This article was originally published on this site

There are few better ways to find growth in the WordPress community than by becoming a WordPress contributor.

You may have used WordPress before, but do you know what it is at its core?
WordPress is open source. This means that this website building software is free for anyone to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute without a fee. People all over the world use WordPress for reasons big and small. The global team of WordPress contributors makes the WordPress open source project free and effective for all.
In this post, we’ll discuss the goals behind being a WordPress contributor, the five main types of contributing, and some tips for first-time contributors.

Who is a WordPress Contributor?
Anyone — regardless of age, location, background, or experience level — can contribute to WordPress. There are varying contribution levels — some people are hired and paid by a company to contribute full-time, and some volunteer to help run an event once a year. Depending on the type of contribution you choose, you can contribute online or offline.
We decided to ask some of the WordPress community why they believed it was important to contribute. The replies to this tweet show how personal the subject is to everybody!
Allie Nimmons asking on twitter: "Why is contributing to WordPress important?"“Why is contributing to WordPress important?”
At the end of the day, contributors are crucial to helping the WordPress open source project accomplish its end goal: to democratize publishing around the world.
There are few better ways to find community in tech than becoming a WordPress contributor. 👩‍💻 Learn more about ways you can contribute here 👇Click to Tweet
The Goals of Being a WordPress Contributor
As you saw above, contributing means lots of things to many people. But there are a few public mantras that will give you an idea about the end goal of contributing.
4 Freedoms
First, there’s the WordPress Philosophy based on the 4 Freedoms of open source:

  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works.
  3. The freedom to change the program to make it do what you wish.
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.

We contribute because it enables us to ensure these freedoms. Remember that these freedoms apply to almost all open source projects, not just WordPress.
Five for the Future
As a contributor, you’ll also want to learn a bit of Five for the Future.
This initiative launched in 2014 encourages organizations and individuals to contribute 5% of their resources to WordPress development. When you participate in Five for the Future by dedicating your time to the WordPress open source project, you promote the 4 Freedoms, identify and recruit new talent, influence the direction of the WordPress technology, and contribute to the future of the open web.
The 4 Freedoms gives you the philosophy, and Five for the Future gives you a plan.
Remember, anyone can contribute to WordPress. Some people believe you have to be a developer, you have to contribute full-time, or you have to know already how to use WordPress to contribute.
None of these things is true. All you have to do is find a team and raise your hand to get started!
Finding the Right Contribution Team for You
Hopefully, by now, you’re thinking, “How can I begin contributing? What can I do? Where do I start?”
Luckily, since much of the WordPress world is online, it’s easier than ever for you to connect with contributing opportunities.
We’ve taken a look at all the ways people contribute and sorted them into five rough groups. Many of these groups talk about WordPress contributor teams. Teams exist within the more formal WordPress Slack group.
You don’t have to apply, sign up, or pay to be a part of these teams. These groups of people make changes that can immediately affect the WordPress releases. But not all contributions happen in these teams.
Let’s take a look at each one and see whether you’ll see something that resonates with you.
Code-Based WordPress Contributor
If you’re interested in or skilled with code, look at code-based contribution teams. Currently, teams that could use code-based contributions include, but are not limited to:

  • Core
  • Support
  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Host
  • CLI
  • Tide
  • Openverse

If you have experience with PHP, HTML, JavaScript, or CSS, you’d be a great fit for these teams. If these are languages you want to learn to write, you’re welcome here, too! WordPress is used by seasoned and first-time developers alike, so your perspective is valuable no matter where you are in your education.
On these teams, you might be asked to fix bugs, debate certain decisions, help write code, answer questions, review software, test in conjunction with different hosting environments, or use CLI, Openverse, or Tide to make the WordPress experience better. All you need to participate in is a local version of WordPress to test.
If any of these things interest you, head on to the Make WordPress website and select the team you want to join. You’ll find a ton of links to direct you toward different ways to get started.
Marketing and Design-Based WordPress Contributor
If you are interested in or skilled with marketing and design, look at marketing-based contribution teams. Currently, teams that could use marketing-based contributions include, but are not limited, to:

  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Mobile
  • Accessibility
  • Documentation
  • Community
  • TV

If you have experience with graphic design, UX, user testing, accessible design, video production, or marketing, you’d be a great fit for these teams. Even if you don’t have a ton of experience, but are interested in these topics, consider joining one of these teams.
These teams all focus on different things. You might be asked to help with strategy and content for other WordPress teams. You may be asked to help caption and subtitle videos on WordPress.tv.
If any of these things interests you, head on to the Make WordPress website and select the team you want to join. You’ll find a ton of links to direct you toward different ways to get started.
Usability-Based WordPress Contributor
If you are interested in how people use and interact with the WordPress software, look at usability-based contribution teams. These teams include, but are not limited, to:

