Recommended reading: 'WordPress: The Missing Manual'
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Recommended reading: 'WordPress: The Missing Manual'

WordPress ( is the favorite web site design/content management system I've tried. The free and open source blogging tool has been incredibly successful, rising from a handful of users to the most-used blog tool in its category.

WordPress is relatively easy to set up and use. But it has features and quirks that can take a new user a while to learn. "WordPress: The Missing Manual" by Matthew MacDonald will get you up to speed quickly and cut down on the learning curve.

MacDonald -- a science and technology writer with well over a dozen books to his name -- writes in a casual, jargon-free style so you don't have to be a web pro to follow his examples, tips, tricks and tutorials. The Missing Manual's 558 pages (yep, it's very thorough) are fleshed out with graphics, FAQs and handy sidebars.

Among the stuff covered in the book are topics such as:

° Creating a blog. Get a free account, choose the right theme, and start publishing content.

° Build a website. Produce a professional-looking business site by customizing a WordPress theme.

° Add features. Choose from thousands of WordPress widgets and plug-ins to extend your site’s features.

° Mix in multimedia. Include slideshows, video clips, webcasts, podcasts, and music players.

° Involve your readers. Let readers leave comments, contribute to your site, and carry on a dialog.

° Build an audience. Learn search-engine optimization, measure your reader’s favorite pages, and publicize your site.

° Create a community. Use social media tools such as “Like” and sharing buttons, and provide RSS feeds of your posts.

"WordPress: The Missing Manual" from O'Reilly Media costs US$23.99 for an ebook, $29.99 for a print version, or $323.99 for a combination of the two. You can learn more at .

-- Dennis Sellers

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