Is This New WordPress Block The Best Way To Help Promote Your Blog For Free?

Every blogger should be active on at least one other social media platform besides blogging. Why? Because it’s a free way to get you, your blog and your books in front of new audiences.

Banner for the blog post 'Is This New WordPress Block The Best Way To Help Promote Your Blog For Free?'
Looking to promote your blog for free?

Unless you tell your readers what social media platforms you’re on, then they’ll probably only find you by chance. That’s why you should do all you can to promote where your readers can also find you and your books.

WordPress has made the ‘Social Icons’ widget into a block that makes it easy to advertise your social media accounts on your blog posts and pages. And, best of all, once you’ve created it, with a single click, you can add it to every blog post and page. 

The ‘Social Icons‘ block takes away the ‘probably’ and does the job perfectly.

Let’s get started. Here’s how to create your ‘Social Icons’ block. 

  • The ‘Social Icons’ block can be added to a new blog post (or one you’ve already published).
  • Click the ‘add new block button’.
  • Search for the block by adding ‘social icons’ in the search-bar.
  • Click the ‘Social Icons’ block to add it to your post.
Screenshot highlighting the three steps to find and add the 'Social Icons
Where to find the ‘Social Icons’ block
  • Next, follow the instructions on the following image to start adding social media icons to the block. I’ve also listed the instructions under the image.
Screenshot highlighting how to add social media icons to the social icons block on WordPress
Adding your social media accounts to the block
  • Click the ‘plus’ sign just above the window that shows social icons images.
  • Use the search-bar to find social icons.
  • Click on the social icons you want to add to the block.
  • For a full list of available social icons, click on ‘Browse all.’

In my case, I’ve added social icons for Twitter, WordPress, Amazon, Goodreads and Flipboard. 

Screenshot showing the social icons added to the social icons block on WordPress
Social icons on the social icons block

Useful Tip: Use the ‘link‘ icon for any social icons WordPress does not have icons for. I’ve done this for my Flipboard account.

Screenshot highlighting the 'link' icon on WordPress
No social media icon? No problem!

Note: Until you’ve linked your social media accounts to the icons, they will be ‘ghosted’ out.

  • To link your social media accounts to each icon, click on each icon and copy and paste the URL address of the relevant social media account in the bar that appears. 
Screenshot showing how to add a social media account to a social icon on WordPress
Adding your social media accounts to the social icons
  • Remember to always click the ‘Apply’ button after adding each account. 

As you add each address, the icon will no longer be ‘ghosted’ out. 

Now you’ve added and linked your social media accounts to all icons, it’s time to choose a few more features. You’ll find these on the righthand side of the screen when clicking on the ‘Social Icons’ block you’ve created. Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see and some features I’ve highlighted.

Screenshot showing the different options available on the Social Icons block on WordPress
Social icons features

The features include –

  • The style of each icon. In my case I chose the ‘Pill’ shape for the icons.
  • The option of wether a new window opens when somebody clicks on one of the icons.
  • Choice of colours for the icons

I highly recommend that you switch on the ‘Open links in new tab‘ feature so that the page your reader is on when clicking on the icons does not close down. After all, you don’t want anybody leaving your blog when clicking on one of the icons, do you?

Can the size of the social icons be changed?

Yes. Click the ‘Size’ button in the ‘social Icons’ block’s toolbar to change the size of the icons.

Screenshot highlighting where to change the size of the social icons on the social icons block on WordPress
Changing the size of your social media icons

You can also change the alignment and the items justification of the icons in the block’s toolbar. 

How to turn your ‘Social Icon’ block into a reusable block.

If you want to add your ‘Social Icons’ block with just one click onto all your blog posts (and I recommend you do), you’ll need to make the block reusable. My post How To Add A Reusable Block To A WordPress Blog Using The Gutenberg Editor gives full details on how to do this, but here’s an image that quickly outlines the details.

Screenshot that gives quick details on how create a reusable block on WordPress
Creating a reusable block

Any edits or updates you do to a reusable block are applied everywhere you’ve used the block. Therefore, if any of your social media accounts get a new URL address, all you need to do is edit the address in the reusable block. You don’t need to visit and make the changes on every blog post where the block appears. Reusable blocks are excellent for adding details of your books to blog posts especially when doing occasional special deals on them.

  • Finally, most importantly, make sure the icons in the block work and go to the correct social media accounts before using the block on your posts.

