Imagine you’ve just created your WordPress website. It’s filled with content and visual appeal, but something’s missing. You want to add a custom author bio box beneath each of your blog posts. And without knowing how to code, the task seems out of the question.
But with WordPress code snippets, you can leverage pre-built code to get the results you want. Code snippets make customization simple.
It’s no wonder why 29% of the world’s top one million websites are made with WordPress — it’s the easiest way to build a website that’s uniquely yours.
And WordPress code snippets are a large part of that.
Keep reading to find out more about custom code snippets and some of the best snippets to add to your website.
What are WordPress code snippets?
WordPress code snippets are small chunks of code that let you add specific functions or new features to your website. Think of them as shortcuts. You don’t need to be a coding expert or hire a developer to make minor changes or add unique features to your website.
For instance, you could add that bio box we mentioned earlier. Or you could change the login page’s logo to match your own brand.
Code snippets help your website reflect your vision without getting tangled in the complexities of full-scale web development. Whether it’s a tiny tweak or a significant change, WordPress code snippets give you the power to do what you want.
Why use code snippets in WordPress?
Code snippets are essential for customizing your WordPress website, enhancing its performance by reducing plugin overload and enabling swift experimentation for features like flash sales or layout changes. Additionally, they help craft your website’s unique personality, helping your business stand out.
You don’t want a basic, cookie-cutter WordPress website — you want a one-of-a-kind website that’s personalized to your brand. With code snippets, you can achieve that easily without hiring a developer to build a website from scratch.
For example, the custom author bio box you added to your website saved you the time of hiring a developer while maintaining your website speed, another area where code snippets shine.
While WordPress plugins are handy, they can put a lot of added server demands on your website, causing it to load more slowly.
Say you want to add a social sharing button. A plugin designed for that purpose might come with other features you don’t need, thus slowing down your website.
But with a snippet, you only need to add the specific code for the sharing button, minimizing the impact of unnecessary background noise.
Lastly, snippets improve your user experience (UX). Maybe the snippet changes the call-to-action (CTA) button color so it “pops” more or offers a unique scrolling experience. These little switches contribute to your UX and make your website memorable.
Not to mention, your UX directly affects your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, according to Google.
The best part about WordPress code snippets is that you don’t need to be a coding expert for them to work.
Let’s cover how to add these snippets to your website, step by step:
Before you begin adding snippets, consider the end result. Do you want to customize your footer or add a new WordPress widget to the sidebar? Each requires different code, and knowing your goal will help you find the appropriate snippet.
While there aren’t dedicated platforms for users to share WordPress code snippets, you can opt for a snippet library plugin with a database of proven, ready-to-use snippets.
Here are some options:
- WPCode (Most comprehensive, yet expensive)
- Snippet Shortcodes (Best for repetitive snippets, like author bios)
- Post Snippets (Best for blogs; affordable)
Using a plugin is the easiest way to add snippets — you don’t have to worry about technical issues, and you can easily request support if you run into problems.
And if you don’t want any extra plugins, use the special Google search in the next step.
Next, you’ll get the code snippet you’d like to use through a plugin or Google Search.
If using Google, type this into the search bar:
[Type of customization on your website] WordPress “code snippet”
For instance, if you were searching for an author bio box, here’s what it’d look like:
The code you find should look different than normal fonts. Typically, code carries a monospaced font (see below), with a double slash (//) indicating what each line of code does.
Once you’ve copied the code (the “//” won’t affect the outcome), it’s time to add it to your website. If you’re using a code snippet plugin like Code Snippets Pro, follow the plugin’s directions.
If you’re adding it manually, all you’ll need to do is paste the snippet into the bottom of your functions.php file.
To access this file, simply head over to your hosting dashboard and click Advanced.
This will take you to your cPanel, where you can access all your files.
Scroll down to the Files section and click Manage files.
Once a new tab opens, simply click the Search button in the top-right corner and type in “functions.php.”
Then, locate the appropriate file, double-click to download the file, and make a copy. Inside the copy, you can paste your code snippet.
Make sure you rename the file to the exact original name, and drag and drop it back into your cPanel file manager.
Once you’ve added your snippet to your website, there’s a chance it might not work. That’s why we recommend you create a copy of your functions.php file before making changes — that way, your website will always be able to revert to its original look.
Additionally, consider using a staging website or environment to test the snippet’s function and see how it will look on the front end. Your website won’t update in real time. And just in case the snippet malfunctions, your real-time UX won’t be affected.
If you’re editing your theme, we recommend using a child theme, adding code snippets to your theme’s functions.php file.
Lastly, check for functionality, compatibility issues and other bugs or issues. It’s important to validate that your code snippet is error-free and does exactly what you intended.
Now that you’ve got your snippet working, you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect other aspects of your website. By evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) — e.g., found on Google Analytics) — you’ll know if it’s worth it to keep your snippet.
For instance, monitor stats like page load speed, user engagement and conversion rates — they’ll give you insights into whether your code snippet is a valuable addition.
Say you implemented a snippet to change the “Add to Cart” button color. You’d want to track how this impacts your sales conversions.
