Go for a dynamic WordPress website with Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)

Photo Written by Sanne Jorna

WordPress websites are versatile and user-friendly. Extensions and customizations make it possible to fully customize a WordPress website. This is useful for organizations that have challenges with loading speed, privacy, security and digital accessibility.

With a custom WordPress website, you are no longer dependent on standard templates. We use Advanced Custom Fields, also known as ACF, with which every possible design and solution can be created. This ensures a unique website that meets all requirements and wishes. Customization may seem complicated, but it brings structure and unity. In this article we will discuss what ACF is, how we build our own flexible sections and what the benefits are.

Flexible sections with ACF

In a WordPress website, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) allows you to create elements, which are the building blocks of your page. We store these building blocks and call them sections. ACF is a WordPress plugin that allows you to add and manage custom fields. They are flexible sections because we can create anything you want. By creating several flexible sections, you create a container of content elements that you can use to build each page yourself, to your liking. 

Flexible sections in WordPress with the ACF plugin

Unique at 2manydots

We build the flexible sections ourselves, giving us control over the presentation and design of each section. As a result, we guarantee high quality as an experienced internet marketing agency. For example, our sections are constantly optimized to remove bugs. The chance of errors in your website is therefore considerably reduced. Also, this way no plug-in developer is needed. That is a big difference with standard templates. A template often has bugs that you can't just fix. Such a bug is then 'fixed' with a plug-in, which makes the website slower or contains even more errors.

Because we build the sections ourselves, we can handle certain challenges directly. At 2manydots, we prefer not to install an additional plug-in, but build the appropriate section as an alternative. This is more organized, safer, faster and completely to your liking.

Advantages of ACF

  1. You are not stuck with a standard template that you have to work from.
  2. Everything is possible and can be built. This ensures both diversity in the sections and unity on the complete website. 
  3. In consultation with one of our developers, you have control over how functions work and what that should look like. This makes you very flexible as a client and you can continue to expand together with us.
  4. No additional plug-ins are required, which reduces the chance of a slow website and bugs. 
  5. Working with flexible sections is user-friendly. Once you understand the set-up of one flexible section, you understand them all. 
  6. A tidy backend: because everything is custom made, we can take into account the structure and layout of the backend. This way it remains clear to work in.
Easily add sections in the backend of WordPress using ACF

Pitfall of ACF

The biggest pitfall when using ACF, is having too many different sections on the website. There are also numerous options for each section, which can make it difficult to choose the best options for your website and content elements. As a result, a website can look cluttered and the corporate identity can get lost in the mix. It is therefore very important that the website remains a unity, despite the different parts in a website. We help you find the right balance between unity and dynamic elements. In the end, it's all about the best display for a certain type of content.

The advice is to use a maximum of 10 to 15 different flexible sections. Some sections you will use often, others will only appear in one or two places in the site. 

Examples of flexible sections

There are five flexible sections that come back on every website, to build a good page. These five sections are the basis and we build on them. Then we look for specific solutions to present your content in the best possible way on a page. The solution must be in line with the corporate identity and user friendly in the backend. We often see the following five basic sections:

  • A text box combined with an image;
  • A text box with one, two or three columns;
  • One section for multiple logos;
  • Call To Action (CTA) buttons;
  • Sliders with images.

Really anything is possible

You can make a custom WordPress website as complex as you want, but of course you don't have to. By using ACF you have the space to keep expanding, but still keep the backend clear and secure. For example, you can link 'custom post types' to a section: information in different places on the website can easily be edited in one place using this function. This way you don't have to manually change contact details of changing recruiters throughout the website.

Extended content plug-in

If you are using flexible sections in WordPress, the extended content plugin is a great addition. This homemade plug-in gives you the option to deal with available flexible sections easier and faster. This plug-in actually provides a visual translation for selecting the right section. This way, you don't have to remember what each flexible section looks like. In summary, this plug-in provides a clear backend and saves time. 

The plug-in offers the following functionalities:

  • Visual: All the different sections are visualized in your backend by means of thumbnails. In this overview you can immediately see which options are available.
  • Categories: It is possible to subdivide the different flexible sections into categories. For example, you can distinguish between text sections, media sections, CTA sections and other sections.
  • Copy: With this function it is possible to copy a previously used section into a new page. The content in the copied section is preserved, reducing the time it takes to build pages.
  • Duplicate: When you want to use a section multiple times on the same page, you do so by duplicating a section. This preserves all the content and allows you to directly reuse and/or modify the section. 

Get more out of your WordPress website and choose customization. Want to know more about using our flexible sections with ACF or the premium extended content plugin? Then get in touch with us

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Sanne Jorna Content marketer
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