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Are you struggling with the WordPress editor? Can’t quite make your blog posts look exactly the way you want? In this guide, we walk you through the basics of using the Gutenberg WordPress Editor so you can safely create, edit, and publish content on your site.
Why WordPress Editor is so Important
If you want to be able to easily publish posts on your WordPress site, you need to understand how the WordPress editor works – this is the part of your dashboard that is specifically designed to help you publish content. Without it, you can not submit blog content … which means your SEO ranking stays flat … which means customers will not find your site. So mastering the editor is pretty important!
With WordPress’ latest update of the Gutenberg editor, you’re able to create feature-rich posts and pages that capture your audience’s attention without having to know any code. Below, we review a few basics to get started with the right foot.
Quick tips for improving your WordPress Editor today
The Gutenberg editor is amazing and a step up from WordPress’ old editor. There are still a number of options for creating posts, called “blocks”, which it does not automatically include. This is where it can be useful to upload a WordPress plugin that gives you more block options to build your posts with.
For that there are Gutenberg Blocks – Ultimate Addons to Gutenberg. Once uploaded and activated, you will have access to a list of additional Gutenberg blocks that will help you build your posts and pages faster.
These block add-ons for your editor help you easily create things like forms, step-by-step instructions, embedded notifications, stylized call-to-action sections, a Google Maps location insertion, icons, buttons, price charts, opinions, or even a table of contents.
Note that if you use the Astra theme, the plugin also gives you access to lots of pre-built pages that you can customize and publish. Fortunately, the plugin is free and you can download it here.
Know the basic blocks
One of the more obvious WordPress editor tips we can give you is to know the basics of your WordPress editor. Not exactly groundbreaking, we know. However, if you take the time to learn the basics, navigating the more complex features of the editor will be much easier.
For example, some of the more useful things to know about your WordPress editor are the basic blocks like section, headline, quote and list.
During post layout, you can also choose whether to display your content with a sidebar or without one.
On the right side of your editor, you have a few options to choose from when editing your content.
With the Preview button you can look at what your content will look like once you have published it. From there, when you customize your content in the editor, you have the ability to customize Permalink, categorize it, and the ability to change the status and visibility of your post just to name a few.
Everyone’s editor will look a little different depending on any features that may appear when adding a plugin. Our right WordPress menu looks like this:
As you can see, there are quite a few options here, including an area to change the visibility of your content, Yoast SEO options, you can switch open to edit, which will appear if you download and activate Yoast SEO the plugin, the Permalink option, which lets you edit your URL, the number of changes you have made to your content, your content categories, and the tag function. There is also a Highlighted image section that you can switch open to upload an image to your post, the Excerpts section if you want to write a manual excerpt, and finally you have the discussion section where you can turn comments and pingbacks on or off.
The best way to become familiar with the basics of your WordPress editor is to spend a few minutes tinkering with an unpublished draft and see what your changes look like as you go using the Preview feature. That way, you feel comfortable enough to start publishing genuine content for your blog once you’m satisfied with your editing results.
Change the view
Did you know that you can change your WordPress edit view to HTML? When you right-click on a block, you can select Edit as HTML and you can see your content edits in HTML.
How is this useful? Once you have converted a block element to HTML form, you can see which attributes create which changes. This can be useful if you want to manually add HTML changes to specific blocks of text.
Get comfortable with HTML shortcodes
Once you are familiar with card codes, you will love how easy they make your life. A short code is a bit of a square bracket that you can place in any post or page to perform a function.
When you e.g. Having added a shortcode to one of your posts through the WordPress editor, you can do things like automatically display image galleries, easily add a sign-up form, or integrate a playlist into your post or page without knowing anything about code.
If card codes sound convenient, it’s because they are. But only once do you learn to use them. The best way to become familiar with and use shortcodes is by using a shortcodes plugin. This is where a plugin like Shortcodes Ultimate can be useful.
After uploading and activating it on your WordPress dashboard, it gives you access to a long list of shortcodes that you can paste into any part of your post.
Note that you can insert your own card codes by finding it through the Add Block section by searching for “card code”. A block will appear where you can then insert your code.
Once you have downloaded Shortcodes Ultimate, however, you can insert a shortcode by clicking on the parentheses icon.
