Blogging isn’t just about writing great content. Being smart about ‘how’ you blog matters just as much – because the less time you spend on tedious tasks, the more time you have to focus on the quality of content. I’m new to blogging. Most of what I know about writing blog posts on WordPress I’ve learned by doing, a bit of research and sometimes as happy mistakes. As a working mom, I never have enough hours in a day. Which is why I try to be as smart as I can be in the time I spend on my blog-life. Here’s 7 sneaky WordPress tips you’d wish you knew sooner! (in the Block Editor) If you are a pro-blogger and already know these tips, good on you! Maybe I can interest you in this post instead: 9 Effective Steps for Writing with Impact.
1. Reusable block
Ever wish there was a way to avoid recreating a particular piece or section of content each time you wrote a blog post? Like social media links, call-to-action sections at the end of posts, disclaimers or copyright notifications. Well, WordPress has you covered! Once you’ve created the piece of content that you plan to reuse, you can save it as a Reusable block. And the next time you want to use that content in a new post, you just need to add in the reusable block you’ve saved.
Why’s it great?
- Saves time: as you don’t have to reproduce the same content across multiple posts
- Updates made easy – because the changes you make to a reusable block get applied to all posts you’ve used it on (assuming you haven’t converted it to regular blocks). You don’t need to go and manually update the change across all the relevant posts – how good is that!
- Multiple blocks can be made reusable – the reusable block is inclusive and doesn’t shun any block based on what type they are. Which means you can select a range of blocks like headers, images, paragraphs, lists etc. and save them as a reusable.
With all that said, click here for more on how to create a reusable block.
2. Group block
Stand out from the crowd
Blog posts can be considerably long at times depending on what you’re writing about. There could be a variety of block types involved in a single post like headers, images, paragraphs, lists, quotes or videos. Don’t you ever wish there was a way to highlight a section of your content so that it stands out from the rest? Like the post overview, key highlights or conclusion. It’s a great way to draw in readers who may be skimming through your post. This is where the group block comes to the rescue. All you need to do is select the range of blocks that you want to highlight and group them. This way the different blocks in the group will act as one – because better together ☺️ You can then add a font colour and/ or background colour to the group block, using block settings (the column on the right). I used this neat trick on the overview section of this post – looks pretty cool doesn’t it?!
Or move among the crowd
This is not all that I use the group block for. When midway through writing a listicle, do you ever end up wanting to move all the content related to point #4, over to #7? Sure, you can do a cut and paste but I find that too messy and hard to manoeuvre. As for moving things one block at a time – yeah nah! I find that with the group block you can achieve this much easily. All you need to do is group the set of blocks that you want to move and use the move up/ down options in the block toolbar (on top left of the active block), to move them in the one go. It’s that simple!
Here’s more about how group blocks work.
3. Link your own related post
Links are an essential to most blog posts as you reference any sources you’ve used or direct readers to one of your own related posts. It’s a great way to promote your own content that readers may find useful. As an added bonus, internal links also help to improve your blog’s search engine optimisation (SEO). I was trying to create an internal link manually when I accidentally found out what WordPress’ link button is capable of!
Before: manual copy and paste
Before I knew about it, here’s how I linked one of my own related posts. I’d leave the post I was writing, go into the post I want to link to, copy the post link, come back to the post I’m writing, and paste it in! Phew it was tiring just writing about it. It is so cumbersome to do.
After: the link button
Creating an internal link using the link button is super simple. I click the link button and start typing in the name of the blog post, category or tag I want to link to – WordPress even shows suggestions based on what I’m typing. It’s then a matter of selecting the post/ category/ tag you want linked. Click here for more on how it works.
4. Place a link in the same post (page jump)
This one’s a hidden gem. I only found out about it last week as a happy surprise. I wrote a pretty elaborate piece on writing with impact – it was fairly long because I wanted to capture 9 steps with a good level of detail. From a reader’s perspective of a post like that, it’s really handy to have an overview or sum-up of the post with hyperlinks to each step. That way, readers can easily ‘jump’ to the point that most interests them, and skip a lot of scrolling. And happier readers are likely to read more. I’ve done the same for this post too (see what I did there? ☺️). What’s more, you can use this option to link to a specific point on a different post/ page as well. Click here to learn how to add a page jump.
5. Adding images the easy way
Pexels free photos
Adding images to posts isn’t my favourite thing to do. It’s tedious work. Typically, I search for Creative Commons images on Google, save them to my computer, go to add image, and upload new image. I also tend to try many different options and versions of images before I decide on the ‘chosen one’. That, coupled with the whole process of uploading images took so much time. That’s when I noticed the Pexels free photos option that comes up when you go to add a new image. Why didn’t I see that sooner?!
What’s the big deal?
- Ditch the endless Google searches: you can search for free images right from the comfort of your… blog’s block editor. No more switching back and forth from Google.
- Don’t stress: thinking if you’ve used any copyrighted images. This option only gives you free photos from Pexels.
- Much less work: because you can add images with a single click without the drama of saving them onto your computer or finding image links.
Read more about how to add Pexels free photos here.
The simple drag and drop
I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me to just drag and drop images – for the longest time! Turns out, you can simply drop images right to the middle of your blog post – or even into the Featured image box! That in itself has been such a breakthrough find – and saved me loads of time!
6. Forward slash to add a new block
Don’t you find that when you write blog posts you have a go-to list of blocks? For me, it’s typically paragraphs, headings, images, lists and quotes. Now wouldn’t it be handy if you didn’t have to go looking for them every time in a long list of blocks? Turns out, whenever you need to add a new block you can simply type a forward-slash (“/”, called the slash command) on a new line, followed by the name of the block. For example “/heading” will insert a heading for you. It’s so handy and something I use all the time.
It’s a feature that’s hiding in plain sight – ever noticed the prompt on your draft page that says ‘Start writing or type / to choose a block’? It’s been there the whole time! 🙂 When you know the names of the blocks you typically use, you can add them in a breeze using the slash command. It even gives you prompts as you type. That way, you spend less time looking for blocks and more time focusing on your content. Read more on how to use this feature here.
7. Structure and word count
Whenever I write there’s always this inner voice that keeps asking ‘is the post too long or too short?’ Because the common perception is that less is more (I don’t agree, read more about why in this post). That’s why one time, I sat there wishing if only there was a word count option on WordPress. A few days later, I accidentally found out that there is! I was thrilled. Not only does it give you the word count, it also shows you a high level structure of your post – showing the different levels of headings. It’s a great way to take a holistic look at your post to see if the content structure makes sense, flows logically or needs any tweaks. Here’s where to find the details option:
Be a smart blogger
Blogging is a life on its own. One however, that most of us don’t have the luxury to pursue on its own. Being smart about how you blog is the way to have it all. These 7 sneaky WordPress tips have been tried and tested, and will help you spend more time focusing on the quality of your content, and less time (a lot less!) on mundane tasks.
Which of these tips are you going to try out first? What others do you swear by?
I love hearing your views and thoughts! That’s what keeps me blogging. Leave me a comment below.
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