WordPress and the Pods Plugin
WordPress is one of the most widely used web platforms and powers more then 26% of all Internet sites. Its ease of use and stability make it a favorite of many web designers, myself included. There are now almost 45,000 plugins available that add vast amounts of functionality to the platform. While some are badly coded, aren’t secure and can cause problems for your site, many are tried and true and can take your site to the next level. One such plugin is Pods.
The Pods plugin, formally known as Pods CMS, is a very powerful add-on that can be used in so many different ways. It has to be one of the most versatile WordPress plugins and remains free to install and use. One drawback is the lack of information and tutorials available to help people get started using it. Searches bring up articles and videos from much older versions that aren’t relevant today.
Using Pods for WordPress
What is the Pods plugin and what can be accomplished with it? Think of it as a simple way of inputting and outputting data on your website. Like a standard WordPress post that has preset fields (title, date, author, excerpt, body, etc), Pods allows you to create a new type of content and create all of the associated fields for data. You can then easily input the data in the back-end and output it using WordPress Shortcode or Pods Templates. If you have a site with lots of pages, Pods will save you lots of time and frustration in populating them.
This site is using Pods for the My Rides pages that consists of a page listing all my cars and then a single page dedicated for each one. It could be a listing of your favorite movies and a detailed review of each one or list of a company’s products and a separate page for each one. The possibilities are endless.
Setting Up A New Pod
Start by installing and activating Pods version 2.6.8 or higher. Once its properly setup, there will be a new menu item called Pods Admin with a sub menu consisting of Edit Pods, Add New, Components, Settings and Help. Click on Add New.
You will have an option to Extend an existing content type such as Posts or Taxonomies or you can create a completely new content type. For this application, click on Create New.
It will be a Custom Post Type with the Label Car / Cars.
The next step is to actually add some Fields to the Cars Pod. Click on Add Field. For this example, one of the Fields would be the manufacturer of the car. Then click on Add Field.
Additional fields need to be added including: Model, Year, Transmission, Engine, etc. Be sure to click Save Pod on the right side before leaving the page.
Adding Data to a Pod
Now there will be a new menu item on the main menu called Cars that will have a sub-menu containing All Cars and Add Car.
Clicking on Add Car will bring up a familiar page that looks like the New Post or New Page form with the addition of More Fields below that are the fields we previously created. There is no limit to the number of Cars (in this example) that can be created.
At this point we have created a new content type along with all of the associated fields and have begun populating it with data.
This was a quick and dirty way to get you up and running with Pods for WordPress. Next we’ll explore all of the different ways in which the data can be output to the end user.