More WP Lessons Learned

I know, I know, technical posts and math are never welcome on a Monday, but I think some bloggers might appreciate this post. If you aren’t in that group, skip to the gallery and enjoy the photos.

Last week, as I was preparing to publish my first post as the Thursday Door Dude (as John Howell commented), I was looking for a few ways to make the experience easier for contributors and my regular readers. I learned a few things about WordPress and the Block Editor in the process, and I thought I’d share them with you today.

When Norm Frampton was hosting Thursday Doors, he used a title that could be guessed in advance. Norm is more disciplined than I am. If I attempted to do that, I’d slip up every other week and title my posts ‘Vacation Doors’ or something and your link wouldn’t work. I decided that, for the contributors who want to include a link so they have a Pingback visible before they have a chance to comment, I could publish my link in a sidebar widget the day before my post is published. The link won’t work until my post is published, but you can include it whenever you like. This requires a simple three-step process:

  • Schedule my post in advance.
  • Copy the URL (URLs are not visible until a post is scheduled or published, but they do not change once the post is scheduled)
  • Paste the URL into a sidebar widget whose visibility is controlled.

OK, I said it requires three things, but that third thing is a doozy. If you use a sidebar on your blog, you can control where it appears in the list (drag it up and down) and also when it appears. I want the link for Thursday Doors to be easy to find. I also want the badge for the We Are The World Blogfest to be easy to find but I don’t have to choose. They can occupy the same space, just not at the same time.

Each sidebar widget has a “Visibility” control. You can “Show” or “Hide” a widget base on what Category it’s in, the Author, a Tag, the Date, the Page it’s on or it’s Taxonomy (which makes me shudder because I used to have to define that term for people…please don’t ask). I set the WATWB badge to show, when the category is ‘WATWB’ and I set the Thursday Doors link to appear when the categories are One-Liner Wednesday or Thursday Doors. So, if the post is for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, neither widget is visible.

The next bit gets into the weeds a bit. I am trying to avoid any weeds above knee high, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

I realize a few things about participation in Thursday Doors, blogging and reading blogs. One is that we don’t always have a lot of time. The other is that some people, me included, like to read the comments other people leave. For Thursday Doors, reading comments is essential since that’s how people share their doors. But what if you just want to leave a comment about my doors or you want to leave your link and come back later? Do you really want to scroll and scroll and scroll? At the time I was writing this post, there were 134 comments. Good news for Thursday Doors, but yikes!

You will now notice this Block under my gallery on my Thursday Doors post:

This is now a reusable block, so you will see it at the bottom of every Thursday Doors gallery.

Please note: I am skipping 238 technical words and three technical screen shots when I say that I discovered the fact that the string “LEAVE A REPLY” above the new comment form is formatted the same way as an “Anchor” that WordPress can link to. OK, I lied. I’m including one of those technical screen shots – I just can’t resist.

Internal links begine with ‘#’ and then the element ID. You don’t want these opening in a new tab.
Fortunately, that ‘LEAVE A REPLY’ heading is a unique element on the page. So we can link to it.
If you put the cursor on anything in a webpage, right-click and select “Inspect Element,” this window opens. It let me find the name of the “reply-title” element so I could link to it.

Last on the list is a Block Editor technique that some of you might have missed. It’s actually a feature that was available in the Classic Editor, but it’s not as obvious. I posted this tip as a comment in Maggie Wilson’s blog; perhaps it bears repeating. If you want to change the size or justification of an Image block in the block editor:

  • Select the block by clicking on it.
  • Drag any one of the four “handles” to change the size of the image. The image will scale proportionately regardless of what handle you choose. You can also find the more familiar Image Settings in the right-hand tool bar of the Block Editor if you have that tool bar visible while editing your post.
  • Click on the justification menu in the Image Block toolbar and select center.

That’s it for today. If you have any questions about these (or any other) features, feel free to ask in a comment or reach out to me via email. I am not always able to help, but I am always willing to try. Now, A train leaves Philadelphia heading to Chicago at 80 miles per hour…

If you clicked on “skip to the gallery” you got here because this is an anchor point.

87 comments

    1. I do. Most of these features work in Preview mode, so I was able to test them. Once I created the Reusable Block to skip to the new comment form, I added it to last week’s Thursday Doors post, and it works like a champ. It’s great for me, as it lets me skip down to the area where the latest comments and links to doors are.

