If all you want to do is create and run a website, WordPress has your back. However, it’s so much more than a simple site-building tool. There’s an entire WordPress community working to make the platform better. And if you’re serious about WordPress, it’s worth learning how to be a part of this community.
The good news is that the WordPress community offers an entry point for just about everyone, even if you know nothing about writing code.
In fact, no matter what your interests or skill set might be, there’s probably still something that you can help out with. Some popular fields include development and testing, translation, and community outreach.
Why it’s worth becoming a WordPress contributor
WordPress is free to use – with no strings attached. You don’t have to get involved at a deeper level if you’re not interested. However, if you don’t at least explore your options for contributing back to the platform, you’ll be missing out on everything the greater WP community has to offer.
There are a lot of benefits to becoming a WordPress contributor. For example:
- You can learn new things and develop new skills.
- There are plenty of opportunities to share your own knowledge.
- You’ll be helping to grow and expand the platform, making it more useful for everybody.
- It will be easier to make connections and build relationships with potential collaborators, employers, clients, and so on.
Whether you’re a beginner with lots to learn or an experienced WordPress user with plenty to share, there’s a way for you to get involved. What’s more, you can do as little or as much as you’d like. Let’s explore some of the best avenues for contributing to WordPress.
Five ways to participate in the WordPress community
It’s possible to break down contributions to WordPress into a number of general fields. Below, we’ll introduce a few of the most popular starting points for new community members. If none of these suit your interests, however, there are plenty more options available on the Make WordPress website.
1. Learn about development through testing
When most people think about working with WordPress, they picture developers writing code. While development is hardly the only field within the WordPress community, it is one of the most popular and important. After all, developers are the ones who build and improve the platform.
While development is best suited to those with a technical bent, and you’ll want to know some basic coding, you don’t have to be an expert to get started. Most people interested in this field begin by testing bugs.
How to start testing WordPress for bugs:
- Check out the Core Contributor Handbook.
- Try your hand at the bugs earmarked for new contributors to address.
2. Help improve the platform’s design and User Interface (UI)
If you’re more interested in design than development, don’t worry. WordPress requires an active design team to ensure that its user experience is top-notch. This team focuses on optimizing the platform’s UI and visual design, both through small tweaks and (occasionally) larger adjustments.
Those who have an eye for aesthetics and a moderate level of technical know-how should find this field to their liking. There are opportunities to help out with the design of WordPress itself, the WordPress.org website, and various other sites and resources.
How to start with WordPress design:
3. Assist with translations into other languages
WordPress is a hugely popular platform – and not just in English-speaking countries. While it began in the U.S., people all across the globe now use WordPress on a daily basis. To make that continue, WordPress needs to be available in as many languages as possible.
If you are fluent in at least one other language besides English, you’re perfectly positioned to help out with this part of the community. The Polyglots team is always looking for people to create, manage, and validate translations.
How to start with WordPress translation:
- Read through the Translator’s Handbook.
- Log into the translation platform and start making suggestions.
4. Write and edit documentation (and other textual content)
The WordPress community needs more than technical expertise and multilingual skills. It also requires plenty of writers, editors, and proofreaders to keep everything running smoothly. These are the people who maintain the WordPress Codex, for example, as well as write contributor handbooks and develop other crucial support documentation.
Those with a knack for the written word will find plenty to do on the documentation team.
How to start with WordPress documentation:
- Check out the handbooks or HelpHub projects if you want to write public-facing text.
- Consider inline documentation if you’re a bit more technically-minded and want to help document the actual code.
Finally, the training team is also worth checking out, since they’re always on the lookout for people with writing and editing skills.
5. Make connections through community outreach
Although every field we’ve discussed so far involves some amount of collaboration, each has been an excellent fit for those who prefer solitary work behind a screen. What if you’re more of a social butterfly, however, and want to get out there and interact with people? In that case, you can check out the community outreach team.
This team works on a lot of different projects. By joining it, you’ll have the opportunity to help out with Meetups and WordCamps, participate in mentorship programs, volunteer at various events, and more.
How to start with WordPress community outreach:
- Check out the team’s Make WordPress page for information on current projects.
- Fill out the contact form if anything catches your eye.
You may assume that anyone who wants to get involved with WordPress has to know all about coding and development. However, this isn’t the case. While there are certainly a lot of developers working on the platform, it also needs help from designers, writers, testers, translators, social butterflies, and more. Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard to find a place where you fit in.
To get you started, here are a few ways you can contribute to the WordPress community:
- Learn about development through testing.
- Help improve the platform’s design and User Interface (UI).
- Assist with translations into other languages.
- Write and edit documentation (and other text content).
- Make connections through community outreach.