Placester offers several toolsets which allow site developers to build what they need. At the simplest level are beautiful, complete themes which require only adding content. And at the other end are the PHP libraries to create new functionality from scratch. There is even a level below that allowing a developer to bring IDX search functionality to new platforms. But right in the middle is an amazing sweet spot: Placester Shortcodes.
What Are Placester Shortcodes
Placester Shortcodes are short blocks composed of a title and some parameters, enclosed in square brackets which provide the same functionality as hundreds of lines of PHP code, without the need for an education in software development. In a span of mere minutes, you can take an empty theme and add the most important IDX search features a realtor needs. To get a better idea of what is possible, watch this introduction video:
Where Did Shortcodes Come From
Shortcodes aren’t a Placester invention. They are a key part of what WordPress offers to site developers. But Placester has created an easy to use design environment anyone can use to create custom shortcodes which can be reused throughout a real estate professional’s website.
How Do I Create a Shortcode
Placester Shortcodes are created from the Shortcode menu in the Placester plugin. To create your first Placester Shortcode, follow these simple steps:
- Click the Create Custom Shortcode link at the top of the section.
- Enter a title for your shortcode. We are going to create a list of listings, so type FirstList in the title box.
- From the Type dropdown, select List of Listings.
- Choose an existing template. (or create a new one)
- Modify the details below, such as Zip, State, City, etc. Of course this will only work if you have listings in the specified places.
- Scroll down to see what is available to change.
- Click the Create button near the top of the screen.
- You should now see a list of Shortcodes that have been created. If this was your first Shortcode, it should be a list of one item. There are three columns in this list. First in the Name along with links to edit, duplicate, and trash. The middle column is the type of shortcode used. And the right is the actual shortcode.
- Look at the third column. There are actually two things listed there. First is the shortcode. That is the item enclosed in square brackets ‘’. In our case it should be [static_listings id=’xxx’]. Copy that entire line. Do not copy the text below that which starts with <script…
- Now switch to another page on your site. If you don’t have a page you can edit, click the Add New link on the Pages menu in WordPress and enter a title for your page.
- Paste your shortcode into the editor for that page and click Publish.
- Click the View Page button to see the page with your list of listings on it.
What Are The Different Types of Shortcodes?
As of April 2014, there are nine types of Placester shortcodes available:
- Search Listings – A list of listings based on a search
- Featured Listings – A list of specific listings
- Slideshow – A list of specific, featured listings
- Search Form – The search form used to populate the Search Listings
- Map – A map of the listings locations
- List of Listings – A paginated list of listings
- Favorite Listings – A list of listings favorited by the current user
- User Profile – Allow the user to see their profile and edit it
- Login Block – A login block required to support favoriting
You can find more details about each type of shortcode by following the links above.
Customizing the HTML Generated
The output of any shortcode is a block of HTML which is rendered by the browser. But you don’t have to settle for the HTML we generate for you. You can customize this completely. This is done by creating new Shortcode Templates. Go ahead and click the Create Shortcode Template link at the top of the Shortcodes page. When you choose a Template Type, you’ll see the default HTML and CSS and can then customize this to be whatever you want. Read more about this feature here.
To help you better understand where Shortcodes can be used, checkout this list of short Use Case videos.