Last updated - February 24, 2020
WordPress is one of the easiest tools to help you create a website. There is a range of custom tools and plugins and with the contribution of over 50 000 developers, plugins have become one of the most popular ways to create custom content that improve the end-user experience.
Simplifying the design process is at the core, even novice website builders can build a site that is slick and easy to use. In this post, we explore adding custom fields to WordPress using Toolset Plugins.
We will also take you through the necessary steps to create custom post types, taxonomies, and fields to ensure optimal display as you build a WordPress website.
What are WordPress custom fields?
Simply defined in developer terms, custom fields are known as meta-data and these fields allow to store information for a piece of content. The content is then translated to display in a particular way to the user. The information can simply be used in the backend or displayed to the website visitors.
Custom fields have simplified web design by integrating design elements that ensure an optimal display and functionality without altering code or CSS. It makes the inclusion of various pieces of data quite simple and all you need to do is add the necessary information. Plugins also easily address vulnerabilities in WordPress as you can update them at a click of the ‘Update’ tab when necessary.
Custom fields work well for any type of website and work for including content such as reviews, eCommerce aspects such as pricing, calendars for events and more.
They have been developed to include information such as the location from which you are posting to updating viewers on your latest company activity. Custom fields have played a pivotal role in making WordPress user-friendly and flexible.
WordPress custom fields and how to use them
WordPress itself does not have built-in access to custom field but through the innovation of developers, it has accommodated quite a few plugins that simplify the web design process. Let us take a look at some of these tools and how to use them.
Toolset is one of the most popular plugins that allow for custom fields in posts and ensure that a website looks good. Toolset does not require any knowledge of code, thus simplifying the process for novice users. The plugin is quite easy to use and accommodates various types of information.
Toolset is a premium plugin, and it starts at $60, and it is worth every penny because it allows you to build fields that rely on listings, directories, membership, and eCommerce. The app is a great investment because there is no need to dive into complex themes or know code to build an advanced website.
It takes the difficulty of building a site by reducing limitations. The plugin is designed to ensure that you build a functional interactive website without the hassle, and you can visit their website for more information.
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced custom fields is another popular WordPress option that allows you to add custom information field types to your site. Naturally, it is popular because it is easy to use and has a simple interface.
The plugin allows you to display custom field data and integrate PHP and shortcode into your posts or pages. Ideal for the more tech-savvy user, it offers features that allow you to diversify your content and is free. There is a pro version with more features for just $25.
The plugin allows you to add new fields on demand, edit screens and includes custom data. It can be used on any page of a site and integrates into the theme of a website. It features 30 types of fields and the paid-for version has a lot more in store.
Pods is another popular option that provides a free framework to add custom fields and custom posts. It is free and easy to use for novice and professional designers and allow you to use magic tags instead of PHP to display customized content.
The tool is highly convenient to use. However, you do need to be familiar with HTML and CSS to get the best out of this one. A fairly advanced user can easily learn to use it with a bit of assistance. Thus it is a good way to develop your skills as a website designer.
The Pods Framework allows you to create various types of content and extend your existing content. It also allows you to create custom pages, and fields can appear anywhere you choose on your website. The plugin makes it easy to add fields such as widgets, and to create relationships between your content.
Meta Box works quite similarly to Advanced Custom Fields and supports over 40 content types and it displays content from HTML and PHP code. There is a core version that is free and a premium version with more functionality.
Meta Box is a light toolkit and its custom fields immensely simplify design and adding custom fields such as text, images, file upload boxes and other types of content. Meta Box expands content options for your site and allows you to simply create a piece of code that can go anywhere on your website.
This plugin simplifies complicated code and easily organize your display to suit your theme and design layout. Meta Box is free but there are premium extensions.
How to add plugins to your site
Now that you know about some great plugins, let us think about how you can add and use these plugins. We will use the Toolset plugin as an example as most plugins pretty work the same and have a similar user interface.
Check out how to install a WordPress plugin here.
If you are building your site from scratch, you can get the help of some of the popular WordPress maintenance service providers. And if you want expert writers take care of the content side, assignment writing service UK and dissertation writing services can help.
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you will want to look at customizing the views and layouts to match your chosen theme. The assumption is that you will be integrating the field into a blog post.
- Step 1: Go to your dashboard and click on the Toolset plugin to add a new custom field. Click on the button most relevant to what you want to create.
- Step 2: Choose the type of content you want to create, you will get a few examples, e.g. an image, gallery or contact form.
- Step 3: Customize the different areas of the field, add media where necessary and ensure that you label the field accordingly. You can also add features like conditional display.
- Step 4: Save your data and name it accordingly.
- Step 5: Once you have saved your information, you can add it to various fields on your website.
- Step 6: You can display information on the front end by copying the code and adding it to your plain text on your blog post or page.
Can you have too many plugins?
The simple answer is yes. The convenience of plugins can be quite thrilling if you have had quite the headache building your website. With well over 50,000 to choose from, it might feel like you are a kid in a candy store. At times, plugins conflict and cause your site to slow down, or deactivate another app.
This can cause frustration and you might find yourself in a pickle. Remember, the idea is to simplify the process by making it easier for your users to enjoy your website.
Checkout our article on basic troubleshooting when there are WordPress plugin conflicts.
Because most plugins are free and provide instant functionality, some developers can get carried away and overuse them. If you use too many plugins, here are some issues you may encounter:
- Your website may end up crashing. Because most plugins are user-generated certain elements may clash together, causing a crash. A website crashing is the last thing you need, especially if you do not have a backup of your website.
- Too many plugins can slow down your site. Again, this can be due to conflict in codes or a plugin not functioning properly. A server request is usually sent to a database to access information and too much information can slow it down.
- Some plugins may cause a breach of security. Certain plugins have been known to make a website vulnerable to hackers or even created by malicious hackers with the intent to destroy sites. This could put valuable data at risk.
- A lot of plugins may lead your site performing poorly and resulting in fewer visitors or being discontinued. Most plugins are created by users who may abandon the plugin, offer poor support and make the app difficult to use.
Finding the ideal plugin for your site
It may seem like there are too many options out there, but there are very simple ways to determine what to select by knowing your needs. Ensure that your research every option available for your needs. Generally, the Toolset plugin accommodates any kind of site and offers a variety of options.
Get plugins from reliable developers.
This means that you can pretty much survive with a few plugins and not have to download too many to manage. When installing a new plugin, you need to ensure that you do not already have the plugin or a similar one.
If your site begins to slow down after activating a certain plugin, then you should delete it or troubleshoot to see if there are conflicting ones. You always need to test a plugin before going live with the content, ensure that it does not load slowly or affect other content.
You can add a plugin like WP Speedster to gain an idea of how plugins are performing on your site.
Security is key
No matter what you install on your site, it needs to be 100% secure and backed up. You need to ensure that you have the necessary controls in place to securely operate your website.
A plugin like Jetpack is ideal for backups and assessing any security risks. WordPress may be easy to use, but it is important to always ensure optimal security when using plugins. Before installing a plugin, look at when it was last updated, check the reviews from users and research it thoroughly.
Plugins are all about quality and not quantity, and you need to always perform due diligence on your website, update it and ensure that your theme is running smoothly. Adding custom fields should not add to the headache of running your website but rather ease it and ensure that you are able to run your website easily.