When I learned about how to create a web page in 2004, the web was a different world than it is today. There wasnt much systems and applications that are readily available. Youtube was non-existent then, and facebook was, well it was actually we had friendster. Back then, learning to create and design a website was just difficult, to say the least.
Not until I started to looked around and found WordPress in 2009. I recently took a step back to think about my skill set today versus 30 years ago. I realized that college taught me to write, teach myself, and think critically. But teaching myself WordPress helped me build the skills that employers value, and has made me better at every job I’ve had.
I have written a piece on tips you should keep in mind when designing a wordpress website you may want to check out!
If you own a company and want to develop your own business website. Check our post on 5 advantages of developing your business website with wordpress.
The most important skills include teamwork, problem solving, and organization. Believe it or not, these three skills are fundamental to using WordPress.
In case you happen to live in the remote wilderness, WordPress is the biggest site building platform online, powering a staggering 600 million websites. It’s an open-source CMS, or content management system, that enables anyone to build and manage a website for any purpose. And it’s free (you can also purchase themes and plugins, but many are free).
Learning WordPress will take time. And time’s a precious commodity, especially for students. I knew about WordPress a long time before I tried it, but I kept putting it off because of the time.
But I want to show you why it’s worth your time now, and help you get ahead of the game. Each of these skills is a reason to try WordPress as a career building exercise. It will help you refine your skills, and give you a platform to build your portfolio with. Having an online presence is absolutely critical to landing a great job. But first, let’s look at how you can learn these skills.
WordPress has a huge community of users that support each other. There are subreddits about WordPress, themes, plugins, and more. Plus, there are tons of websites dedicated to learning WordPress (like the MOJO blog). These are great resources, but the important point is that WordPress is built by one giant team. Some students are already utilizing the communal aspect of WordPress to sound-off ideas and get feedback from their readers.
When you start building a website, you’ll have a goal in mind. I want a portfolio website that does that cool scrolly animation thing. That’s called parallax (here’s a good example of a parallax image in the website header). In order to figure that out, you’ll have to do research, find a plugin or snippet of code, and learn to add it to your WordPress theme.
Here is a youtube video of Chris Hinds of Road Warrior Creative of why you should quit your day job and do wordpress instead! I am not saying you quit your high paying job, but if you do. Do wordpress!
Starting a blog with WordPress gives you a powerful way to practice communication. Stephen King famously said that writing is “not any different than a bedtime routine.” Practice more, read more, be more.
Plus, writing for your website is not just about blogging. There’s copy everywhere, from buttons to headers to email signup forms. And there’s a deep sense of visual communication needed. This process will teach you to be clear, concise, direct, and confident. And it translates easily to public speaking, interviewing, emailing, and more.
Laying out a website, creating pages and blog posts, and learning to maximize your SEO, or search engine optimization, all demand organization. For example, you’re familiar with website navigation menus. To make these useful to your readers, you have to think about site experience and flow. Like, if you’re an artist what do you put on the home page? And how do you break down the project to show your process? With so many moving parts, you learn to plan ahead and be proactive.
Knowing software that increases your productivity, or improves processes at your company, looks very enterprising to employers. When I started learning WordPress, it became a kind of gateway software. I wanted to make my own vector logo, so I learned Adobe Illustrator. I loved it, so I proceeded with all other Adobe creative cloud programs, from Photoshop to After Effects. Since then, I’ve offered up solutions, researched and deployed new products, and found WordPress plugins that improved processes at all of my jobs.
Your ability to discover and distill information will steadily progress as you learn WordPress. Every new feature, blog post, or tweak you make will require at least one Google search. And, even when you find a good article or how-to, it’s often just a starting point. Eventually, you will research, refine, and relay ideas more quickly and effectively than ever.
WordPress will also teach you to use data in your research.
This is a trending skill for almost any industry. With technology, data is accessible and readable for most jobs. That means you have to prepare to analyze seemingly random numbers and translate them into actions. WordPress is a great entry point. With Google analytics and A/B testing, you can create experiments, measure the results, and improve interaction with your website. This is a great way to show your employer you can set goals and review the results.
This one ties into data analysis. As you learn what works on your website and what doesn’t, you can make conclusions about why your experiment succeeded or failed. Following this process teaches you to set clear goals and collect data. If you continue this approach with your day to day work, you’ll always have something valuable to hand your boss. When they ask how that campaign performed, you have the tools to show them. And, better yet, you have a perspective to offer about why it performed the way it did.
Depending on the job you’re looking for, there are obviously different types of technical knowledge that apply. However, web development, coding, design, and writing are all technical skills picked up on your way to WordPress mastery. At least one of these technical proficiencies will be a requirement for the job you choose. And most employers appreciate some basic HTML and CSS knowledge (some even require WordPress expertise!).
But the point is, if you know the technical side of, say, electrical engineering, and you can write, design, and code, you’re a stronger candidate than most.
Your ability to sell to or reputation to others is highly valued by most employers. And you don’t have to be in marketing or sales to see that value–internal influence is often required to get things done. Being a blogger, or simply running a website is all about influence and reputation. You’re prompting people to view your art, look at your professional work, or read about your amazing homemade cornbread recipe. You have to learn to tell them what’s in it for them. It’s a stepping stone toward bringing your ideas to life within an organization.