      Like

  1. Every time I read one of your technical posts, I realize why I come to you when I have a computer problem.
    Which, as a matter of fact on that subject, my computer, when idle used to shut the screen off after 10 min. and the tower asleep after 15 min. – as programed. But now, if it starts up for a n update (?), it does not go back to sleep. I’ve tried re-setting the times in the control panel, but no go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe the reason is that when Windows Update runs, it runs with a setting that disables Sleep Mode. That is to prevent the computer from going to sleep during a lengthy update. There is a way to determine if that process is running, if it’s running with the sleep-inhibitor and there’s a way to kill it, but it might be easier to reboot…twice. The reason you have to reboot twice is that Windows Update starts again when you reboot after an update, in case there are clean-up tasks scheduled. So, you reboot and see the “Windows Update is finishing…” screen for a few minutes. Once that’s done, and you’re back at your desktop, restart again and your programmed sleep mode should work.

      Of course, that’s guesswork on my part ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very glad I’ll never need to offer a link like the one you walked us through. Heck, I’m still flipping back to the simple classic when I post. No weeds here!
    Lovely sky photos… and Maddie looks quite stylish in her winter finery.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I applaud your computer and your DIY skills. That being said, I still pray every time i log in to do a post that I can still find ‘classic editor.’ In comparison with other folks in my age group, I’m fairly computer literate, but when I read something like this I realize I’m totally over the hill. I also realize I’m okay with that because I have no need to do what you described here and won’t sign up to do it in this lifetime. :-) I am trying to figure out if I can add a PowerPoint slide show to a volunteer blog I manage or if I need to import each slide as a photo which I’ve done before. Happy Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kinda like figuring these things out, and I like having the option to skip to the bottom of the comment list.

      As for the PowerPoint, if you save your slide deck as a PowerPoint Show, you can add it to your WordPress media library like you add photos. You can then link to it in your blog post. I’m not sure if you can embed it, but you can definitely add the link. The link might require the reader to download the slideshow, but they can then run it. Once the show runs, they will be instructed to Press Esc to exit the show, at which point their browser will return to your post.

      At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Here, give it a try – https://nofacilities.com/ppt-slideshow/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I got tangled in the weeds at the word ‘technical’ but I thought I could muscle through, show support for a friend. I was wrong. I bailed. I tried Dan, I really tried. The side of my brain that understands math abdicated its responsibilities and now lives in Florida. Never writes, never calls. My angst eased when I got to the pictures. Ahhhh . . . Nice coat Maddie. Love the leaves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s fine, Pam. I didn’t expect many people to hang in there for this one. But, I spent so much time figuring this out that I decided I might as well get a blog post out of it. If I started telling David about this on Saturday, I think he might stick me with the bill and exit while pretending to use the Men’s Room.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the “skip to the comment box” feature. It’s like the “jump to the recipe” feature rather than scrolling through lengthy directions and multiple photos when all I want to know are the sum of the ingredients. This will be very helpful to those who want to leave a comment and run.

    Nice photos, Dan. I see MiMi is up to her contortionism (that paw sticking out is too funny) and you also have geese going the wrong way. We still have a few geese hanging around, perhaps because we’ve been pretty dry and snowless around here.

    Have a great Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great analogy, Mary. I’m worried about giving people the option to skip my explanations, though ;-)

      MiMi loves to stretch, and I don’t often resist the urge to grab that paw, but it never ends well.

      Have a great Monday and a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I followed your advice Dan and went straight to the gallery!

    Maddie with her beautiful warm winter coat on. She looks so chic. MiMi looks toasty warm. And I imagine MuMu was guarding her brush somewhere!

    I had to bring Smokey in closer because at first glance, the way the light hit him, he looked like a skunk! Lol. Great sunrise shots.

    Today’s pictures definitely reflect winter. Love the ice photos, especially the first one. Looks like a bunch of discarded blown glass shapes from a beginners class!!

    We’re not getting out of the 30’s today. Too cold for my old bones! Stay warm and cozy up on the couch with Maddie. Keep safe. More safe if possible. Happy Monday.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good move on your part, Ginger. Maddie had great fun busting up that ice. She was like a little kid. We bundled-up and walked today when it was 24° – she just loves it.

