How To Get The Best Out Of The Block You’re Using The Most On The Gutenberg Editor

It may seem much longer, but at the end of 2018, WordPress introduced the Gutenberg Block Editor to users. 

And what a journey the Block editor has had since introduced. Some users moved to other blogging platforms to avoid using it, whereas others decided to continue using the Classic editor for free via the Classic Block. 

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Are You using The Paragraph Block To Its Best Advantage?

Last year, I witnessed more than ever fans of the Classic editor coming over to using the Block editor, some of whom wondered why they hadn’t done it sooner.

As more bloggers use the Block editor, I thought I’d write some posts on how some of the most popular blocks work.

I’m kicking off with the ‘Paragraph‘ block, which everyone who uses the block editor will use.

How Do I Find Or Add A ‘Paragraph’ Block?

  • After adding the title of your blog post, click on the ‘+‘ symbol in the draft section of the post.
  • In the search box that opens, type in ‘paragraph.’
  • Select the ‘paragraph‘ block.
Screenshot showing where and how to find the 'Paragraph' block on the Gutenberg Editor
Where to find the ‘paragraph’ block
  • Start typing in the paragraph block on the draft post.
Screenshot highlighting where to type in the Paragraph block
Start typing in the Paragraph block

How Do I Add A New Paragraph?

  • Tap the return button on your keyboard to add a new paragraph.

Does The ‘Paragraph’ Block Come With Any Options? 

Yes. The ‘Paragraph’ block comes with a toolbar full of options. Here’s a list of what you can do.

  • Align text
Screenshot highlighting the Align button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘Align’ button
  • Make text bold
Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Bold' text button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘Bold’ text button
  • Make text italic
Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Italic' text button
Where to find the ‘Italic’ text button
Screenshot highlighting where to find the pingback button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘pingback’ button
  • Other available options
  • Highlight text 
  • Add inline code
  • Add an inline image
  • Justify paragraphs
  • Keyboard input
  • Strikethrough text
  • Subscript
  • Superscript
  • Underline uppercase text
  • Change text to uppercase
Screenshot showing where to find 'Other options' on the Paragraph block
Where to find other options

Are There Any Other Options?

  • Yes. Click the kebab menu in the toolbar to show even more options such as ‘Add to reusable block‘ and ‘remove paragraph.’ 
Screenshot highlighting options under the kebab menu on the Paragraph block
Click the kebab menu to see more options

More options are also available on the righthand side of the draft page. To see them, select any block that contains text and select the ‘Block‘ option.

Screenshot highlighting the Block icon on the drafts page of a blog post
Make sure ‘Block’ is selected.

Colour: Change the colour of text or the background colour of a block.

AMP Settings: AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source framework that allows browsers and apps to quickly load your site’s content on mobile devices. AMP is enabled by default for all WordPress.com sites. Click here for more details. 

Typography: This allows users to set the size of the font in a block. Here’s an example. In the next block, I’ve selected font size 36.

Hugh’s Views And News

See how much bigger it is than the text in other blocks.

Users can also manually set the size of the text by clicking the icon that sits to the right, just above the Size Default box. The icon looks like two small slider buttons.

Advanced Options:

HTML Anchor: This option allows users to insert ‘page jumps’ into a post. For example, you could anchor the words ‘Skip to the bottom of this post‘ in a block. Clicking on the anchor text then takes readers to the bottom of the page. Click here for more details. 

Additional CSS class(es):  Add CSS code to a block. –

CSS is the acronym of “Cascading Style Sheets“. CSS is a computer language for laying out and structuring web pages (HTML or XML). This language contains coding elements and comprises these “cascading style sheets”, which are called CSS files. 

Note: Some of the above options I’ve mentioned may move or change over time.

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

Looking for more information about the Gutenberg Block Editor? Check out these posts.

If you have any questions about the ‘Paragraph’ block, leave them in the comments section. I’ll try my best to answer them.

Is there a particular ‘Block’ you’d like me to cover in an upcoming post?

Don’t forget that you can also follow me on social media. Click on the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Are You Using This Little Known About Block That Helps Promote Your Blog?

Of all the blogs I follow, I’ve never, as yet, seen them using the block I’m promoting today. I wonder if you’ve used it?

Once I tell you about this block, when it comes to showcasing some of the least visited parts of your blog, you’ll be wanting to use it too. I’ll certainly be using it a lot more to help promote some of the parts of my blog that seldom receive visitors.

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Have you discovered the Pages list block?

Do you feel sorry for the ‘pages’ on your blog?

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the pages you’ve created that sit behind the scenes of every blog. Blog posts are the performers, whereas blog pages are the behind the scenes folk. 

What’s the difference between a blog page and a blog post?

Posts are entries listed on your blog in reverse chronological order. Think of them as articles or updates that you share to offer up new content to your readers. Every time you publish a new post, a notification gets sent to your followers, and, in most cases, it appears on the WordPress Reader.

Pages are static and are not affected by date. Think of them as more permanent fixtures of your site — an About Me page, a Contact Me page, and a Home page are great examples of this. When you publish a page, your followers do not get any notifications that you’ve published it and nor does it appear on the WordPress Reader. Therefore, they rarely get viewed unless visitors to your blog click on links to them or on the menubar of your blog (where links to pages appear). 

