The web is saturated with content, period. Nowadays, you can probably find what you’re looking for in a couple of searches, and still get plenty of choices to pick from. So, what happens when you’re fighting directly against other sites to grab the attention of a user? The solution is to be original. To help you accomplish that, with WordPress you have a really useful tool at your disposal: the shortcodes.

For those who don’t know, shortcodes are a series of tags that can be defined in WordPress to create specially formatted content. They are used by enclosing a piece of content inside bracket tags, like this:

[shortcode_name]Your content[/shortcode_name]

Shortcodes can be used to create all kinds of elements in any WordPress page or post, from buttons to message boxes. They give a tremendous amount of flexibility, but the trick lies in how to use them properly.

Normal, unformatted article.

  1. Turn important links into buttons. The first and most important step when formatting your content is to find what the most important links are. If for example you have a link in your About page that leads to your contact form, you probably should turn that link into a button to increase its visibility.
  2. Use columns to organize content. Another highly underused technique is to separate your individual pieces of content, and in the process make the information easier to scan. This is especially useful when coupled with images, as they make the overall appearance of the page more interesting.
  3. Highlight important information with message boxes. If you have a page containing annotations that might be important for the user to read, it might be a good idea to turn them into message boxes. This will make them stand out and ensure the user doesn’t pass them up.

The same article after a little formatting.