      MuMu has been waking us up between midnight and 3:00am to be brushed. She’s lucky the brush doesn’t go flying in her direction. I need to reset that cat’s alarm.

      Smokey does look like a skunk with the light under his tail. I hadn’t noticed that :-)

      We’ll return to non-technical on Wednesday. Stay safe and warm.

      Like

  7. Okay, fun things first! My favorite is the leaves and ice, followed by that pink sunrise. I love Maddie’s dapper vest and so glad she stepped right into it. As for the rest, you are a very diligent, dedicated and generous soul to give such useful and concise technical information. I am just too esthetically and not technically oriented to delve into the intricate workings of WP. I don’t get as much traffic on Blogger but you and a few other very dedicated souls do visit me there and I am ever grateful. I have had a few technical things to work out there but it seems a more programmer friendly environment as opposed to a process oriented system. Funny, I will go to great lengths for my photo editing and patience abounds. We are very lucky to have you forging the way to better blogging through technical awareness. 👍🏻👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The nice thing about Blogger, is that it allows JavaScript (WordPress does not). That’s why my utilities page is located there. We all have skills and patience for a limited set of things. You do what you do very well.

      Thanks for the comment – Maddie loves her vest. She wore it today, but I messed up and put one leg through the neck and one through the wrong leg-hole. My wife had to help her out of that.

      Like

  8. This is one of those pieces of ‘coding magic’ many will not understand but everyone will appreciate. Look at you becoming the next great WordPress Guru! I was impressed I could follow along and understand although I am still not using the block editor. The ice and the pink sky are gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If nothing else, I hope people realize that there are ways to get things to work the way you want, even if a clear option isn’t available. I don’t know about guru, but I’ve managed to wrestle WordPress to the mat on a couple occasion.

      I hope your off to a good start this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I must be blind because I looked, and looked at your sidebar last week over and over again looking for that widget you mentioned but I never could see it on your page. I ended up just coming back to your page later and linking up in the comments. Hopefully, I’ll see it this week! I have no idea how to code or even attempt to mess with the things or else I’m sure to mess up my blog. 😀

    The frozen leaves and skies are just lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I made a couple of missteps last week, so the widget wasn’t always visible, and it wasn’t always where I wanted it. I think I fixed all of that. Thanks for comment about the photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I got in the weeds, but fought my way back out. :) You know I don’t understand any of this, but it sure is fun to read. After our conversation about resizing photos, I found the way to do it on my computer before I post them. Woohoo for small victories!
    You captured some very pretty sunrises, Dan. I never get up that early and, in fact, was floored when I received a confirming phone call for an 8:30 doctor appointment next week. What planet was I on when I scheduled that??!!
    Maddie looks so pretty in her vest, and I can imagine the fun busting that ice. Cool photos of the leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m testing all the advice I give on my own blog after the bad advice I gave you on those images, Lois. I still feel bad. Resizing before uploading is the best option.

      Maddie loved smacking that ice. Our first dog preferred that park to the larger park. Dogs 2 and 3 preferred the larger one across the street, as did Maddie until about two months ago. Our first dog also loved to break the ice with her paws, especially if there was yucky gross water and gunk underneath.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. The post is a challenge to read if it isn’t something you’re immediately interested in. I get that :) I’m glad you liked the pictures. I hope your week is off to a good start,

      Like

  11. I like that anchor thing. I’m going to have to write a post that needs it, just so I can use it. As for the pictures, the only thing I like better than pictures of sunsets/rises and critters is pictures of other people’s ice. Good job all around!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved the photos, Dan. Out of respect, I read your instructions to see if an old dog could learn something new. I decided that given my denseness I should have skipped to the gallery. I need a drink now, and I have two hours to go. I appreciate you. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I do like that “skip to comments” bit, I may do that. Sometimes it’s a lot of scrolling.
    Love the black and white of Smokey, and the ice Maddie broke with her paws. We’ve not had any snow that sticks yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. for someone still struggling with the “new” wp editor, and (wimpily?) choosing the classic editor when possible, I appreciate the “skip to the gallery” anchor and “jump to the comment form” block (although I did read this entire post, honest :D.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Dan – I think you lost me … but what the ” ‘ell ” … I’ll be around to comment anyway. Wonderful photos – while Maddie’s coat looks very comfortable … we’ve even had some snow and ice over here – though didn’t reach me here … I’m pleased to say! We did sit outside for a coffee this a.m. – millpond sea, some winter sun and little wind – quite delightful for a change. Take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Hilary. Maddie loves wearing that coat. It seems to energize her as we walk. It’s been cold here, but we manage to sit outside for a little bit when the sun is strong. Take care.

