I was intimidated by WP as I am with anything I know nothing about. It’s been a decade and more since I began using wordpress in 2000. Version 1.5 …. and now I am at 3.51 with 3.6 on the horizon.
What can I share about my experiences?
A lot … but some things are more important than most things.
No need to recount the mistakes since that is how we all learn …. and right now with the newest version there will be more mistakes and more learning.
WP is well documented and well administered …. actually more than just well but exceptionally maintained by the original creators who are still as enthusiastic as they are successful.
It’s important to understand that what makes WP exceptional are people. Not only creators but users like me and my site users and visitors as well. All of us making mistakes and learning.
And so the strategies I recommend for those reading this with much less experience is as follows.
In no order of significance since no one thing is more or less significant than the other always maintain the latest version of WP. The creators have proven they are reliable, competent and impeccable. Each new version is therefore better than the last.
The changes from version to version are not burdensome and can be absorbed with a little effort.
Plug-ins are features that are more essential than optional. Themes are cosmetic but also embrace certain important plug-ins while facilitating the addition of many others including widgets.
Selecting plug-ins is a critical skill that once mastered avoids a lot of painstaking and time wasting trial and error.
Even so amongst the best plug-ins and widgets comparisons can be made and chosen based on needs.
When scanning plugins of a particular genre I look for those with the most installations that are kept current. Authors with more than one plug-in are a preference.
The plug-in rating system is meaningful and the more ratings the better.
Avoid experimenting with new plug-ins with new authors and fewer ratings and installations.
If something comes along that seems unique and may provide an important feature … review it carefully. The author’s programming bloodlines become more important. The rapidity of installations and growth in popularity (the stats) are good indicators.
Over time the better plug-ins show a slight up tick in users and spike when new versions are released.
Perhaps the most important ingredient for me is currency … since good stuff is kept current.
As with anything we all do in life … reading is essential. Be thorough and remember that the end result is always the sum of the details.