Creating content with WordPress is easy. You just need to start typing away, and then hit Publish to let the rest take care of itself. But there’s more that that to creating an interesting page that will attract readers. You need to create a well-thought out layout that is compelling and makes it easy to scan, so that your visitors will remain on your site for longer.

To do that we can make use of shortcodes, a very useful tool in WordPress that allows you to easily insert specially formatted content by only adding a few tags in your pages. Shortcodes are a great way for turning unmanageable walls of text into pages that can keep readers engaged for longer.

An Introduction To Shortcodes

For those of you who don’t know about shortcodes, you shouldn’t miss out on it. Simply put, shortcodes are specific tags that you insert into the content of a post to produce a desired HTML markup. They are used to produce complex design elements that would otherwise be very cumbersome to implement. This means you can, for instance, create stylish buttons by only adding a small tag that indicates how it should behave and look.

Shortcodes are created in the following form:

[[shortcode attribute=value]]

[[shortcode attribute=value]Content[/shortcode]]

A shortcode can be self closing or have some content in between. Whether this is necessary depends on the shortcode itself and its purpose. For instance, a shortcode that creates a separator may not have a need for a piece of content, while a message box will inevitable need some text to display. The key difference lies in whether the shortcode styles a piece of content, or merely generates some HTML markup automatically.

These shortcodes are defined by WordPress plugins or themes, and are programmed with a particular goal in mind. Our themes, for instance, come with a specially defined set of shortcodes, meant to give you a vast array of options to style your pages.

Using Shortcodes To Create Interesting Content

The trick to making pages more interesting through the use of shortcodes is to separate content. Since users tend to scan content instead of actually reading it, you should work on segregating your paragraphs into manageable chunks. Shortcodes come into play by giving you a wide range of options so you can choose how to best separate your content.

For example, a very effective way of making a page more engaging is by adding multiple columns. Depending on how your page is presented, this can be an inviting way of making visitors focus more on your content, one piece at a time. You can complement this by also adding icons, lists, and images to further break your page into smaller chunks and give the eyes a rest.

Alternatively, you can also group multiple content pieces and use an accordion shortcode to hide content that is too, or add a tabbed content box to allow users to cycle through one bit at a time. This allows you to cram more content into a smaller space, while letting the reader focus only on an introductory text. If the user becomes interested, he/she can then proceed further and open the accordion.

Don’t Go Overboard

You must try to keep a balance though. Going overboard and adding way too many elements onto your pages can work backwards, as it can become a distraction and make your users focus on the wrong things. Every element you add must have a reasoning behind it, and you must refrain from adding stuff without a purpose. While it may seem tricky at first, it is just a matter of trial and error, constantly refining your content until it’s at its best.

In short, shortcodes are a very useful tool that, when used properly, can give you an edge in creating immersive experiences for your visitors. While mastering them may be difficult, they are undoubtely the way to go if you wish to breathe life into your website.