Learning WordPress: Most Useful Tips and Tutorials

Here you can check out the most popular articles related to WordPress that have been published recently on Smashing Magazine.

Quick Overview

Ten Things Every WordPress Plugin Developer Should Know

Plugins are a major part of why WordPress powers millions of blogs and websites around the world. The ability to extend WordPress to meet just about any need is a powerful motivator for choosing WordPress over other alternatives. Having written several plugins myself, I’ve come to learn many (but certainly not all) of the ins-and-outs of WordPress plugin development, and this article is a culmination of the things I think every WordPress plugin developer should know. Oh, and keep in mind everything you see here is compatible with WordPress 3.0+.

Screenshot

The first thing you should do when developing a WordPress plugin is to enable debugging, and I suggest leaving it on the entire time you’re writing plugin code. When things go wrong, WordPress raises warnings and error messages, but if you can’t see them then they might as well have not been raised at all. Enabling debugging also turns on WordPress notices, which is important because that’s how you’ll know if you’re using any deprecated functions.

Read more…

10 Useful WordPress Coding Techniques

 

Since last year, the WordPress themes market has grown incredibly. The reason? Great designs, of course, but also a lot of amazing new functionality. Top WordPress developers are always looking to get the most out of WordPress and use all of their knowledge to find ways to make their favorite blogging engine even more powerful.

 

Screenshot

 

In this article, we have compiled 10 useful WordPress code snippets, hacks and tips to help you create a WordPress theme that stands out from the crowd.

 

Read more…

 

Inside WordPress Actions And Filters

Gone are the days when WordPress developers, wanting to extend the CMS’ functionality, had to alter and hack WordPress’ source code directly, resulting in headaches when upgrading and sharing modifications. When WordPress 1.2 rolled out 1 back in 2004, a new plugin architecture was introduced that is now commonly referred to as actions and filters, hooks, and the Plugin API.

WordPress Actions and Filters

WordPress’ core has been carefully sprinkled with actions and filters that external code (in the form of themes and plugins) can hook into, injecting new functionality into the standard flow. The Plugin API 2 provides a neat interface to work with actions and filters. This article gathers insight into the inner workings, elegance and beauty of the Plugin API. It will help WordPress plugin and theme developers gain a more profound understanding of what happens behind the scenes, why some things will work and others won’t, and where to look when they unexpectedly don’t.

Read more…

10 Useful WordPress Security Tweaks

Plugins are a major part of why WordPress powers millions of blogs and websites around the world. The ability to extend WordPress to meet just about any need is a powerful motivator for choosing WordPress over other alternatives. Having written several plugins myself, I’ve come to learn many (but certainly not all) of the ins-and-outs of WordPress plugin development, and this article is a culmination of the things I think every WordPress plugin developer should know. Oh, and keep in mind everything you see here is compatible with WordPress 3.0+.

Screenshot

The first thing you should do when developing a WordPress plugin is to enable debugging, and I suggest leaving it on the entire time you’re writing plugin code. When things go wrong, WordPress raises warnings and error messages, but if you can’t see them then they might as well have not been raised at all. Enabling debugging also turns on WordPress notices, which is important because that’s how you’ll know if you’re using any deprecated functions.

Read more…

10 Exceptional WordPress Hacks

One of the reasons people love WordPress so much is its great flexibility. You can change the software’s appearance with themes. You can enhance its functionality with plug-ins. And, last but not least, you can totally unleash WordPress’ power with hacks.

Today, let’s do it again with 10 new and totally killer WordPress hacks to make your blog stand out from the crowd. As usual, we won’t just list the hacks alone. In each entry, you’ll find an explanation of the code as well as the kinds of problems that the hack solves.

Screenshot

The problem. Because Twitter has become a social media revolution, many bloggers and Twitter users enjoy sharing blog posts they have found and liked on Twitter. However, manually creating a TinyURL before tweeting can get a little tedious. As you probably know, Twitter can bring a lot of traffic to your blog, so it is in your interest to consistently provide short URLs to your readers.

Read more…

10 Useful WordPress Hook Hacks

Hooks are very useful in WordPress. They allow you to “hook” a custom function to an existing function, which allows you to modify WordPress’ functionality without editing core files. In this article, we have compiled 10 extremely useful ready-to-use WordPress hooks, along with examples and coding explanations.

