In part 3 we're covering making our main template files totally dynamic in our custom WordPress theme. This entails making a dynamic menu, custom logo upload, header & footer, as well as site title and page title with content displaying in the WordPress loop!
WordPress needs no introduction. It has been in the world for quite a long time. And up till now, it has given a tough fight to leading web development technology. The main reason behind its remarkable success is, it is highly customizable and also SEO-friendly. Other benefits include open-source technology, security, user-friendliness, and the thousands of free plugins it offers.
Talking of WordPress plugins, are a piece of software that enables you to add more features to the website. They are easy to integrate into your website and don’t hamper the performance of the site. WordPress, as a leading technology, has to offer many out-of-the-box plugins.
However, not always the WordPress would be able to meet your all needs. Hence you have to customize the WordPress plugin to provide you the functionality you wished. WordPress Plugins are easy to install and customize. You don’t have to build the solution from scratch and that’s one of the reasons why small and medium-sized businesses love it. It doesn’t need a hefty investment or the hiring of an in-house development team. You can use the core functionality of the plugin and expand it as your like.
In this blog, we would be talking in-depth about plugins and how to customize WordPress plugins to improve the functionality of your web applications.
What Is The Working Of The WordPress Plugins?
Developing your own plugin requires you to have some knowledge of the way they work. It ensures the better functioning of the customized plugins and avoids any mistakes that can hamper the experience on your site.
Plugins operate primarily using hooks. As a hook attaches you to something, the same way a feature or functionality is hooked to your website. The piece of code interacts with the other components present on the website. There are two types of hooks: a. Action and b. Filter.
If you want something to happen at a particular time, you need to use a WordPress “action” hook. With actions, you can add, change and improve the functionality of your plugin. It allows you to attach a new action that can be triggered by your users on the website.
There are several predefined actions available on WordPress, custom WordPress plugin development also allows you to develop your own action. This way you can make your plugin function as your want. It also allows you to set values for which the hook function. The add_ action function will then connect that function to a specific action.
They are the type of hooks that are accepted to a single variable or a series of variables. It sends them back after they have modified it. It allows you to change the content displayed to the user.
You can add the filter on your website with the apply_filter function, then you can define the filter under the function. To add a filter hook on the website, you have to add the $tag (the filter name) and $value (the filtered value or variable), this allows the hook to work. Also, you can add extra function values under $var.
Once you have made your filter, you can execute it with the add_filter function. This will activate your filter and would work when a specific function is triggered. You can also manipulate the variable and return it.
Shortcodes are a good way to create and display the custom functionality of your website to visitors. They are client-side bits of code. They can be placed in the posts and pages like in the menu and widgets, etc.
There are many plugins that use shortcodes. By creating your very own shortcode, you too can customize the WordPress plugin. You can create your own shortcode with the add_shortcode function. The name of the shortcode that you use would be the first variable and the second variable would be the output of it when it is triggered. The output can be – attributes, content, and name.
Other than the hooks and shortcodes, you can use the widgets to add functionality to the site. WordPress Widgets are a good way to create a widget by extending the WP_Widget class. They render a user-friendly experience, as they have an object-oriented design approach and the functions and values are stored in a single entity.
How To Customize WordPress Plugins?
There are various methods to customize the WordPress plugins. Depending on your need, and the degree of customization you wish to make in the plugin, choose the right option for you. Also, don’t forget to keep in mind that it requires a little bit of technical knowledge too. So find an expert WordPress plugin development company in case you lack the knowledge to do it by yourself.
1. Hire A Plugin Developer3
One of the best ways to customize a WordPress plugin is by hiring a plugin developer. There are many plugin developers listed in the WordPress directory. You can contact them and collaborate with world-class WordPress developers. It is quite easy to find a WordPress plugin developer.
Since it is not much work and doesn’t pay well or for the long term a lot of developers would be unwilling to collaborate but, you will eventually find people.
2. Creating A Supporting Plugin
If you are looking for added functionality in an already existing plugin go for this option. It is a cheap way to meet your needs and creating a supporting plugin takes very little time as it has very limited needs. Furthermore, you can extend a plugin to a current feature set without altering its base code.
However, to do so, you have to hire a WordPress developer as it also requires some technical knowledge.
3. Use Custom Hooks
Use the WordPress hooks to integrate some other feature into an existing plugin. You can add an action or a filter as per your need and improve the functionality of the website.
If the plugin you want to customize has the hook, you don’t have to do much to customize it. You can write your own plugin that works with these hooks. This way you don’t have to build a WordPress plugin right from scratch. If the hook is not present in the plugin code, you can contact a WordPress developer or write the code yourself. It may take some time, but it works.
