Value of Participating in WordPress Communities

In this weeks WP-Tonic round-table show, we discuss this week’s WordPress news stories. Then, our main WordPress topic, What is the value of participating in the WordPress Community?. What have we learned from going to WordPress Meetups and WordCamps?


Our episode this week is sponsored by Liquid Web. Liquid Web is offering a 33% discount for 6 months. Head over to and use the code WPTONIC33 at checkout for your discount.


This weeks WP-Tonic round table had three main WordPress news stories and one main theme — “Why you should be part of the WordPress community!”

News stories that discuss this week

1 – WordPress Core Editor Team Publishes UI Prototype for “Gutenberg,” an Experimental Block Based Editor

2 – Cloudflare Memory Leak Exposes Private Data

3 – Should I use the WordPress Jetpack plugin on my site


Our WordPress Panel This Week

Sallie Goetsch: from WP Fangirl

John Locke: from Lockedown SEO

Jonathan Denwood: from

Show Notes for Episode 170

Sallie is the organizer of the East Bay WordPress Meetup, and she says as an organizer it forces her to learn enough to teach other people. This is one benefit of being part of the WordPress community.

The entire panel agrees that one benefit of being heavily involved in the local Meetups is building a network. By knowing what everyone does, and who specializes in what, when you need to ramp up for large projects it’s easy to find help.

When people know what you specialize in, they can refer you work as well. There are times when people do not have the bandwidth to handle all the work that is coming your way. That is when it is useful to be a part of the community, and have people who trust you to handle that overflow work.

When you were visible in the local web community, people are more apt to turn to you to answer questions. Sally mentions specifically that our recruiters and HR people ask her who is skilled for job placement. In our experience, people tend to ask you questions more often if you have some prominence in the WordPress community.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lead a Meetup or a WordCamp (though that certainly will help), but often times just being a regular active participant in the Meetups will be enough for people to get familiar with your area of expertise.

Getting Local Involvement

We talked about a phenomenon that happens in at least some of our cities, where certain agencies are involved with the Meetups, and others are not. For whatever reason, many web agencies do not see the value in participating in the WordPress community, even though they build most of their websites with WordPress. Maybe it is the perception that everyone else in the room is competition, not prospects, so the value is limited. Who can say for sure?

The WordPress Foundation is actually very specific about promoting inclusiveness in the WordPress Meetups. Lead organizers in each city to go through Foundation training outlining appropriate guidelines regarding sponsors, self-promotion, and codes of conduct.

Communities Within Communities

The WordPress community as we look at it is actually smaller than we might think.

Sure, WordPress powers 27% of the web. Millions of web developers use WordPress on a daily basis.

But perhaps a fraction of 1% of those developers actually go to Meetups, go to WordCamps, read WordPress blogs, and listen to WordPress podcasts.

There are people in every local community that attend every Meetup and WordCamp. Then there are people that show up half the time. Then there are individuals who might show up once or twice a year to a word press meet up.

In other words, there is a hard-core community within the larger WordPress community, which is also nested inside the general web community.

Local Meetups and the Online WP Community

Sallie says she’s where is been lucky to always find enough people to speak each year, and mentions that Anca Mosiou has stepped in to help run the meet up if she has been unavailable.

Not everybody can travel to be part of multiple WordCamps per year. The online WordPress community is very important as well.

Through Facebook groups, blog comments, and Twitter, it is possible to be part of the online WordPress community.

As in any community, you can’t be a part of it if your prime objective is to see what you can get out of it. Be genuine, make friends, and don’t expect anything in return. That’s where the magic happens.

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