What happens if the home page of my blog is a page? 

It should already be getting lots of views. I have the ‘about Hugh’ page of my blog set as my home page, which means it’s one of the most-visited parts of my blog.

What’s the block I’m referring to in the title of this post? 

The ‘Page list‘ block. It’s there to help bloggers promote the behind the scenes pages of their blog. I’ve included one on my ‘about Hugh‘ page. When you add it to a post or page, it automatically pulls through links to all the pages you have on your blog.

Before I add the ‘Page list’ block to this post, please don’t be tempted to click on any of the links in the block until you’ve read the rest of the post. You’ll discover why towards the end of this post.

Here’s my pages list.

Meet Hugh – this is the ‘about me‘ page of my blog. An ‘about me’ page is something every blog should have. Not sure what to put on your ‘about me’ page? My post, Why Every Blogger Should Have an About Me Page on Their Blog, gives full details.  

Contact Hugh – is a secure way for visitors to my blog to contact me without leaving personal information in the comments section of any of my posts or pages. Every blog should have a channel for visitors to contact the owner, other than via leaving a comment. My blog post, How To Create And Add A Contact Me Form To Your WordPress Blog, gives full details.

My Books – details of all my books, what they are about, where they are on sale and some reviews.

Disclaimer & GDPR: This is something every blog should display. Never think or believe it doesn’t apply to you and your blog. It does!

Tales From Under The Rainbow – The first chapter of a work-in-progress I have underway. The blogging community helped by giving me feedback on sections I published on my blog. It’s the final result. Let me know what you think if you give it a read.

The Newlyweds – a flash fiction piece that turned into a short story after participating in the weekly 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. It’s a strange tale led by prompts. If you read it, let me know what you think about it.   

Those are the six pages I have on my blog. In turn, all of them appear on the menubar of my blog. 

Can the ‘Page list’ block be improved?

Yes. When clicking on any links on the ‘Page list’ block, they don’t open in a new tab on your device. It means you lose the post you’re reading. However, you’re still on the blog you’re reading, although in a different part of it.

You may not want all your pages to appear in the block, so another improvement is to have the choice to select specific pages you want to appear (as happens in the ‘Blog Posts‘ block).

I’m feeding both suggestions back to WordPress.

Where should the ‘Page list’ block be used?

This is why I recommended not clicking on any of the links on the ‘Page list’ block earlier on. I’d recommend inserting the block either towards or at the end of any blog post. Readers will likely have read most of your post before clicking links and taken away from your post.

Therefore, I’m including my ‘Page list’ block again.

Have you discovered the ‘Page list’ block? Have you used it? Will you use it? Can it be improved? Tell us what pages you have on your blog.

Join Hugh on social media. Click on the links below.

Enjoyed reading this post? Check out these posts about the Block editor.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How to Create And Use A Reusable Block For Your Book On WordPress

One of the best features of the Gutenberg Block Editor is the ability to create reusable blocks.

Once you’ve created a reusable block, any amendments you make to it get implemented wherever you’ve used it. If you’ve used the block on 50 of your blog posts, the changes take place on all of them regardless of when the posts (and pages) were published.

That means there is no need to visit each and every post to make the amendments. Just think how much time that will save you.

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Reusable Blocks & Books

For authors, reusable blocks save lots of time when doing book promotions, such as offering a book as a free download or when offering a limited-time price reduction. And once the promotion is over, simply updating the reusable block takes care of all the changes all over your blog.

How Do I Create a Reusable Block For My Book?

  • Open up a new draft post.
  • Open up the ‘Media & Text‘ block. You can do this by clicking the ‘+‘ symbol in the top corner of the drafts page and inserting ‘Media & Text’ in the search bar.
Screenshot highlighting where and how to find the Image & Text block on WordPress
Media & Text Block
  • Select the Media & Text block to insert it on your post, or select one of the options available for it (e.g. text on left/media on the right).
  • Next, click on ‘Media Area‘ and upload your book cover by clicking the ‘upload‘ button. If your book cover is already in your WordPress media library, click the ‘Select Media‘ button.
Screenshot highlighting the Upload and Select Media buttons on WordPress
  • Click on the ‘Content…‘ area, and add content about your book in the ‘Content’ box.
Screenshot highlighting where to add content in the Media & Text block on WordPress
  • While adding content, don’t forget to use the toolbar on the righthand side of the page to create headings, enlarge text, etc.

Top Tip: Create and include a link in the ‘Content’ area to where people can buy your book. In my example, I’ve created a link to Amazon by making ‘Available on Amazon‘ a pingback.

I recommend you also make the whole block a link to where people can buy your book. To do this, click on the block and create a pingback (see next image).

Screenshot highlighting and showing how to make a block into a pingback on WordPress

Tip: To stop people from losing your blog when clicking on pingbacks, always ensure you turn on the ‘Open in a new tab‘ button (#4 on the above image).

How Do I Turn The Block Into A Reusable Block?

