One of the main advantages of using WordPress is that you don’t need to know how to write code to manage your website.
There could be occasions, however, where you may choose to add a script or code snippet to content inside your posts or pages in order to add specific features to your site. Useful examples of code snippets you may want to insert into your content include:
- Current date and time
- Adding a Google search box
- Lead capture forms
- Display contextual banner ads
- Conversion tracking scripts (e.g. Google Adwords)
(Adding scripts to content can help expand your site’s functionality)
Some script functions can be added using plugins that involve little to no handling of code. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add code snippets to your WordPress content. We’ll also show you different plugins that can be used to insert code into your content.
- Adding Code To Your Content Using The Text Editor
- What’s A Shortcode?
- Embedding Code Into Your WordPress Posts Using Plugins
Adding Code To Your Content Using The Text Editor
Note: Remember to back up your files and database before adding any scripts to WordPress. If you don’t want to back up your data manually, then use a professional, or use a WordPress backup plugin.
Learn about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate WordPress file and database backups here: Back Up, Duplicate And Protect Your WP Websites And Blogs With Backup Creator Plugin For WordPress
You cannot insert code directly into your content via the WordPress visual editor …
(Pasting scripts into the WordPress visual editor does not work)
You can, however, add simple code to the text editor. To add HTML code to a page or post, do the following:
First, source or create your HTML code. You can use an online HTML editor (e.g. search online for “Free Online WYSIWYG HTML Editor“) or use HTML cheat sheets …
(You can use a free online HTML editor or HTML templates to create your HTML code. Source: HTML-Online.com)
Highlight and copy your code to the clipboard …
(Highlight and copy all of the code to your clipboard)
Next, open your page or post and select the exact spot where you want your code to appear. Create a blank line and add a placeholder (e.g. @@@@@) …
(Add a placeholder to mark the spot where you want your code to display in your content)
Next, click on the Text tab to switch to the Text editor …
(Code must be pasted in the Text editor)
Find and select your placeholder symbols …
(Select and highlight your placeholder)
Paste the code into your content …
(Paste the code over the highlighted text)
Save and publish your page and preview …
(Preview and test any code added to your pages or posts)
We have created a detailed tutorial on using basic HTML in WordPress here: A Beginner’s Guide To HTML Formatting Tags For WordPress Users
While the above can be used to add simple HTML to content, we do not recommend pasting complex scripts directly into your content (e.g. lead capture forms, etc.) …
(Avoid using the WordPress text editor to add complex code)
If you paste complex code directly into the WP text editor you could experience errors.
A better method for adding scripts to content is to enter the code into a plugin that processes the script using ’shortcodes’ placed into your content.
What’s A Shortcode?
A ‘shortcode’ is a code shortcut. It allows you to trigger complex scripts without coding skills. Shortcodes can typically be added to pages, posts, and widgets to trigger a complex script into action.
Shortcodes look like short strings of text enclosed by square brackets, e.g. ‘[ezformshortcode]’ …
(What a WP shortcode looks like)
Shortcodes allow plugin developers to create complex scripts such as image galleries, user forms, content generators, etc., which you then insert into your content via a short text string.
How WordPress Shortcodes Work
(How a shortcode works)
The screenshot above explains how to use a WordPress shortcode:
 You install a plugin that allows you to paste a snippet of code into a special field (we’ll show you an example of this in the tutorial below)
 After pasting the script into the code area and saving, the plugin generates a unique text-based shortcut that lets your site process the script.
 Copy this shortcode and paste it into any widgets, posts, or pages where you would like the function to appear and publish.
 The plugin will now call up your function whenever someone browses your site.
The great thing about using shortcodes is that you don’t have to mess with scripts to get the functionality you want … simply add the shortcode where you would like the functionality to appear and WordPress does the rest!
Embedding Code Into Your WordPress Posts Using Plugins
There are a number of plugins that allow you to add code snippets and scripts into your posts, pages, and widgets.
(Insert HTML Snippet – WordPress Plugin)
As the plugin name suggests, Insert Html Snippet lets you easily add snippets of HTML code into a post, page, or a sidebar widget.
