The Spirit Bear

Written by Gray Gilmore

I make websites for a living. I love CSS and building simple and modular stylesheets. Somewhere along the way I also turned into a Ruby developer. Life comes at you fast I guess. You can read my resume to learn about my journey so far.

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Make WordPress a Proper CMS with Advanced Custom Fields

[Update – January 2014] I just wanted to say that this is still my favourite WordPress plugin. It has only gotten better over the past 2+ years. My hat goes off to (Elliot Condon)[] for keeping it going.

WordPress is a powerful piece of software. Over the past few years it has exploded into one of the easiest to use platforms available, making it a top choice for the majority of developers out there building websites for small to medium sized businesses.

Though, like any system that is built for the masses, you are inevitably going to have to make little modifications that make it work for you. Fortunately, WordPress has thousands upon thousands of different modules and plugins that you can download and implement (most of them free of charge!). A favourite of mine that is included on all projects moving forward is the Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

This plugin enables you to create ‘custom write panels’ that truly convert WordPress into a proper content management system. Out of the box, WordPress provides you with a view options: ‘Title’, ‘Content’ and a few other things but really it ends about there. It looks something like this:

{<1>}Stand write panel

If you are running an online store or dealing with pages that require multiple fields of content, this really isn’t going to cut it. This is where ACF gets to shine! In a few minutes of setup time, we can change that standard edit page view into something that looks like this:

{<2>}Custom write panel

Transformed! Now we have distinct fields to insert specific content into. This enables us to manage exactly what all of those fields look like and how the function on the front facing website.

Using Advanced Custom Fields is a simple yet powerful way to quickly and easily transform WordPress into a powerful CMS (not that it already wasn’t pretty handy).