  • Click on the block and click the kebab menu (three vertical buttons) in the toolbar that appears. From the menu, select ‘Add To Reusable Blocks‘.
Screenshot highlighting and showing how to turn a block into a reusable block on WordPress
  • Give the block a name and click the ‘Save‘ button.
Screenshot showing how to name a reusable block on WordPress
  • Your reusable block is created and is now ready to be used on all your blog posts and pages.

Top Tip: Add the reusable block you’ve created for your book to the top three most viewed posts and pages of your blog. That way, even more visitors to these posts and pages will see details of your book.

How do I make amendments to reusable blocks?

  • Click the ‘+‘ sign in the top left corner of a drafts page, and select the ‘Reusable‘ tab (see next image).
  • Click on the ‘Manage Reusable Blocks‘ link at the bottom of the page (see next image).
Screenshot highlighting how to edit a reusable block on WordPress
  • Select the reusable block you want to edit.
Screenshot highlighting how to select a reusable block for editing
  • Make the amendments and click the ‘Update‘ button.
Screenshot showing how to edit a Reusable block on WordPress
  • Any amendments you have made are saved, even on the posts and pages you previously inserted the block on.

And here is the reusable block I’ve created.

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

  • Finally, don’t forget to click on the pingbacks you’ve added to your reusable block to ensure they work and take visitors to the correct page/site.

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

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

Follow Hugh on his other social media platforms. Click on the buttons below.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

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.

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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.

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How Changing This Setting On Your WordPress Blog Will Help It Gain More Views

Do you have email subscribers to your blog? If so, every time you publish a new blog post, they get a ‘New Post’ email notification.

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How Changing This Setting On Your WordPress Blog Will Help It Gain More Views

Here’s a screenshot of an email notification I got from WordPress when blogger Sally Cronin recently published a new blog post.

Screenshot showing a new WordPress blog post notification from Sally Cronin
WordPress New Blog Post Notification

Notice how only the first part of the post is visible to me. 

To read the whole post, I have to click on its title or the ‘read more of this post‘ link (highlighted in the above image). This means I have to visit Sally’s blog to read the post, thus improving the viewing statistics on her blog.

Are there any disadvantages in displaying whole blog posts in email notifications?

Yes. WordPress has a setting available that allow users to either show the whole post or a brief summary of the post in emails. Therefore, unless the setting is changed, readers do not have to visit a blog to read a post.

If you’re an author or sell goods or services on your blog, this means your email subscribers won’t see them unless they visit your blog to leave a comment. This also means they may not be tempted to discover anything else on your blog or see any ‘Pages’ you have (such as your ‘About Me‘ page).

I get lots of email notifications from bloggers where I can read the whole post in the email, so I don’t have to visit their blog. Videos and YouTube videos don’t display in the email, thus making it look uninviting to read. Photos and other images in the email version of a blog post can also be distorted and affect the formatting of text. The result can look messy.  

Not visiting the actual post also discourages some readers from leaving comments. 

How Do I Change The Email Display Setting On WordPress?

To change the setting so your whole post does not show in the email, follow the guide below.

  • On the dashboard of your blog, click on ‘Settings‘ then on ‘Reading.’ 
Screenshot highlighting where to find Settings and Reading on the dashboard of a WordPress blog
Where to find Settings and Reading on a WordPress dashboard
  • On the ‘Reader Settings‘ page that opens, look for ‘For each post in a feed, include‘ and change the setting from ‘Full Text’ to ‘Excerpt’. 
Screenshot showing the 'For each post in a feed, include' setting on a WordPress blog
Where To Change The Email Summary Settings

Press the ‘Save Changes‘ button at the bottom of the page.

Your setting is now saved, and your new blog post email notifications will only display a brief summary of every new post you publish. This means readers have to visit your blog to read posts. 

Don’t forget that you can also write your own excerpts for your blog posts. My blog post ‘How To Use Excerpts To Get More Visitors To Read Your Blog Posts‘ gives full details.

If you don’t write your own excerpts, WordPress will use the first 55 words of your blog post as the excerpt.

Let’s Wrap It Up

  • By default, WordPress automatically shows the entire contents of new blog posts in email notifications.
  • Unless the ‘For each post in a feed, include’ setting is changed, email subscribers to your blog don’t need to visit your blog to read your posts.
  • By not visiting your blog, readers may be put off from leaving or reading comments.
  • If you sell books, services or any goods on your blog, readers won’t see them if they can read blog posts on email notifications.
  • Changing the ‘For each post in a feed, include’ setting to ‘Excerpt’, will mean your email notifications will only display a snippet of your new blog posts.
  • Changing the setting is easy to do. Follow the guide in this blog post.

Any questions about changing the ’email summary’ setting? Leave them in the comments section.

This is an updated version of a previous post I originally published in 2016. It has been updated to take into account changes on WordPress.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Make The Images In Your Blog Posts More Powerful

Did you know that you can make the images on your blog posts drive even more traffic to your blog, book page or your online store? They’re not there just to be looked at and admired.

Usually, when I click on an image or a photo on a blog post, all I get is a duplicate version of what I’m looking at. I feel like I’ve been taken down a dead-end road!