  • Accessibility
  • Polyglots
  • Support
  • Documentation
  • Community
  • Meta
  • Training
  • Testing

All these teams focus on how people use WordPress and its supplementary resources. For example, the accessibility team works hard to ensure that WordPress core and all WordPress resources are accessible to as many people as possible. The polyglots team focuses on translating WordPress and helping create tools that make translations easier.
If any of these things interest you, head on to the Make WordPress website and select the team you want to join. You’ll find a ton of links to direct you toward different ways to get started.
Event-Based WordPress Contributor
If you’re interested in or have experience with events and logistics, look at the community team, or connect with one of your local Meetups.
Volunteers put on all WordPress events. And there are dozens of roles required to put on an event. Even if event planning isn’t your style, events always need other positions filled.
You might be asked to update the website or social media for the event. They may ask you to coordinate with speakers or sponsors. You may also be required to record or live stream the event. You may even just be asked to grab water and snacks. There are so many individual things that need doing.
To learn more about how you can be an organizer or volunteer for an event, join the Community team or search Meetup.com for a local WordPress meeting.
Other Ways to Contribute
If none of the above resonates with you, never fear! There are tons of WordPress community members who have found their own unique ways to contribute.

Sign Up For the Newsletter

Want to know how we increased our traffic over 1000%?
Join 20,000+ others who get our weekly newsletter with insider WordPress tips!


Subscribe Now

Remember, the goal is to make sure the software exists in its best possible form and is accessible. There is no one singular “right” way to do it.WordPress community members are contributing new things every single day. Let’s look at some ways you can contribute in “unofficial” ways, along with some examples.
Podcasts
It’s no secret that podcasting has been one of the top ways to make content in the last few years. Podcasts allow you to own your content with your voice, and they are usually free or low-cost to produce and distribute.
A WordPress podcast is a great way to contribute to the community because you can provide regular content, for free, that directly addresses the interests and needs of other community members.
There are dozens of WordPress-focused podcasts out there. For example, Do the Woo with Bob Dunn and WP Coffee Talk with Michelle Frechette focus on specific areas of the WordPress world — ecommerce and community, respectively.
And, of course, there’s Kinsta’s podcast, Reverse Engineered, which explores tips, tricks, and advice from industry experts in WordPress and beyond.
YouTube Channels
Starting and maintaining a YouTube channel can be a full-time job. But most WordPress professionals will tell you that YouTube is one of their main sources for education when trying to learn something new.
Why not share your knowledge and expertise via YouTube?
Content creator, consultant, and speaker Mak has leveraged his YouTube channel to share valuable content about using WordPress to build a business. His channel is a fantastic example of how one person can give so much back to the WordPress community.
Newsletters
The WordPress community moves fast! Every day, there are new events, releases, announcements, acquisitions, launches, and so much more.
Even casual WordPress users need to know what’s going on in the WordPress world. Newsletters are great resources to accomplish just that and keep the lifeblood of the WordPress world flowing.
Two great examples of successful WordPress newsletters include The Repository (Rae Morey) and Post Status (Cory Miller, David Bisset, Dan Knauss). Both pick out all the important newest goings-on and present them in a unique bite-sized format. They look for the big and small news stories that WordPress professionals need to know, share job opportunities, tips, interviews, and more.

Info
Be sure to check out Kinsta’s newsletter to stay abreast of the latest changes and releases in the world of WordPress.

Blogs
This one is a no-brainer! WordPress is all about publishing content, so using WordPress to publish content about WordPress is a great first step for newbie contributors.
As you learn new things — whether to build, fix, or break WordPress — consider sharing your thoughts and experiences in blog format. Passing on educational information and opinion through a blog is a great way to contribute to the community.

