Two of the greatest things about WordPress are how easy it is to make money with it, and the fact that it is backed by a huge community of users, developers, designers, and others. The WordPress community system is made up of people from all walks of life, and all are welcome.
But what gives the WordPress community its real strength are its contributors. From writers and designers to developers, hosts, and marketers, the WordPress community is backed by the love that it’s users have for this amazing platform.
Whether you develop WordPress plugins or themes, build WordPress sites, or host or maintain WordPress, we at WP Octane firmly believe that if you make money with WordPress, you have a duty to give back. Afterall, WordPress is free but still lets you make a living off of it.
Contributing to WordPress will keep this platform growing and improving year after year. And contributing does not have to be hard, expensive, or time-consuming. There are so many ways that you can contribute to WordPress that there is no excuse not to. In this article we are going to look at why your business (even if you are a solo-prenuer or freelancer) should contribute to the WordPress community. We will also look at just a few of the many ways you can get involved.
5 Reasons You Need To Get-Involved
1. You earn a living on a free tool
To us, this is one of the biggest reasons to contribute to WordPress. Although you likely pay for premium themes and plugins, WordPress itself is absolutely free. When someone helps you out, it is simply good ethics to give back in some way. Even if it is simply the concept of “pay-it-forward”.
2. It keeps WordPress Growing and Improving
When WordPress started way back in 2003 it was a pretty basic blogging tool. Today it has grown into a feature-rich platform that can be used for any type of website. It has also grown to be the number one web development platform….by a long shot.
This growth is, of course, in part due to the dedicated core developers that work tirelessly to produce it. But it is also largely a result of the huge community that grew out of WordPress. Users contribute code, documentation, time, money, marketing, and so many other critical pieces of the WordPress ecosystem.
Without these people and companies, most of whom are unpaid volunteers, WordPress would never have become the giant it is today.
3. It can help your business Grow
On one hand, you should never do any kind of volunteer work primarily for what you can get in return. That takes the sincerity out of the act of giving. On the other hand, there is no denying that contributing to WordPress can sincerely help your business grow.
Contributing to WordPress is a great way to”get your name out” and gain some brand recognition. There is nothing wrong with this, it just should never be your primary reason to get involved.
4. It gives you opportunities to network
There is no greater way to meet new customers, vendors, or even collaborative partners in WordPress than to get directly involved in the community. When you contribute, you get the opportunity to work with people of all skill levels and a very wide range of skills.
Next time you need help with a plugin or you need a custom logo, you just might find that person in the WordPress community.
5. You can learn from others
This is easily one of my favorite reasons to contribute. When I started working with WordPress way back in 2005, I honestly did not know much about it. Since then, I have developed a wide range of skills that continue to help me advance my career. Most of these skills I learned within the WordPress community.
“But HOW do I get involved?”
I am so glad you asked!
First, let me be clear, you do not have to be a developer to contribute to the WordPress community. There are so many ways to contribute that I could not possibly write about them all here. Still, I want to share a few options, and you can take it from there. If none of these methods work for you, that’s ok. But these should at least get the ideas flowing!
Speak/Teach At WordPress Events
This is my favorite way to contribute, and as such, I have spoken at many WordCamps across the USA. WordCamps occur all over the world, so no matter where you live, there is likely a WordCamp you can apply to speak at. But WordCamps are not the only way to do this. You can speak at WordPress meetups, hold free WordPress workshops, speak at online WordPress events, or even teach a free WordPress course, online or off.
Speaking or teaching at WordPress events is a ton of fun and is a great way to make new friends and network with others in the community.
Volunteer At Events
Not much of a public speaker? No problem! Another great way to get out there while contributing to the community is to volunteer at WordPress events. Every WordCamp in the world is made possible by the awesome community members that volunteer to help out at the event. There are many roles you can fulfill at a WordCamp. You can help sponsors set up and maintain their booths. You can help attendees check in to the event. You can help set up or teardown the venue.
To find opportunities to volunteer at an upcoming WordCamp, just visit WordCamp.org and find the event you are interested in. On every WordCamp site, you will see posts on how to get involved.
Join A WordPress Slack Team
WordPress Slack teams are the beating heart and soul of WordPress. Without them, WordPress would whither and die. These groups meet and collaborate on Slack regularly. Whatever your interest, there is likely a team for you. If you are into hosting like us, you can join the Hosting team. Developers can join the core, plugin, or theme teams. You can learn more about WordPress contributor teams HERE.
Although WordPress is free, it is not free to develop, maintain, or market. You can contribute financially in a variety of ways. You can sponsor WordCamps, donate to your favorite theme or plugin, or even sponsor a local WordPress meetup. Remember, most of the hard-working and dedicated folks that make WordPress possible are unpaid. So your dollars can go a long way toward keeping WordPress alive and growing.
The WordPress support forums exist to let users find answers to questions and solutions to problems with WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Spend some time in the forums and help out where you can. Chances are there is a forum that you can be helpful in.
Documentation is another vital part of making WordPress work. Nobody knows it all, though there are many who think they do. Documentation helps fill out the gaps in one’s knowledge. But someone has to write the documentation. If you have writing skills, you can write documentation for any part of WordPress. Video documentation is another opportunity. You can create videos demonstrating various WordPress tasks, from beginner to advanced.
These are just a few of the many ways you can give back to the WordPress project which supports your business. But do not think you are limited to these options. Visit the WordPress forums. Talk to other WordPress users. Join the WordPress slack channel. You are sure to find a way to contribute that works for you and your business. Go a step further and get your employees involved. Encourage your employees to contribute in ways that speak to their strengths.
If your business contributes to WordPress, you will find it rewarding on a very personal level. That I can promise.