ]

  5. I want my site to look good on the screen, the iPhone, the iPad and other mobile computing devices. I don’t need it to be the same theme on the smaller devices, I just need to it render nicely on the smaller platforms.

    I’ll see what else that I can think of later…

  6. I just bought your WordPress for DUMMIES at Borders Books today – Wednesday, 8/18/10.

    Did I just luck out getting it early? I was waiting for it’s release as I’ve been wanting to change over my business’ website, a martial arts school, from Drupal to a WordPress CMS.

    Thanks to you, we’re ready to roll now…

    Thank you!!

  7. Your project sounds very interesting, I’m looking forward to reading your new book. Especially, I want to see more content about e-commerce and shopping cart plug-ins since I’d like to build a commercial blog.

    Best Regards,

  8. Ok, im waiting for your article, i dont doubt it will not be great!. Anyway off topic im reading your blog for long time and all i can say is woow girl. keep at the good work.

    Hello from Slovenia EU.

    Best Regards


  9. Very interested in this book Lisa!

    I would be very interested in learning more about:

    Menus – one of the biggest things I find challenging when offering to create a WP CMS site for someone is their expectation for fancy menus, and graphical buttons.

    Social – Mingle vs. BuddyPress
    how to integrate into a theme;
    Facebook page and app integrations;

  10. I want more information on WordPress and CSS browser compatibility, I had some issues with that.

    Also, how to make my WordPress blog runs well in all smartphone.

    Thank you

  11. Great Idea. Have been using WordPress for over 2 years now, comfortable with tweaking existing design but would like to know more about building design from scratch, especially how the home page works.

  12. Sold. Will there be an ‘early-bird’ list, or an opt-in form to be notified as soon as it’s available?

    I could definitely use a section on using hooks with popular themes/frameworks, such as Thesis. I can’t understand these for the life of me.

    1. Michelle – my newsletter signup can be found in my sidebar at the top of this site. All subscribers to that newsletter will be notified when it is released. Thank you!

  13. I look forward to reading your new book, I only wish it could be published earlier!

    I have a wordpress blog, but I want to set up a separate wordpress site. I can’t find a theme that I like and many of the themes seems to allow only basic changes ie background black or white (i want a choice of any colour), header size is fixed, can’t upload a background image etc.

    I want to learn how to customise all these things without learning too much code… is that possible?

  14. Pingback: Blog World Expo ’10 – WordPress For Dummies Book Signing

  15. Your wordpress for dummies edition was so educational! Thank you.

    I love WordPress and so I find everything on the subject extremely important, as I have most of my clients on this platform!

    Thank you for the great work!

  16. I’d like to use my WP blog to display and offer my drawings as email greeting cards. I tried a plugin for this but I could not get it to work. Maybe you know of a way to do this and could include it in the book. I just picked up a copy of your WP Dummies book. I didn’t know there was a third ed. I bought the first. Mainly looking for information to do my own template with the idea of designing a few to offer others. This new book sounds great, just what I was looking for when I bought the one I have now.

  17. I’m a few months late at adding to this string, but I thought I’d comment anyway. I’m struggling with trying to find the best way to implement my design with WordPress. I currently bought Headway and it’s still proving to be a challenge. I used to go straight from PS to Dreamweaver and that worked great by slicing up the design, but I want the functionality of WordPress, and with little coding experience (I’m trying to teach myself) it’s a headache. I noticed you built your site using Builder. Information on these options would be great. Specifically, which platforms are easiest for design minded folks like me.

    1. Sharon – thank you for your comment. There are several different premium themes and frameworks out there to choose from. The good thing is that they are all pretty inexpensive, allowing you to choose a few and work with them to find out which suits your style the best. Builder is the first time I’ve ever used a framework – mainly because I’m not a framework fan, I prefer coding my own (I’m a little old school that way). Builder is a good base to start from, though. It’s pretty easy to work with once you get it started. The important thing to know about any frameworks, really, is that they are not “theme designs”..but rather, they are a foundation for you to work off of. They contain all of the functions you need – but its up to you to apply the style.

      I’ve not worked with Headway before, so I can’t really speak on that one. There is also Genesis, from StudioPress you may also want to look into, as it is pretty intuitive and easy to work with, as well.

      Also, the same folks behind Builder also run a program at WebDesign.com where you can pick up so much information about designing with WordPress – – it’s a valuable membership and I do believe they are having a sale right now (it actually may end today, I’m not sure..it’s a holiday thing) – it’s a program I would recommend to anyone looking to learn how to design WordPress web sites.

      Good luck!