Once the hook is added, you just have to manually patch each one upon the release of the new plugin update.
4. Override Callbacks
The last way to customize WordPress plugins is by override callbacks. You can alter the core functionality of the WordPress plugin with this method. You can completely change the way it functions with your website. It is a way to completely transform the plugin. By adding your own custom callbacks, you can create the exact functionality you desire.
We suggest you go for a web developer proficient in WordPress as this requires a good amount of technical knowledge and the working of a plugin.
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Can you use WordPress for anything other than blogging? To your surprise, yes. WordPress is more than just a blogging tool, and it has helped thousands of websites and web applications to thrive. The use of WordPress powers around 40% of online projects, and today in our blog, we would visit some amazing uses of WordPress other than blogging.
What Is The Use Of WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular website platform in the world. It is the first choice of businesses that want to set a feature-rich and dynamic Content Management System. So, if you ask what WordPress is used for, the answer is – everything. It is a super-flexible, feature-rich and secure platform that offers everything to build unique websites and applications. Let’s start knowing them:
1. Multiple Websites Under A Single Installation
WordPress Multisite allows you to develop multiple sites from a single WordPress installation. You can download WordPress and start building websites you want to launch under a single server. Literally speaking, you can handle hundreds of sites from one single dashboard, which now needs applause.
It is a highly efficient platform that allows you to easily run several websites under the same login credentials. One of the best things about WordPress is the themes it has to offer. You can simply download them and plugin for various sites and save space on sites without losing their speed.
2. WordPress Social Network
WordPress can be used for high-end projects such as Social Media Network. If you don’t have the money and patience to hire a coder and invest months in building a feature-rich social media site, go for WordPress. It is one of the most amazing uses of WordPress. Its stunning CMS is unbeatable. And you can build sites as good as Facebook or Reddit etc. It can just make the process a lot easier.
To set up a social media network, you would have to download a WordPress Plugin called BuddyPress. It would allow you to connect a community page with ease and would provide all the necessary features of a community or social media. It has direct messaging, activity stream, user groups, extended profiles, and so much more. You just have to download and configure it.
If BuddyPress doesn’t meet all your needs, don’t give up on your dreams. You can try out WP Symposium or PeepSo. There are also several themes you can use to build a social network.
3. Create A Forum For Your Brand’s Community
Communities are very important for your business. They help you stay in constant connection with your users and consumers. And allow you to turn them into a loyal customer base. Meanwhile, there are many good technologies that can be used for building a community page – the good old WordPress is still the best.
It is the best community development technology. If you want to build your online community, you need to consider all the amazing features you get with WordPress. Plugins such as BB Press is an open-source, template-driven PHP/ MySQL forum software. It is very simple and doesn’t hamper the experience of the website.
Other tools such as wpFoRo and Asgaros Forum are equally good for creating a community blog. They are lightweight tools that are easy to manage and integrate with your WordPress site easily. However, there is only one tiny problem; you need to have some technical knowledge to build a WordPress Community blog page.
Since we gave you a problem in the previous section, we would also give you a perfect solution for it. You might not know to code, but you have shortcodes. Shortcodes help you execute functions without having to code. It is an easy way to build an amazing website, add new features, customize plugins easily. They are short lines of code, and rather than memorizing multiple lines; you can have zero technical knowledge and start building a feature-rich website or application.
There are also plugins like Shortcoder, Shortcodes Ultimate, and the Basics available on WordPress that can be used, and you would not even have to remember the shortcodes.
5. Build Online Stores
If you still think about why to use WordPress, use it to build an online store. You can start selling your goods online and start selling. It is an affordable technology that helps you build a feature-rich eCommerce store with WordPress.
WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress and is one of the most used eCommerce solutions. WooCommerce holds a 28% share of the global market and is one of the best ways to set up an online store. It allows you to build user-friendly and professional online stores and has thousands of free and paid extensions. Moreover as an open-source platform, and you don’t have to pay for the license.
Apart from WooCommerce, there are Easy Digital Downloads, iThemes Exchange, Shopify eCommerce plugin, and so much more available.
6. Security Features
WordPress takes security very seriously. It offers tons of external solutions that help you in safeguarding your WordPress site. While there is no way to ensure 100% security, it provides regular updates with security patches and provides several plugins to help with backups, two-factor authorization, and more.
By choosing hosting providers like WP Engine, you can improve the security of the website. It helps in threat detection, manage patching and updates, and internal security audits for the customers, and so much more.
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