What could have happened is that when I clicked on an image or photo, I’m taken to another blog post, website, or even where I can buy the book of the cover I’m looking at.

Adding a pingback to images or photos is the answer. But how do you attach a pingback to an image?

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How To Make The Images In Your Blog Posts More Powerful

Not sure what a pingback is? My post ‘How To Create A PingBack On A WordPress Blog‘ gives full details.

Let’s get started.

As I use WordPress, I’m detailing how to do this using the Block editor. However, it should be a similar process on other blogging platforms.

  • Using the Image block, add a photo or image from your WordPress media library. As June is Pride month, I’m using the following image from a blog post I published last June.
Banner for True Stories: Gay Memories - rainbow-coloured paint in the background
  • Once you’ve place the image on your post, click on it to open up the toolbar of the Image block and click on the PingBack button.
Screenshot highlighting the 'PingBack' button.
PingBack button
  • A small Media File window opens.
Screenshot showing the Media File window that opens when clicking the pingback button
Media File
  • The media file is where the address of the webpage is pasted that you want readers directed to when clicking on the image. As I mentioned earlier, this can be one of your blog posts, the blog post of another blogger, or a website.
  • Copy the URL address of the page you want readers directed to and click the Edit button (pencil icon) in the media file window.
Screenshot highlighting the edit button on the Media File window when creating a pingback
The pingback edit button
  • In the top box of the new window that opens, paste the URL address you’ve copied.
Screenshot highlighting the 'Paste' box when inserting a pingback
Where to paste the URL address
  • If you are directing traffic to one of your blog posts, you can also search for the post by adding some words from its title in the same box.
Screenshot highlighting where to search for a blog post and to select it when creating a pingback
How to search for a blog post when creating a pingback
  • Click the arrow in the Link Settings box (see #2 on the next image) and switch on the ‘Open in a new tab‘ option (see #3 on the next image) so that the pingback opens in a new window. This is important, as it means your reader won’t lose the page they’re reading and be taken away from your blog.
  • Finally, click the Apply button (see #4 on the next image) to secure the link to where readers clicking your pingback will be taken.
Screenshot outlining the final points of creating a pingback on an image
Completing a pingback on an image
  • The image now has a pingback attached to it. Anyone clicking the image will be taken to the post/page/site you’ve created the pingback to.

Do the same for other images on your post. You can either create pingbacks to different locations, or to the same location. For example, for a photo on a Wordless Wednesday post, you can create a pingback to a previous Wordless Wednesday post, thus creating a new route for traffic to that post.

If you’re including an image of one of your books in a post, create a pingback to where readers can buy it.

Advantages of having pingbacks on your blog posts.

  • Creates traffic to your blog.
  • They are SEO friendly.
  • Blog posts that include pingbacks are ranked higher by search engine optimisations (SEOs) such as Google and Bing.
  • Bloggers, whose blogs you link to, may link back to one of your blog posts.
  • They are a great way of promoting older blog posts you have published.
  • You can use a pingback to direct traffic to where readers can buy your books or other goods.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Pingbacks help drive traffic to your other blog posts, the posts of other bloggers, or any website.
  • Pingbacks are easy to create.
  • Pingbacks can be attached to words, images or photos in a blog posts.
  • Don’t make your images a dead-end rote. Make them work by attaching pingbacks to them.
  • If you have an image of one of your books on a blog post, attach a pingback to it so that anyone clicking on it will be taken to where they can buy the book.
  • Always switch on the ‘Open in a new tab‘ option so that readers don’t lose your post. Some may not bother coming back to it once they’ve lost the page.

Do you have any questions on creating pingbacks or attaching them to images on your blog posts? Leave them in the comments section.

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Create And Add A ‘Contact Me’ Form To Your WordPress Blog

Every week, I get contacted via the ‘Contact Hugh’ button on my blog’s menu bar. If I didn’t have a way for visitors to my blog to contact me securely, I could have missed many opportunities. 

Blogging Tips From Hugh

Many of those who contact me usually ask me questions about blogging.

However, I also get people contacting me with guest posts invitations, information about my books, and even business opportunities to advertise on my blog. 

Suppose somebody can not find a secure way of contacting you. In that case, they may well pass on any opportunities they wanted to offer you to somebody else.

Don’t miss out. Have a secure way for visitors to contact you rather than leave an unsecured comment on one of your blog posts.

How To Create a ‘Contact Me’ form.

  • On the navigation bar of your WordPress blog, click on Pages and then on Add New.
#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Pages
  • On the lefthand side menu of the page that opens, click on ‘Contact.’
#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Contact Templates
  • There are four templates to choose from. However, most of them require you to add personal information such as your email address, home/business address and contact phone number. 
  • Unless you’re a business blogger, never share any personal information on your ‘Contact Me’ form or anywhere on your blog. Keep those details safe and away from spammers and spambots. These details include your personal email address, address, phone number and date of birth.
  • Instead, open a blank template by clicking on the ‘Blank Page‘ button located at the top of the menu.
  • Give your new page that has opened a title such as ‘Contact Me‘ (I use ‘Contact Hugh’), and click the ‘add block‘ button.
Title your page and click on the ‘add block’ icon
  • In the search bar, add ‘contact‘ and select the ‘Contact Form‘ block.
Select the ‘Contact Form’ block
  • Save and preview the form before publishing it on your blog.
  • I have also added a line above my contact form informing visitors how to contact me securely. Here’s what it looks like.
My ‘Contact Me’ page
  • I also recommend adding some tags and an excerpt to your page/contact form before publishing it. Also, decide whether or not you want visitors to the page to leave any comments. Note – not all WordPress themes allow you to add tags to pages documents.
Add tags and an excerpt to your ‘About Me’ page

Now we’ve created a ‘Contact Me’ form; it’s time to add it to your blog’s menubar.