Screenshot

What is a hook? To achieve a particular effect on a WordPress blog, you have to modify how WordPress works. Some of these modifications are made to what WordPress developers call “core files,” files required by WordPress to work properly.

Read more…

10 Useful WordPress Loop Hacks

The loop is a very important aspect of WordPress blogs. In fact, the loop is what allows you to get posts from your WordPress database and print them on the screen. A set of useful and user-friendly functions, the loop is incredibly powerful. With it, you can get a single post, a list of posts ordered by date, title or category, a list of posts written by a specific author and much more.

In this article, we’ll show you 10 useful things you can do with the WordPress loop to make your blog even more powerful than it is right now.

The problem. The loop and the query_posts() WordPress function allow you to easily retrieve a list of posts published in a specific week or month. Unfortunately, getting posts published between, for example, March 17 and May 3 isn’t that easy. Let’s solve this problem.

Read more…

10 Handy WordPress Comments Hacks

Comments sections are neglected on many blogs. That is definitely a bad thing, because comments represent interaction between you and your readers. In this article, we’ll have a look at 10 great tips and hacks to enhance your blog’s comments section and give it the quality it deserves.

Screenshot

Add Action Links To Comments. Whether or not you allow readers to add comments without having to be approved, you will often need to edit, delete or mark certain comments as spam. By default, WordPress shows the “Edit” link on comments (using the edit_comment_link() function) but not “Delete” or “Spam” links. Let’s add them.

Read more…

Custom Fields Hacks For WordPress

In our previous articles on WordPress hacks, we discussed the incredible flexibility of WordPress, which is one of the biggest reasons for its popularity among bloggers worldwide. Custom fields in particular, which let users create variables and add custom values to them, are one of the reasons for WordPress’ flexibility.

Screenshot

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 10 useful things that you can do with custom fields in WordPress. Among them are setting expiration time for posts, defining how blog posts are displayed on the front page, displaying your mood or music, embedding custom CSS styles, disabling search engine indexing for individual posts, inserting a “Digg this” button only when you need it and, of course, displaying thumbnails next to your posts

Read more…

Lessons Learned From Maintaining A WordPress Plug-In

Recently I released a WordPress plugin for Google Analytics that adds a tracking code and dozens of various pieces of meta data to blogs. Since the release of version 4, I’ve updated it 6 times, to the point where it’s now at version 4.0.6. In this article I would like to share with you my experiences in maintaining this and other WordPress plug-ins and common good practices that I’ve distilled from that work.

The updates that I released had a couple of purposes, ranging from bug fixes to new features and fixes in documentation. While all of these are nice to talk about, the bug fixes are the ones you’ll learn the most from, so let’s start by going through these.

Read more…

Power Tips For WordPress Template Developers

With its latest releases, WordPress has extended its potential well beyond blogging, moving toward an advanced, robust and very powerful content management solution. By default, WordPress delivers a very lightweight, minimal system that offers only basic functionalities. But where the WordPress core falls short, there are a wealth of plug-ins that extend its limitations.

Plug-ins often offer simple solutions, but they are not always elegant solutions: in particular, they can add a noticable overhead, e.g. if they offer more functionality than needed. In fact, some general and frequently needed WordPress-functionalities can be added to the engine without bloated plugins, using the software itself.

This article presents 8 tips for WordPress template developers that address common CMS implementation challenges, with little to no plug-in dependence. These examples are written for WordPress 2.7+ and should also work in the latest WordPress-version.

Read more…

New WordPress Power Tips For Template Developers And Consultants

It has been a big year for WordPress. If there were still some lingering doubts about its potency as a full-fledged content management system, then the full support for custom taxonomies and custom post types in WordPress 3.0 core should have put them to rest. WordPress 3.1 took those leaps one step further, polishing custom taxonomies with multi-taxonomy query support, polishing custom post types with native template support for archives and feeds, and introducing features (like the “admin bar”) that make it easier to quickly edit and add content from the front end.

