As Alpha Particle has grown over the years, we’ve gotten so many opportunities, made friends and even gotten clients from our connections to and in the WordPress community. Whether you’re starting an agency, already work in WordPress or just want to get involved, below you’ll find my recommendations for people to follow and ways to participate in the larger WordPress community.
Despite Twitter getting rebranded to X and many people who were historically on the platform leaving, it’s still a great place to get WordPress news and, more importantly, connect with specific people doing interesting work in WordPress. There are some Twitter lists you can follow if you want, but I’ve built up the people I’m following over time by seeing who’s engaging and posting about WordPress topics, who has great replies and who is doing really interesting work and sharing it. This has been made easier recently, as the algorithm now shows you more people that you don’t specifically follow.
Especially with WordPress changing so fast, keeping on top of what’s going on and how you can apply new techniques and technologies is very important. Here are some of the resources we use:
- learn.wordpress.org – The official repository of WordPress knowledge, there are lessons on here for all things WordPress and it’s a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to learn just a specific topic like Custom Database Tables.
- 10up’s Gutenberg Best Practices – As we’ve leaned into the Block Editor and started on our journey to building sites with Full Site Editing, this has been a great resource to see how another agency manages block development and building modern WordPress sites. And speaking of Full Site editing…
- Fullsiteediting.com – One of the best resources for learning everything about Full Site Editing and how to build sites in this new WordPress paradigm.
- Laracasts – This isn’t a free resource and it’s not WordPress-specific, so it’s a bit different than some of the others on this list. However, Laracasts has all sorts of lessons on PHP topics, how to get the most out of your code editor and more. Especially for the amount of content available, it’s one of the best developer resources I’ve come across in my career.
Podcasts are a great resource for hearing real people talk about their experiences with WordPress, how they solve problems or think about concepts and more. Here are some of my favorites:
- View Source – I love how this podcast doesn’t always stick to WordPress topics, but relates everything back for their WordPress-centric audience. I love the topics Aurooba and Brian choose and it’s obvious that they’re working in WordPress every day because they present on the questions they’re having and the topics they care about and as a result are relevant to their audience.
- WP Coffee Talk – Maybe I’m biased because I’ve been one of Michelle’s guests, but this long-running podcast is a great way to learn about specific people in WordPress, how they got started and why they love the community and working with WordPress every day.
- WP Watercooler – Always topical, always with great insights and opinions and overall a great listen to keep up with what’s going on in the community.
- Do the Woo – Despite the name, even if you’re involved with WooCommerce (or I guess just Woo now), this podcast has great episodes focusing on development topics, shows about running a business and more.
- Post Status – Probably considered the WordPress professionals organization at this point, Post Status is a great place to hang out, network and get your questions answered. Seriously, I had a Laravel question at 2AM when I was on a client deadline and someone was able to jump in and help me out (thank you, timezones).
- The WP Minute – There’s no better place to stay up-to-date with WordPress news than the WP Minute. And the Slack team that’s part of that feels like how I imagine being inside the writer’s room at SNL would be. (And yes, Matt, this is my permission for you to use this as a testimonial if you like).
- Make WordPress – This is where all the major work on WordPress happens. It’s a Slack team for now, but there’s been discussions of moving that over to some other platform. Regardless, if you want to chat with the teams who are actually making decisions, participate in meetings and help make some of those decisions yourself, this is the place to go.
WordCamps were how we got our start at Alpha Particle. By attending WordCamps all across the country, we got a chance to meet a number of people that would be instrumental in keeping us connected to the WordPress community and helping us grow our business. Although WordCamps may look different in this post-2020 world, if you do decide to attend, I would have three main recommendations:
- Apply to speak: WordCamps are always looking for speakers. If you haven’t given a talk at a WordCamp before, many of the speaker selection committees have resources for first-time speakers, will help you craft your talk proposals and more! Speaking at WordCamps has been one of my experiences throughout my time in WordPress and, often, the sponsor/speaker dinner is my favorite and most valuable part of the entire event.
- Don’t skip out on the hallway track: This is frequently-given advice, to not miss out on casual hallway conversations. I noticed that, even though I heard this before my first WordCamp, it was difficult to follow when I knew literally 0 people at the conference. I will say, this is one of the great things about getting more involved in the community. As you go to more conferences and connect with more people at Meetups and on Twitter, there are more likely to be people you already know at your next WordCamp. This makes it easier to start these informal conversations and reconnect. Just make sure to being other people you don’t know into these conversations as well so that they can get involved, just like you did.
- Try to attend or even host some informal events: WordCamps have a long history of “informal” events. Things like karaoke or going out to dinner “off campus” happen all the time at WordCamps. These are usually smaller group events, not organized by or associated with a given WordCamp other than the fact that everyone in attendance is there for the WordCamp. Because of their small size, they are a great way to get to know people, or connect more deeply with someone you had a casual conversation with earlier in the day. As you start attending more WordCamps, you’ll likely have the opportunity to attend some of these events. But if you haven’t heard about anything and have a free night, why not organize your own? It’s also a great way to explore something in your host city that you wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see if you had just gone to the conference events.