  • On the navigation bar of your WordPress blog, click on ‘Appearance and Menus.’
#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Appearance and Menus
  • Choose either an existing menu or create a new one.
Adding a button to your menu bar
  • As I already have a primary menu on my blog, I’m going to add a button for my ‘Contact Hugh’ page to it. 
  • Click on the ‘Add Items‘ button and scroll down the list of your pages and find the ‘Contact me‘ form you’ve created. Click on the ‘+‘ symbol next to it. 
Adding a button to your menu bar
  • Save your changes by clicking on the ‘Save Changes‘ button at the top of the page. 
  • Your ‘Contact Me‘ button now appears on the menubar of your blog. Here’s an image of where it appears on the menubar of my blog.
Hugh’s ‘Contact Me’ button
  • Click on the ‘Reorder‘ button to change the order of the buttons on your menubar.
Want to reorder the buttons on your menu bar? Click on the ‘reorder button
  • Don’t forget to click on the button you’ve just created to make sure it’s working.

Let’s wrap it up

  • It’s important to have a secure way for visitors to your blog to contact you. Many will not like leaving unsecured messages containing personal information and/or opportunities in the comments section of a blog post.
  • Creating and publishing a ‘Contact Me’ form on your blog is the perfect way for visitors to leave you secure messages.
  • Creating a ‘Contact Me’ form is easy to do.
  • Adding a ‘Contact Me’ button to a menu on a blog is easy to do.
  • Make sure your ‘Contact Me’ form is easy to find. The best place to put it is on the menubar of your blog.
  • Any messages sent to you via your ‘Contact Me’ form will be emailed to you by WordPress.
  • Messages can also be viewed by clicking on ‘Feedback’ (just under ‘Comments’ on the dashboard of your blog).
  • Make sure you respond to messages sent via your ‘Contact Me’ form as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t publish personal information anywhere on your blog. This includes, your personal email address, home address, phone number and date of birth. Don’t give scammers a chance of obtaining your personal information.

Does that help? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me via the ‘Contact Hugh’ button. 

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

8 Things You May Not Know You Can Do On The Posts Page Of A WordPress Blog

WordPress Blogging Tips

Have you ever noticed the three horizontal dots next to each of your blog posts and wondered what they are for? 

These three dots are known by numerous names, my favourite being a ‘Meatball Menu.’

“Not sure what I’m referring too? Here’s a screenshot pointing out the meatball menus. 

The Meatball Menu

But what happens when you click on a meatball menu? This –

The Kebab Menu

The three horizontal dots change to three vertical dots (known as a Kebab Menu), and eight options appear. 

Let’s investigate each option. 

Edit

  • Click this button to edit or update a post. Don’t forget to press the Update button to save any changes you make. 

View

  • This button does so much more than just show you a preview of your post. It also shows a preview of the post as it appears on a desktop computer, tablet and phone. 
The View Option
  • And if you click on the Search & Social button, you’ll also to be able to preview your post as it will appear on Facebook, Twitter, and as a Google search. 
  • I recommend you always preview your post first to ensure that it’s mobile-friendly, especially given that the majority of people view blog posts on tablets and phones. 

Stats

  • Click this button to check the latest daily, weekly, monthly and yearly stats of a post. 
  • You’ll also be able to view which other bloggers have pressed the ‘like’ button on the post. 

 

View who has liked a post
  • Hover your mouse over any of the profile icons to display the name of that blogger’s blog.
  • However, a name will only appear if they have a WordPress.Com blog. It does not work for self-hosted blogs.
  • Click on an icon to view a list of all the blog posts of that blogger, how many followers they have, and a follow button (WordPress.Com bloggers only).
  • If you’re already following them, the ‘follow’ button will be replaced with the word ‘following.’ 

 

View more details of a blog
  • Press the Settings icon (under the follow button) to display and set notifications settings for that blog. 
Notification settings

Comments

  • Along the top, you can view the following information for a post. 
  • How many comments it has received.
  • How many comments are pending (waiting for approval).
  • How many comments have been approved.
  • How many comments you or WordPress has marked as spam.
  • How many comments you sent to the trash bin.
  • Your replies to comments also show on this page.
  • You can also sort comments out by newest first and oldest first.

There is also a ‘bulk edit‘ button that allows you to perform a command (approve, unapprove, send to spam, send to trash) with just one click. However, the ‘bulk edit’ is only done per page, so if you have lots of comments, you’ll need to bulk edit each page.

