Due to the popularity, mammoth reach and open source nature of WordPress, its users make up a community of active contributors from all over the world. This community is one of WordPress’ distinguishing features – and is invaluable to newbies and experienced users alike.
If you are new to WordPress, joining both the online and real-world communities of users can be a great way to learn the basics, pick up some great tips hacks and hints, find the code snippets you’re looking for, watch in-depth tutorials, ask questions and share your own experiences.
The value of the community
Yes, WordPress is a fairly intuitive system – but there will be times you’ll run into a problem you just can’t solve for yourself. When it comes to starting a WP-based website or blog from scratch on your own, there’s a LOT to learn. The value of the WordPress community is that there are millions of active users out there willing to share their expertise and opinions – and even answer questions directly.
The point of being part of the community is to learn – but that means being active, and sharing your own tips and wisdom when you can. The more active everyone is within the various WP communities, the more these communities grow, and the more everyone benefits.
So where can you join the conversation and become an active member of one of the many useful WordPress communities?
Run by WordPress.org, the official WordPress Forums are everyone’s first stop in their journey to WordPress enlightenment. The forums offer information about everything from installation, how-tos and troubleshooting, to themes and templates, plugins and hacks, reviews and much more. There are more than 380,000 topics and one million posts under the Plugins and Hacks forum alone – but don’t feel daunted by the sheer amount of information stored available. You can browse topics when you’re hungry to update your general knowledge, or if you’re looking for answers to a specific question, you can search for relevant topics.
Twitter’s social network is a great place to connect with likeminded users, pose questions to experts, share your own knowledge and useful links, and search for tools and tips. A quick search of users will reveal a wide range of WP users, developers and self-declared experts – some of whom will be more helpful than others.
Three Tweeps to follow and engage with are:
- @WordPress Their bio: Updates and other fun stuff related to WordPress.org (that’s the self-hosted version).
- @wpbeginner Their bio: WPBeginner is the largest unofficial ?#WordPress resource site offering WordPress tips, tricks, and other resources.
- @tribewp Their bio: Need help with WordPress? Can’t get your head around crazy code and terrible themes? Here you’ll find guides & tutorials to get you up & running fast.
YouTube has become the place to search and view tutorials online, and at the time of posting, there were in excess of two million videos on YouTube matching the search term ‘WordPress’. A huge number of these include tutorials and help topics, and YouTube makes it easy to search for relevant content or channels.
Five popular channels dedicated to the WordPress community are:
- How To Use WordPress Tutorial: 1300 subscribers and 85,000 views
- WordPress Tutorials: more than 2500 subscribers and 16,000 video views
- WordPress how-to videos: over 900 subscribers and almost 28,000 vide views
- WordPress Blog Marketer: more than 1800 subscribers and nearly 110,000 page views
- WPwatercooler: over 850 subscribers and more than 1.5 million video views
There are countless blogs dealing exclusively in WordPress hints and hacks. Some are more informative than others, and some feature greater communities of commenters, but having a poke around in a new different posts will give you an idea of the sites that may be useful to bookmark.
Three WordPress-focused blogs that may be worth a look are:
- WPBeginner: Offers news, opinions, tutorials and plugins and a community of more than 80,000 WordPress users, active commenters
- WPGarage: Topics include a wide range, including CSS templates, design, good blogging practice, monetization, and code snippets.
- WP-Snippets: A fast-and-friendly approach to WordPress if you’re looking for something specific, offering short, snippet-style posts of code.
Online help is instantaneous and convenient, but if you’re looking to connect with a community of WordPress newbies and aficionados in the real world, joining a local Meetup group is a great place to start.
There are currently more than 400 WordPress Meetup groups, boasting in excess of 98,000 members in 269 cities around the world. Search for your nearest WP group, or start your own. Even if you’re not an expert, creating a group will give you a place to pool your knowledge and resources… and you never know who may end up joining.
Looking for a real world connection that’s a step up from your average Meetup? WordCamps are large one or two day conferences, offering users the chance to listen to notable speakers from within their community, and connect with their WordPress peers. New venues and events are added all the time, but if there’s not an upcoming WordCamp offered in your area, you can always find out more about making one happen.