WordPress has a huge collection of plugins already, which adds various custom functionalities to your website. The best thing about plugins is that you can add new feature to your website without changing your code.
Although there are numerous plugins available but there can be chance when you need
some specific functions which are not already available. Then, in this case you need to develop you own WordPress plugin.
In this article, we will cover- what a WordPress custom plugin is, Reasons why people should develop WordPress plugin and How to create it? So, without further ado, let’s get started-
WordPress Custom Plugin (Definition)
Almost one-third of the websites are from WordPress which means approx. half a million different websites. WordPress plugins are package of code that increase functionality of your site. These plugins are developed by coders from around the world.
Various plugin serves different purpose. For instance, you can find plugins for increasing your site speed, for adding social media share buttons, for increasing SEO of your site and many more.
Creating custom plugin gives a sense of independence as you can personalize it whichever way you want. These custom plugins will be specific to your requirements and provides you the endless opportunities of customizing a branded website without changing its code.
Reasons Why developing a WordPress Plugins can be Beneficial for Businesses?
You must be wondering when there are so many plugins already available on WordPress then why bother to develop it on your own? Let’s discuss some points which can help you to understand how developing your plugins will help-
Add Uniqueness to your website
On WordPress, brands can develop plugins from scratch that are for their own personal use rather than on sharing basis. As a result, it will make their website unique and stand out from rest.
As there are many plugins already available on WordPress for public sharing, they can be susceptible to security threats. Its best to develop your own personal plugins to avoid any type of threats.
Easy to Upgrade
Since you have developed that plugin, you must know all ins and outs of the plugin so it will easier for you to test and upgrade it. You can update them anytime as per your requirements.
As you have developed these plugins yourself and as per your requirements only, the result will be higher performance of your WordPress website as they are built for it.
Step by Step Guide to Develop WordPress Plugin
Let’s start with detailed explanation by which you can learn to develop a simple plugin in WordPress-
Step 1: Research
As there are more than 60k free WordPress plugins already available in the market, so it is important that you must note down your requirements and reasons why you want to develop this plugin on the first place?
Its good that you should start with doing some research related to the plugin you have decided to develop. You should check how many plugins of same kind are already available in the market and how actively people are installing these kinds of plugins.
You can also look for shortcomings of already developed plugins and rather than creating a new plugin in WordPress, adopt these plugins and upgrade them. You have many alternatives available, its up to you what suits best to your purpose.
Step 2: Choose a Name for Plugin
If you are clear about creating a plugin and what will be it’s purpose then next step is to pick a name for it. The name of the plugin should be in a way which can define what it does and also it should be remarkable on the other hand. While choosing a name, you should keep following things in mind-
Should be easy to pronounce.
Should be self-explanatory.
Should be remarkable.
Should be unique.
Step 3: Set up a Testing Environment
Next step in creating a plugin is to set up a staging environment which will ensure that you can build a plugin without affecting original website. Staging environment is where WordPress created a clone of your website, with restricted access which enables you to do experiments with features. You can push these changes, once you are satisfied with your changes.
There are various ways of setting up a WordPress staging website. You can create a staging environment by using your web host, you can also install a plugin to create WordPress staging and you can build a manual site for staging.
Step 4: Make your Plugin Folder and PHP File
After setting up a staging environment, head to the wp-content/plugins folder of WordPress establishment and create a new folder for your plugin. Rename that folder with the name you choose for your plugin and replace the spaces with hyphens.
When this folder is ready, you have to create a PHP file inside it. It totally depends upon the complexity of your plugin that if you will require a single or multiple PHP files. You can name your php files with your plugin name as well. For example, if your plugin name is speed booster, you can name your folder speed-booster and your php file as speed-booster.php.
Step 5: Add File Header
After creating your PHP folder, now it’s time to add document header. It is a PHP block comment which act as the metadata for WordPress plugin.
It will be in this format-
* Plugin Name: Your Plugin Name * Plugin URI: http://your-site.com * Description: Insert a brief description of what your plugin does here. * Version: 1.0.0 * Author: Your Name * Author URI: http://your-site.com * License: GPL2
You will have to enter the details of the plugin you are building. You can also add some more information like author, license etc. Keep in mind that if your WordPress plugin folder contains multiple PHP files, then plugin header file needs to be added in only one of them. Save those changes and main plugin file will now be visible on your website under plugin tab.
Step 6: Add Code to your WordPress Plugin
Till now, you have only set up essential structure for your module. In reality, it is sitting idle yet. For that, you have to learn how to code a WordPress plugin. When you will code then action hooks in WordPress will allow plugins to modify its functionalities.
For better understanding, you can go through with the WordPress Developer’s plugin handbook and can use it as your guide. After that you can do experiments with your plugin design.
Step 7: Configure, Test and Publish the Plugin
Configuring, testing and securing your plugin is one of the most crucial steps in building a plugin. Some developers leave this task for last but it is best that you should keep on testing and backing up your data at different levels of development cycle.
“WP-CLI” can be an amazing tool for updating, configuring, testing and integrating your WordPress plugin.
After testing it finally, now it’s time to publish it to your WordPress website. Here are some steps to do that-
· Before transferring it to your website, you have to convert it to .zip format.
· Now you have to add it to your dashboard by navigating to Plugins >> Add New >> Upload Plugin >> Choose File.
· After that, look for the .zip file you have created and upload it to your website.
Lastly, when plugin is added to your directory, click on activate link on plugin screen and your plugin will be live!
Congratulations on creating your first WordPress Plugin! However, developing a plugin from scratch needs a vast amount of time, skill and patience. On the other hand, creating a plugin is one thing but building it using best practices is another.
If you are still confused and don’t have time or resources to spare on this learning, it is best to hire a professional or take a guidance from them. If you are looking for someone for developing plugins, websites, application or any other IT Services, please contact Thynk Web. We are a team of experts, mainly focused on quality and commitment.