To start “change-it-up Tuesday,” I thought it might be fun to begin a new weekly feature using the WordPress Block Editor.
My computer’s pretty old and a little “crashy,” so I use the WordPress app on an iPhone. The app doesn’t quite match the desktop version for power yet, but they add things all the time.
In a post back in May, I talked about why I love WordPress. None of that has changed, except that I have become more familiar with the Block Editor since then.
What’s the Block Editir?
Unlike the Classic Editor, which gives you a big empty space to start making a page or post, the Block Editor needs to have something there before you can actually add any content. If you start a post in the Classic Editor, you can just start typing it; it’s like a blank document in a word processor. When you use the Block Editor, you need to add a “block” before you can type anything.
The most obvious kind of block is a paragraph block. It’s a “container” that holds a paragraph of text. There’s no limit to how long this paragraph can be, and if you press Enter or Return, you will be placed in a new, empty paragraph block.
There’s no need to copy and paste if you want to move an entire paragraph or other block.
Because your paragraphs are stored in “blocks,” you can move them around, bang them together, and build model houses with them. Well, okay, maybe not quite, but you can switch around the order they’re in.
Let’s say you have a post with a hundred blocks. It’s gonna win a longreads award, but there’s a problem. You notice that block number eighty-nine needs to be switched with block two. No problem! There are two handy buttons: one moves your currently selected block down, and the other one moves in up. It’s so easy to kick those blocks around, you can end up with chaos, but you can just move them until they’re where they belong.
I find block moving especially useful for pages and posts where I want to provide updates. I can just update the content, and then push the block up or down on the page. An example of this is this page. One block on it is about a children’s book that I’m writing. Nothing happened for a while, but when it did, I added the updated info and moved the block up the page so you’d be more likely to read my update. Compared to selecting, copying, and pasting, it’s a piece of cake!
The block before this text is a separator block, and is one of many other blocks you can add. You can add headings, videos, and images.
The image block is a cool critter. When you add it, it’s empty. If you tap on it, you get prompted to choose an image. You can pick one from your device, snap one with the camera, or get one from your WordPress media library. Then, there are the settings. You have some size options, and can pick anything from a thumbnail to the actual size. You can make the image clickable, and point your Visitors to a link relating to it. For exmaple, you could make a picture of your car link to your favorite site about that make and model.
Make sure you add alt text.
In the image settings scfreen, there is a box that says alt text. Not putting anything in this field is rude. There are people who don’t see at all or who have low vision. Alt text ensures that everyone on the Internet has access to your content. Your alt text should be descriptive. “My 2015 silver Honda Accord” is good. If you want to highlight how it looks, add that. “This is my 2015 silver Honda Accord. Had it for three years and not a a scratch! This shows the driver’s side and you can see my iPad on the driver’s seat.” (If it gets too long, add more description in a separate paragraph in your post or page itself.)
Whether or not your image is clickable, this text will tell Visitors what it is. Even if the image is decorative, tell people at least something about it. “Beautiful landscape with lake, houses, and trees” is fine.
There are lots of other kinds of blocks you can add, and the wonderful people at WordPress keep making new ones and improving old ones all the time, so the best way to learn about them is to create a WordPress site, if you don’t already have one, and start experimenting.
Happy blogging. Or is that “blocking?!”