WordPress is powering 26% of the web currently according to the statistics revealed by WordPress.com. Most of the small businesses and personal blogs function using this platform.
There are close to 44,622 plugins on the WordPress directory at present. The total downloads for the plugins have reached 1.3Bn at present. However, a lot of these plugins are obsolete but, you can be assured that there is a plugin for every small problem you are likely to face.
It is likely that you have installed a plugin to resolve an issue, and tried to customize the same to meet your requirements. Have you faced an issue maintaining the customizations when you change the theme? A lot of WordPress developers have mentioned this, and have checked tutorials to find a way out.
The only way you can save the customizations, and make sure your site’s plugins remain the same even when you change the theme is by opting for the site-specific plugin.
What is Site-Specific you may ask?
A site-specific plugin allows you to extend the functionality of the WordPress site ensuring the plugin’s customization stays even when you have changed the theme.
Now that you know what a site-specific plugin is, let’s take a look at why you should go for this type of plugin.
Why go for site-specific plugin?
- The main purpose of site-specific codes is to add new types of posts, shortcodes as well as taxonomies to boost your website’s performance.
- When you want to customize your plugin, you might not be able to carry the customizations when you change the theme or update the theme. With the site-specific plugin, you will be able to keep the customizations irrespective of the theme you are using.
Now that you are aware of what is a site-specific plugin, and why you need to invest in one, let’s head on to understand how to create the ideal site-specific plugin for your WordPress website.
Site Specific Plugin Creation
Here we will talk about the two different methods you can use to create the site-specific plugin.
#1 Go Manual
We will first talk about the manual method of creating a site-specific WordPress plugin. It may be a bit cumbersome but, eventually, it does pay off. So, are you ready to get started?
There are a few steps that you may have to follow when you are going manual with the creation of the site-specific plugin
- First, you need to create a folder for the WordPress website plugin project. Save it on your desktop so that it can be easily accessed by you or, someone who will be handling the WordPress website. Ideally, you should even save the folder with the website name
- Once the folder has been created, you should open the text editor, either Notepad or Text edit or something similar, available with your OS.
- Save the new text editor file that you have created in the folder on the desktop. The editor document should be saved as mywebsite-plugin.php
- To customize the plugin, you should add the header code that is specific to the project. With the site-specific header code, anyone can recognize that this is the plugin’s header code, and can update it accordingly.
Add the following code as part of the header file.
Plugin Name: Site Plugin for mywebsite.com
/* You can start adding the functions below this line */
/* You can stop adding the functions after this line*/
Instead of mywebsite, you should add the website’s name. We have just given an example of how the header code looks like.
With this header code, your site-specific plugin is ready for customizations. You can change the theme but, it will not affect the plugin that you have just created. You can use the same plugin with the personalization you have made, irrespective of the website theme you are using.
How to upload the site-specific plugin that you have created manually?
You can either upload it via the admin panel of your WordPress website or, by using FTP.
Use of WordPress Admin Panel
If you are a beginner or, you want to upload the plugin with ease then you ought to use the admin panel method. In fact, most people tend to recommend this method for site-specific plugin.
- The first step is to create a zip file of the plugin folder that you have created.
- Now go to plugins >Add New page on the WordPress website. Here, you need to click on the upload plugin, select the zip folder and finally use the install now button to upload the plugin.
- Activate the plugin to get started.
You need to create the zip folder. Now, connect the website with the FTP client.
- Go to /wp-content/plugins/folder in the site column. In the folder section, you need to upload the site-specific plugin folder that you have created. The FTP client will transfer the folder to the WordPress website. You can now activate the plugin.
#2 The Code Snippet Plugin Method
This is a method that is mostly recommended, as it is way simpler than the manual plugin creation.
- Install the code snippet plugin and then activate it on your WordPress website
- Once you have activated the plugin, you need to create a menu. Name the menu as “Snippets” in the admin menu. You can easily manage the custom codes in this admin panel.
- Once you have the menu ready, you need to write the custom code. For this, you need to create a new snippet page. Go to snippets>all snippets page and there “add new” and write the code down
- Add a title to the snippet so that you can identify the code. If you want to benefit the others who will be managing the site, make sure to add the description. It will make things easier for others. If you want, you can assign tags to the code snippets.
- Now, all you need to do is activate the plugins. And save it to the WordPress website.
A site-specific plugin is an excellent way to increase the functionality of your website whether you are using the same theme or you plan to change the theme, the site-specific plugin will remain undeterred. There are two ways to add the plugin- you can create one manually or use the code snippet method, whichever you believe works for you.
So, now that you know why and how to create the site-specific plugin, get started and use it to add features that will enhance your website.