Today I’ve exchanged a few emails with one of Simple Balance’s users which made me think about several things that users could do to help out WordPress themes and plugins developers.

This article is written purely for the purpose of giving you an idea on how to give back to those that invest time and knowledge to give your free quality WordPress resources.

So, here are a few things you can do to help them out:

Offer to test out their themes and plugins

If their project is still in Beta stage, ask to join the testing group or register we’re this is permitted. Test out the product in whatever environment you have available and report bugs and unusual behavior to the designer / developer. They are only humans and most of the time work on too many project and might miss out things, being so closely involved in the project. An outsider could observe things that they can not.

You can also test the projects after the official release. Help is welcome anytime.

Advice: Before reporting a bug, make sure that it is a bug and not something that you’re doing the wrong way. Read the documentation and be sure of what you’re doing, otherwise, the so-called bug could turn into a time-loss for the developer, instead of a helping hand.

Give feedback, ideas and solutions for improvement

Do you think that a theme or a plugin could benefit from a feature that has not yet been introduced? Talk to the developer. Present them your ideas and argument them. If you also have a solution in mind, present it to them. Feedback and the collaboration between developers and users has always been the backbone of open-source and freeware.

Spread the word

It takes a few minutes to write a short post about the resource you enjoy. Do a quick tweet about it or submit it to your favorite social media websites. Help the resource and the developer gain exposure. The more help and feedback he receives, the better the chances for the resource to become even better with future releases.

Financial support

Most of the times, the developers of free WordPress themes and plugins don’t count on any financial income from their work. In most of these cases, they only rely on backlinks from their branded themes or announcement posts on others blog.

To some (those that don’t make a living out of this) that might be enough, but for others it’s not. I know that the economy is not great this times and I know that many don’t have the possibility to make a donation with PayPal or in any other way that the developer could accept.

But from where I stand I also know one thing. If I come across a resource that improves the way I blog, that makes me more efficient, that resource deserves my donation. You choose the amount, as long as it keeps you financially safe and the developer financially happy.

Final considerations

None of the above are mandatory, and each one of you could do all, one, or none of them. What I can guarantee you is that doing them will get you in return the developers respect, and in most cases, even better support than you would receive from premium developers.