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How to level up your WordPress skills in 2017

level up WordPress Skills

WordPress is our tool of choice. We make our living using WordPress to solve problems.

Even though I have moved more to the content side of the industry, I still maintain my WordPress projects, test things on my local server (DesktopServer), and listen to podcasts and read articles.

Often, however, my learning is for writing articles, but I still keep my thumb on the pulse of the industry as much as possible.

Frankly, there have not been many industries where I have had the same kind of support and encouragement to improve and keep trying as the WordPress community.

The only thing that comes close has been the freelance writing industry.

It is really easy to spend too much time doing client work and working on our own business systems. After all, that is where we make money, right?

Nevertheless, we all can use a little “level up” in our WordPress skills.

I have added several resources where WordPress Entrepreneurs can go to help level up their skills.

The first group of resources applies to basic WordPress development.

The second group of resources is working with workflow. Workflows seem to be more automated these days, and learning those skills can greatly improve your processes or position you for a better job.

Finally, for those wanting to jump into plugin development, or improve their plugin development skills, I have included some resources that can kick start your process.

So, sit back, grab some eggnog – or your favorite beverage of choice (mine is coffee, of course!) – and sort through these lists of resources.

Bookmark, copy, organize and add to the list at will.

But one thing, as 2017 approaches, don’t fail to jump start your learning in WordPress Development.

Getting started, runner
Courtesy of Unsplash

Getting started

One thing is for sure, if you are going to take on a learning process, you need to have the tools to do so.

Sometimes, you have to have the ability quickly deploy an installation to try out a plugin or new tool.

My journey in using localhost is kind of clunky, to say the least. The first time I used a localhost, a friend helped me install MAMP on my computer.

It was pretty cool because I could spin a WordPress install on my computer and not have to worry about server space.

I tried to do what he did when I got my new laptop, but I was unable to do so. Embarrassing, right?

Then, some people in my WordPress community started talking about ServerPress by DesktopServer.

I downloaded the plugin and enjoyed the ease in which I could create a new install.

All this is to say that you should have a way to do local installs of WordPress to make it easier to test. Create a localhost playground.

WordPress Development

General WordPress development is something WordPress Entrepreneurs keep up with regularly.

In this list, I have organized the resources by Tutorials & Lists, Courses (paid), and Training.

Tutorials & Lists

  1. iThemes:
  2. WPSitecare list –


These resources will all be premium courses. That means there is a cost to the resource. However, each one will offer some of their content for free.

Sridhar Katakam and Brad Dalton are tutorial machines. Both have thousands of tutorials in a membership based website.

Tonya Mork is setting a new standard with Know the Code. Treehouse and Lynda both offer tons of WordPress courses. Many of the courses are very reasonable or free. WP Apprentice offers a plethora of tutorials as well.

Courses – Paid

  1. Sridhar:
  2. WP Sites: Brad Dalton
  3. Know the Code, Tonya Mork:
  4. Treehouse:
  5. Lynda:


The training list is a collection of fantastic resources that are available from some of the top WordPess websites or developers. Some of these are tutorial series, and some are lists of even more WordPress development resources.

People also forget about WordPress’ own resources which are why I included

Also included in the list is Tom McFarlin, Mark Jaquith, Smashing Magazine, Jesse Petersen and WPMUdev.

  1. – WordCamps and more


Workflow graphic

WordPress Workflow 

Deploying WordPress has become more and more of an automated task. This is where the greater development community has made a difference in the WordPress community.

If you are looking to streamline your WordPress workflow in 2017, these are great resources to get started.

I’ve included a couple of tools as well.

WordPress Workflow – Deploying

  1. – Tool
  2. – Tool
  5.… – Digital Ocean
  7. – Jesse Petereson

Learning Plugin Development

How many times have you thought, “Man, I need to make a plugin to do that”?

I have thought that too.

I took a stab at making a basic functions plugin and failed miserably, and those are the easy plugins 🙂

Obviously, some plugins are easier than others.

For the life of me, I would not know how to go about doing what MainWP does. The complexity is mind-boggling to me.

Well to get going, you have to have some resources to get started learning to develop plugins.

When people talk about learning to develop plugins, the first name that comes up is Pippin. Pippin Williamson is a WordPress developer prodigy. He has created some of the most popular plugins such as Easy Digital Downloads.

Others include tutorials by Tutsplus, WP Beginner, 1stwebdesigner, and Hongkiat. Also included is the Javascript for WP course.

Plugins Resources

  1. – Pippin Williamson, of course
  3. – course
  7. – by Tom McFarlin

Closing the Bracket

Plugin development, WordPress Development, and Workflow are three areas we can all use a little help.

There’s little doubt that most of us have mastered the art of self-learning. We are learning as we go, right?

There are various ways to learn these skills. The self-guided courses usually work better for our schedules.

Some will prefer more of a classroom setting. There are benefits to both.

I hope these will help you in your effort to level up in 2017.

What are some of your favorite resources for learning? Let us know on the Facebook group page!

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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