Then you will get a pop up with a comprehensive list of card codes that you can insert and change according to the content of your heart.
Create recyclable blocks
The great thing about using the WordPress editor is that you can create reusable blocks for settings that you often use in your content.
When you e.g. Having styled a heading to be bold in blue letters, you can navigate to the three dots and click Add to Recyclable Blocks. From there, you will be able to access your newly created block through the Recyclable Block section. To rename your blocks and keep them organized, simply navigate to Manage All Recyclable Blocks to rename your blocks and save your changes.
Learn how to create categories
Creating categories is a bit of a tangential feature that compliments the editor. Once you have created your content in the WordPress editor, you can in the menu on the left choose which of your categories you want your content archived under. But you can not do that unless you learn how to create categories first.
To do this, navigate to the category section in the left menu from your WordPress editor and click Add New Category.
From there, you can add a category name, a parent category, and then save all your changes by clicking Add New Category. Once you have added your category list, the next time you create content through the WordPress editor, you can arrange it correctly under the corresponding category.
This feature not only helps keep your content organized, but it can also help with SEO as it helps Google rank your content more effectively.
Learn a few keyboard shortcuts
Another feature that can save you time when using your WordPress editor? Keyboard shortcuts. They can be huge time savers when writing your content and adding images, researching and switching back and forth between tabs.
Some of the easiest shortcuts to learn that will be helpful when using the editor are things like copy and paste, bold, edit links, select all your text, undo or repeat.
WordPress does a great job of listing some of the most popular keyboard shortcuts in the order you can see here.
But here I have listed some of the most common. For Windows, make sure to use “Cntrl + the designated key” and for Mac its “Command + the designated key”:
Copy is the letter “c” Paste is the letter “v” Select all is the letter “a” Edit link is the letter “k” Bold text is the letter “b” Undo is the letter “z” Repeat is the letter “y”
I recommend that you spend a few seconds playing with some keyboard shortcuts so you can get a feel for what it’s like to use them while typing. You see how much time and tedious back and forth they save you.
Long-term strategies for WordPress Editor
We went through a few things you could do to tame your WordPress editor in minutes. But what can you do in the long run to make sure you get the most out of your editor?
Add Yoast SEO Plugin
One of the easiest and best ways to improve your WordPress editor is to add Yoast SEO plugin. With it, you can make sure that your posts are optimized for search engines without doing so much more work.
Once enabled, the plugin connects to a specific section of your WordPress editor, where you can enter a target keyword, edit and add a meta description, and check your post for an overall SEO “health score”.
The WordPress editor does not really come with built-in SEO tools. But with a tool like Yoast SEO, whether you are using its free version or upgrading to its premium features, you will be sure to give your content the best chance of being ranked in the search results.
Learn the basics of HTML for free
Learning the basics of HTML can help you understand and navigate the WordPress editor a little easier. If you can not change your content with the Shortcodes Ultimate or Gutenberg Blocks plugin, you will want to learn some HTML to be able to change your content to exactly what you are looking for.
There are plenty of generous free resources out there that can help you do that without having to pay a dime. Sites like Code Academy, W3 Schools or Udemy offer lots of free guides and free courses to help you grasp at least the basics.
Take a coding course
If you really want to dive deep and see how far you can take your WordPress editor, you can always take a coding course to strengthen your knowledge of the subject. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of coding courses out there that can help you learn about coding from scratch, even if you do not know what it means when you hear someone say “CSS.”
Course platforms like Skillshare offer courses at fairly reasonable prices to choose from. You can browse each course to see student reviews and even course summaries.
Learning to code is not only a great way to become more comfortable with the WordPress editor, it is also a skill worth having that you can use for in many different ways that take you beyond the WordPress editor.
The editor is just one of a number of features that WordPress offers through its user dashboard. After building lots of websites with WordPress ourselves, we know what it’s like to get through the initial learning curve. But fear not, we always come up with ultimate guides to all WordPress that will help you achieve your site goals.
For example, you can learn how to edit your WordPress footer here. If you’re still looking for the perfect blog theme, we’ll put together a list of the best WordPress themes after hours of comparison and contrast between the best.
Want to learn what users actually do when they land on your WordPress site? Be sure to check out our list of the best plugins for heatmap.
This article was written by today’s Daily Eggspert.
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