With nearly 1,800 free themes, the WordPress Free Themes Directory is the perfect place to find a theme for your website or blog.
In opposition to other sources, the user is guaranteed that all the themes in this repository are free from sleazy up-sell tactics as well as malicious or crappy code. To ensure this level of quality, each submitted theme is vetted by a member of the Theme Review Team.
With a growing number of submissions to the directory, the volunteers of the Theme Review Team need your help. Anybody passionate about WordPress and willing to learn is welcome to join the Team!
Not convinced yet? Then let me give you a few reasons to join.
Making WordPress better for everybody
Themes determine they way in which content is displayed to the visitors of a website. Therefore it is important that WordPress users have access to a large collection of free themes that make their place on the web look exactly as they want it.
By becoming a reviewer, you can help keeping the WordPress.org directory free from broken themes that deliver a bad user experience. With the investment of a couple of hours per week, you can potentially touch the lives of hundreds or even thousands of users and make sure that their experience using WordPress is a positive one.
And nothing is more rewarding than that!
Getting involved with Core development
If you want to contribute to WordPress core, but don’t have clue where to start, then reviewing Themes is a great way to get you going.
For a newcomer, there are a lot of tools to discover and learn, like the issue tracking system Trac, the revision control system SVN or the different stages of a ticket life.
In addition to teaching you the basics of how these work, being a reviewer will also give you an insight into how teams communicate via in-ticket comments, mailing lists and Make-sites.
But more importantly your reviewing and testing skills can be a valuable contribution during the development of the yearly default theme packaged with WordPress. This is a fantastic opportunity to submit your first patch and get started with other contributions.
Becoming a better developer
If you are a developer and interact with themes in any capacity, then you should absolutely be a member of the Theme Review Team. This is even more important if you do client work or sell commercial themes.
Reading other people’s code is a very important component for learning development. The review process gives you this opportunity, as it will force you to read through good and bad code. Over time, this will not only improve your own coding skills, but it will also allow you to spot mistakes in your own code more easily.
Whether you are an experienced developer, having worked with other content management software before, or a complete beginner, studying the guidelines and reviewing the work of others will enable you to quickly learn the ropes of theme development.
If you already are a WordPress professional, then becoming involved with the Team is a great way to stay up to date with the latest features and changes while simultaneously giving back to the community.
Becoming a better designer
With WordPress becoming increasingly popular, designers with specific skills are in high demand.
But extraordinary design skills are not enough to stand out among your competitors. In order to be efficient in your work, you need to be able to produce templates that a developer can easily transform into a working theme.
This requires in-depth knowledge about how themes work, the ways in which they can display content and what template files are loaded under which conditions.
Doing theme reviews will quickly build your WordPress knowledge while allowing you to discover how other designers solve certain problems. The Theme Unit Test part of the review process is especially valuable, because it shows you all the different edge cases that you need to take into account while designing.
Influencing the Theme Review guidelines
The Theme Review Team has been criticized by a few developers who consider the guidelines too strict or against the interests of commercial theme shops.
The great thing about these discussions is that everybody is welcome to participate as long as you are respectful of others. So if you need clarification about a certain guideline or if you want to propose a change to the guidelines, follow the Make/Themes blog and participate in the discussions.
What are you waiting for?
If you’ve read to the end of this article, this probably means that you are interested. So don’t hesitate, give yourself a push and join the Team!