Shortcodes are one of the best developments in recent WordPress history. When I started blogging back in the late 90s, they didn’t exist. If you wanted code, you wrote the HTML yourself (uphill, in the snow, both ways… heh).
Shortcodes are little bits of code within square brackets you can pop right into the content box in a WordPress post, page, or sidebar widget. They were introduced into WordPress with version 2.5 (as of this writing, we’re on 3.5.1). They usually don’t involve much effort at all on your part. They are useful for an incredible range of content elements you may wish to display in WordPress.
Here is an example of a shortcode that will display a contact form if you have the Contact Form 7 plugin:
You may be wondering if you have shortcodes available to you, and if so, what would you use them for?
If you have the Jetpack plugins installed in your WordPress, then you have access to its shortcodes. Both plugins and themes can have shortcodes which you can use. You just type them in or copy and paste. Shortcodes do not have to go in the “Text” tab when writing a post. Put them right in the “Visual” tab.
It’s better to have shortcodes come from plugins instead of themes, so that you can change themes without wrecking your website. Shortcodes that come from plugins will be unaffected and will still work no matter what theme you choose (at least, that’s the case with themes and plugins that are properly coded, anyway).
Here are some shortcode plugins for you to consider and try out;
- Shortcodes Ultimate: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/shortcodes-ultimate/
- Vision (premium): http://codecanyon.net/item/vision-wordpress-shortcodes-plugin/3372371
- Jshortcodes: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/j-shortcodes/
I have not tried any of these myself. The usual warnings apply: make sure you have recently backed up your site before installing new plugins. Consider testing these out on a test blog.
New Content Formatting Options
You kids have it so easy, nowadays!
Are you currently using any shortcode plugins? If so, which ones and why?