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An Introduction To WordPress Plugin Development

Introduction To WordPress Plugin Development
(Last Updated On: October 24, 2020)

Your core WordPress site makes your business website functional. However, plugins work to add custom features to your site and allow you to extend the functionality of your business website without altering the core program. A cardinal rule of WordPress is that you don’t play with the core functionality of the site, as WordPress overwrites all core files with every update. This is where plugins come in. If you are looking to expand the usability of your site or create custom features, plugins are the way to do it. Here, we will outline what a WordPress plugin is, what they can do, and why you might want to consider having a professional develop plugins for your WordPress business site.

What Is a PlugIn?

At their most basic form, plugins are codes that extend the functionality of your WordPress site. Specifically, plugins are lines of PHP code that can also include images, Javascript, and CSS. When you make your own plugin, you are expanding the usability of WordPress by building upon the features WordPress already offers. As an example, on the blog tab of your site, you could create a plugin that has links to the five most recent posts you published. If you have an eCommerce store, you can create a plugin that offers comprehensive customer service tracking with email notifications, order status, and more. IT companies can use WordPress plugins to create complex ticketing issuing and queuing systems. When it comes to WordPress plugin development, the possibilities are endless – as long as you have a talented WordPress plugin developer.

WordPress Plugins can be as simple or complex as you need. For example, one of the first WordPress plugins, Hello Dolly, is a mere 82 lines of code that appear as lyrics of the song in the WordPress admin. Some of the more complex plugins are much longer than that and require help from an experienced developer.

What Can A Plugin Do?

Think of a plugin as an app for your website. They are capable of making small changes or massive overhauls, depending on the type of plugin you develop. For example, you can make a plugin that does something as simple as create a share button to WhatsApp or create a plugin that translates your entire website into Spanish. While many plugins are catered to front end operations, some plugins for backend development can make maintaining your site easier. For example, you can create a plugin that scans your site for broken links or other things that could affect your SEO. Backend operation plugins are a worthwhile investment because they automate a lot of the essential website maintenance tasks that may be cumbersome for business owners to deal with.

Plugins exist to backup your site, make email opt-ins seamless, and more. If you have someone that can develop WordPress plugins for you, your website’s functionality is limited only by your imagination.

How Does a Plugin Work?

As mentioned previously, plugins work to extend the functionality of your site without affecting the core codes. They achieve this by using access points, called action and filter hooks, that hook into your website’s code. The access points then activate the intended function of the plugin at the predetermined time, modifying the original behavior of WordPress core. Developers use coding to denote the access point and function.

A WordPress plugin developer writes the plugin then connects it to a specific event. For example, if you wanted to create a plugin that deletes spam or inappropriate comments, the developer will write the code and hook it into an access point, like post publication. Once installed, the plugin will automatically scan each published blog post for spam or profane content, then delete it.

Why You Might Need Custom WordPress Development

WordPress has a robust library of plugins available that can help make your website more robust. However, readily available plugins have their limitations, and some businesses require more than what the premade plugins offer. Custom WordPress plugins:

  • Offer extra opportunities to improve website functionality
  • Create more opportunities for third party integrations
  • Allow you to customize user accounts or forms
  • Help you create enhanced features for marketing purposes
  • Can help you create solutions that make managing your website easier
  • Can improve website security
  • Can streamline content management through widgets
  • Add to the uniqueness and usability of your site

At their core, custom WordPress plugins are useful and help you solve problems efficiently with little thought or work on your part. Here are some examples of custom WordPress plugin solutions:

  • Merging data from multiple plugins into one, transparent and easy to manage source
  • Adding advanced functionality to eCommerce sites to improve the customer experience
  • Revamping current themes or plugins to make them more customizable to your business model
  • Creating plugins that automate website maintenance and improve SEO
  • Custom-tailored security solutions

Considerations For Your WordPress Plugin Development

As a business owner, you likely know that not every vendor is created equally. As such, not every developer understands that website functionality should be expanded via plugins, not by simply adding snippets of code. If you don’t want to lose the customized functionality of your site, you must work with a developer to plan your plugin, such that its hooked functionality does not disappear when you install a new theme. A custom WordPress plugin developer should work with you throughout the entire process, which includes:

  • Planning and design
  • Gathering requirements
  • Development
  • Testing

Finally, a plugin developer should work with you to maintain your plugin, which helps ensure that you will have a product that works seamlessly on any theme and updates easily to adapt to future iterations of WordPress. Your custom WordPress solution should be adaptable, intuitive, and improve the functionality of your website. If you know that there is something that you want your website to do, but you don’t know how to achieve it, chances are a developer can help you write the plugin that makes it a reality.

Sites by Sara offers custom WordPress solutions to businesses of all types. Whether you are looking to improve security or the user experience, we can help. Contact us to learn more about our WordPress plugin development services.

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Sara Lambrinos
Sara Lambrinos
As CEO and founder of Sites by Sara (est. 2007), I have been successful at creating unique digital marketing campaigns and web development projects which focus on delivering positive ROIs. My passion for business development and innovative solutions allows me to provide in-depth marketing analysis and consulting services for select clientele.

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