WordPress is great, nothing new there. However, outside of creating themes or plugins, most people don’t believe they can help contribute to the development of WordPress. This notion is wrong and this post will describe at least 24 different ways in which anyone from joe schmoe to WP-Pro can contribute to the development of WordPress. Helping out the WordPress project comes in two flavors, direct and indirect. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll see one or two things in which you feel you can do to contribute to the project.
Participate In The WP Forum
The official WordPress forums which can be found here http://wordpress.org/support/ were set up for users to help other users. Everyone that posts on the forum is doing so voluntarily. The forum is one of the places to go if you require support while using the WordPress.org software. The forum could always use more users familiar with WordPress.
Blog About WordPress
This is one of the easier ways in which you can generate buzz about WordPress, blog about it. Not only will this raise awareness, but it gives you another avenue in which to share your experiences or knowledge regarding the software.
Create A WP Plugin
This one is a no brainer. Generally, plugins are answers to problems and most likely, there will be more than one user who has the same problem as you.
Share Your Ideas On The WP Idea Site
Many people still don’t realize that their is an extended part of WordPress.org which houses all of the ideas which have been submitted by users. WordPress.org Ideas Page. These ideas can then be rated on a 5 star system. You can also throw in your two cents for specific ideas. It’s been said by Matt himself that the core dev team takes a look at the ideas section and if there is enough demand for certain ideas, the chances are good (Not Definite) that the change would come along in a future version of WordPress.
Donate Money Towards The WP Project
Now, you might scoff at the idea of donating cash towards the WP.org project, but the fact of the matter is, most of the money involved with Automattic is used for WP.com. The WP.org project is free to use, free to host, is just about as free as free gets. However, donations towards the project do go towards useful things such as contests, legal costs, domain registrations, developer rewards ect. You can donate to the WordPress.org project by visiting the WP.org Donate Page.
Purchase Products Through The WP Store
WordPress does have it’s own shop filled with wares branded with the WordPress logo. The store offers up hoodies, mugs and T-shirts. Not only does wearing branded apparel showcase your joy/love for WordPress, but the money goes right back into the WP.org project.
Create And Share WordPress Themes
Not much explaining I have to do here. If you create a theme, share your work to the masses. One of the biggest reasons WordPress is successful is due to the large amount of variety and creativity found within themes.
Contribute To The WP Codex
The Codex is the ultimate knowledge base for WordPress. Just about everything involved with WordPress has in some form or fashion been documented within the Codex. Ok, not everything has been documented, but that is where you come in. The Codex could always use new contributors and it’s very easy to do. Click here to figure out how to contribute to the Codex.
One thing about WordPress, it has an awesome community. Chatting online, posting in the forum, commenting on blog posts is all fine and dandy, but there is nothing like meeting other WordPressers face to face. Conducting a WordCamp or WordPress Meetup in your local area is a great way to gather individuals together with a commonality, you all use WordPress.
Create Your Own WP Forum
Sure, there might be a well established WordPress forum already in use but that doesn’t mean you can’t create one of your own. As far as I can tell, the more people discussing and talking about WordPress, the better.
Create Gravatars For The WP Community
While this might not directly effect the WP project, it will help indirectly. Some of us are not graphic designers and so, the help of others to create spiffy looking gravatars which are appearing everywhere on the web is a blessing in disguise.
Report Theme Piracy
While there is a large amount of inspiration within the WordPress themeing community, some folks just can’t seem to find a way to differentiate themselves, so they copy a successful theme from the codebase all the way to the CSS. Now, this is one of the touchier methods of helping out WordPress as the GPL rule comes into play. But if you see people selling premium themes which you know they are not eligible to be doing, report them to the proper people.
Leave WordPress Credits Inside Of Themes
One thing I see too much of is the removal of the WordPress credit link located at the bottom of most themes. Sure, you don’t need to have this link presented in your theme but one way of supporting WordPress is by leaving this link in tact, showcasing your love for WordPress.
Spread The Word Through Your Favorite Medium
Whether it be through Twitter, blogging, yahoo, IM, email, forums, spread the word about WordPress. One thing that really impresses me is that WordPress.org has not spent a dime on advertising. Everything has been through word of mouth. Let’s continue that trend!
Wear Apparel With The WordPress Logo On It
This sort of overlaps with purchasing items through the WP Store, but showing off your love for WordPress at your local Starbucks with your big handled WordPress mug is priceless.
Participate In The WP-Hackers Mailing List
This is mostly for you coders out there. Participating in the WP-Hackers Mailing List is a sure fire way to get into the techy development discussions which help to shape WordPress. I don’t participate, I merely read the daily digests and have realized that most of the stuff presented in the mailing list is way over my head. However, these guys are always brining up points/counter points and it’s an interesting read at times.
Submit Bug Reports To The Trac
An integral part of the development of WordPress resides around the Trac. There is an article specifically related to reporting bugs within the codex entitled Reporting_Bugs The more people who report bugs, the better off the project will be. Of course, what really benefits WordPress is those of you who submit patches to fix those bugs.
Participate In The Beta Testers Mailing List
This mailing list can actually be used by the general publish without needing a Ph D. in coding. The mailing list is called WP-Testers Mailing List New releases are announced as well as discussed within this mailing list. If you are one of those people who downloads release candidates or beta releases, make sure to join this list so you can report and discuss your findings.
Report Security Hazards To The Proper People
If you happen to be a coder and come across something that you think may pose a security risk, the best thing for you to do is to send an email to security at wordpress.org It is standard practice to notify the vendor (the WordPress developers, in this case) of a security problem before publicizing so a fix can be prepared and public damage due to the vulnerability minimized.
Create A WordPress Centric Podcast
Maybe writing isn’t your thing, perhaps video isn’t either but you discover audio is no problem. As it stands, there are a limited number of WordPress centric podcast that exist on the net today. I’m talking about ones that come out with new episodes on a regular basis. One of the way you can share your knowledge of WordPress is through audio and right now would be a good time for you to launch that podcast.
Create WordPress Related Graphics And Share Them With Others
Another way to show your love for the WordPress project is to create a graphic and openly display it on your blog. Or you can display graphics already made and showcase them on your website, perhaps even linking them to WP.org. On the WordPress.org website, there is a page which contains already made buttons that you can use.
Participate In The WordPress IRC Channel
I’ll admit, the IRC channel is not for the faint of heart. Generally, this is where the more advanced WordPress user’s hang out but occasionally, there is a good discussion that takes and this is where you can get in direct contact with a number of folks who contribute to the WordPress.org on a regular basis. For information on to get inside the IRC channel, check out this Codex Article.
Translate WordPress Into A New Language
Although WordPress has already been translated into a number of languages, there are still more translations that could be done. The codex has an article entitled ‘Translating WordPress‘ which covers in detail on how you can translate WordPress and the Codex into other languages.
Participate In The Development Planning
Even if you are not a coder you can still join in on the development planning for WordPress. Most feature requests end up as endless mailing list debates where the message is hard to keep track of. Please read the article within the Codex entitled Development Planning to figure out how you can participate in this process.