Adding features to your site can be a joy or a headache. Introducing third-party code through plugins or manual copying and pasting is easy and gets the job done, but it can also create new hazards that weren’t an issue before. Have you ever copied code onto your site and received a long series of obscure errors? Everyone has.
That’s why WordPress provides its users a “WordPress way” of getting things done safely and effectively.
Without being restrictive, WordPress lets you run your site in whatever fashion you find suitable. But you may find that doing things the “WordPress way” gets you the best results.
Plugins Fix (Most) Things
If you need a custom feature added to your WordPress site, plugins are without a doubt the easiest way to add new features.
There’s a plugin for virtually everything.
Plugins can be used to add e-commerce or email marketing features to your site. They can also be used to generate contact forms.
But when is a plugin a bad idea?
Plugins add external code to your site, and this introduces new benefits but also new dangers. Plugins are created by independent developers and are not guaranteed to work well with each other.
If you can afford to have a developer provide you with a custom solution, you should always go that route over a plugin.
But for most situations, developer resources may be out of budget or simply unavailable.
This is where a bit of WordPress coding knowledge can save you lots of time and money and energy.
When it comes to modifying the code of your WordPress site, you should know a little bit about the following programming and markup languages:
However, you can get by with very basic knowledge of these languages to add code modifications to WordPress.
For example, let’s say you wanted to add an estimated reading time to your blog posts to let your readers know how much time it might take for them to read the post. This is something a lot of blogs are doing now.
One way of accomplishing this task would be to read each of your posts, time yourself, and manually print the estimated reading time at the top. This is an easy solution and requires no plugins or coding skills. But that’s not the WordPress way.
WordPress uses templates to generate your posts and pages. So instead of copying important information to each post manually, there are programmatic solutions that can do it automatically. See our full guide on adding estimated reading times to posts in WordPress to see this is in action.
WordPress Even Has Its Own Hosting Now
You may have noticed hosts all over the market have released specialized WordPress hosting plans. These plans are optimized from the ground up to produce the best possible self-hosted WordPress experience. Try one of ours today and see how doing things the WordPress way (even when it comes to hosting) gives you the best possible experience.