Sorting out the comments
  • You can also perform the following –
  • Approve a comment.
  • Mark and send a comment to the spam folder.
  • Send a comment to the trash bin.
  • Like a comment.
  • Edit a comment.
  • Reply to a comment.
Comment administration

To the right of each comment, is a ‘User Info‘ button. Clicking on this button reveals the following information. 

  • The name of the commenter’s WordPress blog. 
  • The commenter’s email address.
  • A link to their blog.
  • The I.P address of the commenter.

On the following image, I’ve blurred out the email and I.P address as this is personal information which should never be revealed on a blog post.

The User Info button

Did you notice something else in the above image? Did you see the ‘Block User‘ button? This is my most significant discovery when clicking on ‘User Info.’ If you press ‘Block User,’ any further comments from that user on any of your blog posts are sent directly to your WordPress trash folder. 


Share

  • This is a neat button which allows you to share details of the post to all the social media accounts you have connected to your WordPress blog. 
  • Click on the ‘Share Post‘ button to share the post.
The Social Media share button
  • The preview button displays how your post will look on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr.
  • You can also manage all your social media connections by clicking on ‘Manage Connections.’  

Copy Post

  • This is my favourite of all the options on the Kebab Menu.
  • Not only will clicking on this button duplicate your post, but the categories and tags of the post are also copied over. 
  • This is especially beneficial if you run a daily/weekly/monthly blog challenge, series, or promotional posts on your blog.
  • It’s saved me lots of time in not having to copy and paste or reenter links, images, text, tags, and categories. 
  • I also use the ‘copy post’ function for posts which have the same layout (such as my ‘Wordless Wednesday’ and ‘Flashback Friday’ posts). 
  • However, if you write excerpts for your blog posts, remember to change the excerpt before publishing the post. Otherwise, (as I discovered on one of my posts) the excerpt may not make sense. 

Copy Link

  • A link to the post is copied to the clipboard of the device you are using. You can then paste the link into an email, message, website, blog post, etc. 

Trash

  • Clicking this button will send your post to your trash folder.
  • If you click it by mistake, you can reinstate the post from the trash folder.

Let’s wrap things up

  • There are eight hidden options available to WordPress.Com users on the page that displays all their blog posts.
  • The options are hidden behind a menu known as a meatball menu.
  • When opened, the meatball menu opens up a kebab menu that lists all the options available.
  • Some of the options do exactly as they say on the can.
  • However, other options lead to lots more options and functions.
  • The comments option has an hidden ‘Block User‘ button – great for blocking comments from those you don’t want leaving comments anymore.
  • No need to copy and paste anymore – The copy option not only copies an existing blog post, it also copies over the categories and tags you have on that post.
  • It’s worth checking out all of the options, especially as some of them are time saving functions.

Have you ever used any of the options and functions behind the meatball and kebab menus?

If you have any questions regarding this post, please leave them in the comments section.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also enjoy reading –

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

What You Should Do Now That WordPress Have Officially Retired The Classic Editor

If you’re a WordPress.Com user and use the WordPress.Com Classic editor, WordPress recently made an important announcement which will affect you and which you may have missed.

The Classic Editor Is Moving

Well over a year ago, WordPress announced that the WordPress.com Classic editor was being set for retirement. Since the beginning of 2019, I’ve also mentioned this in several of my own blog posts.

On August 13, 2020, WordPress finally announced that their Classic editor was now officially retired. However, it’s not entirely disappearing.

To continue using the Classic editor, users will have to access it via the Classic block on the Gutenberg Block Editor.

The Classic block provides an editing experience that mimics the Classic editor with some added benefits.

When are the changes taking place?

The changes are happening in phases. WordPress will email users informing them when to expect the change.

For full details and how to create a new blog post using the Classic block, click here. You can also find out more information by clicking here.

I’m still using the WordPress.Com Classic editor. What should I do?

My recommendation is to start using the Classic block straight away. Don’t wait for WordPress to move your account to the block editor without you having had any practice of using it. Give yourself some time to get used to the Classic block before WordPress move your account over.

Set up a ‘test’ draft post where you can practice using the Classic editor block straight away. You won’t then find yourself in a panic situation when the only option of writing a new blog post is via the Classic block.

Any questions?

I’m happy to answer any questions you have about this change. However, may I politely remind you that it’s WordPress making this change, not me.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

3 Quick And Easy Ways To Promote Your Old Blog Posts

Are there easy ways to promote your old blog posts, and should you feature them on your blog again?

Can old blog posts bring in more visitors, followers and comments?

Dig out your old blog posts.

The answer to both questions is YES.

If you’ve been regularly publishing blog posts, the archive of your blog will be a treasure trove of opportunities waiting for you to bring alive again.

Rather than leave these old blog posts idle, there are ways you can bring them back in front of your audience.

These old blog posts probably never got anywhere near as many views and comments as your recent blog posts do, but did you know that they could quickly bring you lots more views and comments?

My three quick and easy tips to bring these old blog posts alive again are easy to follow and will deliver results as soon as you implement them.

1. Display ‘related’ posts at the end of all your blog posts. 

I’m always surprised by how many WordPress bloggers don’t have this feature switched on.