Let’s Wrap It Up

  • Social media is one of the best ways to promote your blog and books for free.
  • Use the ‘social icons’ block to promote your social media accounts and let readers know where to find you.
  • The ‘social icons’ block is easy to set up and use. Follow the guide in this post.
  • Use the ‘link’ icon to crate a button for social media platforms WordPress does not offer an icon for.
  • To stop readers leaving your blog when clicking on your ‘social Icons’ block, make sure the ‘open links in new tab’ button is switched on.
  • Turn your ‘social icons’ block into a reusable block that can be inserted on all posts and pages with just one click.
  • Any changes you make to your ‘social icons’ reusable block will be implemented wherever the block appears. No need to make the changes on every post!

And here is my ‘Social Icons’ block.

Go ahead and click on the buttons and follow me on my other social media platforms.

Are you using the ‘Social Icons’ block?

Any questions? Leave them in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.

Layout, content, settings, and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

This is an updated version of a post originally published on Hugh’s Views And News in 2020.

Looking for more blogging tips? Check out these recent posts from Hugh.

Copyright © 2021 – All rights reserved.


60 thoughts on “Is This New WordPress Block The Best Way To Help Promote Your Blog For Free?

  1. I’ve been blogging since Jan. 2017 and now they decide from Classic to Block?? I’ve tried the Block and I hate it. Classic is so much easier.
    I do appreciate these tips

    1. When I first tried the Block editor, I didn’t like it. However, once I read and watched some WordPress tutorials on using it, I set up a test post in my draft folder and practised using it. It wasn’t long before I got used to how it worked. And there’s a Classic block which those who prefer using the Classic editor can use. It’s not hard to use, just different. The Block editor has taken blogging to a new level. I’d recommend you practice using it a couple of times a week. You’ll soon get used to it.

  2. Thanks for this very informative as always post for adding a block on WP blogs. As I have a self-hosted site, mine is slightly different and I have one that will always appear on all my posts, so I never have to add the reusable block again, but I have the block to use should something strange happen.

    BTW – I wanted to let you know that you have struck ‘gold’ for this post at 178 Senior Salon and your post will be featured with the publication at 2 am PST on Monday, Aug 30th. Congrats

    1. Yes, things are usually always different for self-hosted blogs, Esmé. However, I’m sure there are lots of other reusable blocks you could use.

      That’s great news about this post getting gold at this week’s Senior Salon. Thank you so much.

      1. Yes, I am using the Gutenberg blocks and it’s working great. Had a learning curve but once you know it’s easy to navigate.

  3. But not all themes have that ability. On my theme embedding feeds in the footers id only possible. I have embedded my Twitter but trying to do it with Facebook.

        1. You’ll have to speak with the Happiness Engineers at WordPress and find out which themes are best for installing as many blocks and widgets as you want.

        2. I am satisfied with my current one. You just left out that important detail in this post.

  4. This was another great tip Hugh, thanks very much! I had already set up a reusable block with the names and links to my social media but now I have gone and made it into this new social media icon block instead. It was easy to do and looks great.

    It just so happens I was looking for the ‘Tool – Marketing’ settings to update my social media links at the bottom of each post and couldn’t work out how to update them. My link to Mix doesn’t appear to work and i can’t find where to amend it – any ideas? In the meantime I’ve removed the link altogether, I hate things not working properly!

    By the way your link to Flipboard seems to go to my own profile, not to yours????

    Thanks again, I didn’t know about this great block until I read your post 🙂

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for letting me know about the error you’re getting when clicking on the Flipboard link. I had to reach out to Flipboard about it. Hopefully, it should be working now. Would you mind checking and let me know? I did a quick check on my partner’s computer, and it seemed to work correctly, but he doesn’t have a Flipboard account.

      Regarding the creation of sharing buttons. I’m afraid that WordPress has temporarily taken this option away, so there is no way to create new buttons or edit current ones. The feature came from a plugin called Jetpack that comes with all sites. However, they are still in discussions with Jetpack to see if it can be implemented with the newer version of WordPress but cannot guarantee a fixed time as different issues take a different amount of time. For now, it’s a waiting game, I’m afraid. In the meantime, you’ve done the right thing by removing the ‘Mix’ sharing button. I’ve also done the same. But keep an eye on the ‘Tool-Marketing-Sharing’ buttons feature as it may come back anytime. If I hear any updates, I’ll let you know.

      1. Thanks for that explanation about the sharing buttons, no wonder I was having trouble finding how to edit them!! I really appreciate your response to my question.

        Yes your Flipboard link works perfectly now I’m happy to say! This post was another great example of generous sharing of knowledge and expertise, and I am very grateful for your efforts in making it clear to follow and easy to put into practise. Thanks again!

        1. Hi Debbie, thanks for letting me know that my Flipboard sharing button is now working correctly on my social icons block.

