On May 27, 2003, WordPress was born. Since 2003, it has become the most popular content management system on the Web today. While I just wrote about securing your WordPress site, I wanted to take a moment to share what WordPress means to me and why I support the project. Wikipedia has a great overview of the release history.
WordPress gives people a voice. It also gives them the tools to create powerful websites with minimal resources. The community (and needs) around WordPress matured so much, there’s an ecosystem supporting it. In essence, WordPress is the publishing tool on the web that promotes self-expression. With its vast number of features, it’s no question why many developers and users love it.
In the past 11 years, WordPress started out as a fork (variation) of the b2evolution project led by Matt Mullenweg. Staying core to the principles of GPL and enabling the community build on the software, WordPress has become one of the most popular web applications. Along the way, it has become easier, faster and more intuitive. While open-source and GPL don’t usually coincide with business and revenue generation, WordPress has created what I’m calling a “secondary” market of services, support and solutions to take the platform and its users further.
WordPress today offers easy access control, page creation, basic photo editing, comment systems, mobile compatibility and limitless variety of themes and community plugins. As a result, it allows people to build and tend to their website without being restricted. While some could argue that the thousands of plugins, themes and updates are a minus, it’s definitely a plus because it shows the software and the platform is continues to evolve.
Ask around to any fan of WordPress what they love most about it. It’s the community. It matters. It’s why WordPress will continue to grow. But if you forget about the community aspects of WordPress, it could fragment itself and lose equity.
With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to give back to the WordPress community. It doesn’t have to be in the form of code, but if you contribute to Core, may we all bow down to you. Contributing to WordPress goes well beyond, code; it means helping users with WordPress questions and supporting your local WordPress community. It’s easy to do it — simply head over to the WordPress Support Forums and help those who are just getting started. Then, head over to Meetup.com and search for a nearby WordPress meetup. There are actually over 500 WordPress meetups around the world and there might even be one near you. You don’t have to consider yourself an expert to participate and help others.
Once you feel pretty mired into the WordPress community, give back some of your time and talent and help out at a WordCamp. Contributing at a WordCamp is awesome — it’s like a WordPress Meetup in the form of a conference format. It takes a lot of work, but is rewarding to see many people benefit from the WordPress community, technology and ecosystem. (Psst! If you’re in Phoenix, we’d love your help for 2015.)