Leaflets versus Christmas Cards

I’ve seen two bloggers write postsabout how they have been screwed by reusable blocks, just in the last week. I think I understand them (reusable blocks, not those users 🤣), so if you are using them, but are not quite sure why you’re using them, read on…

Imagine that you are running a jumble sale. You want to publicise the thing, so you get 1,000 leaflets printed up. “Come to our jumble sale, in the church hall, 11 AM on Saturday”, or whatever. Makes sense, right? Because you don’t want to write it out 1,000 times.

So one person comes along, takes a leaflet. Someone else comes along 5 minutes later, takes another leaflet. Both people are reading exactly the same information. Church Hall, Saturday, 11 AM…

Those are reusable blocks. When you want to publish the exact same thing, again and again, you use a reusable block.

Next, imagine you are writing your christmas card list.

The first card reads “Dear Fred, Happy Christmas, Harold.”

The next one reads “Dear Mabel, Happy Christmas, Harold.”

The one after reads “Dear Bob, Happy Christmas, Harold.”

And so on. Each card is almost the same, but slightly different. In that scenario, you’re stuffed. You have to write all the cards individually.

So, in that case. you can’t use a reusable block. Even though only one word is different, each message is still different.

What this means in Blogland

If you write the exact same text, in post after post, then investigate reusable blocks.

For example, if you host a prompt, and you write some preamble, and every time you run the prompt, it is the same (including any links, formatting etc. Everything.), look at using a reusable block.

But, WordPress does not understand “nearly”. So, if you write something slightly different each time, reusable blocks are not for you.

Now, how many times do you write the exact same thing, same formatting, same links, and all? Almost never, right? So, what that should tell you is that there are very few occasions where using a reusable block is any use. And that is absolutely true! That should be everybody’s gut instinct.

So, when I have text that is almost the same, how do I avoid typing it all out again?

Well, the best way I have found is to go to my list of posts. Each post has “…” written right at the end of each line.

Click “…” and a menu appears. One of the options is “Copy Post”. This takes the original post, creates a new post, then copies everything from the old post to the new. I can then start making those changes.

At the end of this, the old post is left unchanged. The new one is saved as a Draft post until I publish it. Exactly what you would expect.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

20 thoughts on “Leaflets versus Christmas Cards”

  1. I don’t think I need reusable blocks, but anyway I nearly always write my blog posts in Microsoft Word first then paste them into my blog. I hadn’t heard of reusable blocks but at least I understand the idea now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did you know you can publish direct from Word? You create the document with a special template which saves you going to WordPress. SueW posted how a few weeks ago, I can try to find her post if you like.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been using blocks for ages and only just realised they’re reusable! I never write the same thing twice, but it’s also quite useful how you can shift them up and down in a post, play with images and embeds, etc!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to use reusable Blocks when I used the Block Editor, they were very useful. But that was before I decided The Block Editor was too restrictive.

    For Nans Farm and Weekly Prompts, I did the same as you. I set up a post with all the usual bumph to use as a template and then from the dashboard simply clicked Copy Post for each new one.

    But then I began using Microsoft Blogging Templates. So for my challenges and personal posts I have a Microsoft template saved for each site, then all I have to do is open the template and resave with a new title. I can add my photos directly onto the page and when I’ve finished typing the post I click ‘Publish as Draft’, and it’s automatically uploaded and saved to WordPress as a draft copy, plus the images have been saved to the media file.

    I’m not sure if there are any obvious advantages to using a Microsoft Blog template apart from the automatic spell checker and a thesaurus, but I enjoy using it because it’s something different.
    Gerry continues to use Copy Post accessed via the online dashboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit I published a post through Word when you first mentioned it, but have not used it since as I’m happy with the WP site. When I view posts in the reader pane, however, yours always have a font big enough that I can just read. With most others, I have to open the page and listen. which just takes longer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I changed the font size on the MS template and used Arial Black and was pleased with the result, though I think the font used on the site reverts to the default but thankfully remains blacker and larger. I am wondering if the same effect can be achieved on WP by using a paragraph size. I’m assuming it can. I agree with you – Some sites have themes that use ridiculously small fonts.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It was your post that prompted me, but another chap had trouble with them. The way to store & edit is clunky because they don’t have an explicit tab where you can manage all these blocks. They should have a tab of their own, like “pages” or something.

      I would have thought, though, that they might be ideal for prompts, if you’re writing something that stays the same, week after week. On my “life through the lens” posts, I use ine. The only thing I change each week is the last paragraph.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a block manager, though it’s not easy to find. It didn’t help me at all though. What happened is I pulled up my Sunday song block and somehow typed my new text into the block instead of underneath in a new paragraph. When I saved it, it turned EVERY one of my already published Sunday song posts into the new one. Then, it wouldn’t let me fix them! I was so enraged. I deleted all the messed up posts, but luckily lots of my Sunday song posts were made without the block, so it was only like a dozen that had to be dumped. Bit still it was maddening!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I use a lot of reusable blocks, even when I’m going to change something in them later. I copy the block, then click the “convert to regular block” in the block header and insert the variable stuff. It doesn’t change the reusable block because when I hit that convert button, it just makes a copy of the contents and puts them in a regular block. I should make a video…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand you. I didn’t know you could “change top regular vlock” but that makes sense. I often thought if they made their blocks with parameters, that would be useful. So you could do, like, a mailberge.

      Liked by 1 person

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