Essentially, this plugin allows you to create HTML snippets and add them to your posts and pages using shortcodes or custom fields.
HTML snippets are objects that can store scripts for just about everything: audio player code, tracking codes, etc.
The step-by-step tutorial below shows you how to use the Insert HTML Snippet plugin.
How To Add Snippets Of Code To Your WordPress Posts And Pages – Step-By-Step Tutorial
Download the plugin here, or use the “Search method” to install the plugin inside your WP dashboard (search for keywords like “Insert HTML, Insert HTML Snippets, etc.“) …
(Locate and install ’Insert Html Snippet’)
Activate the plugin …
(Activate the ‘Insert Html Snippet’ plugin)
After the plugin has been installed and activated, a new item called XYZ Html will display in the dashboard menu …
(XYZ Html plugin menu)
Important: Make sure you have your script available (e.g. pasted into a plain text file) …
(Have your code ready)
To create a new code snippet, click on XYZ Html > HTML Snippets …
(XYZ Html > HTML Snippets plugin menu)
Click on Add New HTML Snippet …
(’Add New HTML Snippet’)
In ‘The Add New HTML Snippet’ section, name your code snippet (for your own reference only), paste the code into the HTML code section and click the Create button …
(Creating a new HTML Snippet)
Your new snippet will be saved and published as a shortcode …
You can also create a new snippet without having the script code. This is useful if, for example, you are waiting for approval of the code but want to go ahead and get pages created where your code will eventually display.
In this case, go ahead and create a new snippet with placeholder content and insert the shortcode into your content then publish. After your code has been approved, you can then edit the snippet, replace the content, and republish …
(You can also create a new snippet without having code.)
The plugin stores your snippets in a separate list within the plugin’s database. You can view all of your HTML Snippets and shortcodes by selecting XYZ Html > HTML Snippets from your WordPress admin menu …
(Click on XYZ Html > HTML Snippets to view a list of all your snippets and shortcodes)
A list of all the code snippets you have created will appear in the ‘HTML Snippets’ admin screen …
Because snippets are stored in an independent location (i.e. a separate database), you can use the same shortcode in multiple pages and posts and control everything from one location. If you edit the code inside the snippet, your code will automatically update throughout your content.
Shortcodes can be inserted into content directly inside the WordPress visual editor.
To place the code into your content using a shortcode, simply go to your page, post, or widget and select where you would like the code inserted …
( Add shortcodes to your content in the WordPress visual editor.)
After publishing, preview and test the script to ensure that the code has been added correctly …
(Script added to content via a shortcode)
As well as editing the code in your snippets, you can deactivate and delete your snippets …
(Delete, deactivate, or edit your snippets)
- If you delete or deactivate a snippet but leave the HTML Snippets plugin active, your shortcode will not display in your content.
- If you deactivate the HTML Snippets plugin, the shortcode will show up in your content.
(If the plugin is deactivated, your shortcode will show up as a line of text in your content)
Go here for more details: Insert HTML Snippet Plugin
(EmbedIt Pro – WordPress Plugin)
EmbedIt Pro is similar to the previously described plugin, with some added features.
After installing and activating the EmbedIt Pro plugin, a new menu item called HTML Snippets will display in the WordPress menu area …
(EmbedIt Pro plugin menu)
To create a shortcode, click on HTML Snippets > Add New, add your script, give your snippet a descriptive title and click the Publish button …
(EmbedIt Pro Shortcode)
Two new menu buttons will appear on your Editor toolbar: Embed HTML Snippet and Embed From Custom Field…
(The plugin adds new menu items to the WordPress visual editor toolbar)
Use the HTML Snippet button to insert a shortcode into your content. With the cursor location selected, click on the HTML Snippet button to select and place the code snippet in your text …
(Use the HTML Snippet button to insert a shortcode into your posts.)
A a new window will pop up on your screen allowing you to insert any HTML Snippets you have stored. Select the HTML Snippet you would like inserted into your page or post and click OK to continue …
(Insert HTML Snippet)
Your shortcode will be inserted in the location you have specified …
(Shortcode inserted into content)
Click Publish/Update to save …
(Publish to save your settings)
View your updated post or page. The script should have been added to your content where you have specified …
(What your visitors will see)
While you are logged into your admin, you should see an ‘Edit Snippet’ button displayed next to where your code has been added. This allows you to change scripts “on the fly” (this is useful if you need to edit form elements, image sizes, etc.)