If you’re using the Classic editor, did you know that there are various settings for the ‘Related posts‘ feature?

Here’s a screenshot of the related posts that featured at the end of my recent blog post How To Use Excerpts To Get More Visitors To Read Your Blog Posts

Do you have the ‘related’ posts feature switched on?

WordPress automatically chooses which of your posts to display. 

If you’re not already showing related blog posts at the end of newly published blog posts, follow this guide.

  • On the dashboard of your blog, click on Settings and Reading
Click on ‘Settings’ and ‘Reading’
  • On the Reading Settings page, look for Related Posts.
Look for ‘Related Posts’.
  • Switch on ‘Show Related Content After Posts.’
Switch on ‘Show related content after posts’.
  • Choose which settings options you want to use.
Choose which settings options you want to use.
  • At the bottom of the screen, click on the Save Changes button.
  • Future published posts will now display three related posts from your archives. 

2. The ‘Blog Posts’ Block

For those using the Gutenberg block editor, there’s a terrific block I use that allows me to choose which of my previous blog posts to promote again on newly published posts. It’s called the ‘Blog Posts‘ block, and it’s easy to use.

  • Insert the ‘Blog Posts‘ block in the place where you’d like to feature it on your upcoming new post. You’ll find the ‘Blog Posts‘ block under ‘Layout Elements.’ 
Bring old blog posts alive by using the ‘Blog Post’ block.
  • It will default to show the last three blog posts you published, but this can be changed. 
By default, the ‘Blog Posts ‘block displays your last three published blog posts
  • You can leave it as it is, or there are several settings you can switch on.
  • Today, I’m going to show you how to choose the blog posts you want to display.  
  • When you insert the block, on the righthand side of the page, a toolbar will open. Under Display Settings, look for Choose specific posts and slide the button to the ‘on’ position. 
Slide the ‘Choose Specific Posts’ button to the ‘on’ position.
  • In the ‘Posts‘ box, type in the title of a blog post you want to display. As you type, suggestions for blogs posts with the words you are using will appear. 
As you type, a list of your blog posts will appear.
  • Select the blog post you want to feature.
  • It will show as a tag in the Posts box.
  • If you’re going to add more blog posts, search for them by typing in more words in the Posts box.
Add more blog posts.
  • I recommend that you add no more than three posts. 
  • The Blog Posts block has lots of other settings, which you can read about here.

3. Add pingbacks to previous blog posts. 

If you’re not sure what a pingback is, or how to add them to blog posts, my post ‘How To Create A Pingback To A WordPress Blog‘ will help.

There’s nothing wrong with adding pingbacks and linking back to your previous blog posts.

In fact, I’d recommend that you have at least a couple of pingbacks in all your blog posts. However, you should always ensure that what you’re writing about is connected to the post you’re linking back too.

Did you know that pingbacks can be added to images, pictures and photos in all your blog posts? 

Let’s say I want to add a pingback to my blog post How To Use Excerpts To Get More Visitors To Read Your Blog Posts

Here’s the image I’m going to add to my new post, and which I want to add the pingback too. 

Blogging tips article. How to use excerpts to get more visitors to read your blog posts.
Let’s crate a pingback to this image.
  • After adding the image or photo, click on it to open up a toolbar, and click on the ‘link‘ icon.
To create a pingback, click on the ‘link’ icon
  • Search for the blog post you want to link too by typing the title of the post in the search bar. 
  • Add the post (by clicking on it).
Search for blog posts by typing in some words in the search bar.
  • Click on the small arrow to open up more settings, and slide the ‘open in a new tab‘ button to the ‘on‘ position.’ Now, when readers click on the image, the post will open up in a new window on their device.
Always ensure you switch on the ‘Open in new tab’ feature.
  • Click the ‘apply‘ button. 
Click on the ‘apply’ button.
  • Finally, add a caption informing readers to click on the image to be taken to the post. 
  • You can also create pingbacks in the caption you’ve added. 

Conclusion

  • The archives of your blog is a treasure trove of blog posts that can still bring in new visitors, comments and followers.
  • Don’t allow old blog posts to remain idle and not work for you.
  • New followers of your blog may not have read your previous blog posts. Put them in front of your new audience.
  • People who may have read your older posts are often thankful for the opportunity to read them again, especially if the post includes tips and advice.
  • Keep old blog posts up to date.
  • On the Gutenberg block editor, WordPress has made available a number of blocks that help to promote old blog posts. The ‘Blog Posts‘ block is the one featured in this post.
  • If you’re not already using the ‘Related Posts’ feature, consider switching it on.
  • Remember that you can create pingbacks to old blog posts from any images or photos included in all your future blog posts.

What about you?

  • Do you promote your old blog posts? If not, why not?
  • How do you promote your old blog posts?
  • What way(s) of promoting old blog posts has worked best for you?
  • Do you have much success when promoting old blog posts?

Join the discussion by leaving me a comment that I can respond to with more than just a ‘thank you.’

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also like…

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Centre Captions Under Blog Images On The Gutenberg Editor

Are you having problems getting captions under the images on your blog posts to align centre when using the Gutenberg editor?

