How to create a simple WordPress Plugin?

How to create a simple WordPress Plugin?


1. What is WordPress Plugin?

If you’re the perfect newbie, WordPress plugins are just like the apps on your phone. Your phone already performs admirably, but you can use applications to give it new features. The same is true for the WordPress content management system (CMS). Although the WordPress platform is already highly sophisticated, plugins allow for greater functionality. For example, plugins let you add more features like e-commerce, SEO, spam prevention, enhanced forms, social media, greater security, live chat, visual page design, and more. There are a vast number of WordPress plugins available, both free and paid. There are already more than 59,000 free plugins in the official WordPress plugin repository alone!

This implies that there may be a plugin for almost every function you want to add to your WordPress website. However, you may occasionally require something available from the abovementioned plugin. In that instance, you could either start from scratch when creating a WordPress plugin or alter an existing plugin. WordPress began as a primary application to enable you to establish a blog. It has evolved into a robust content management system and application framework, owing primarily to plugins.

2. What can WordPress Plugins do?

WordPress plugins are small tools that interact with and run-on top of WordPress software. This means that, in addition to blogs, you can use WordPress to create nearly any type of website.

  • Create a website for an online store using the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress.
  • Utilizing the top WordPress directory plugins, create a company directory.
  • Create your own podcast website with WordPress, among many other things.

There is a saying among WordPress users that goes, “There’s a plugin for that. “It is possible to do anything you want on your WordPress website. There is undoubtedly a plugin available if the feature is not offered by default in WordPress.

Plugins can be small and only provide one function, such as putting an image on the sidebar, or they can also be quite large and act as their platforms, such as WordPress eCommerce plugins and WordPress membership plugins. Many feature-rich plugins have their add-on plugins to extend them, just like you would extend WordPress.

3. Why do you want to create a Plugin?

WordPress is one of the most popular development platforms. This implies that you’ll have no trouble finding resources to assist you in creating CMS plugins. Additionally, WordPress plugins have very high-income potential. Although there is plenty of competition, your plugin may quickly become popular and be used on hundreds of websites if you have an improved approach to a well-known issue. In actuality, most downloadable plugins were initially created to aid in problem-solving. The beauty of WordPress is that you can share solutions you create for your website on the plugin market. However, many developers prefer to make their plugins available to other users to help them work around similar difficulties that may be bothering them. Lastly, WordPress is a fantastic learning tool for coding. It has been operating for 19 years and offers a ton of documentation and tools to get you started. Additionally, if your plugin is frequently used, it has a sizable user base, which can aid your development visibility.

4. How to create a Plugin?

Let’s examine the six steps for creating a WordPress plugin.

Do some research and plan:    

The WordPress Plugin Directory includes thousands of tools. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is conduct some research to determine whether your idea has already been thought of. But even then, you might still carry out your strategy. Investigate similar plugins and consider how you can improve on them. As an alternative, add to what is offered with features and your unique post type. Check the status of any installed plugins as well.

For instance, there might be a chance to either incorporate it or offer an alternative if a plugin hasn’t received an update in a while or is incompatible with the most recent version of WordPress. To determine whether there is a sizable market for the plugin you have in mind, you can also look at the number of active installations. It’s also a good idea to test the plugin on your site to evaluate what it does well and what may be improved. It would help if you thought about how, you would promote your plugin. Some developers make a specific website for each of their services. You must consider both the pricing and subscription alternatives if you intend to monetize your plugin.

Finally, it would be best if you familiarized yourself with WordPress’s coding requirements. This is crucial if you want to share your plugin with other people. Developers should abide by these coding standards while making WordPress themes and plugins, as they serve as a collection of best practices and guidelines.

Set up a testing environment:

The next step is to create a testing environment. As a newbie, you will probably pick up a lot of knowledge along the way. Therefore, you should refrain from trying out new things on a live site. A local environment or staging site will allow you to test your plugin as you work on it privately.

Create the Plugin file:

Once you’ve set up your staging environment, you can start working on your plugin. The first step is to make a folder for it in the directory of your website. To access the files and folders on your website, use a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client like FileZilla.

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If you’re using FileZilla for the first time, you’ll need to enter your credentials, which include your login and password. Your hosting account will have this information. Create a new folder for your plugin in wp-content/plugins after connecting to the directory of your website:

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The next step is writing a PHP file and putting it in this folder. Open your chosen text editor and type the following information into it to accomplish this:

<?php

/**

* Plugin Name: test-plugin

* Plugin URI: https://www.your-site.com/

* Description: Test.

