It Takes A Village: Joining and Participating in the WordPress Community

For anyone who designs, owns, manages or administers a WordPress site, the importance of the “community” that surrounds the wildly popular content management system cannot be understated. After all, the platform is open-sourced, meaning anyone and everyone can contribute to it in the form of updates, new themes, and custom plugins that help create more functionality and give the program greater versatility and, in turn, greater popularity.

But even if someone isn’t writing codes for new aspects to the program, there is still so much to be gained by being an active participant in the WordPress community: here users can continually learn new ways of doing things; stay current on what add-ons are available and how they work; get advice on increasing security; and generally build relationships that aid in growing their site.

That said, the one-person-show introverts out there might find it a little daunting to just dive into the online community and start making friends. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here are some good tips for tapping into this information-rich resource and becoming an active player in WordPress world.

Check out a forum

The discussions that take place on the various WordPress forums can yield invaluable help for the both the newbie user and the seasoned professional. And the anonymous nature of said forums means you don’t really have to work to cultivate close relationships, let alone have face-to-face interactions. One great forum is Quora, where you can search for specific topics being discussed or simply browse around and check out what others are talking about. And because Quora has lots of star writers and contributors, you can choose to follow one or more that you feel offer the best information for your needs. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, not matter how silly or elementary you may think they are: it’s the best and quickest way to get up to speed on something you need to know, and the forum is a judgment-free virtual space.

Join a Facebook Group

If you’re one of the one billion Facebook users you’re already in a great position to hop into a WordPress group. There are a ton of them, but some of the real stand-outs are: “WordPress, SEO and Internet Questions;” WordPress Help for Beginners;” and “All About WordPress.” There are also those dealing strictly with security issues on the CMS, plugins, themes, etc., and any of the groups are fantastic places to ask questions and give answers (if you have them). And once you make a solid connection or two, you can transition to more private forms of communication that can be mutually beneficial in increasing your WordPress knowledge and power.

Get personal

The WordPress community is notoriously welcoming, so don’t be afraid to be bold and reach out directly to someone who may be able to help you with your site. Email or direct messaging on Facebook or Twitter might just be a solid course of action, but be sure to do it smartly: send personal and custom messages, not formulaic missives which may be interpreted as spam; honor the recipient’s rules for messaging, such as sending them to specific addresses depending on the topic etc.; and above all else be yourself—this will show them your genuine in your communications and are serious about fostering a back-and-forth dialogue.

Go to camp

Attending a WordCamp can be incredibly helpful for those who are very serious about building and growing their WordPress site. This is especially true for those running an e-commerce page where success is paramount. WordCamps happen locally all over the world, so there’s a very good chance there’s one conveniently located near you. These gatherings are far from dry networking events: here you can meet people who most likely have the same interests, questions and answers that you have about WordPress. And the camps are, of course, rich in information and resources for everyone from beginning users to seasoned professionals. So even if you’re an introvert, it may do you some real good to get out from behind your monitor for a day or two and reap the rewards of the vast WordPress community in a face-to-face situation.

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