Two examples of fantastic blogs doing great things in the WordPress world are HeroPress and Lireo. HeroPress (Cate DeRosia and Topher DeRosia) highlights the stories of how WordPress has changed lives all over the world. Lireo (Deborah Edwards-Onoro) shares weekly roundups of web design and development news, important takeaways from events, UX and accessibility analyses, and so much more.
Communities
A handful of WordPress communities out there have been created to meet specific needs. Given that the WordPress community is global, we often find that people with the same specific interests or needs gravitate to one another naturally, regardless of distance.
When getting together in person isn’t viable, online communities are key. Starting or helping manage an online community is a great way to give back to the WordPress community as a whole.
For example, WP Women of Color (Ebonie Butler) and Big Orange Heart (Dan Maby) are two great communities within the larger WordPress Community.
WP Women of Color is a Slack channel specifically for women and non-binary folks of color. It’s a safe space for these people to come together and feel seen and heard, and supported by people who look like them.
Big Orange Heart is dedicated to being a supportive and positive space that focuses on well-being and mental health for people working remote jobs. Both communities are spearheaded by WordPress professionals dedicated to helping other WordPress professionals.
Tools
Because WordPress is open source, people can grab the core software and build whatever they want.
So much of the WordPress ecosystem comprises themes, plugins, and other extensions to WordPress. Some people sell them; some distribute them for free. Regardless, complementary software to WordPress helps people all over the world to achieve their goals. And these tools can be created and distributed by anyone.
For example, Newsletter Glue (Lesley Sim) is a builder plugin that allows you to connect your email service to WordPress. That way, you can publish newsletter editions just like how you publish blog posts. Velox Theme (David Wolfpaw) is just one of many free themes in the WordPress repository. A WordPress community member built it. It’s a lightweight theme optimized for the Block Editor, accessible, and IndieWeb compatible.
By building tools that pair well with WordPress, you could contribute in your way to the usability of WordPress as a whole. Have an idea? Just spin up a local version of WordPress and start building.

Tips for First-Time WordPress Contributors
Hopefully, you have a good idea of what kinds of things you’d like to do as a contributor by now. But it can still be challenging to know where to start, and what success looks like.
Some people may join a contribution team and feel discouraged due to inconsistent expectations. Sometimes people quit before they’ve had a chance to begin.
So here are five tips we can give you to make your experience smoother and help you get the most out of contributing.
1. Find Your Niche (Get Specific)
It’s helpful to either find a team where you can contribute skills that you already have or where you can hone a skill that you’d like to learn.
Everyone appreciates someone who walks into the room ready to tackle any challenge. However, when you first begin, you may not feel that way.
It’s a good idea to have a firm idea of your limits, strengths, interests, and boundaries.
2. Ask and Answer Questions
While some people may have more experience contributing than others, everyone is meant to learn from everyone else. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — people are volunteering their time and energy partially to help you become a better contributor!
You’ll find that the WordPress community can be warm and welcoming. And don’t forget to pay it forward by taking the time to answer questions when others bring them to the table, too.
3. Join Slack Groups
This is a must-do for some of the contributing teams. But even if your contribution is more casual, it’s still a good idea to join the Make WordPress Slack group and keep an eye on what’s going on. Pretty much anyone can look in on almost any public meeting, chat, or conversation.
You’ll be surprised how much you will learn by just sitting back and watching. Your learning opportunities are not just limited to the main WordPress Slack. There are Meetup Slack groups and community Slacks like the Post Status and HeroPress Slack groups, too.
4. Interact Wherever You Can
The WordPress world thrives in all sorts of places. Anywhere people using WordPress gather is a place to learn and contribute. Find the medium that works for you, then connect to other WordPress users. You’ll find inspiration, resources, and common ground just by speaking with others.
Popular ways to connect with the community include Twitter, Facebook groups, Slack groups, online and in-person events, etc. Important conversations about the past, present, and future of WordPress happen in all of these places.
5. Learn by Doing
At the end of the day, you have to get your hands dirty. Write, design, code, break, and build with WordPress. You’ll learn so much just by experimenting. It’s extremely rewarding to share what you’ve made or learned with others.
Open source is not just about sharing software, but sharing ideas. If you want to contribute to a code-based team but feel less than confident in your coding skills, learn as you go. Don’t let lack of experience hold you back!
Anyone- regardless of age, location, background, or experience level- can contribute to WordPress. 😄 Get started with help from this guide ⬇️Click to Tweet

Summary
As of 2021, WordPress websites power more than 40% of the internet. That success is mainly due to the hard work of countless contributors.
Some people work 40 or more hours a week on their contributions. Some people contribute as a side-project. And still, others have only contributed once. Regardless, each person’s efforts represent one step forward for the software and the community as a whole.
Understanding why to contribute is just as important as understanding how. Now that you have a firm grasp of both, go out and find your niche! Your unique experiences, questions, and efforts can help WordPress become even better.
Do you have any questions left about WordPress contributions? Let us know in the comments section!

Save time, costs and maximize site performance with:

  • Instant help from WordPress hosting experts, 24/7.
  • Cloudflare Enterprise integration.
  • Global audience reach with 29 data centers worldwide.
  • Optimization with our built-in Application Performance Monitoring.

All of that and much more, in one plan with no long-term contracts, assisted migrations, and a 30-day-money-back-guarantee. Check out our plans or talk to sales to find the plan that’s right for you.