Almost every WordPress site that does more than display basic information about a business is dynamic. When you build dynamic websites, you create each piece of information once and display it in different parts of the website.
For example, let’s say you’re building a website for a network of gyms. You need to show different gyms, trainers, and programs.
One way to do this would be to use regular WordPress pages and write all the information on each page, as if you’re scribbling on a piece of paper. The right way to do this is to use dynamic content.
With dynamic content, you use custom post types and fields to store the information about gyms and trainers.
Then, you display this information using templates, archives and queries.
WordPress plugins for building dynamic websites
- Plugins that create custom content and display it dynamically without coding
- Plugins that only create custom content
- Plugins that only display content dynamically
In the past, creating a dynamic website would require a lot of custom development. Now, you can choose from a variety of plugins to create dynamic sites without having to become or hire a programmer.
We evaluated each of these plugins and grouped them based on their ability to create custom data structures (like post types, fields, and taxonomies) and the options for displaying that data.
All of these plugins are compatible with WPML.
|Toolset||Crocoblock’s JetEngine & JetSmartFilters||ACF||Elementor Pro||Divi||Beaver Themer||Dynamic Content for Elementor|
|Create custom data structures (like post types, fields, taxonomies, and post relationships)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Display custom content dynamically without coding||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Create dynamic lists of posts||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dynamic list layout options||Grid, table, masonry, collage, bulleted list, numbered list, fully custom output (including sliders)||Grid, slider, list, carousel, masonry, listing injection, map, calendar||None||Grid, card, masonry, full content||Grid||Grid, masonry, gallery, list||Grid, carousel, dual carousel, timeline, 3D, grid to fullscreen 3D, crossroads, slideshow|
|Filter options in the backend||Yes||Yes||None||Limited||None||Limited||Limited|
|Custom search and filter options in the front-end||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||Needs a 3rd party plugin|
|Ready-to-use templates and demos||No||Requires Elementor||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Plugins that create custom content and display it dynamically without coding
These plugins can do it all — create custom data structures, like custom post types, fields, and taxonomies, then display them dynamically in a variety of outputs. You can also add custom search options to filter your content by your custom fields.
Toolset is a suite of plugins that work together to help you build fully custom and dynamic sites.
Toolset is built on Gutenberg’s block editor, which means all you need to build a great site is WordPress and Toolset. Toolset gives you full control over your site’s design and functionality without any coding required.
With Toolset, you can:
Define your site structure with custom types, fields, taxonomies, and post relationships
Display your content anywhere on your site as lists, grids, collages, masonry, or on maps
Build content templates and archives using intuitive and powerful blocks
Fine-tune your site’s styling down to the last detail
Create custom searches and filtering options for your dynamic lists of posts and archives
Create completely custom, dynamic WooCommerce Product templates and Shop pages
Toolset’s Dynamic Sources feature is fully integrated with other popular block plugins. This makes it easy to add dynamic functionality to your site, no matter which tools you use.
Toolset can help you build any type of site: directories, e-commerce, real estate, business, membership sites, and more. It offers a variety of free courses with videos and step-by-step instructions for building any type of site.
Crocoblock’s JetEngine and JetSmartFilters plugins
If you already use Elementor Pro to build your sites, you can add Crocoblock plugins to give your site dynamic functionality.
With Crocoblock’s plugins, you can:
- Create and display custom types, fields, taxonomies, and content types.
- Display items dynamically on a map or in a calendar.
- Create post relationships to display other related content.
- Choose from a variety of front-end filter options.
- Create user-generated collections of posts like bookmarks, comparison tables, and wishlists.
Because Crocoblock’s plugins partner with Elementor, you have Elementor’s full library of templates and site kits to inspire you and get you started. You don’t have to use Elementor if you don’t want to, however, as Crocoblock is also compatible with the Gutenberg block editor.
Plugins that only create custom content
Some plugins can help you create your custom content, but you’ll need to pair it with another plugin or use custom coding if you want to display these fields on your site.
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields makes it possible to create the data structures you need in order to display content dynamically across your site.
With ACF, you can:
- Add custom fields and meta boxes to your pages and posts.
- Create post relationships
- Create and save data to the options table of your database. This means that data isn’t tied to any one post or page, and it’s a good option for creating content you want to display in headers and footers later.
ACF is limited to setting up the structure of your content. To display dynamic content on your site’s front-end, you need to know PHP or use a compatible plugin.
Plugins that only display content dynamically
If you have already created the content you want to display, or you use a different plugin to create your custom content (like ACF or Toolset), you can use these plugins to display your content dynamically in various places on your site.
Page builders: Elementor Pro, Divi, and Beaver Themer
Page builders offer some basic dynamic capabilities on their own.
Elementor Pro and Divi come with some built-in dynamic features, and Beaver Themer is an extension that adds dynamic functionality to the Beaver Builder plugin.
Dynamic real estate demo single-post template by Elementor Pro
Dynamic blog module demo by Divi
Dynamic blog demo in gallery layout by Beaver Themer
With these page builders, you can:
- Create dynamic single-post or product templates.
- Create basic archive templates and customize default product archives.
- Create dynamic headers and footers.
- Display dynamic lists of posts in the posts widget (Elementor Pro), blog module (Divi) or posts module (Beaver Themer).
- With Elementor Pro and Beaver Themer, choose from a variety of dynamic list layouts like grids, cards, masonry, or full-content, or galleries. Divi is limited to grid layouts.
If you’re not a designer, all of these page builder options offer a variety of ready-to-use templates and downloadable reference sites. These can be a great source of inspiration or a solid starting point for customization.
Dynamic Content for Elementor
Dynamic Content for Elementor extends the basic dynamic site functionality offered by Elementor Pro.
Dynamic Content for Elementor’s strength lies in its extensive layout options when displaying your dynamic lists of posts. You can choose from the following layouts:
- Dual carousel
- Grid to Fullscreen 3D
Note that you need Elementor to use this plugin, plus a plugin that allows you to create your custom content (like ACF or Toolset Types) if you want to display anything besides basic posts and standard fields. If you want to add custom search options, you’ll need another 3rd party plugin, Search and Filter Pro.
Dynamic content is even more important for multilingual sites
Dynamic content is great for single-language sites, but for multilingual sites, it’s critical. For very small sites, you could manage content in regular “pages” and update their translations manually. However, if you’re building a large site with several languages, you need to translate each piece of information just once.
When you build multilingual sites dynamically, you will translate each “gym” and each “trainer” once. Your templates, Views and archives will load the right information for each language.
Try it out, and let us know!
If you maintain a site with constantly changing content, you’ll benefit from having a dynamic site. Creating dynamic sites is easier than ever thanks to a variety of plugins that allow you to create custom content, display that content dynamically wherever you need it, or both — all without coding!
Current WPML clients can get discounts on some of the plugins covered in this post, including 30% off a Toolset license. For more details, log into your WPML account and visit your Offers page.
Do you usually build static or dynamic sites? Do you already use the dynamic features in any of the plugins we mentioned? Leave us a comment, and let us know!