What Is a WordPress Shortcode and Why Should You Use It?

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Currently, having a good website is one of the most critical things for brands to establish their digital presence and gain customers. A website is one of a company’s or organization’s most valuable assets. It aids in the communication of information to people all over the world. Consumers can get in touch with a brand more easily despite time or geographical differences through websites. A website aids in the development of an online identity and supports the application of digital marketing practises. 

The best ways to connect and advertise are across digital platforms and online channels. Statistically, marketers create content that can appeal to at least three different demographics across different digital platforms. The Internet and digital information are used by the majority of the global population. Every day, an increasing number of mobile users and local consumers make purchasing choices based on websites. A domain name, a hosting unit, and content make up a website. One of the most significant aspects that determines a website’s popularity is its content. To improve the rating and reach out to new audiences, website owners develop various types of content. 

Also, a CMS ( Content management system ) software is used to handle this content. There are several different types of content management systems that can create and maintain the content, but WordPress is one of the most effective choices. WordPress was launched in the year 2003. It is a collection of features that provide more options for website improvement. WordPress shortcodes is one of the features which has been introduced later on. 

What are Shortcodes?

Ultimate Bulletin Board, an online forum app, was the first to popularise shortcodes (UBB). In 1998, they launched the BBCode (Bulletin Board Code), a set of simple tags that quickly enabled users to format their messages. Shortcodes gave administrators some leverage of what their apps could and could not do. Furthermore, they provided users with the ability to style their content using clear tags. 

A shortcode is a small piece of code that executes a certain purpose on any website and is denoted by brackets like [ ]. It can be placed almost anywhere on the website, tweet, or other material, and it will add a special feature to it. Inserting graphical features or complicated page templates is as simple as inserting a single line of code with shortcodes. Shortcodes do away with the need for lengthy scripts. Through their assistance, one can easily add dynamic content even with little or no programming skills. They are extremely common among WordPress developers because they greatly aid in the automation of content and design development. 

Essentially, shortcodes are what Macros are to data scientists, and Keyboard Shortcuts are to technical graphic artists for WordPress developers. In simplest terms, the shortcode is equal to the short and code. 

What is WordPress shortcode?

One can configure WordPress in whatever manner they like because it is an open-source CMS. WordPress shortcode entails completely new code being added to the website. Square bracket strings ([ ]) in WordPress shortcodes allow for different formatting commands to perform on the front end, e.g., plain text to italics. Overall, shortcodes gave administrators some leverage over what their consumers could and could not do. Furthermore, they provided users with the ability to style their content using clear tags. 

Shortcodes make it simple for users to build and edit dynamic content without thinking about HTML or embed codes. Indeed, users utilize it to obtain the same results without knowing much about the underlying language. With the introduction of Shortcode API in 2008, WordPress 2.5 added the ability to use shortcodes. Many WordPress plugins and theme creators have found it to be one of the most useful features.

Types of shortcodes

Source: kinsta.com

The WordPress shortcode is one of the most popular features among developers because it simplifies the content editing process. Shortcodes come in a variety of forms, each with its own set of capabilities. There are two types of shortcodes in WordPress :

Enclosing Shortcodes

This shortcode acts as a self-closing tag which is mainly visible in the basic shortcode section. The text between the opening and closing tags is usually manipulated by enclosing shortcodes. As an illustration, a caption can be wrapped around any content using the caption shortcode. It is most commonly used to add a caption to images, but it can also be used on any HTML feature.

Self-closing Shortcodes

A self-closing shortcode is a text enclosed in a pair of square brackets. For example, [ x ] is a self-closing shortcode. A closing tag is not needed for self-closing shortcodes.

How to use WordPress shortcodes

In WordPress, using shortcodes is a simple operation. However, it is dependent on where you want to position them on your website. Shortcodes can easily be copied and pasted onto any website. These are usually inserted into a post or website. They can, however, be placed anywhere in the WordPress editor where one can add javascript. 

It is worth noting that not all shortcodes are as straightforward. The most common way to customize something is to use something called “parameters.” Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can build your shortcodes from scratch. This is a lot easier than it looks, and there are lots of tutorials available to help you along the way.

The default list of WordPress shortcodes

Source: kinsta.com

As previously said, WordPress shortcodes are still in demand among developers due to their convenience and ease of use. Thus WordPress have some default shortcodes, which are mentioned below :

  • Video: Use a basic video player to embed a video file and play it back. This shortcode operates to embed videos in the following formats: mp4, webm, webm, m4v, ogv, WMV, and flv. 
  • Audio: Upload audio files to your website and embed them. It has basic replay functions such as Play and Pause.
  • Embed: Extend the default oEmbed functionality. This shortcode allows you to change the properties of your embeds, such as their maximum dimensions.
  • Caption: Use it to wrap captions around your content. It is most commonly used to add captions to images, but it can be used for any HTML feature.
  • Playlist: Use this self-contained shortcode to display a series of audio or video files. With its style attribute, you can give it a cool ‘dark’ mode.
  • Gallery: Add a simple image gallery to your website. You may use attributes to configure the gallery’s appearance and determine which photographs are used.

Why should we use WordPress Shortcodes?

Shortcodes are helpful because they enable you to make specific changes and customizations to your website without having to code. Many plugins often include the use of shortcodes, so knowing how to use them correctly is important. Shortcodes are useful for segmenting lengthy content and making the key points easier for readers to notice. However, accordions are small content panels that can be turned on and off. This way, only the most appropriate headings and content are visible. 

Another benefit of shortcode is the ability to configure the button. Buttons are a crucial part of WordPress. Each button is of a different colour that presents an attractive look and also enables different functions in the content. These include purchase, save, email, or cloud feature integrations. When using the login and register process, you can also provide two buttons at the same time. 

Additionally, a useful feature of shortcodes is the lightbox, which gives your photos a style mechanism. This stands out when you try to isolate the picture element from the rest of the material. Photos, web pages, and even custom HTML popups are easy to include. The biggest benefit is that you do not have to leave the website to view the picture in a different size. 

Developers can insert a neat button in-between content, i.e., social media keys. You can add these keys at the top or bottom of the post. For higher engagement potential, it is best to add options that most users are familiar with or utilize. Particular appropriate buttons in this context include share, like, Google+, and LinkedIn buttons.

From the search engine optimization standpoint, metadata is also crucial. Changing the code, to include the post date, author information, picture size, number of users, number of comments, and so on, can be a challenging task. Instead, if a shortcode can represent each such space, the coding workload is reduced.


The primary benefit of shortcodes is that they alleviate the difficulty of full-scale coding. You may include features and functionality without learning PHP or other programming languages by using any basic words. Shortcodes may be incorporated into plugins. The shortcodes would remain correct and function as they did before, even though you upgrade WordPress or change/update your theme. 

Indeed, these make it easier to apply complex functionality to WordPress pages. A single line of such codes can be used to incorporate almost everything. Though it has many advantages, some drawbacks are also there. Overall, shortcodes make it easy to add complicated features to the WordPress account and help optimize WordPress website performance.

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