The color change might make the button more visually appealing and apparent, potentially raising conversion rates. Or it might become a distraction, lowering rates.
Lastly, it’s essential to track your speed, as it’s a significant factor in ranking high on Google. If you notice consistent dips in your website speed, you may want to delete the snippet.
Best code snippets for WordPress
- Custom author bio box
- Custom login page
- SEO breadcrumbs
- Disable comments on specific posts
- Customize dashboard for clients
- Add social media icons
Now, let’s dive into some of the most useful WordPress code snippets to add new functionalities.
A custom author bio box can enrich your blog post content by providing context about the writer. While you can use plugins like Simple Author Box, a lightweight code snippet can achieve the same result without any extra bloat.
This snippet adds an author bio section below each custom post type, which can be customized to include social media links, a brief bio and an author image.
Custom login page
Your login page is the gateway to your website, and it’s often one of the first impressions customers and team members get of your brand. Plugins like LoginPress modify the login screen — but a code snippet can redesign the page to match your branding.
Change the logo, background and form styles to offer a cohesive, branded experience from the start.
Breadcrumb navigation isn’t just useful for your visitors — it also improves your SEO by helping search engines understand your website’s structure. If you’d like a plugin to do it for you, Yoast SEO can display breadcrumbs along with other SEO-enhancing features.
But you also can add a snippet to display a breadcrumb trail, eliminating the need for another plugin.
Disable comments on specific posts
While comments are excellent for engagement, there are times when you might want to disable them on particular posts. Yes, you could use a plugin like Disable Comments, but just a few lines of code can handle the job.
With a targeted code snippet, you can specify which posts or pages shouldn’t display a comment section, giving you full control without the overhead of a plugin.
Customize dashboard for clients
The WordPress dashboard serves as the control center for managing content, themes, templates and plugins. However, its default setup might be overwhelming for other users on your account, such as virtual assistants, customer support or bookkeeping.
With a code snippet, you can remove or add widgets and personalize the dashboard to be as simple or complex as necessary for your team.
Add social media icons
A plugin like Social Media Share Buttons & Sharing Icons can add relevant icons but might come with features you don’t need. And in that case, using a code snippet can add icons without any extra bells and whistles. Plus, you can specify whether you want your icons in the header, footer or sidebar.
Potential errors and how to handle them
While WordPress code snippets are excellent tools, they do come with their own set of challenges and risks. Errors occur in various forms, but you’ll usually know something’s wrong when a function doesn’t materialize, your website becomes inaccessible or you encounter an explicit error message.
Here’s how to handle six of the most common errors:
A syntax error typically arises from incorrect or incomplete code. This could be a missing semicolon, an extra bracket or even a misspelled function name. When this happens, WordPress may either display an error message directly, or your website might become inaccessible.
To resolve this issue, you’ll need to access your functions.php file via your cPanel or hosting control panel. Then, locate the snippet causing the issue, correct the error and reload your website with an updated file.
Pro tip: Always validate your code syntax before deploying it to avoid this problem using a code validator like FreeFormatter.
Conflict with plugins
Sometimes, your new code snippet might clash with the plugins on your website, causing one or both to malfunction. Often, it’s because the plugin and the snippet are attempting to modify or control the same function.
The simplest way to identify which plugin is acting up is to deactivate all plugins — then reactivate each one, testing each time to see when the issue reemerges. Once identified, you can either look for an alternative plugin or modify the snippet so it no longer conflicts with the plugin.
Occasionally, inserting a snippet can cause your WordPress theme to break or behave unpredictably. This happens when your code snippet conflicts with the code your theme is based on.
Unfortunately, you should immediately remove the code snippet, as you don’t want this to impact your UX. To prevent this issue in the future, always test new snippets on a staging version of your website before deploying them to the live website.
Permission errors occur when your WordPress site’s file or folder permission is incorrectly configured. Adding a code snippet under these conditions can result in failure or even make your website more vulnerable to security risks.
To resolve permission issues, access your website’s root directory using your cPanel file manager. Set folder permissions to 755 and file permissions to 644. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, consider asking your hosting provider for assistance.
In some cases, you may find that a snippet simply doesn’t execute. That could be because of incorrect placement, conflicts with other code or flawed code.
Start by confirming you’ve placed the snippet in the correct location within your functions.php file. You can find the right location by performing a quick Google or YouTube search to see if other people have used the same snippet.
If the file location is correct, troubleshoot by temporarily removing other recently added snippets or plugins to see if there’s a conflict. And if that doesn’t work, try running your snippet through a code validator to see if there are errors.
Security concerns are the result of poorly coded snippets, which is why you always need to obtain them from reputable sources. Any additional code added to a website does introduce more vulnerabilities — but if done the right way, it won’t bring security concerns.
Again, try to get snippets from verifiable sources. Additionally, you may want to run the code through a security scanning tool to detect potential vulnerabilities. And to be safe, back up your website or functions.php file to ensure your data is safe.
Code snippets offer a powerful way to enhance and customize your website — all while improving UX. However, the difficulties of inputting code, especially without a plugin, can seem overwhelming.
And if you ever get stuck, Bluehost’s ProDesign Live service offers real-time support to help you through any challenges.