Without the contributions of all the volunteers who work on WordPress, WordPress would never have become what it is today. But how do you start, what do you start with, and is WordPress waiting for your contribution? This blog explains all areas of interest, so that you can decide for yourself how you want to contribute to WordPress.
Spoiler: It’s fun!
Why should you contribute to WordPress?
The great success of WordPress is due to the thousands of volunteers. Think of developers, designers, UX specialists, copywriters, translators, accessibility specialists, users, all people who invest part of their time and knowledge in the WordPress project. People reserve time themselves to contribute or receive time from their employer to do so.
Contributing to WordPress gives you new knowledge and you help others (and yourself) with easier and more independent publishing on the internet. You will meet new people and have the opportunity to become part of a community of WordPress enthusiasts. Plus the fact that you help with software that runs 43% (source) of all websites.
Where do you start?
To see what you can contribute to, all 21 focus areas are explained below. And that’s how you find out what you can contribute to.
There are many different ways for you to get involved with WordPress. That’s exactly what the make.wordpress.org page says. One other way is to visit a WordCamp, talk to people, and get more knowledge about how contributing to WordPress works. There are even WordCamps with dedicated Contributor days, so you can started immediately.
The team that deals with Core is the team that makes WordPress. If you want to learn more about PHP, or if you are an experienced developer, the team is happy with your contribution. Think of developing code, solving errors, talking about decisions.
Here you can find out more about Core.
The Design team is engaged in designing and developing the user interface. Designers and UX experts enjoy themselves in this team. Sketches, design, user testing, etc. are regularly discussed.
Here you can find out more about Design.
The Mobile team builds the iOS and Android apps. Do you have experience with, or do you want to develop yourself based on Objective-C, Java or Swift, then you are very welcome in this team. Also welcome are designers, UX experts and testers.
Here you can find out more about Mobile.
The a11y ( explanation: a + 11 letters + y ) group provides accessibility expertise related to the entire WordPress project. They make sure that all WordPress information and code is accessible to everyone.
Here you can find more about Accessibility.
WordPress is used all over the world in many different languages. As a polyglot (someone who speaks many languages), you help translate WordPress and develop tools that translators use.
Here you can find out more about Polyglots.
Answering a question on the WordPress forum, or IRC (yes, it still exists) is the easiest way to contribute to WordPress. There is bound to be something you can help someone with.
Here you can find out more about Support.
Documentation helps people find how to do something. The documentation team is responsible for creating and maintaining documentation and is always looking for good writers.
Here you can find out more about Documentation.
Every theme found in the WordPress Theme repository has been reviewed by the Theme Review team. If you want to further develop your theme skills, sign up for this team.
Here you can find out more about Themes.
The plugin team consists of people who review plugins before they enter the WordPress plugin repository. If you want to stay up to date of developments because you develop plugins, this is the place for you!
Here you can find out more about Plugins.
Do you want to help organize a WP Meetup or a WordCamp? Then the community blog is the place to start. Here you will find people who can help and support you in organizing.
Here you can find out more about Community.
The meta team creates WordPress.org and maintains and supports all tools used by contributors. Do you want to improve WordPress.org? Then register with this team and start contributing.
Here you can find out more about Meta.
The training team creates courses and related documentation that can be used in a live workshop environment. If you absolutely love explaining WordPress, join this team.
Here you can find out more about Training.
The test team monitors and tests the use of WordPress. If you are familiar with or want to learn about user testing, user research, manual testing, observing and QA, this team is for you.
Here you can find out more about Test.
WordPress.tv is the platform where videos from WordCamps, an WP Meetups, can be found. The TV team watches each video and uploads it to the site. They also help WordCamp teams with subtitling and post production. Reviewing videos is a great way to learn more about the WordPress community. You don’t need any experience to help.
Here you can find out more about TV.
The marketing team provides materials to support the marketing and sale of WordPress software and promote the WordPress community.
Here you can find out more about Marketing.
WP CLI is the official command line tool for interacting and managing WordPress sites. You can contribute to the WP CLI team can with code, give a demo at a Meetup, help others with support or update documentation.
Here you can find out more about CLI.
This team discusses matters related to hosting WordPress. Best practices, tools and experiences are exchanged here.
Here you can find out more about Hosting.
Tide is a series of automated tests run against every plugin and theme in the directory and then displays PHP compatibility and test errors/warnings in the directory. If you are in to testing plugins and themes, or want to find out how to have your theme or plugin test, join this team.
Here you can find out more about Tide.
Openverse is a search engine for openly-licensed media. The Openverse team implements new features and new media types; maintains the public API and front-end search engine; and develops WordPress integrations to share Openverse with the entire WordPress community.
Here you can find out more about Openverse.
The Photo Directory team moderates every photo submitted to the WordPress Photo Directory, maintains and improves the directory site itself, and provides resources and documentation to educate, encourage, and facilitate photo contributors. (Remark: the cover image on this posts is taken from the Photo Directory.)
Here you can find out more about Photos.
The core performance team is dedicated to monitoring, enhancing, and promoting performance in WordPress core and its surrounding ecosystem.
Here you can find out more about Core Performance.
How do you stay informed?
With so many areas of interest, it is almost impossible to keep track of everything. If you know which area(s) you want to contribute to, start by reading the respective make.wordpress.org blogs, and possibly the accompanying Slack channel.
Also sign up for email updates on the blog, so you are always up to date and can participate in various discussions.
If you don’t feel like starting yourself, or if you really don’t know what you can contribute to, come to a WordCamp or WP Meetup in your area. A Contributor Day is often also held at these meetings. On this day you will be working on WordPress with a large number of attendees and there are always experienced contributors who can help you get started and tell you about their experiences.
As you have seen, there are countless ways to contribute to WordPress. You don’t have to be experienced, and you can contribute to various areas of interest. Are you enthusiastic and do you know what you want to do? Good luck and most of all have fun!
If you have any questions, ask them on the team page you want to contribute to or join the channel on the WordPress.org Slack.
Cover image by Pablo Moratinos.