Oftentimes premium WordPress themes come with all sorts of shortcodes and builders built-in, but what if you ever decide to switch themes? Well, you’ll lose all the capabilities of your shortcodes unless you manually transfer over the code to your new theme. Better solution? Use a plugin! There are many great shortcode and page building plugins out there that are perfect for spicing up your site without the risk of having to re-do everything when you switch themes. Below you’ll find a good mix of free & premium shortcode and page-building options, so be sure to take a look at each one!
Best Shortcodes WordPress Plugins
First let’s dig into shortcodes. These nifty plugins will make adding custom content to your posts and pages easy breezy. Adding buttons, tabs, toggles, social links and more has never been so easy!
Symple Shortcodes (Now with support for the Visual Composer)
The ultimate in free shortcode technology, I definitely recommend our very own Symple Shortcodes plugin developed right here at WPExplorer. It’s got loads of shortcodes for buttons, toggle, tabs, highlights, and more. With all these options it’s easy to create custom looking posts and pages no matter what WordPress theme you’re using. Plus it’s constantly updated to work great with the latest version of WordPress! It’s a great, and 100% free, plugin that you should install today!
Symple Shortcodes provides a very easy UI for clicking and inserting your shortcodes onto any page plus it also integrates with the Visual Composer Page builder plugin (which is included for free with the Total theme) so you can even use the shortcodes via their drag&drop system.
Vision is a premium shortcodes WordPress plugin that makes adding useful shortcodes to any WordPress theme easy. Simply insert them to add a custom look to any WordPress post or page.
The plugin integrates with the TinyMCE so it’s easy to find and use your shortcodes. Simply click on the shortcode icon to open a dropdown of all your options. Just click on one to open a quick insert box where you can confirm your choices for the shortcodes (which might include custom colors, text or icons). It’s that easy. Anyone can create custom looking pricing pages, about us pages, posts and more with the Vision Shortcodes.
Vision includes powerful shortcodes for the following post & page elements: accordions, buttons, blog posts, columns, content boxes, dividers, drop caps, email encoders, highlights, icons, notifications, pricing tables, pull quotes, social icons, tabs, testimonials and text styles. Plus each has useful options to make sure that the shortcodes you add match what ever theme you’re using. With these shortcodes on your site you can create just about any post of page you need for your blog or business.
Other plugin features include multiple Social icons packs, responsive layout support, lightweight coding and more. Checkout more plugin features below, and take a look at the plugin page & preview to see how the shortcodes might look on your website.
Shortcodes Pro is a free and simple shortcode plugin available on WordPress.org. The plugin makes it easy to create shortcodes, add TinyMCE rich editor buttons for your shortcodes to insert them into your posts, and Quick-tags within the admin panel. This is a great plugin, and since it’s free there really isn’t any reason not to get it.
GT Shortcodes is an easy to use shortcodes plugin. With all the shortcode options, variations, styles, colors and more there are tons of shortcode possibilities. GT is also responsive, so as you insert block-quotes, icons, charts, Google maps, highlights, banner ads or any other shortcode it will responsively adjust with the rest of your WordPress theme.
Shortcodes Ultimate is a free shortcode plugin with over 30 shortcodes ready to go. Just install and start using them! This is a great free plugin with tons of useful shortcodes for boxes, buttons, tabs, etc as well as specializes shortcodes for adding a nivo slider, carousel, or custom gallery.
Styles With Shortcodes
Styles with Shortcodes is an awesome premium plugin. This plugin comes with over 100 shortcodes (including buttons, quotes, social bookmarking/sharing, alert boxes, and more) as well as a shortcode generator. The plugin is set up with a built in lightbox, custom post type support, and a shortcode insert tool. This is a great plugin for someone who doesn’t know CSS/PHP/Java but wants to use custom styling options.
The ZillaShortcode plugin by ThemeZilla is an awesome free shortcode plugin option. While in the visual editor, all you have to do is click the “z” icon to open a list of many shortcodes to insert into your page or post. This plugin includes a bunch of useful shortcodes, and is compatible with any theme.
WordPress Shortcodes has over 100k users around the world, and for good reason. This beautiful and free WordPress plugin includes lots of useful shortcodes for alerts, vcards, buttons and more. Plus it’s easy to add shortcodes with the shortcodes editor lightbox that allows you to add your content or make shortcode choices (by adding in parameters) before your insert them.
The Intense Shortcodes plugin includes over 100 shortcodes, allowing you to effortlessly add powerful functionality and stylish design elements to your website — the kind that really impress clients and wow audiences! Here are some of my favorite shortcodes that the plugin supports alerts, buttons, charts, content tabs, counters, coupons, data tables, drop caps, Google docs, masonry gris, pricing tables, social buttons and more!
You can also add stylish CSS animations to almost any on-page elements, including images, text, and other shortcodes. There are a staggering 140+ animations to choose from in total, and they all look incredibly slick and stylish. The plugin also supports 16 custom post types, allowing you to create specialist websites in a variety of niches. The custom post types include books, clients, events, jobs, music, news, recipes, team members, and testimonials.
Perhaps the most useful custom post type, however, is snippets. By using snippets, you can create re-usable content blocks, which you can quickly and easily copy from one page to another. The snippets are easily modified, plus you can make site-wide changes to a content block by editing the master-snippet. All elements are fully responsive and are also compatible with the best-selling Visual Composer plugin.
Arconix Shortcode Collection
Arconix is a free basic shortcode collection plugin on WordPress.org. The plugin includes 8 style shortcodes, 5 utility shortcodes, and supports 5 columns. This plugin is great for when you just need a few custom style/utility options, and if you know a bit of code the developer made it simple to make tweaks to the CSS of this plugin if you can/want to.
