The New WordPress Editor: Introduction & Basic Functions (with Screenshots & Step-By-Step Instructions)

Hi, friends. Happy New Year! 🙂 Speaking of things that are new…

A new editor has come to WordPress, and while using it isn’t mandatory for now, we’ll all (presumably) be forced to switch at some point. [It’s actually a few months old but new to me.]

Anticipating that, I have been using the new editor for a couple weeks. At first, I hated it, because who likes change? Now that I’m used to it, I like it more than the old one (mostly).

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

The Foundational Difference Between the Old & New Editor

The old editor works like the average text document, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. A blog post is essentially one text document filled with various components. All the options for formatting are arranged across the top. If you want to write a list, insert a blockquote, make a hyperlink, add an image, etc., you find the option in that menu at the top.

The new editor divides a post in blocks. Each paragraph of text, lists, section headings, blockquotes, images, videos, etc.–every different piece of a post is its own block. Rather than the post being one text document filled with various components, the post is a combination of blocks with each block being one of those components.

With the new editor, a whole post is like a finished puzzle, and each part of the post is a piece of it.

Why Move to a Block Format?

Once you get used to it, adding components to the post is actually faster and easier with the block format. The real reason for this change, though, is search engine optimization. As we all hopefully know, search engines are bots, not sentient beings. When a post is organized into separate pieces, algorithms can more easily decipher all the different parts of a post, thus making it easier for bots to assess our posts when matching up searches with relevant articles.

What Are the Basic Differences When Creating a Post?

With the old editor, every option for adding or changing things appeared in the top menu. (Screenshot #1)

old wordpress editor
Screenshot #1

With the new editor, the old menu at the top is gone. Every time you hit “Enter” when creating a post, a plus sign pops up on the left side. If you are simply typing sentences, just type as if you’re using the old editor–every block is set to normal text by default. If you want a section heading, a list, an image, or anything besides normal text, you click the plus sign and pick whichever option you want. (Screenshots #2 & #3)

new wordpress editor
Screenshot #2–The plus sign pops up on the left. Suggestions pop up on the right.
new wordpress editor
Screenshot #3–This menu appears when I click the plus sign.

When you want to highlight, italicize, underline, etc. in a block of text, click the mouse somewhere in the text and a menu appears. (Screenshot #4)

new wordpress editor
Screenshot #4

The menu on the right side now has two tabs. If you click “Document,” you see a menu that’s extremely similar to the old one (scheduling, categories, tags, etc.). The tab “Block” applies to whatever block the mouse is clicked in. (Screenshots #5 & #6)

There is a small menu at the top that includes a plus sign icon, undo, re-do, a “Content Structure” icon with word count and other info, and a “Block Navigation” icon with a list of the different kinds of blocks in the post. (Screenshot #7)

Screenshot #7

I have more to say, but I’ll get around to it; these are just some tips to help you transition. Though switching is not mandatory yet, I recommend that everyone try to get ahead of the curve. Also, don’t we all want more search engine hits?

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Blogging Tips & Tricks: Improve Your Blog Posts & Gain Followers

Hi, friends. Today’s post includes some tips for improving your blog posts and (hopefully) gaining loyal followers. My readers with an acute memory might see a few points rehashed from the past, but let’s be honest, do bloggers ever get tired of reading these types of posts? Not in my observation! Let’s get started.

Quick preface: I know that many bloggers I follow don’t abide by these tips or care about increasing their following. This is simply my advice for bloggers looking to grow.

Continue reading “Blogging Tips & Tricks: Improve Your Blog Posts & Gain Followers”

Celebrating Milestones & Random Blogging Tips

Hi, friends! Last time I wrote a post like this in March (Six Lessons in Six Months of Blogging), I had just passed 100 WordPress followers, and I now have over 250. Woot, woot!

The number isn’t impressive compared to other bloggers, but I’m willing to wait for slower audience growth if it means I can post Christian devotionals along with classic literature and movie comparisons and exercise posts and other random things without limiting myself to a niche.

Continue reading “Celebrating Milestones & Random Blogging Tips”

Six Lessons in Six Months of Blogging

Hi, friends. So, my first blog post was published in September 2017. I had a rocky start of minimal views, but don’t we all? The blog is flourishing more now. Depending on what they discuss, my posts average 20-40 views, and I passed 100 WordPress followers last week! Thanks so much to those who read consistently.

Below are six lessons I’ve learned in six months of blogging. The first three pertain to improving your blog posts, and the last three relate to being a blogger.

WWIR: What Would I Read?

I like the acronym WWJD, which stands for “What would Jesus do?” When you are racking your brain for content ideas, ask yourself, “What would I read?”  Whether you’re interested in books, movies, history, fashion, travelling, cooking, parenting, gardening, home improvement, a healthy lifestyle, Christian living, or something else, think of posts you’d like to read and write them yourself!

KISS: Keep It Short, Stupid!

This acronym usually stands for, “Keep it simple, stupid!” The more straight-forward version for blogging is, “Keep it short, stupid!” I struggle with succinctness, which may seem counter-intuitive…isn’t writing less words easier than writing more? Technically, yes; however, achieving a balance in length where you include the interesting and relevant facts or details without overbearing the reader is difficult.

Perhaps this is obvious, but the reason that shorter is better is because most readers are skimming your posts. They’re more likely to return if you make that easy. Speaking of which…

Vary the Formatting

The further your blog posts are from unflinching walls of text, the better–remember WWIR. Some basic tips are 1. press enter every couple sentences and 2. include a featured image (Pixabay and Unsplash have free images).

Further tips: Before writing a post, see if you can divide the information into sections with headers. After writing the post, go through and bold the most important sentences.  Highlighting important sentences could even help you edit out fluff (remember KISS). Bullet or numbered lists are also easy to digest.

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Optional extra: embed small images throughout the post by adding an image, resizing it, clicking on it, and selecting one of the four options in the pop-up bar for text wrapping. Hint: add the image on its own line, then use text wrap. Pasting an image in the middle of a paragraph/on a line of text and wrapping it looks fine on a desktop but bad on a cell phone.

Reach Out

To build an audience, you have to get proactive. Use tags in your posts and follow tags. Spend time looking through the posts on your followed tags and seek out interesting blogs. You can also search for key words. Spend less time on your Facebook feed and more on your WordPress feed. Spread the love liberally. Like posts. Comment on the posts that really strike you, even if it’s just, “Great post!” Blogging works like karma–you get what you give. 

Appreciate the Little Things

It’s easy to get discouraged because you wish you had more–more views, more likes, more comments, more email subscriptions, more social media followers, etc. Just remember that every like or comment means someone took time to read your post out of everything on the internet.

Now for some tough love: no one feels sorry for you because you don’t have more. Every blogger on the internet wants more, so buck up and make it happen. If you stop dwelling on your stats and focus on reaching out and appreciating any attention you get, your blog will grow. 

Don’t Give Up

If you enjoy blogging, be diligent. When the novelty of a new idea (like starting a blog) wears off, self-discipline carries you. A lot of people throw in the towel when they realize they aren’t going viral any time soon. If you’re writing posts that are helping you grow personally or intellectually, and if you’re learning from others while making genuine connections, try not to lose sight of the value in those things during stagnant times.

Sometimes, “uphill battle” seems like an understatement–more like ninety degree angle battle. Some days, I give thirty likes to get one. Some days, I spend thirty minutes looking through tags without finding any blogs that intrigue me. But it’s worth it to reflect on the progress I’ve made in just six months.

Thanks for reading! And thank you for all your likes, comments, and follows!