As a WordPress blogger, you’ll likely find there are certain times when you use the same content in multiple places. That content might be an image, video, text or a combination of all or some of them. Repetitive tasks use up your time and tend to be tedious. The good news is you can automate the process of creating content items you need to use more than once. This post explains how to implement reusable blocks in WordPress to automate the production of content blocks you’ll require more than once.
I’ll outline how you can take advantage of reusable blocks in WordPress to free up your time. In the course of this post I’ll:
- Explain what WordPress reusable blocks are.
- Identify when you’ll likely require them.
- Teach you how to create and use reusable blocks.
- Show you how to edit them.
Reusable blocks are easy to set up and this 2 minute guide will explain how!
What Are Reusable Blocks?
Reusable blocks were introduced in the WordPress block editor called Gutenberg. This first surfaced in WordPress release 5.0 (in December 2018) and remains a feature of all releases since then.
Gutenberg is designed to make creating and editing WordPress posts and pages a more simple and intuitive process without the need for knowledge of fancy workarounds or HTML.
Each content item in the Gutenberg world (headlines, text paragraphs, images or video, appears in its own block. Blocks can be modified, moved around or deleted in a far simpler way than the classic WordPress text editor allows. Gutenberg had a bad rap initially, but in my view it’s a far more slick way to edit content.
Reusable blocks enable you to create blocks of content, which can be saved and pulled into any page or post whenever you require them.
The real beauty of reusable blocks is that if you ever need to update that specific block of content, you only ever need to edit the reusable block rather than having to look for every instance of that content across your WordPress blog and editing them all by hand.
Reusable blocks are a HUGE timesaver.
Where Might You Use Them?
There are several places where you might use reusable blocks in your WordPress blog:
- Feedback forms.
- Standard endings to your posts.
- A call to action at the end of your posts, such as requesting comments.
- A specific promotion you want to pull into posts and pages, such as affiliate offers.
- Pre-formatted tables.
- Social media calls to action.
Extending the above, you can create a reusable block containing a group of blocks. These might contain elements you use in all your posts, such as title sections, calls to action, summaries and promotions. This creates a type of post or page template, which I’ll show you how to do a little later.
One other super useful facet of reusable blocks is you can import / export them into / from WordPress. This means use can use them on other blogs, share them with other WordPress users or simply back them to keep them safe.
How to Create Reusable Blocks in WordPress
1. You create reusable blocks simply by adding a block to a page or post.
2. Add your content text / image(s) / video or whatever you need to reuse:
3. When you’re done, click the three dots at the top right of the block and select the “Add to Reusable Blocks” option:
This adds the content into a reusable block which you’ll need to give a memorable name. This is important because over time you may end up with dozens of blocks and you’ll need a way to identify each of them so you can find them easily and pull them into your posts when you need them.
4. When you’ve created a memorable name for your block, click “Save”.
Congratulations, you’ve just created your first reusable block… now you need to know how to use them whenever you require the content they hold.
How to Add Reusable Blocks to Posts and Pages
Whenever you want to pull a reusable block into a post or page you simply create a new block and then click the + symbol that appears to the top left. This opens up your block options along with a search box to filter available blocks for the one you want. In the image below, you can see I’ve searched for the reusable block I created for this tutorial (My New Reusable Block).
Just click on the reusable block you require and this automatically adds it to your post or page.
How to Edit Reusable Blocks in WordPress
There may come a time where you need to update content you’ve saved in a reusable block to update the content for all posts / pages using it. You can do this in several ways.
1. You can edit reusable blocks by adding the block you wish to edit into a post and clicking the edit button:
2. It’s also possible to edit them by clicking the “More Tools & Options” button in the top right hand side of your screen when you’re in post / page edit mode and selecting the “Manage All Reusable Blocks” option:
The above method takes you to the following page in your WordPress dashboard: yoursite.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=wp_block. So as an alternative to clicking “More Tools & Options” you could just bookmark the link to visit as and when you want to edit a particular reusable block.
3. You might also want to use the contents of a reusable block for a specific post / page, but not update the block itself.
You do this by adding the block you need as I’ve outlined above. When the block appear in your post, select it and click on the three dots at the top left of the block:
Click on the “Convert to Regular Block” option… but make sure you DO NOT click Remove from Reusable Block.
When you’ve done this you can edit the contents of the block for the specific page you’re working on without updating it for all posts and pages also using that block.
How to Create a Reusable Group of Blocks
I mentioned earlier that you might want to create a group of blocks you want to use as a kind of template to use for posts or pages. This can help to save you time by automatically pulling into a post the elements you use most often. This is actually really simple to do.
To create a group of blocks and add them all into a reusable block all you need to do is to:
- Create the blocks you want to use in your reusable block group.
- Select them all at once by dragging your cursor, or SHIFT + click the blocks you require. All selected block will appear as shaded.
- Click the three dots that appear at the top left of the selected block group.
- Click the “Add to Reusable Blocks” option.
- Give the group a memorable name.
- Save it.
These are precisely the same steps for creating a reusable block for a single block item.
How to Import and Export Reusable Blocks
I also mentioned at the top of this post that you can export and import reusable blocks. This is an extremely useful function that enables you to:
- Copy your blocks to other WordPress blogs you own, so you don’t need to recreate them from scratch. This is especially useful in cases where you build out a complex reusable block containing many block elements.
- Share your reusable blocks with other WordPress users.
- Make back ups of your blocks just in case anything bad ever happens.
You can import and export blocks from the “More Tools & Options” menu (the three dots at the top right of your WordPress post editing screen) and select the “Manage All Reusable Blocks” options.
This takes you to your blocks screen:
You export reusable blocks by hovering over a specific block to and clicking the “Export as JSON” option. To import a block click the “Import from JSON” button.
- Reusable blocks are a feature of the WordPress Gutenberg editor, which is included in all WordPress releases since December 2018.
- They are an incredibly useful WordPress feature that can help you to save time if you often use content across multiple posts / pages.
- You might take advantage of reusable blocks for a number of things in WordPress, including feedback forms, endings to your posts, calls to action for your comments sections or newsletter signups, affiliate promotional banners.
- You can group multiple blocks into a reusable block to use as a template for blog posts.
- Reusable blocks can be exported and imported.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in more tips like this, check out my other WordPress tutorials.
Please share your experiences of WordPress reusable blocks in the comment section below.
James Pierce says
Paul, this is such a cool feature and one that I’ve heavily underused! Especially now that I want to add the rel=”sponsored” tags to my affiliate links having a reusable block is so much easier than manually editing the links every single time. Thanks for sharing this technique! Cheers, James
No problem James. There’s was a lot of bad press about the Gutenberg Block Editor when it was first released and in fairness some of it was justified. Many of these issuettes have been tidied in subsequent releases and I think it’s a pretty slick tool these days.