Snippy Custom Shortcodes
Each bit can contain placeholders. Placeholders are locations in the code snippet that will be replaced by a custom value. In this case placeholders are available in your custom shortcode as attributes. The values entered in the attributes will then be placed in the code snippet at the location of the placeholders. By defining default values for your placeholders your shortcodes become even more flexible. Snippy ships with a set of default placeholders which you can use to for instance access the current page id, return the current url and generate the date of tomorrow.
Shortcode Mastery is a premium WordPress Shortcodes Builder and customizer plugin which has a unique approach to creating useful pieces of code. The plugin was designed to make the creation of shortcodes as simple and intuitive as possible.
Simply use the plugin to create, delete, list, import, export and otherwise manager your shortcodes independent of your theme so you can easily transfer them to new WordPress installations with your shortcodes pack.
A main feature of Shortcode Mastery is the Twig Template Engine. This makes PHP functions available in the values of all fields. Plus the plugin includes a parameters section where you can create unlimited default parameters with text or Twig Template Syntax.
The query section uses WP Query with almost all available query arguments. With this you can create unlimited arguments during the creation of Taxonomy, Date or Meta queries. And the loop section makes code repeatable in a loop defined in the Query section.
But how do you use and customize your shortcodes? Easy! Just use the included TinyMCE Customizer widget in any page or post. With this you can quickly and easily customize custom parameters you’ve created and insert the code into your post/page editor. Plus the latest version of Shortcode Mastery added in a Shortcodes Collection so you can browse, inspect and add shortcodes to your system.
Best Page Builder WordPress Plugins
Now, onto page builders. Each of these page or content builders make it easy for you to create custom page layouts. This way if you theme didn’t come with a page layout your want, you can just build it!
Visual Composer For WordPress (Included for Free with Total)
Visual Composer is an easy to use page builder plugin that allows your to build beautiful pages all by dragging and dropping modules to your desired page location. The plugin also includes content “blocks” (the equivalent of shortcodes) for everything from Google maps and social icons to accordions and tabs. This is a great plugin built on the jQuery UI framework and Twitter Bootstrap, so you know it has a strong code core.
Themify Page Builder
Themify released their own drag & drop page building WordPress plugin and it’s definitely a must have (and if you’re considering using a Themify theme the plugin is already included with the Themify framework – yay!). This plugin includes a great live front-end preview so you can visually see what you’re creating as you add page elements.
Elegant Themes Drag & Drop Builder
The Elegant Page Builder is a clean and easy to use page builder plugin. The plugin is designed to work with any theme (not just Elegant Themes). To add a module to a post or page simply drag it onto your canvas, adjust the settings, and change the size by stretching the container. You can also use this plugin seamlessly with the Elegant Shortcodes Plugin for all of your design needs.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin
The Page Builder by SiteOrigin is a free WordPress plugin with nearly 500K users (wow!). This builder uses widgets that you can drag and drop into responsive multi-column layouts. This plugin works with the widgets you already have, plus adds some more that you’ll probably find useful (gallery, images, videos, post loop, button, callout, list, pricing, and testimonials).
The ZOOM Builder by WPZoom is a fantastic page building plugin that you can use to create custom layouts without the fuss of having to learn code. Simply use the builder to drag and drop page elements into place. It’s that easy. Plus the plugin is responsive ready, so all your custom layouts will look great on any device.
MotoPress Content Editor
MotoPress is a content editor WordPress plugin. The way this plugin works is by replacing the default WordPress editor when it’s installed. This way you can use all of MotoPress’ great page elements to create custom layouts – either from the back-end or in the front-end live editor.
WR Page Builder
The WR Page Builder is free WordPress plugin that is an easy and flexible page building solution that uses shortcodes to make creating custom page layouts simple. The drag and drop page builder has lots of included page elements, but it also supports and WordPress widgets you’ve installed.
With the free Live Composer you can visually create pages on the front-end of your WordPress installation. The Live Composer WordPress plugin adds in a custom modules bar that you can use to insert and edit page modules such as text, blog posts, galleries, testimonials, staff members, promos and much more. This makes it easy for any user to create custom page layouts in minutes!
The Awesome Builder from CodeCanyon is a versatile page builder that includes drag & drop page building elements and it’s very own set of shortcodes. This makes creating your custom posts and pages even more flexible. Plugin you can drop any WordPress widget into your designs while creating layouts for desktops, tablets and phones.
Page Layout Builder
The free Page Layout Builder WordPress plugin is a great option to quickly and easily create page layouts without having to be a web developer or designer. If you can drag and drop widgets, you can build a new page layout. Plus the plugin is compatible with over 3000+ widgets from WordPress.org so you can add even more page building options if you need them.
Ether Content Builder
The Ether Content Builder Plugin works with any WordPress theme and offers a variety of features to build custom posts and pages. Use the visual composer to drag and drop the built-in widgets (or use third party ones) wherever you want. With responsive options, grid sliders, headers, rich text, pricing tables, social sharing buttons, and more this is a truly great plugin.
PlugiNedit is a free WordPress plugin you can use to create custom layouts. With this plugin you have all of the benefits of an HTML editor, plus you can drag, drop and layer elements to design custom pages. The plugin also includes support for responsive, adaptive, fluid and fixed layouts.
Reader Thoughts and Suggestions
Let me know what you think! Do you use any of the plugins listed? How is it? Or did a I miss a must have plugin? Let me know!