WordPress is an open source project — meaning there is not one individual, entity, or company that maintains it. Instead, a community of people around the world contribute to WordPress and make it better every day.
The WordPress community invites you to contribute as well. It doesn’t matter whether you are a developer, designer, writer, teacher, or just a user: You can be an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran.
If you want to get involved, there are many ways you can contribute. You can visit the wordpress.org website, which outlines all the ways you can help out. Just click here.
Below, I’ve summarized the different ways you can help in the WordPress project and included links so you can get started today.
1. Contribute to the WordPress core software
Help to make the WordPress software better by writing additional code, fixing bugs, and just helping with development in general.
While it may seem daunting to begin contributing to the WordPress software, the WordPress core team invites people of all experience levels to get involved — from those just learning how to code to expert PHP developers.
2. Improve the design and user experience
There is also a community of designers and UX experts who work on improving WordPress’s User Interface. They discuss ways to improve the User Inferace on their blog, located here.
They invite you to join in and participate in the discussions revolving around the User Interface.
3. Improve the WordPress mobile app
Contribute to the WordPress apps available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone. They are looking not only for developers experienced in Java, Objective-C, and C#, but also designers, UX experts, and testers.
If you are interested in joining the Mobile team, you should check out the mobile handbook.
4. Help translate WordPress
WordPress is used around the world, and the community wants to make WordPress available in every language.
To do that, they need translators.
You can help by making suggestions for translations through WordPress’s translation platform, located here.
You can also help by managing and validating translations. To do that, you would first need to get in touch with the translation team who handles the language you’d like to help with. The list of languages and associated teams can be found here.
5. Help make WordPress accessible to the disabled
In addition to being made available in every language, the WordPress community wants to make it available to those with disabilities.
The Accessibility team is responsible for that task. They test core themes and different functionality in WordPress using various assistive technologies.
If you’d like to learn about accessibility testing in WordPress, click here.
If you’d like to get involved, visit this website.
6. Help in the the support forums
WordPress users are visiting the support forums every day to ask questions, ranging from simple “how do I get started” type of questions to more advanced ones.
Whatever your skill level, you can help. The best way to get started is to read the support handbook, located here.
When looking for support questions to answer, I like to start with the questions without replies, which you can find here.
7. Review themes for the theme directory
There are thousands of free themes available in the WordPress Themes Directory. But someone needs to be sure that every theme that is included meets all the standards.
That is where the Theme Review Team comes in.
This is a great opportunity for those interested in building WordPress themes as you will get to see the code behind many themes. Plus, when you first start on the Theme Review Team, you’ll have a mentor to help you along.
If you are interested in joining, check out the theme review handbook.
To join, visit this website.
8. Improve the documentation
As the WordPress.org website says, “Good documentation lets people help themselves when they get stuck.” Therefore, the documentation team is vital to the WordPress community.
They write the documentation for the Codex, for all the handbooks, for developer.wordpress.org, and for the documentation within the code.
I’ve included links below to the handbooks for each of the areas covered by the documentation team.
9. Meet other WordPress users
What better way to get involved in the community than to meet others in the WordPress community face to face. You can attend any of the over 700 WordPress Meetup groups, or attend one of the WordCamp conferences.
You can find all the Meetup groups here: http://wordpress.meetup.com
And if you’d like to attend a WordCamp, you can find information here: http://central.wordcamp.org
If you are interested in working with the team that organizes and manages these events, you should check out the WordPress Community/Outreach team. You can learn more about them here: https://make.wordpress.org/community/
10. Teach and train others
Do you enjoy teaching and empowering others to achieve their dreams? Then the WordPress training team is a perfect fit for you.
This team creates downloadable lesson plans that can be used in various workshops. They need help writing the plans, editing the plans, visually designing the plans, and testing the plans.
You can learn more about the WordPress Training team here: https://make.wordpress.org/training/
Or you can learn how you can join the team here: https://make.wordpress.org/training/getting-started/contact/
11. Improve the WordPress.org website
Last but not least, you can help to make the WordPress.org portal even better.
The WordPress.org site houses all information regarding WordPress, as well as the theme directory, plugin directory, support forums, and documentation.
You can follow their blog and join in on discussions here: https://make.wordpress.org/meta/
The WordPress community is an amazing one. It’s incredible that such a powerful tool arose out of a community of people around the world.
If you have any thoughts on other ways to give back to the community, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Brandon Yanofsky is a freelance WordPress developer and troubleshooter. He also shares WordPress tips, tricks, and tutorials at www.mywpexpert.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.