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Welcome to your ultimate guide on WordPress Shortcodes – the hidden gem of website efficiency!

Have you ever wondered about crafting a sleek, feature-packed website that strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and functionality? 

You might have come across the term ‘WordPress Shortcodes’ and wondered how it can enhance your WordPress website. Whether you’re an entrepreneur managing a small business, an eCommerce platform, or just starting in the digital world, it’s crucial to make the most of available tools.

If you are curious about optimizing your WordPress site with sleek design and functionality, explore the power of WordPress Shortcodes for a comprehensive, user-friendly experience.

In this guide, you will understand WordPress Shortcodes and show you how they can become your go-to companion for website design and administration, helping you elevate your WordPress prowess.

What is a WordPress shortcode?

Let’s plunge straight in. What is WordPress Shortcodes, exactly? Think of shortcodes as unique markers you can embed into your WordPress articles or pages, enabling you to perform tasks that would typically demand complex coding, all in a few clicks. It’s like a computer shortcut – swift, straightforward, and incredibly efficient.

But why should you, a dedicated small business proprietor, eCommerce giant, or aspiring entrepreneur, take notice? Here’s the deal: Shortcodes can transform website creation into a cakewalk. They enable you to insert customizable elements, like forms, buttons, or slideshows, without having to be a coding guru. Think of the hours you could save! Doesn’t it feel like you’ve just gained superpowers to manage your website more adeptly?

Before we get to the process of creating a shortcode in WordPress, let’s look at why you should consider them.

Why should you consider using WordPress shortcodes?

Having explored the basics of WordPress Shortcodes, let’s now enhance your website creation journey! Shortcodes can serve a multitude of functions that would typically necessitate a developer. For instance, you can rapidly embed a YouTube video into wordpress post or integrate a photo gallery into a blog post with a simple copy-paste action!

The advantages of utilizing shortcodes are plentiful. To start with, they’re incredibly user-friendly. You need no coding experience to implement shortcodes. Moreover, they’re massive time-savers, enabling you to accomplish in seconds what could take minutes or hours otherwise. Finally, the customization prospects that shortcodes provide are extraordinary. From altering your eCommerce store layout to crafting personalized contact forms, the power to mold your website is literally at your fingertips! Intrigued yet?

How do WordPress shortcodes work?

Let’s roll up our sleeves and understand how to use shortcode in WordPress. They may seem like clandestine codes, but rest assured, that once you understand the steps, usage becomes a breeze.

Since most shortcodes aren’t inherently part of WordPress themes or plugins, they can be inserted into pages, posts, and text widgets anywhere on a website a user wants to add that feature – or deleted when the feature is no longer needed. Whether they’re included within WordPress hosting itself or obtained elsewhere, shortcodes are displayed as text within single brackets, representing a larger piece of code that WordPress executes from within one of its site files. All a user has to do is locate the shortcode, copy it, and insert it into the location where the shortcode function is supposed to appear.

Shortcodes can be pasted into a WordPress page or post using either the Visual or the Text editor, and the shortcode’s output appears within the editor at the point a user has selected.

The next part of our journey involves the identification, copying, pasting, previewing, and publishing the shortcode. WordPress provides some default shortcodes, but you can discover more via plugins.

These shortcodes typically appear in a format like this:


Once you’ve copied the shortcode (including the square brackets), navigate to the post or page where you want the shortcode’s function to appear. Place your cursor at the desired location and paste the shortcode inside.

Before hitting publish, preview your post or page to ensure the shortcode operates as anticipated. If all looks promising, go ahead and publish!

See? As easy as pie! Now, you possess a swift and effective instrument to craft a website that’s functional, user-friendly, and unmistakably yours. Exciting, isn’t it?

How to create a shortcode in WordPress in 7 steps

Step 1- Create a new theme file: 

In WordPress, start by creating a new PHP file within your active theme directory. This file will house the code for your custom shortcode.

Step 2- Create the shortcode function: 

Inside the newly created PHP file, define the function for your shortcode. This function will specify what should happen when the shortcode tag is used. You’ll typically use WordPress functions and PHP code to achieve the desired functionality.

Step 3- Add the self-closing shortcode to the website: 

Now that you’ve defined your shortcode function, you can add the shortcode itself to your WordPress posts or pages. This is done by placing the shortcode name inside square brackets like this:


Step 4- Add parameters to the shortcode: 

To make your shortcode more flexible and customizable, you can add parameters or attributes to it. Parameters allow you to pass information to the shortcode function, enabling shortcode attributes or different behavior based on user input.

Step 5- Test the parameters:

After adding parameters, it’s important to test your shortcode to ensure it works as expected. This involves using the shortcode with different parameter values to verify that it performs the desired actions.

Step 6- Create an enclosing shortcode: 

If your shortcode requires an opening and closing tag, such as: [shortcode]content[/shortcode], you’ll need to create an enclosing shortcode function to handle the dynamic content in between the opening and closing tags.

Step 7- Add an enclosing shortcode to the website: 

Finally, you can incorporate the enclosing shortcode into your WordPress content by using the opening and closing tags. This allows you to apply the desired functionality to specific content within your posts or pages.