* Version: 0.1

* Author: your-name

* Author URI: https://www.your-site.com/

**/

You’ll have to modify the information above to reflect your specifics. You can save your file whenever you’re prepared. Do not forget to use the PHP file extension (e.g., my-first-plugin.php). You must then upload this file to the plugin folder you already made. Once you’ve completed this, go to the Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard of your test site. Your new plugin should be visible at this point.

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If you activate this plugin, it will only accomplish something later. But from this point forward, WordPress will accept it as a helpful add-on.

Add code to your plugin:

Each plugin is unique. But they all have similar elements. For instance, all plugins communicate with WordPress using hooks. A hook is a method through which a plugin connects to the pre-existing code of WordPress core’s programming. In another way, a plugin inserts itself at the hook to add or modify the site’s functionality. Hooks play a crucial role in WordPress development. Numerous hooks can be used as plugin triggers, and you can make your own if necessary. When developing your plugin, you must consider two sorts of hooks:

Actions: The majority of hooks extend or change WordPress functionality.

Filters: These are used to alter an action’s functionality.

You must become familiar with hooks and how they operate to code your plugin.

Test your plugin:

As you work on your plugin, you must save your work frequently and test your changes on your staging site. Additionally, it would help if you were looking for any security flaws so you could fix them before releasing your plugin. Test your plugin on a live site when you’re satisfied with it. Once more, test your plugin for flaws and vulnerabilities properly. Before testing your plugin on your live site, it’s a good idea to make a backup of it. In this manner, you can fix your material if something goes wrong.

If you’re satisfied with the functionality of your plugin, you might make it available to other developers so they can use and test it. You may receive insightful comments as a result. Additionally, you may request that they test your plugin’s stability by attempting to break it. You should export your plugin to a zip file for easy distribution and installation to accomplish this. Find the folder for your plugin in the site’s directory, then use the right-click menu to send it to a compressed (zipped) folder:

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The files in your folder will be assembled into a zip package that you can quickly distribute when you select a destination. It might be necessary to download the plugin folder from your SFTP client before compressing it if you are testing on a live website.

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Click Add New on the Plugins page of your dashboard to install your plugin on a WordPress site. After that, select a.zip file to upload to your site by clicking on Upload Plugin:

Choose Install Now after selecting the compressed file. The plugin will then be unpacked and installed on your website by WordPress:

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After that is finished, select Activate Plugin. Your plugin is now live, and that’s all!

Distribute your Plugin:

You can begin distributing your plugin once you’ve written and tested it. Examining the most effective techniques will help. 

5. Publish Your Work on the WordPress Plugin Directory:

Submitting your plugin to the WordPress Plugin Directory allows you to share your work with the community and receive visibility. Utilize the enormous WordPress user base to draw in new customers. Before submitting your plugin for approval, you must confirm that it adheres to best practices and the Detailed Plugin Guidelines. Your plugin may not be inspected and approved right away. After your plugin is approved, you must add your files to the SVN repository. After that, users of WordPress will be able to install your plugin on their websites. 

6. Upload the Plugin to Your Website:

Construct a website for your plugin and post it to the WordPress directory. This website can be used to provide further information about your plugin. Additionally, you could add guides, instructions, and marketing data. Developers frequently advertise their premium plugin on websites while offering a free or lite version in the WordPress directory. Users can download and test the product this way before upgrading. You have the option to pay to unlock some advanced features. You can also provide a multi-tiered membership plan. For example, you might create many premium versions of the plugin to give users more options.

7. Quick Summary:

WordPress allows you to create your plugin and share it with other users because it is an open-source platform. While some coding expertise will be beneficial, you may quickly write a simple plugin to improve the functionality of your site. You can start selling the premium versions of any plugins you make once you’ve more experience.

Here’s a summary of how to develop your WordPress plugin:

Research the concept.

Create a testing environment.

Make the primary plugin folder and file.

Update the plugin file with the code.

Test out your plugin.

Make your plugin available on WordPress.org.

If you decide to use WordPress for your website, check out WPBlazer, a WordPress management tool.

About the author:

Saelvizhi. V grew up in Coimbatore city with a lot of time on her hands and a vivid imagination. A passion for writing began to take hold at 12 when her first poem was published in a popular magazine. She began with poems and progressed to essays, articles, blogs, and other forms of writing. Then, she became a full-time writer. Saelvizhi enjoys spending time with her friends and family and loves to explore different cuisines. She has made it her goal to one day hike to the pinnacle of Everest and become a mountaineer.

 



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