          I’ve sent you an email about the sharing buttons question you asked me. Think I’ve managed to work out how to get to it, but I didn’t want to leave any links in the comment section of this post. Let me know if you haven’t received the email, and I’ll contact you via the ‘Contact Debbie’ button on your blog.

  5. I have social media buttons as part of my theme so they appear in the header and footer of every page in my blog . Do you recommend also adding this blog to every post? It feels a bit like overkill in some ways (I don’t want to nag people!) but on the other hand the buttons on the header and footer are small and easy to overlook I suspect.

    1. This is something only you will have the answer for. Is there a way of increasing the size of the buttons on the header and footer to make them more noticeable? Do readers notice them? Can they be removed? Are you gaining lots of followers on social media already? If they are not obvious, then I’d consider adding the social icon block to your posts. However, it’s something only you can decide on. I hope that helps?

  6. That looks interesting, Hugh. I will bookmark this post for future reference. I remember that there is a way to share each post on Twitter and Facebook in the sidebar of my WordPress theme, before my post goes live – which I enable – but doing it for each post with more options and in block form is new to me. So, thank you for this explanation.

    And, yes, to open any links in a separate window. I’ve always done that for the reason you mention. And, it actually annoys me when bloggers steer me away from their post when I follow an external link. It’s easy to solve this, you just have to know how! 🙂

    1. WordPress also has a setting for instantly sharing posts to certain social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Liesbet. It can be found on your blog’s dashboard under Tools – Marketing- Connections, although it may be different for self-hosted blogs. But it’s good that the theme you are using also has another way of switching on this feature.

      If I click on a link in a post and the page opens in the same window, I will rarely go back to the post and leave a comment. I don’t know how often I’ve mentioned in posts that the option to open a new tab when clicking on links should be switched on, yet some of the blogs I follow still have not enabled the setting. I rarely click any links on those blogs.

  7. Thanks for nudging me on this. i’d seen the new block and meant to play around with it but like so many other things it got pushed down the queue. I already have social media icons as standard on every post (it’s an option in the theme I use) so I’ve put a new block half way through the post. Not sure it’s a good place yet but thought I’d give it a whirl

    1. You’re welcome. That’s great that you use a theme where social media icons can be switched on in your posts. Does the theme give the same features as the ‘social icons’ block does (e.g. changing style and size of icons}?

        1. Well, at least you know about the Social Icons block now, Karen. If you fancy a push on your social media accounts, you can always make those buttons large and included the block at the end of a post. I’ve picked up quite a few new followers since using it.

    1. Don’t you just hate it when you click a link or button in a post, and it opens in the same window? Drives me nuts, and I rarely go back to the post to leave a comment or share it.

  8. Thanks Hugh. Adding these to a post will help the folks for whom WordPress forces their emails to open in the Reader, preventing visitors from seeing the sidebar widgets. This is a block I will configure before my next post.

    1. That’s a great point, Dan. I’m not entirely sure how many readers notice widget bars, especially given that they are now hidden on many WordPress themes and can only be opened by clicking a button. I like the widget bar on my blog, although I have cut down on the number of widgets I use.

      1. I complained to WP about finding so many of the blogs I follow opening in the Reader when using my iphone. They are using an Apple feature that I don’t think was designed for that purpose, and can’t be configured by the user.

        They asked me why I would prefer to view the blog in a browser, and I mentioned wanting to see the sidebar and the theme the author had chosen to accompany their work. They gave me a work-around. Apparently, if you long-press the link and ask your iPhone to ‘Open in Safari’ it renders that feature inactive for all links to the WP domain.

        1. That’s got me thinking, Dan. I don’t use my iPhone very much to read blog posts, but when I click the link to read them in the email notification I get from WordPress, the post opens in Safari and not the WP Reader for me on my iPhone. So I get to see any widget bars and the theme on the screen of my iPhone. The only time I can read the whole post (without clicking on anything in the email) is when the blogger who has published the post has their ‘for each post in a feed, include’ setting set to ‘Full Text’.

        2. It only happens with the blogs that are running on a free account and still using the domain. That’s the domain they are redirecting to the Reader.

        3. That explains why It’s not happening to me then and why blocks like the ‘social icons’ block should be inserted in posts. Sounds like WordPress are doing whatever it can to encourage users to use a paid plan. Thanks, Dan.

      1. I know reusable, but I don’t want to rush adding accounts (although I don’t use many. Can’t get the hang of Twitter and haven’t taken time to find out yet.)

        1. You can always add new accounts later, although I don’t recommend spreading yourself too thinly on social media. Concentrate on two or three accounts at the most.

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