Screenshot

In the broader community, we’ve seen incredible plug-in suites such as BuddyPress mature, and even the emergence of independent WordPress-dedicated hosting services, such as page.ly. To celebrate WordPress’s progress, let’s review some new tips that can help template developers and consultants up their game even further.

Read more…

Advanced Power Tips For WordPress Template Developers

Two weeks ago we published the first part of this article, covering multiple column content techniques and associating pages with post content; we discussed how to use the “More”-tag, hide standalone categories from the category list and retain the page layout for post views within a category page. This article presents the second part of the article; it covers customizing basic content administration and adding features to the post and page editor in WordPress. You would like to see more similar articles in the future? Let us know in the comments to this post!

Customized logo in WordPress administration

Many template developers have learned the art of making beautiful, highly customized front end templates for WordPress. But the real wizards know how to tailor the WordPress administrative console to create a tailored, customized experience for content managers. The dashboard is the first screen presented to registered visitors when they visit WordPress administration (/wp-admin). Tailoring the dashboard to a client can be the difference between a great first impression and a confused one, particularly if the theme customizes the administrative experience.

Read more…

Advanced Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers: Reloaded

Two weeks ago we published the first part of this article, covering multiple column content techniques and associating pages with post content; we discussed how to use the “More”-tag, hide standalone categories from the category list and retain the page layout for post views within a category page. This article presents the second part of the article; it covers customizing basic content administration and adding features to the post and page editor in WordPress. You would like to see more similar articles in the future? Let us know in the comments to this post!

Customized logo in WordPress administration

Many template developers have learned the art of making beautiful, highly customized front end templates for WordPress. But the real wizards know how to tailor the WordPress administrative console to create a tailored, customized experience for content managers. The dashboard is the first screen presented to registered visitors when they visit WordPress administration (/wp-admin). Tailoring the dashboard to a client can be the difference between a great first impression and a confused one, particularly if the theme customizes the administrative experience.

Read more…

Using HTML5 To Transform WordPress’ TwentyTen Theme

Last year, WordPress launched arguably its biggest update ever: WordPress 3.0. Accompanying this release was the brand new default theme, TwentyTen, and the promise of a new default theme every year. Somewhat surprisingly, TwentyTen declares the HTML5 doctype but doesn’t take advantage of many of the new elements and attributes that HTML5 brings.

Screenshot

Now, HTML5 does many things, but you can’t just add <!doctype html> to the top of a document and get excited that you’re so 2011. Mark-up, as they say, is meaning, and HTML5 brings a whole bunch of meaning to our documents.

Read more…

Creating Mobile-Optimized Websites Using WordPress

“Mobile Web design.” Unless you’ve been hiding under a bush for the last 18 months, you’ll know that it’s one of the hottest topics in the industry at the moment. Barely a week goes by without new tips being unveiled to help us hone our skills in making websites work as well — and as fast — as possible on mobile devices.

The Social Media Examiner mobile site - minimal styling

Here are four ways to make your WordPress blog or website mobile-friendly, ranging from the quick and dirty to the complex but potentially very beautiful. As well as outlining the pros and cons of these methods, we’ll include information on plugins that will help without actually doing all the work for you, and we’ll provide some code that you can use for a responsive design.

Read more…

Advanced Layout Templates In WordPress’ Content Editor

As a Web designer, I often find myself building WordPress-based websites that will ultimately be updated and maintained by clients who have little to no experience working with HTML. While the TinyMCE rich-text editor is great for giving Web content managers of any skill level the tools they need to easily style and publish their posts to a degree, creating anything beyond a single column of text with a few floated images generally requires at least a basic understanding of HTML.

multi-col-layout-featured

This article shows you an easy-to-implement trick that enables even the least tech-savvy of clients to manage multi-column content layouts within the comfort of the WYSIWIG editor. And for you advanced users, it’s still a great way to standardize and streamline your content entry.

Read more…

How To Build A Media Site On WordPress (Part 1)

WordPress is amazing. With its growing popularity and continual development, it is becoming the tool of choice for many designers and developers. WordPress projects, though, are pushing well beyond the confines of mere “posts” and “pages”. How do you go about adding and organizing media and all its complexities? With the introduction of WordPress 3.1, several new features were added that make using WordPress to manage media even more practical and in this tutorial, we’re going to dive in and show you how.

