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What Are Shortcodes In WordPress?

Having a unique appearance is the goal of most website owners on the Internet. While plugins can provide some of that appearance, more can be done to make your site literally one-in-a-million. The customization for WordPress can be taken further with the use of shortcodes.

Essentially, these are small segments of code that tell the system how to display certain components on your website. For the most part, these snippets of text can be copy-and-pasted into any section of your content whether it’s a static page or a post. It takes the place of actual HTML or PHP coding and condenses it to be used in the WordPress content editing system.

What Can You Do With Shortcodes?

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Shortcodes can be created for a wide range of purposes. Displaying information, controlling how the pages look and even importing content from social sites are only some of the things you can do with these short lines of text. Plugins that use shortcodes for WordPress will often come with mini-tutorials about where to place them. Others will automatically generate the code allowing you to simply copy the line and place it where you wish.

Shortcodes can be created to do virtually anything in WordPress. They can be developed by other plugins or created by yourself to make shortcuts on your pages and posts. For example, you can create a shortcode for your Adsense coding by modifying the function.php file in WordPress. This could turn a long, advanced code into a simple word to be placed on a post.

Arranging the Layout

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Some plugins in WordPress help you change the layout of your homepage. This is often done using shortcodes to control where categories, posts and other components are placed. You’ll more than likely use a static page to do this. Once you create the page for your home, it can be modified in a number of ways to give you the specific appearance you’re aiming for.

Shortcode Use as a Widget

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The navigation bar of your website is where most widgets will be placed. When you want to add information that doesn’t have a specific widget, you may be able to use shortcodes. Plugins such as ShortCodes Ultimate offers a wide variety of coding to be used to modify your pages and posts, which gives you greater control over your website. The following steps may help you place that particular piece of info.

  • From the WordPress dashboard, click on “Appearance” and then click “Widgets.”
  • Scroll down until you find the “Text” widget.
  • Hold down the left-click from your mouse on the Text widget and drag it to the sidebar of your choice.
  • Once the widget is placed, click on the name to expand the control window. You should see “Title” and “Content.”
  • (Optional) – You can put something in the “Title” section, but it’s not necessary for the widget to work.
  • Paste the shortcode you want into the “Content” section of the widget.
  • Click the “Save” button.

Now, your site has a widget reflecting the information from the shortcode. Essentially, the “Text” widget can be used to add anything from a simple line of text to more advanced website coding.

Creating Your Own Shortcodes

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You don’t need a plugin in order to create shortcodes in WordPress. However, you may still need a bit of programming knowledge if you want to make your own. This is beneficial as it will reduce the time it takes for you to develop a site by eliminating repetitive code.

Shortcodes can be used to embed galleries onto your pages, show Twitter account feeds or even display a stock ticker with the right available API. These remove the extensive HTML programming from your posts while still providing the desired outcome. While creating your own may take a bit of practice, choosing the right plugin can vastly cut down your workload for design.

What kinds of shortcodes would you like to use on your website? Are you comfortable creating your own, or do you have favorite plugins?

Author: Kaumil Patel

Kaumil Patel is the Chief Operating Officer of GreenGeeks and has over 13 years of experience in the web hosting industry working for and owning web hosting companies. Kaumil’s expertise is in marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and mergers.

Updated on August 8, 2017

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