10 Ways You Can Contribute to WordPress Without Touching Code

Volunteers the world over are the lifeblood of WordPress. Countless developers sift through code to create the thousands of plugins and themes we use everyday – not to mention WordPress itself. In their own time, these developers kill bugs, produce patches and clean up Trac.

But contributing to WordPress doesn’t mean you have to speak PHP. While helping the WordPress community appears skewed towards those with programming know-how, there are many other valuable ways you can make your mark, whether your skills lie in writing, organising or even speaking another language.

If you don’t know your HTML from your CSS and think Javascript is a kind of coffee you drink at the movies, then check out the list below for ideas on how you can make the most of your natural talents as a WordPress volunteer.

WordPress volunteer

Support Forums

There are currently more than 10,000 pages of threads with no replies in the WordPress support forums, a figure that’s just a *little* bit daunting. With only a handful of moderators on hand and about 200 people actively answering questions, the forums are swarming with those new to WordPress who are just trying to figure things out.

How You Can Help

Think you don’t know much about WordPress? Chances are there are thousands of people in the forums who know less – and could do with your help. So roll up your sleeves, sign up for a WordPress.org account and have a go at answering some questions.

There’s no easy place to start, just have a look around the forums and if you stumble across a support request you think you can answer then try helping out. Even better, answer questions that haven’t received replies by clicking on “No Replies” at the bottom of the Forums homepage.

When you’ve resolved your first thread, enjoy the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with helping someone out.

Documentation

WordPress documentation
The Codex contains everything you need to know about WordPress and then some.

The Codex is the WordPress Bible. If there’s anything you want to know about WordPress, it’s in the Codex. It’s a rich and extensive resource and editing it is ongoing work to ensure it’s up-to-date with the latest release of everyone’s favourite CMS/blogging platform. Due to its size and the increasing frequency of WordPress releases, editing the Codex is a mammoth task for the Documentation team.

How You Can Help

Know your way around words? The Codex is a wiki, meaning anyone can edit it. Simply go to the Codex homepage, login (if you’ve already registered), select a page and click “Edit” in the right-hand menu. It’s as simple as that. Whether you want to fix a spelling error or add an example to better explain a WordPress feature, every little bit helps the Documentation team.

Translation

If you know your “hola” from your “hello” and your “sandali lang” from your “just a moment…”, you might want to put your translation skills to good use helping the WordPress Polyglots team.

According to the 2012 State of the Word, two-thirds of WordPress users live outside the US, so it’s important the software is available to download in languages other than English. During a recent developer chat for the future release of version 3.7, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg emphasized that language packs would be the most “impactful thing” in this release and would be “amazing for internationalization adoption.”

How You Can Help

Stop by the Polyglots team blog and leave a comment about what languages you are fluent in and how you would like to help with WordPress translation. Polyglot Zé Fontainhas has has written a fantastic post at WP Realm about getting started and helping to add support for another language.

User Interface

Widgets modal WebDevStudios
WebDevStudios is working on a widget UI plugin for WordPress 3.8.

The WordPress UI team works on the look and feel of WordPress – the user interface, user experience and other things bits and bobs related to graphic design. With work currently underway on WordPress 3.7 and 3.8, the UI blog has been busy with discussions about the redesign of widgets and the admin dashboard.

How You Can Help

While much of the UI work involves coding and front-end development, help is also needed with UX design, including putting together wireframes, storyboards and concepts. If you think you’ve got a great idea for a future version of WordPress, head to the Make WordPress UI blog and upload some of your designs. Get involved in the discussion and help shape future releases of WordPress.

Accessibility

Developers and people who use assistive technology make up the WordPress Accessibility group at WordPress.org, which is dedicated to improving accessibility in WordPress Core. The team is on Twitter @WPAccessibility.

How You Can Help

Do you use assistive technology? If so, follow the Make WordPress Accessible blog. The team is keen for your feedback so leave a comment about anything you want to see improved in WordPress or any potential solutions to problems you’ve identified.

BuddyPress and bbPress Support Forums

Like the WordPress Support Forums, the BuddyPress and bbPress support forums are overflowing with questions and there are not enough people answering threads. At last count, there were 280 pages of topics with no replies in the BuddyPress forums and another 100 in the bbPress forums.

How You Can Help

Do you know BuddyPress and bbPress like the back of your hand? Or many you just know enough to get by? Share your knowledge with others in the forums. Even if you don’t think you can help much, answering just one thread goes a long way to helping the support forum volunteers.

Beta testing

Debugging WordPress
WordPress bugs – cute but deadly.

Do you like to be the first in the know? Do you like testing software and unearthing bugs? Every version of WordPress needs beta testers to help find any issues before the official release.

How You Can Help

Beta versions are announced at Make WordPress Core, so keep tabs on the blog to find out when the next WordPress release is imminent and a beta is available to download directly. Otherwise, download WordPress Beta Tester. Once installed, the plugin will allow you to upgrade your WordPress installation to the latest beta or release candidate at the click of a button using the built in upgrader.

Donate

Do you have more money than you know what to do with and want to support the open source community?

How You Can Help

Put your cash to good use by donating to the WordPress Foundation. Or, you might want to donate directly to someone in the WordPress community. Many WordPress volunteers have blogs and some have PayPal enabled so you can help them out with a donation.

Otherwise, you might want to try out Gittip, a site that allows you to give small weekly cash gifts to people who inspire you. Most WordPress contributors are volunteers who work in their own time to make WordPress a better place so sending some money their way would no doubt put a smile on their face and make their hard work all the more worthwhile.

Ideas

Have you ever thought, “WordPress would be better if…” or “!@#$! why don’t they fix…” ?

How You Can Help

Don’t keep your brilliant ideas to yourself! Head to the WordPress.org Ideas forum and submit your thoughts. If you don’t have any bright ideas, you can vote on those left by other users. The highest rated ideas are included in future versions of WordPress.

Organise or Volunteer at an Event

WordCamp Spain 2009
WordCamp Spain 2009.

There are currently 488 WordPress Meetup groups in 34 countries with 115,036 members. Last year, there were 67 WordCamps held around the world, including 34 in the US. Organising an event is hard work and organisers can always do with a helping hand.

How You Can Help

If you’re keen to help out, get in touch with the organisers of your local WordPress Meetup group, or if you don’t have one why not start one? The same goes for WordCamps. The more people who lend a hand, the easier it is for volunteers who can share the workload. Getting involved in events is a great way to meet new people and learn more about WordPress.

Recommend WordPress to Others

According to a recent WPMU.org survey, 70 per cent of people have never heard of WordPress. It’s a startling figure for those of us who use WordPress everyday and even make a living using it.

How You Can Help

If you love WordPress, spread the word! Help friends and family build their website around WordPress and encourage others to start their first blog. They’ll soon thank you for it!

And one final tip

Contribute because you want to contribute. And don’t forget to be friendly :)

Happy contributing!

What are you tips for getting involved in the WordPress community? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credits: Heisenberg MediajepoirrierMiguel Angel Ivars Mas.

Comments (5)

  1. Hi Raelene
    I read posts like this and get all fired up.
    We all benefit from WordPress so I feel guilty about not taking part… thanks for giving the non-coders a way to help out.

Participate