To update your code, click the Edit Snippet button …
(Modify scripts “on the fly”!)
You will be taken to the Edit HTML Snippet screen. Make the necessary changes to the code and save. All posts and pages will update throughout your site with the changes …
(Edit, update, and republish your code to make sitewide changes)
More information: EmbedItPro
Tip #1: You can export your HTML snippets (and import these into other WordPress sites) using the Tools > Export function …
(Export your HTML Snippets)
Tip #2 (Advanced Users): The EmbedIt Pro plugin also uses WordPress Custom Fields to add code to your content.
If you know how to use custom fields in WordPress, you can add code to a custom field and place a shortcode into your content with the “Custom Field” menu button. This is useful when you want to insert code into a single post without leaving the post editing window.
(Paste shortcodes into your posts with custom fields)
Tip #3 – Use WordPress Themes With Drag And Drop Page Builders
(Some themes come with built-in features)
Tip #4 – Adding code to the header section of WordPress
A plugin like EmbedIt Pro lets you easily insert code and scripts into content inside your WordPress posts and pages.
Some applications, however, require code to be inserted into content but also to areas such as headers, footers, etc.
You can find a number of WordPress plugins that let you add code to headers and footers of posts and pages. Many of these plugins, however, will add code to all pages and posts, not just the ones you want (some plugins and themes will add code to every single page and then let you turn the code on/off for individual pages or posts).
If you want to add scripts outside of content areas, then you will need to either customize your theme files or use a plugin like the one described below.
The information below is for advanced WordPress users. If you need help adding or removing scripts from your site, please contact a professional WordPress web developer.
The way this plugin works is that it lets you extend your site’s functionality by adding custom code using code blocks that can be assigned to individual posts, pages, categories, custom posts, URLs, expressions, and more!
Note: The first time you try to use CJT, you will be asked to go through an installation process to create the plugin’s database tables and activate the plugin’s functionality. It’s really simple, just click the ‘Install’ button …
(Database tables must be installed the first time the plugin is used)
The main CJT dashboard will load …
Click on New Code Block to begin adding custom code …
In the ‘Create New Code Block’ window, add a name to your code block, select the checkbox to activate it (or leave it unchecked if you don’t want it activated yet), select a “Location Hook” (specify where to insert your code block. Options = Header / Footer.), and choose the “Initial Block Position” (specify whether the script should be added before or after all other code in the header or footer. Options = First Block / Last Block.). Click Create …
(‘Create New Code Block’ window)
A blank text field will appear. Paste your code or script into this area …
(CJT code field)
Next, select where you want to insert the block (e.g. in specific Pages, Posts, etc …)
(Select where to add your code block)
The main screen also has a number of icons you can click to access different features, help, etc. (hover your mouse over the icons for descriptions of all items) …
(Access plugin functionality via toolbar icons)
Click the ‘Save All Changes’ button to save your settings …
(CJT – ‘Save All Changes’ button)
More information: CJT Plugin For WordPress
Tip: Checking That Your Scripts Have Been Added Correctly
Some scripts will ask you to verify if your code has been added correctly and some will not.
If you have pasted code into an area that is not meant to be visible (like the “header”) and you want to check if the code has been added correctly, then do the following:
How To View Source Code In Firefox
First, open up your internet browser (we’ll use Firefox in this example) and go to the page containing the code.
Select Tools > Developer > Page Source from your browser menu …
(Viewing page code in Firefox)
A new browser window will open up displaying the source code for that page.
Use the search function (Ctrl+F) or scroll down until you can see the code that you have added (if adding code to the header section, it will normally be placed between the <head> and </head> tags) …
If you can see your code, then the next step is to test your script and make sure that everything is working correctly. If you experience any problems, repeat the process and make sure that your code has been inserted correctly, or get help from a professional. As stated earlier in this tutorial, always back up your site before doing anything that involves changing code.
Congratulations, now you know how to add code snippets to WordPress content.
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)
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