How to get WordPress shortcodes?

Some shortcodes are available right within WordPress itself. Adding any of these to the WordPress text editor or a text widget will display the desired element. This can be modified as needed from settings available on the WP admin dashboard. Shortcodes can also come with some free or premium WordPress themes or plugins for added features and functions. For example, a photo gallery WordPress theme might contain a gallery shortcode for managing the theme’s image content.

But if those aren’t sufficient, it is possible to procure many more specialized shortcodes via numerous free WordPress shortcode plugin options, such as Shortcodes Unlimited, which includes 50 or more shortcodes for adding diverse features, like carousels, headers, and sliders. For an even larger collection of shortcodes, users can purchase a range of premium shortcode plugins, such as Vision, which features over 100 customizable shortcodes from various WordPress developers and asset marketplaces globally.

Several third-party websites also provide shortcodes of their own for incorporating things like badges, publications, and feeds on a WordPress site. To insert this type of content, copy the shortcode provided on the source site and paste it into the desired location on your WordPress site.

Creating custom shortcodes

While anyone can use shortcodes without possessing web design or coding skills, experienced developers can also modify shortcodes for more customization. For instance, users can set parameters within a shortcode to specify its behavior, such as displaying a certain number of recent posts, or how many slides appear in a slideshow. Like everything else WordPress, shortcodes are available to the entire WordPress community for customizing and updating.

Developers can also fashion their custom shortcodes from scratch, using specifications from the WordPress codex and tools, like the Generate WP developer toolkit, which provides the framework for generating your own shortcodes for a variety of uses. Because WordPress is free, open-source software that anyone can edit or modify, users can create them for specific uses exclusive to a particular WordPress website or make them available to the whole WordPress community.

Maximizing the use of WordPress shortcodes

So, you’re equipped with the basics of WordPress Shortcodes. The next step? Making the most out of these fantastic little tools to create a website that wows!

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way:

  1. Experiment: Don’t shy away from trying different shortcodes. The more you play around with them, the better you’ll understand their functionality and potential. Plus, who knows? You might stumble upon a feature you never knew you needed!
  2. Combine shortcodes: Yes, you can use more than one shortcode on a page or post. So why not mix and match to achieve the exact look and functionality you want?
  3. Keep it neat: While it’s great to experiment, remember to keep your pages tidy. Overdoing it with shortcodes can make your pages look cluttered.
  4. Stay updated: WordPress and plugins often update their shortcodes. Keep an eye on these updates to take advantage of new features.

Embrace the magic of WordPress Shortcodes! They can simplify your website management process, freeing you up to focus on growing your business. Ready to create a website like never before?

Final thoughts on WordPress shortcodes

In conclusion, WordPress Shortcodes are the magic wand for simplifying complex website tasks. Whether you’re a small business owner, eCommerce entrepreneur, or a newcomer to the digital world, shortcodes empower you to create a user-friendly website aligned with your vision. 

Are you ready to dive into the world of WordPress Shortcodes and bring your digital aspirations to life?

FAQs on WordPress Shortcode

What is a shortcode in WordPress and how does it work?

A shortcode is a small code snippet enclosed in square brackets that adds dynamic functionality to WordPress. It enables you to embed complex features, like forms or galleries, into posts or pages with a simple code, enhancing your site’s capabilities without extensive coding.

How can shortcodes enhance the functionality of my WordPress site?

Shortcodes offer a user-friendly way to add advanced features like videos, buttons, or contact forms to your content. By inserting a shortcode, you can leverage powerful functionalities without manually coding them.

Can you provide examples of common shortcodes used in WordPress?

Sure, examples include [ gallery ] for image galleries, [ video ] for embedding videos, [ contact-form ] for forms, and [ button ] for call-to-action buttons. These shortcodes simplify adding diverse elements to your site.

Where do I find and use shortcodes within my WordPress content?

You can add shortcodes directly into your post or page editor. Just enter the desired shortcode within square brackets and WordPress will render the corresponding feature when you publish or preview the content.

Are shortcodes limited to specific types of content, like text or media?

Shortcodes can enhance various content types, including text, media, forms, and interactive elements. They offer versatility in enriching different aspects of your WordPress site.

How do I create custom shortcodes to add unique features to my site?

To create custom shortcodes, you can use functions in your theme’s functions.php file or a custom plugin. This enables you to develop and use unique shortcodes tailored to your specific needs.

What’s the importance of using shortcodes for non-technical WordPress users?

Shortcodes empower non-technical users to integrate advanced features without coding. This accessibility enhances their ability to create dynamic and engaging content, boosting their site’s appeal and functionality.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
Learn more about Bluehost Editorial Guidelines


  1. after read this post i know all about wordpress shortcode….
    Thank you so much for this helpful post

  2. andrew bogutt Reply

    Hi! Great information and a valuable resource. Thanks for sharing

  3. Ram GuptaR Reply

    I read your posts regularly to enhance my skills , keep posting more articles from your end

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