When previewing the post, although captions looked centred, when a post is published, captions are aligned to the left under images, photos and pictures.

Centring captions

Up until a few weeks ago, I was having the same problem and was having to centre captions by creating a new paragraph block under images, photos and pictures, and centring the text from there.

However, this meant that if I used the same image again, I had to hunt down copyright notices because if I added details in the edit area of an image, the text always aligned to the left.

The result was captioning looked out-of-line, which in-turn spoilt the look of the images, photos and pictures, as well as the whole post. It wasn’t a look I liked.

However, with the help of the friendly folk at WordPress, I found a way of centring all captions when using any of the gallery or image blocks on the Gutenberg editor.

Let’s get started

  • Click on ‘My Site‘ or ‘My Sites‘ in the top left of your blog.
  • Click on Design, then on Customise.
Click on ‘Design’ then on ‘Customise’.
  • In the new menu that opens, click on the CSS Panel.
Click on the CSS Panel
  • Add the following code into the CSS box.

/* align caption on center-aligned images KG-15020525-hc */ .wp-block-image .aligncenter> figcaption { text-align: center; } /* KG-15020525-hc */

Add the code
  • Click publish.

You’re done

Captions under images, photos and pictures on all your blog posts will now be centred.

A happy ending for this last blogging tips post from me for 2019.

Don’t worry; I’ll be back with lots more blogging tips posts in the New Year and a few more other blog posts before the end of 2019.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Create A Pingback On A WordPress Blog

A pingback is a link that allows you to notify another blogger that you have linked to a post or article on their blog or website. In some cases, pingbacks are also known as trackbacks.

If the other blogger has a Pingback enabled website, then they can see a notification that you have linked to their article. They can then choose to allow your link to appear on their blog.

In turn, this may drive traffic to your blog when readers click on the pingback notification.

Creating pingbacks

Today, I’m going to show you how to create a pingback on the Gutenberg editor. It’s an easy process and is very similar to creating a pingback on the Classic editor (with just a few small differences).

Let’s get started

In the screenshots below, I’m creating a pingback on my ‘About Hugh’ page to an interview I recently did for blogger and author Esther Chilton.

  • First of all, decide which word or words you want to be the pingback link. In this case, I’m using the words ‘Esther Chilton Blog.’
  • Highlight the word or words you have chosen and click on the pingback link that appears in the window that opens.
Creating pingbacks
  • Copy and paste, into the URL box, the URL link to the blog post or article you want to link to.
Creating pingbacks

Tip – If you are linking to one of your own blog posts, you can search for the post by typing some words from the title of the post into the box.

  • Click on the ‘link setting’ arrow.
Creating pingbacks
  • In the new window that opens (under the box where you have pasted the URL link), slide open the ‘open in New Tab’ button.
Creating pingbacks

This is important because when anybody clicks on your pingback, the blog post you’ve linked to will open in a new window on their screen. Therefore, when they click on the pingback, your blog will not be closed down on their screen.

  • Click on the ‘apply pingback’ button and remember to save the changes to the post.
Creating pingbacks
  • Your pingback is now created and will be highlighted as a pingback on the post.
Creating pingbacks

Tip – You can also highlight the pingback by making the text bold. To do this, highlight the text and click on the ‘B’ – bold button.

  • Before publishing your post, preview it first and make sure the pingback works. Does it go to the right location? If not, delete the URL and insert the correct one.
  • Once you are happy that your pingback is working, publish the post.

Only create pingbacks to blog posts and sites that have a connection with the subject of the post you are publishing.

Advantages of having pingbacks on your blog posts.

  • Creates traffic to your blog.
  • They are SEO friendly.
  • Blog posts that include pingbacks are ranked higher by search engine optimisations (SEOs) such as Google and Bing.
  • Bloggers, whose blogs you link to, may link back to one of your blog posts.
  • They are a great way of promoting older blog posts you have published.

Warning – never create a pingback to the home page of a blog or website. Why? Because no notification is sent to the blogger whose post you are linking to.

Some experts recommend not allowing any pingbacks or trackbacks to a blog because they attract spam. However, by moderating all pingback notifications, you can prevent any spam pingbacks from appearing in the comments section of your blog posts.

Where possible, try and include at least one pingback in every blog post you publish.

You can use a mixture of pingbacks to your own posts as well as those of other bloggers. However, don’t have too many on a blog post as it can make them look messy. My recommendation is to have no more than one pingback for every 250 words in any post.

Pingback problems

One of the reasons why I changed to using the Gutenberg editor is that I was having lots of problems with pingbacks not working on the Classic editor.

Even today, I see lots of bloggers asking readers to also leave a link to their post despite a pingback being created to it.

I’m pleased to say that since changing to the Gutenberg editor, I’ve not experienced any problems with any of my pingbacks not working.

An invitation to create a pingback

If you’ve never created a pingback before, try creating one for this post. I’ll be happy to let you know if it’s worked and to include it in the comments section if it has.

If you encounter any problems creating a pingback, don’t hesitate to ask me for some help.

Do you use pingbacks, and how often do you use them? Have you had any experiences where pingbacks did not work?

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.