One of the first things new users to WordPress worry about is that it will be too difficult for them to build the exact website they have in mind.
Thanks to Toolset, that is no longer a concern.
Toolset is the perfect set of tools (pardon the pun) for anyone hoping to build a professional website regardless of whether they are a coding wizard or novice.
Not only is it easier to build websites but faster too. What once took weeks will now take hours thanks to Toolset.
Toolset is composed of a number of different plugins that are completely integrated with each other. Below we’ll go through them and how each one will help you build your website.
Are you concerned this sounds too complex? Worry not because Toolset has created a custom types video training course which will teach you how to build many of the features we mention below.
Toolset consists of:
For example, imagine you want to add a header to your page. With Gutenberg’s blocks, you simply select the “Heading” block, add it to the page and type in your heading.
Toolset Blocks takes this further and does something no other block plugin can do. You can use Toolset Blocks to make your content dynamic. For example, if you run a travel website you might need to design a template for your trips so that each one has the same design. When you click on a trip to Venice you will want to see different information to a post about London even if it has the same template. This is possible thanks to Toolset Blocks and dynamic content.
Toolset offers the following blocks with dynamic capabilities:
- Single field
- Content template
- Fields and Text
- Progress indicator
- Repeating field/gallery
- Social share
- Star rating
Toolset also has two unique blocks that you cannot find anywhere else. The Container Block lets you style groups of blocks together including the padding, font, and background. Meanwhile, the Conditional Block allows you to display or hide blocks based on conditions. For example, on our travel website, we might need a block to appear for any trips that are available on special offer.
This is the cornerstone of Toolset functionality. It allows you to go beyond the simple posts and pages that WordPress provides out-of-the-box, and create entirely new post types representing anything you can imagine, from directory listings to testimonials to hotel bookings.
These are called Custom Post Types, CPTs for short, and you use them to create custom posts. The CPT, defined by you, controls what types of data these custom posts contain, who gets access to them and how they relate to one another.
Now, at this stage, you might be banging your head off your keyboard and begging for mercy but bear with me. This stuff really is not as complicated as it at first appears to be. Read back over that last two paragraphs again, just one more time, because in the next paragraph we are going to starting using Custom Fields to add things to our Custom Posts.
You use Custom Fields to define the types of information that will be requested every time a new custom post is created of a particular CPT. If you create a CPT called Movie, you might ask for Custom Fields such as Title, Release Date, Plot, Budget etc, and each Movie custom post, made from that CPT, with have its own unique Title, Release Date, Plot etc.
You use Custom Taxonomies to define a new taxonomy type, to use alongside the two standard WordPress taxonomy types: Categories and Tags. For instance, if you were designing an accommodation booking site, you might have created a Custom Post Type to spit out a custom post for each of your properties. You might want to categorize each the type of property each custom post is, so, you would create a “Property Types” custom taxonomy, to define which of your properties are apartments, and which ones are cottages.
You use Post Relationships to define to define the relationships between your Custom Post Types. For example, you might have one CPT for Movies, and another CPT for Movie Directors. You could define a Parent / Child Relationship that makes each Movie the Child of a specific Movie Director, while each Movie Director is the Parent of at least on Movie. This categorization can control the order in which each custom post appears within your site.
The above capabilities completely open up what WordPress can represent. They are all native WordPress features that can be unleashed by editing raw code, but the free Toolset Types plugin allows you to do the same magic by pointing and clicking around a well-designed visual interface.
This is where it gets really exciting! Views allows you to take that funky new data structure you have been creating in Types, and create templates to display the collected data on the front-end of your site in a wide variety of ways.
Again, no need to go splashing around in a mucky puddle of code, Views lets you do all this via a simple visual interface.
This is how you gather data from your users, allowing you to store that data or use it to spit out new custom posts based upon a CPT.
This functionality – gathering data from users and doing stuff with it – may sound basic, but it the foundation of all programming, and now it is being handed to you… and you still have touched a line of code, you spunky monkey.
This drag-and-drop editor allows you design entire pages, in which to show off your new Toolset skills.
control who gets to see what on your site, applying different rules to different WordPress user types. This is often called “role management”.
In upcoming articles within this series, we will take a look at the many other tools and integrations that make Toolset so powerful but, for now, in those five plugins – Types, Views, CRED, Layouts and Access – you have the heart of it, and I hope that I have at least planted in your mind the possibility that you could jump to an entirely new level of WordPress skill and ability without needing to become a coder.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it will be easy, there is always a learning curve when you try to develop powerful new skills – not having to code doesn’t make the whole thing simple – but you might perhaps now, at least, have the sense that you will be in good hands if you hop onboard the Toolset bandwagon.
On a final note for now, bear in mind that adding so many advanced features can be resource intensive. Before adding any significant new functionality to your WordPress sites, you need to consider whether your current hosting is capable of handling that strain.
Once you actually have traffic, you don’t want visitors to your site to be confronted with unexplained delays. More importantly, you definitely don’t want them contacting you to ask why your site isn’t working!
The advice we always give is to make sure you get properly resourced hosting in place before you launch. We recommend two hosts that we have seen work out well for our readers, the choice between them comes down to money:
If you are on a tight budget, SiteGround has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting at a good price. They are by far the best at that price level. In particular, consider their GoGeek level.
If, on the other hand, absolute reliability and performance is more important to you than price, WP Engine provides the best possible managed WordPress hosting, I use it for all of my most important sites, the ones that generate money.