Like Drupal, Joomla!, and other content management systems, WordPress is a powerful platform for building beautiful, custom websites to suit most any need. And like other platforms, it comes with a host of extensions known as plugins that can extend the functionality of your site. There are plugins for SEO, performance, event calendars, contact forms, content organization, user profiles, carousels and sliders, in fact you can find a plugin for pretty much almost anything you can think of!
Of course, the drawback of using a multitude of plugins to get the perfect website experience is something developers often call ‘bloat’. Every plugin comes with a package of code, and the more code your website has to process to deliver, the slower it is. Not to mention the time involved to keep all of those plugins up-to-date and avoid security risks!
So then why use plugins at all?
Because most of them have hours of development and a team of support behind them to help keep them up-to-date with WordPress Core. Plugins can save development time, allowing developers to focus their attention on custom features and beautiful theming. For anyone with a WordPress site, it’s incredibly valuable to hit that sweet spot between bloat and extended functionality.
The most valuable plugin on the market is Advanced Custom Fields Pro (ACF), which comes with a lifetime license and is extremely affordable at $25 per website. A good agency knows that ACF can be leveraged to turn any set of data into reusable, fully customized templates throughout WordPress, saving your site from plugin bloat while still keeping production costs reasonable. Instead of having an event plugin with a location add on, a user profile extension, a media plugin for a video gallery, and a resource directory, a developer can make all of these things using ACF.
How Advanced Custom Fields Pro works.
ACF allows a developer to attach a set of custom fields to almost anything within the WordPress Core. Users, posts, pages, even settings. It can even be used to make Gutenberg blocks for sites already using the latest and greatest editor from WordPress. In turn, this makes it extremely easy for someone who is not a developer to fill in that data exactly as you would fill out a form. Then developers like ours can dynamically manipulate that data to create beautiful, consistent layouts using all of the programming tools in their arsenal without the need for additional plugins.
Seeing is Believing.
Kanopi uses ACF to create stunning features for our WordPress sites. Here’s a few of our favorites to show off how versatile the plugin is. You really can make anything with ACF!
- Video Hero (shown to first time visitor).
- Hero Sliders (shown to return visitors). Uses ACF to populate individual slides with content, that are then pulled together into a carousel by a custom template.
- Accordions & Pill Tabs. Allows the display of services and links in a variety of ways for easy, digestible viewing that can be utilized in other areas of the site.
- Customizable CTAs (calls to action). These CTAs have toggleable options for style and layout, and can be created anywhere within the page layout.
- Logo Wall. Each partner has additional fields for logo and content to create “card” teasers when clicked.
- Testimonials. Using ACF, it provides the ability to hook into the TechValidate API to fetch specific customer testimonials.
- Page Layout. Each component on this page is made as ACF, but they all sit together in a flexible page template that allows for easy organization. Should the client choose to display testimonials first, or second, it’s as simple as click and drag the component to the desired location.
- Stats Counter. Stats can be updated easily, with full control of the background media for each section.
- History Timeline. An easily adjustable timeline component with images, videos, descriptions, and links.
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (visit)
- Announcement Bar. A single field allows for important announcements to be applied to the entire site in the top right. Meanwhile the top left always shows today’s hours, also generated through ACF content.
- Feature Slider. Slides for showing off exhibits and events can be customized from the content to the buttons without any additional development.
- Customizable CTAs. A different style than Certent, but similar in concept.
- Upcoming Events. With extra information added to the events through ACF, these post types can be displayed with content like dates and times.
- Global Contact Information. No more changing the phone number in 6 different places! One field, used globally, makes it simple and easy to keep content up-to-date.
- Social Media Icons. Add and take away global icons with a click. No developer hours needed.
- Hours of Operation. A great addition that will show the hours globally, but also indicate in the top left hand bar what today’s hours are.
Changing the Way We Care (visit)
- Story Slider. A visual slider experience for sharing meaningful content.
Kanopi’s Website uses Advanced Custom Fields Pro.
That’s right, we practice what we preach! Every single page of this website is utilizing Advanced Custom Fields Pro in some manner, right down to the schema data behind the scenes. We can’t give away all our secrets, but if you’re looking for a website that is plugin smart instead of plugin heavy, you’ll want a developer who knows the ins and outs of Advanced Custom Fields Pro (wink wink, nudge nudge).