    2. Sharon, Builder is wonderful. I’m kind of in tbe same boat as you – design oriented but wanting the CMS benefits for my clients. They have great videos at iThemes that show you how to use Builder & a great support forum. And – on a stack of bibles, I am not shilling for them!

    3. BTW, I think they are having a sale there too. Don’t be shy to ask about coupon codes. they are super nice. I once asked about a 25% coupon and they actually todl me they had one for 30%!
      And right now – they have a half price deal on the classes/webdesign.com. They have been the best learning resource I have ever come accross.

  18. Thanks to both Lisa & Karen. Gives me a lot to look into. I forgot about WebDesign.com video tutorials, great idea. And I watched some videos of Builder. It’s hard to tell if Builder does specific things better than Headway, but I’ll keep digging. Thanks for the awesome suggestions.

    1. sharon, this is just my take on the differences. when looking at the side by side comparisons, there are slivers of differences between them. I don’t think the differences between them are significant enough to matter to people like you or I. find a company that makes you comfortable about getting your questions answered. I am smitten with the support at iThemes. the forum is so responsive when i hit a roadblock. That said, I hear lots of good things about StudioPress too. But I couldn’t be happier. At iThemes you learn about WP in general as well as how to use their products. Best of luck!

  19. Thanks Karen, I’m scared I might get too long winded here in my response :] but I’ll try to be brief. Since I just spent $87 on Headway (yes, a day before it went on sale) I wanted to check out as much as possible about iThemes/Builder and WebDesign.com tutorials (they are all connected correct?) so I signed up for a free trial but many of the movies are not available to me. Specifically I am interested in the Photoshop layout to Builder instructional video. Headway has a tutorial on putting the layout of a WP/Headway setup overlaying (on a layer) a design in PS, then brining it into the Headway theme and making the theme transparent. That’s cool, but I wondered if iTheme/Builder does it the same way or if it’s better … in that it actually incorporates the PS template with the iTheme design (without being all PHP this and CSS, HTML, that). I’m not really happy with the Headway documentation or their support. Anyway, my point being, maybe I should try iThemes, but it’s a lot of money for that *and* the instruction (WebDesign.com) and I’m sure I’d want both. I know they’re having a sale till Dec 8, so that’s something. Thanks for your suggestions, appreciated.

  20. Sharon, First… I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for the half off Headway rebate! That seems more than fair. I believe that in general, things paid for on a cc, are entitled to a ny reductions within a certain amount of days. Certainly one day would qualify!
    As for the Headway Tutorial – that seems very cool! I’ll bet you don’t need my suggestion here – but – if that’s specifically what you are interested – there must be tons of free tutorials on PS > WP or Web out there for free.
    I wish i knew more about the specifics of the PS to builder theme- that is on my list of “must do” tutorials – but i haven’t done that one yet.
    And I certainly understand the concern about price and that it’s a lot to pay if it isn’t specifically what you want. So, that said, I’d suggest that you ask the iThemes sales / pre-sales staff about your specific desires re: the PS tutorial / functionality. They will answer you very clearly IMHO. I am signing off for the night, but am happy to try and be of help if possible, in the morning.

  21. Hey Karen, I’m off to bed too but thanks for all your input, it’s much appreciated. After spending hours on Headway tonight my final thoughts are that I should just keep going with it. As frustrating as it is I am really digging into CSS (which for me is the best way to learn, even if I want to pull my hair out). So a bird in the hand, I guess … I’d probably have the same problems with iThemes no matter how great it is. I’d really like to give it a try sometime in the future though. I couldn’t see any contact info for following you on twitter or your page or anything, so if you want, my twitter is hartsharon … I came to this site because I’d like to connect with more women in web/graphic design. Thanks for your help.

  22. Sharon, don’t fall down laughing, but – although i have a twitter account KarenHere, it’s been so long since I’ve used it that i couldn’t figure out how to contact you. I guess i better go find a tutorial!
    Anyway – I’d love to find someone – or even a few broads to do a group study with on CSS / WP and a few other things. I tried to get up a group on the webdesign forum, but no one else bit. so let me know if you have any interest.

  23. Oh I have trouble keeping track of all that too, no biggie. Try going to:
    http://twitter.com/hartsharon (question is can you remember your twitter password lol).

    I’m doing some work on a website right now, and working on my blog, but yeah, at some point that would be great. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of skype-ing a group of like minded people for a meeting. I’ll look into options when I get time.

  24. Perfect timing. Thank you. I have just begun a blog about learning WP using “WP for Dummies” as my guide. My goal is to step it up and use WP for client CMS sites.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top