WordPress Community

WordPress Community: How to Get Involved (and Why!)

The WordPress Community is Amazing

One of the aspects of my work I love the most is the WordPress community. Great code is good, but great people are amazing…and it’s the people who make it all possible.

Great code is good, but great people are amazing...and with WordPress it's the people who make it all possible.Click To Tweet

My best friend’s husband introduced me to WordPress. He built a site for us for a non-profit we had started. Then he gave us logins and told us to populate it. I loved it. The way it worked (and still does) just made sense. So I asked him to show me how to take a site from domain registration to installation. We spent an hour together as he taught me how to download the core, upload it through FTP, use the cPanel and more.

I was hooked.

That was more than 200 sites and 3 years ago.

I now coordinate the Rochester WordPress meetup. I’ve also spoken at several WordCamps, been an organizer for one, and lead organizer for WordCamp Rochester.

And none of that has gotten me any work. So why do it?

Here is what being involved in the WordPress community has gotten me.

  • Knowledge: I have learned so much from so many amazing people. 
  • Friendship: I have made friends I never would have met were it not for meetups and WordCamps.
  • Travel: Attending WordCamps has gotten me to cities that I have never been to before.
  • Confidence: Although never shy, presenting at WordCamps has raised my game and made me more confident in my presentation skills.
  • Fun: I have had so much fun taking photos, meeting people, networking, and eating!
  • Swag: Not gonna lie. I love the swag: pens, notebooks, bags, socks, hand sanitizer, buttons, stickers, hats, gloves, sunglasses, candy, thumb drives, bottle openers, free trials, and more. Swag is awesome.
  • Better. I have gotten better at my job because of all of these things. So that does influence getting work, after all.

But the best thing? An amazing network of people.

 Never before have I been part of a large group of people doing the same kind of work I am without there being distrust, unhealthy competition, and secrecy. While I won’t say this doesn’t exist at all, I will say that I have not experienced it. Whenever I have had a problem with a site, there are always others willing to help me troubleshoot it. 

I recently had to deal with a hacked site. While I had tried everything in my bag of tricks, I still was missing something. I reached out to the Ottawa WordPress group through Slack. Within 2 minutes Shawn Hooper had responded to me and within an hour the site was fully restored. I billed the client and split the revenue with Shawn.

How you should get involved.

If you aren’t already part of a WordPress group, you can only benefit by getting involved. Here are some of my favorite ways to be in contact with other WordPress users.

  • Meetup.com. There are meetups in most major cities, and in smaller cities and towns, too. WordPress meetups are groups of other people using WordPress who want to share and learn from one another. The Rochester, NY meetup meets once a month for a regular 2-hour meeting. For one hour we cover a specific topic (explained, taught or demonstrated by a member, or a guest). The second hour is open discussion where we get help from one another. Our meetup also gets together about once a month for a full day of coworking, where we work alongside each other and offer assistance to one another throughout the day.
  • Slack. Slack channels are awesome. Many cities have WordPress Slack channels where members co-work virtually. Camaraderie is awesome, senses of humor are out there, and assistance is there for the asking – and giving.
  • Facebook Groups. There are a whole lot of Facebook groups for WordPress out there. From general help to regional help, to specific plugin and theme support. Some are very active and others less so. It’s a great way to get involved from the comfort of home or office.
  • WordCamp. I can’t stress enough how much I learn and grow by attending WordCamps. The beautiful thing is that they happen all over the world. All. Over. The. Whole. World! Start local or go across the country or around the globe. You will find something valuable at every camp. Not sure where to look? Visit central.wordcamp.org to find one that interests you.

So join us. Be part of the WordPress community. Contribute to the culture.

I bet you’ll be hooked, too.

Questions?

Email me or use the form in the sidebar to submit your ideas and questions, and they may show up in a future post.

Michelle Ames, smiling in a tiaraOverextended, overcommitted, entrepreneur, volunteer, and social butterfly. Avid Scrabble player. Tea snob. Mom. School board member. Marketing fanatic. 11th hour expert. WordPress Meetup Coordinator. WordCamp speaker. WordCamp organizer. Frequent WordCamp attendee.

I am the owner and marketing diva at Marketed by Michelle.

Follow me on Twitter @michelleames.

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