When it comes to choosing a Content Management System (CMS) for your small business, WordPress is a popular choice because of its low startup costs. Although it’s relatively user-friendly, getting started with the platform can be a little intimidating.

Fortunately, there are thousands of other WordPress users ready to support you in growing your online business. You may not be aware that when you launched your WordPress site you became a member of a thriving and active community. 

In this post, we’ll introduce you to the people behind WordPress. We’ll share some of the ways this global community and its local South African chapters can help your business flourish, and some ways you can give back.

Introducing the WordPress community 

WordPress is what’s called an ‘open-source’ platform. This means that its code is freely available for anyone to download, modify, or redistribute: creating themes, plugins and apps that work with WordPress and that you can choose to use if you wish. 

WordPress is maintained by a global community of volunteers. You may assume that, in order to be considered a member of this vital group, you need to be a developer or another type of web professional. But actually, anyone who uses WordPress or WordPress.com is considered part of the community – including small business owners like yourself. That’s one of the reasons xneelo supports WordPress: it makes it as easy as possible for any business owner to create their own professional website.

As part of the WordPress community, you have access to third-party support, both online (through forums and blogs) and in-person (through monthly meetups & annual WordCamps). There are also opportunities to give back to other WordPress users.

How to get involved in the WordPress community

There are three primary ways to connect with the WordPress community. Meetups are local groups that get together regularly to discuss topics related to WordPress: many of them are open to users of all skill levels. There are currently seven in South Africa – you can find one nearest to you at Meetup.com – and they are free to attend.

WordCamps are annual WordPress conferences organized by volunteers, where speakers share presentations on a variety of topics. There are also workshops where you can learn and practice new skills, and Contributor Days for users to participate in improving the platform. You’ll find a number of WordPress vendors at WordCamps, and have the opportunity to network. 

The next WordCamp Cape Town will be held on 26 September 2019, and the upcoming WordCamp Johannesburg is on 3 October 2019. Tickets cost R500 for WordPress Cape Town and R350 for WordPress Johannesburg. 

Finally, you can make use of online forums and websites. The WordPress Support Forum is a useful resource, where you can get your questions answered by more experienced users. Other helpful sites include WP Beginner, Torque, WP Tavern, and even our own blog

How the WordPress community can help you as a small business owner

The WordPress community is an invaluable resource for troubleshooting your site and learning how to navigate the platform. Forums, blog posts, videos, and other media provide information on how to create and maintain a WordPress site, even if you’re not a developer.

The skills you’ll learn while interacting with other users and exploring various resources will help you take your business site into your own hands. The more you know about aspects such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or design, the more you can improve your online presence to support and improve your business.

Plugging into the WordPress community can help you connect with developers, other small business owners, and even online marketing professionals. 

How to contribute to the WordPress community

If you’re new to WordPress, or you don’t have any coding skills, it may be hard to believe that you have something of value to contribute to the WordPress community. You do! And here are some of the ways you can give back:

You can sponsor your local Meetup or WordCamp. This may also help spread awareness about your business. Here at xneelo, we sponsor Meetups and even (in part) the WordCamps in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. If you’re not able to provide that kind of financial investment, consider signing up to speak or volunteer at these events instead.

You can use your acquired knowledge to help other WordPress beginners on the Support Forums. Some meetups even create local ‘Happiness Bars’, or live WordPress help desks where experts walk other users through solutions.

Finally, if you’re a skilled writer who can create clear instructions for others, you might consider writing WordPress documentation. Your work will become a free resource for other newcomers to the platform.

Getting started with the WordPress community

Starting your own business comes with many challenges, including launching and managing your website. WordPress is a low-cost, user-friendly solution, but it’s still beneficial to have some help along the way.

The WordPress community provides support for users of all skill levels and backgrounds, including small business owners. Getting involved with Meetups, WordCamps, and online resources can help you learn the skills you need to grow your business, and even give back to the platform.

Need a hosting provider for your WordPress site? At xneelo, all of our hosting packages support WordPress. Check them out and join the community today!