I spent several hours one day trying to find a good definition for “hook” as it’s used in WordPress. I was trying to understand actions and filters, and these three terms kept showing up together.

Most resources will send you in circles trying to understand them as they relate to one another. They will tell you what hooks are for, how they work, how to use them. But what is a hook? A good, simple definition. I couldn’t even find one in the Codex.

Using many sources, lights turned on when I compiled this definition of hook as it is used in WordPress. It then made actions and filters very clear.

Hook: a function built into the WordPress core which makes it possible to alter the default WordPress behavior or output, without altering the core.

Action: A hook that allows modification of WordPress behavior (action).

Filter: A hook that allows modification of WordPress output.

What do you think? Did this help you? Do you have tips to make these basic definitions better?

Website purposeWhat do you need first in order to have a great website?

Is it a good web host? Cool images? Great written content? Maybe a great web designer?

Actually, in our way of thinking, it’s none of those. “Oh, he’s going to say I need a plan!”

Nope, that’s important but maybe secondary.

The first thing you need for your site is a purpose!

It sounds basic, elementary, even childishly simple. And it is. But you need to work it out. Are you trying to engage your audience, get their input? Inform them, as an instructional or news site? Entertain? Inspire?

If you’re trying to “attract customers” or “attract business”, I believe your thinking is outdated. But that is a topic for another post.

Once you have named your purpose, written it down, now you can develop a plan and start to finalize your drafts. You can easily explain what you are trying to do to web designers, writers, graphic artists and your wife. (And don’t think I’m kidding about that last one! Your spouse can be a great reality checkpoint.)

Any journey starts with a single step, true. But before that step was purpose.

Website designAre you trying to build a website to attract business? I think you may be barking up a flagpole.

In the early days of the web, when sites were still novel and not everyone had a website, they could be used to attract business. People would hear about your site and go look at it, just to see what a website was.

Today, however, the web is running over with great sites, shabby sites and everything between. You have to work to get people to your website–they are now destination spots rather than billboards.

If you construct a site that is one big advertisement, you will still have to work to get people there. They read the ad and click on to the next site. So it had better be a good ad!

Or, you could do something more. Give your visitors something of value. This could be a free download, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Give them valuable content, entertain them, teach them, inspire them – do something that changes their lives for the better.

Then they come back for more.

Now you can sell your product courteously, aggressively or whatever suits your personality and clientelle. And you’re selling it to people who already know they like what you have to offer.

Review your website, make a list of every benefit you provide a visitor. Then go to a few of your favorite sites and do the same. Lightbulbs should turn on in your head.