In part one, we’re going to setup custom post types and custom taxonomies, without plugins. After that, we’ll build a template to check for and display media attached to custom posts. Then, in part two, we’ll use custom taxonomy templates to organize and relate media (and other types of content).

Read more…

How To Build A Media Site On WordPress (Part 1)

The default “category” and “tag” taxonomies in WordPress offer a lot of flexibility to those with imagination and in my development experience I have seen a wide range of creative implementations. With the introduction of custom taxonomies and their growing ease of use, though, we need no longer be bound to categories and tags. With the ability to create both hierarchical and non-hierarchical taxonomies and with the introduction of several new features in WordPress 3.1, now is the time, if you’re not already, to begin putting custom taxonomies to use.

Screenshot

In part one of this two part series, we learned how to setup custom post types and custom taxonomies. We also learned how to build a template to check for and display media attached to custom posts. Now, we’ll learn how to use custom taxonomy templates to organize and relate our media. Let’s get started!

Read more…

How To Create Custom Post Meta Boxes In WordPress

What seems like one of the most complicated bits of functionality in WordPress is adding meta boxes to the post editing screen. This complexity only grows as more and more tutorials are written on the process with weird loops and arrays. Even meta box “frameworks” have been developed. I’ll let you in on a little secret though: it’s not that complicated.

sm-wp_meta-boxes

Creating custom meta boxes is extremely simple, at least it is once you’ve created your first one using the tools baked into WordPress’ core code. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about meta boxes.

Read more…

How To Integrate Facebook, Twitter And Google+ In WordPress

Integrating social media services in your website design is vital if you want to make it easy for readers to share your content. While some users are happy with the social media buttons that come built into their design template, the majority of WordPress users install a plugin to automatically embed sharing links on their pages. Many of you will find that a plugin does exactly what you need; others not so much. Some are poorly coded, and most include services that you just don’t need. And while some great social media plugins are out there, they don’t integrate with every WordPress design.

The Big Three: Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Today, we’ll show you how to manually integrate the three most popular social media services on your website: Twitter, Facebook and Google+. First, you’ll learn how to integrate Facebook comments on your WordPress website, to make it easier for readers to discuss your posts. Then, we’ll show you the most common ways to display your latest tweets in the sidebar, which should encourage more people to follow you on Twitter. Finally, we’ll show you how to add sharing buttons for all three social media services to your home page, posts and pages.

Read more…

How To Integrate Facebook With WordPress

Facebook is one of those Web phenomena that impress everyone with numbers. To cite some: about 250 million users are on Facebook, and together they spend more than 5 billion minutes on Facebook… every day. These numbers suggest that we should start thinking about how to use Facebook for blogging or vice versa.

Browsing through a blog via Facebook

We did some research to find out how the integration of Facebook with WordPress and vice versa works, or — in other words — how you can present your WordPress blog on Facebook or use the functionality of Facebook on your WordPress-powered blog. Both of these can be achieved with a set of WordPress plug-ins, a couple of which we’ll present here in detail.

Read more…

How To Customize The WordPress Admin Easily

If you’re just getting started with WordPress, or have been running with default functionality for a while and now want to dig in with some useful and easy ways to customize your WordPress site, a great place to start is the WordPress Admin area, or backend. One of the great things about WordPress is that each part of the backend is easily customized using simple PHP functions.

customize-wp-admin

In this article, you’ll learn how to customize the login page with your own logo, add new widgets to the dashboard, add custom content to the admin footer, make it easier to get in and out of the Admin area, and more. When combined, these techniques can improve branding, accessibility, and usability of your WordPress-powered site.

Read more…

How To Use Custom Post Types To Organize Online Marketing Campaigns

 

Custom post types add a level of flexibility to WordPress that makes this open-source Web development platform more useful on many levels. Whenever I have been faced with a Web-based task, especially one that involves organizing information, the first thing I do is examine WordPress to determine if it can handle the job. It usually can.

Making Dollars

As an Internet marketer and analyst, I need to be able to organize online marketing campaigns in a way that is trackable in Google Analytics. This is the perfect task for WordPress custom post types.