      Like

  16. Well I got here late for this one. And even on a Tuesday morning I was not quite ready for the WP technicalities. Though I might appreciate them at a later date. Good pics. Like the ice. At first I thought the train comment was a lead in to a W.C. Fields joke. At least it lead me to a bunch of his quotes. “I cook with wine, and sometimes I even add it to the food.” Now how fast was that train going young man…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thanks, Dan. Your instructions are good, but I intend to use the classic editor for as long as they’ll let me. I’m used to it and it does what I need it to do. If WP does eventually force me to the block editor, I’m sure I’ll be emailing you for help.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Dan, um I mean Thursday Door Dude – haha – you are so hospitable – and I love how ncousive you ares to know that some of us will visit but not be able to post – but still want to explore the doors! further, scrolling and scrolling comments can be rough – and as you astutely noted – there are time we pour over the comments and interact – whereas other times we really want to only add our thoughts and need to get going –
    so all of that to say thanks for thinking of these things for the challenge – and then explaining the text stuff –
    and w left off with the train and I was wondering if….. — nah – just kidding

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, Robbie. Managing the Thursday Doors blog challenge is causing me to be a bit more organized. Before this, there were a number of Thursdays when I got up at 5:00 am to assemble my post.

      Like

  19. Dan, another great setting we all have access to on WordPress is one where you can set the number of comments ‘per page’ that appear on a post. Once you get to that number of comments, a button appears saying ‘older’ or ‘newer’ comments (depending on whether you show older or newer comments first). You’ll find the setting on the newer dashboard under Manage – Settings – Discussion. On the Discussion page, go to the ‘Comments’ box, and you’ll see an option for ‘Break comments into pages…’ Switch it on and add the number of comments you want per page and whether you want the last or first page to appear first. Once set, readers won’t have to scroll past too many comments before they get to the comments box. I’ve set mine to 30 comments per page.
    Personally, I enjoy reading the comments because not only can they introduce me to new blogs, but they also give me ideas for future posts.

    And I’ve seen so many bloggers asking the question ‘how do I resize an image on the Block editor?’ It’s easy once you know how, but if I come across anyone asking that question, I’ll direct them here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hugh. Limiting the comments to so many per page is an option I’ve tried to avoid. I like reading the comments, and I see a fair amount of interaction between commenters (which always makes me feel good). For Thursday Doors, I need the comments to be visible to drive traffic to the participants. I’m going to be investigating other ways to handle participation. I’ve use Linky lists in the past, and I really don’t like them.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Same here, Dan. I like reading the comments too, but I get what you mean. I don’t mind seeing the older/newer comments button. I’ve even had some readers tell me that they didn’t leave a comment on a previous post because it was too far to scroll down to get to it! I’ve also recently seen a new version of the linky list where you’re taken to a completely different page to leave your link and view the links that have already been left. I much prefer seeing links on the same page.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Yep, time is an issue and replying later will help sometimes, at least for me ;) I doubt I’ll ever use anchor points myself, but I did figure out the photo justification/sizing thing on accident. Just glad I haven’t had to call in the pro computer gurus yet. haha Always appreciate the teaching moments tho cuz, you just never know…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That is way more technical than I am, Dan. When I started Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays back up for Colleen Chesebro, she suggested that I use Mr. Linky. It’s very simple. to embed, takes people to another site and then records all their post addresses so you have them all in one place. Some people just use pingback by pasting my blog address somewhere in their post, and many post their link in the comments. BTW, I still have my challenge series of interviews going. I would love to interview you about taking over Doors.

    Like

  23. It would be great if the LEAVE A REPLY element with the block editor, my old text of the comments could be deleted?
    (I’ve tried and asked people, but no one knew how to change that text)
    Does that actually happen?
    Am glad I have no side widget, because that would be another thing to take care of, lol.

    Like

  24. It sounds like you’re making great progress in learning how to manipulate the block editor. If I’m honest I can say I read this but probably only retained 5%. It’s late and I’m tired, though, so maybe I’ll give it another shot tomorrow. Thanks for the tips!

    Like

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