There are over 48,000 WordPress plugins available directly from WordPress. Other companies offer even more custom plugins. But even with that many options, you may still not find what you’re looking for.
When you have a plugin in mind to perform a specific action, you may be thinking about whether you could build a WordPress plugin of your own.
Lucky for you, it’s not as tough as you may think.
If you’re ready to build a WordPress plugin of your own, keep reading for a step-by-step guide.
What You Need To Know To Build a WordPress Plugin
The steps you’ll need to follow to build a WordPress plugin are simple on their own. But it’s important to follow each of the steps in the correct order if you want your plugin to work.
Creating a Base for Your Plugin
To start with, you need to create a folder under the plugin folder on WordPress. The name of your folder will be the “slug,” for your plugin, so choose carefully.
The slug won’t be the name of your plugin, just an identifying tag.
Once you’ve created your folder, you’ll need to create a file within that folder. Use your slug name, followed by a PHP extension on the end (slug-name.php).
You’ll then need to open the file in order to start to actually build your WordPress plugin.
Making Your Plugin a Reality
Once you’ve opened your new file, you’ll need to paste the following code:
Plugin Name: SLUG-NAME
Description: a plugin to create awesomeness and spread joy
Author: [YOUR NAME]
Once you enter this code, your plugin is technically created. It won’t do anything yet, but it will show up in the list of WordPress plugins section. Find it there, and go ahead and activate it.
Giving Your Plugin an Action
This next step is the toughest on the list you’ll need to complete to build a WordPress plugin.
You’ll need to create a code that tells your plugin to complete the action that you have in mind.
The possibilities are endless.
You’ll need to do a bit of Google searching to find code ideas specific to the function that you’re trying to create.
If you’re creating a completely need plugin function, you might be able to find other similar plugins to borrow code from. You can then combine bits and pieces to create your new, unique code.
Regardless of the plugin function you’re trying to create, your code will need several important elements.
One of the most important is a hook, which will either be a filter or action. An action tells WordPress to function in a certain way. A filter modifies the data that WordPress uses.
WordPress offers a list of codes for assigning your hooks different functions, making this a great place to start.
What Else Can You Do With a Homemade WordPress Plugin
Maybe you find that your new WordPress plugin makes your blog or website easier to navigate. Or maybe the plugin fills a unique need, one that isn’t covered by other plugins.
If so, you might want to consider making your plugin available for public use.
You’ll need to make sure that your slug is unique from any others in the WordPress Plugin Repository.
A quick Google search should tell you whether your intended slug is taken.
Plugins can help you create custom navigation menus, add new sliders, and more. Now that you know how to build a WordPress plugin, you’ll be able to create more to fulfill any function you’d like!