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Using acf instead of the_content

  • Hi

    This is a good practice question rather than a technical question.

    I am working on a site which requires all the main content to be editable in the cms but at the same time wants a fexible and sophisticated modular layout for the main content.

    It seems to me that the simplest way to do this would be to lose the standard content area (the_content) altogether and instead use repeater fields for everything, to allow people to add content in this more modular way.

    For example, a block of content on a white background, then another block of content with a full width coloured background and a different font, then maybe another block with a different number of columns, all one above the other.

    While it would be possible to do this in the normal content editor by adding lots of custom classes for people to select I fear they would just muck everything up in no time!

    With acf I could presumably allow people to make blocks of content in different pre-defined styles (using wrpaper divs with classes) with a repeater field and then drag and drop them into whatever order they wanted.

    It sounds doable but I am wondering if anyone has tried this approach and uncovered any hidden problems?


  • Yes, I’ve actually used this idea to build a site, we called them panels. The client can create a panel with 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns and specify much of the formatting used. The main content area is removed on these pages.

    The main problem is that the standard WP search will not search this content. You need to install something like

    One other thing that you may run into is the admin timing out if too many content areas are added. On another site I built I the client has up to 7 content areas for each section plus quite a few fields that control the layout of these fields on the front end. At about 10 sections using all of the available content areas for them (70 wysiwyg fields) the admin might time out when they save the page.

  • Thanks, that’s what I was hoping to hear 🙂

  • I did this and it works well as far as the build of the site is concerned. My only problem so far has been that the Yoast SEO plugin is not recognising content in the acf fields. As these fields are actually 95% of the content now, it means I can’t use Yoast SEO with it in a meaningful way, and it totally confuses the clients:(

  • While I’ve personally given up on the seo plugin you’ve mentioned for various reasons, someone has created a solution for this

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