There are many ways to contribute to WordPress

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Have you met my friends?

By now, if you've read many of my posts about WordPress, you've likely been introduced to some of my friends, right?

  • Carrie Dils – a WordPress developer who plays a mean guitar
  • Rebecca Gill – a business owner who sells WordPress themes
  • Jennifer Bourn – a designer who creates custom WordPress themes
  • Steve Zehngut – a guy that develops mobile apps (that can connect to WordPress)
  • Syed Balkhi – the fellow that runs the largest WordPress tutorial site ever
  • Shawn Hesketh – the best producer of WordPress training videos ever
  • Brian Krogsgard – the author/producer of my favorite WordPress news site

You know why I introduce them to you?

I introduce you to my friends regularly because they're all amazing people. They have done so much to help the WordPress community that you really ought to know who they are.

But there's another reason why they're worth knowing.

Each of them, in their own way, is contributing to the success of WordPress.

We're not narrowly defining the term “contribute”

When I first got involved in the WordPress community (which is a different thing than when I first started using the software), the term “contribute” felt like it was synonymous with “write code.”

In those days, some four years ago, WordCamps would often have a Sunday event called, “Developer day.” It was a way developers could gather and contribute code to the core of the WordPress project.

In case you didn't know, the WordPress project is an open source project – which means it's code written by all sorts of people, not a single company. And while this can sound crazy, it actually works.

Thankfully, many of those Sunday events are no longer called Developer Day. They're, instead, invitations to contribute.

And these days a ton of movement has taken place to shift how we define the term so that it includes more than just coding.

People can contribute in a variety of ways:

  • Review themes
  • Answer questions in the support forum
  • Test releases before they're final
  • Write documentation

and more. Much more.

The first minutes count

The reality is that in order for this product, the thing we call WordPress, to stay healthy, we need to do more than just write code.

We need to protect people's first experience with the product.

I say this because I believe WordPress and its community of users is growing at the edges.

So it's important that people's first experience, their first install, their first site, their first page or post – is something easy and enjoyable.

And that means a lot more than just making sure the code is solid (though it's very important).

But when you think about it, that “first experience” and the ones quickly following it are so important that if they're not amazing, people will just go looking for an alternative.

And this is why my friends point the way for you to think about all the many ways you can contribute to WordPress and it's success.

Training

People will have questions. They always do.

Most of them will go to Google. And when they do, guess what? They'll likely find articles by my friend Syed.

Some will want more than an article. They'll want to learn everything step by step. That's when they need what my friend Shawn has created.

Beautiful sites

It won't ever matter how often we tell people that clean code and functional code is what matters. They'll always go back to looking for their site to look beautiful.

It's because we're all visual people.

So guess what? They'll need themes. Beautiful themes. Like the ones that come ready to deploy, from my friend Rebecca.

Or the custom ones that Jennifer or Carrie design and develop.

Over time their needs will change

As they get more comfortable navigating the world of WordPress, they'll want more. They'll want to know who to talk to. Who to learn from. Who to buy from. And who to trust.

When they want that, they'll go to sites like Post Status, run by Brian.

And who knows, they may soon discover WordPress can do more than just power sites. Applications can be built on top of WordPress, like Steve does with mobile solutions.

Here's the thing

Here's what's crazy about this whole thing.

You might think my point is that none of these people have to submit a patch to the core of the WordPress project to help further the cause.

But that's not it.

What's most amazing is that they can each make a living, run a business, while furthering the cause of WordPress.

Should you attend a Contributor Day?

Sure. It's fun. It's social. And there's a lot of ways to get involved.

I personally can't wait until they have sessions on contributor day where I can share some of the ways I contribute best (public speaking and patronage).

Should your business invest in giving back to help further WordPress? Sure. I think it will pay dividends.

But today my point is simply this.

Sometimes you can further the cause of WordPress simply by running your own business and making it a success. 

Because when you do that, you may be doing any one of these three important things:

  • Providing help for those who are just starting their WordPress journey
  • Providing products and services that attract people to WordPress
  • Inviting other entrepreneurs to build on WordPress because of your success

Each of those examples calls to people. It draws people in. And it suggests that this is a great place to earn a living.

And that does a lot for the cause.

I'm not against writing code or contributing via coding. But there are a lot of people writing that post. So go check out what they have to say.

I just wanted to share with you the other ways you could help.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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