In this article, we’ll explain how to create a WordPress plugin that enables you to organize Internet marketing campaigns using trackable URLs, shortened versions of those URLs, and trackable QR codes that you can also use for offline marketing activities.

Read more…

Create Native Admin Tables In WordPress The Right Way

List tables are a common element in WordPress’ administration interface. They are used on nearly all default admin pages with lists, and developers often integrate them into their plugins. But creating one of these tables is not really intuitive if you haven’t done it before, and I’ve seen people try to replicate it by using WordPress CSS classes in custom markup and even by replicating the CSS from scratch.

howtosplash550

In this article, we’ll see how WordPress provides functionality that can be used to generate native admin tables. We’ll look at a typical WordPress table and its different components and show how to implement it the right way.

Read more…

Do-It-Yourself Caching Methods With WordPress

There are different ways to make your website faster: specialized plugins to cache entire rendered HTML pages, plugins to cache all SQL queries and data objects, plugins to minimize JavaScript and CSS files and even some server-side solutions.

But even if you use such plugins, using internal caching methods for objects and database results is a good development practice, so that your plugin doesn’t depend on which cache plugins the end user has. Your plugin needs to be fast on its own, not depending on other plugins to do the dirty work. And if you think you need to write your own cache handling code, you are wrong. WordPress comes with everything you need to quickly implement varying degrees of data caching. Just identify the parts of your code to benefit from optimization, and choose a type of caching.

Read more…

Mastering WordPress Shortcodes

 

Introduced in WordPress 2.5, shortcodes are powerful but still yet quite unknown WordPress functions. Imagine you could just type “adsense” to display an AdSense ad or “post_count” to instantly find out the number of posts on your blog. WordPress shortcodes can do this and more and will definitely make your blogging life easier. In this article, we’ll show you how to create and use shortcodes, as well as provide killer ready-to-use WordPress shortcodes that will enhance your blogging experience.

 

WordPress Shortcodes

 

Using shortcodes is very easy. To use one, create a new post (or edit an existing one), switch the editor to HTML mode and type a shortcode in brackets, such as [showcase]. It is also possible to use attributes with shortcodes. A shortcode with attributes would look something like [showcase id="5"]. Shortcodes can also embed content, as shown here: [url href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com"]Smashing Magazine[/url]. Shortcodes are handled by a set of functions introduced in WordPress 2.5 called the Shortcode API. When a post is saved, its content is parsed, and the shortcode API automatically transforms the shortcodes to perform the function they’re intended to perform.

 

Read more…

Better Image Management With WordPress

With the advent of sophisticated and user-friendly content management systems like WordPress, textual content has become increasingly easier to manage. The architecture of these systems aims to deliver a well-formed code foundation; this means that if you are a good writer, then your content will be just as awesome as the structure and quality of the code that runs it.

Screenshot

However, media handling is, by nature, not the greatest. In many cases, images are used merely to make the website look good, not to supplement the content. Little care is usually taken to make these elements as useful as their textual counterparts. They are often tacked on as an afterthought; the owner thinks, “If all of my posts have an image, surely I should find something quickly for this next one as well.”

Read more…

The Smashing Team loves high-quality content and cares about little details. Through our online articles, books and eBooks and Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the Web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    excellent job..thanks for sharing

    0
  2. 2

    That is a good start for WordPress.

    0
  3. 3

    all links in this page appear to be broken :(

    0
  4. 4

    Your article makes me understand the topic very well, thanks for the effort of sharing this. It is a good one. Thumbs up for you!

    0
  5. 5

    Hi! I made a very clear series of tutorials on how to start by installing Xampp for local WordPress use, and completely stripping down wordpress, and starting from a blank empty folder.

    Enjoy!

    0
  6. 6

    Thanks for these wordpress tips :)

    1
  7. 7
  8. 8

    Thanks for sharing such a nice information about Learning WordPress: Most Useful Tips and Tutorials.

    0
  9. 9

    awesome. I’m becoming wordpress expert by reading your posts. :D :D

    0
  10. 10

    I agree, using my iPad I’m unable to click on any of these links.. :(

    1

Leave a Comment

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or else it will be deleted. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation instead. Thanks for dropping by!

↑ Back to top