The Latest Posts Block, Query Loop Block & Alternatives

Blog posts are usually displayed on a WordPress website either on the homepage, or on a separate blog page if that’s been specified in the site’s setttings. WordPress also creates archive pages for categories and tags. Some themes will provide options so that you can control the look of the blog and archive pages. For example, GeneratePress Premium has a blog add-on with lots of settings. GP Premium also includes advanced features enabling you to use the Block Editor to design archive pages – see the YouTube Video “GeneratePress – Block Element Content Template Demo“.

However, sometimes people want to show some of their posts within the body of another page of the website, or in a widget area.

For the last few years, whenever I’ve wanted to display a list of selected posts on a WordPress page or post, I’ve turned to the WP Show Posts plugin. But I feel that in general it’s best to use core WordPress blocks when they are sufficient for my purposes and to install plugins only when they add extra features.

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Building a Homepage with GenerateBlocks

This article sits alongside another one, “Building My “Standard” Demo Site“, as I thought it was worth going into more detail about the homepage of my Standard demo website.

The Standard website uses the GeneratePress theme and the GeneratePress Premium plugin, but I’ve built the homepage using just core WordPress blocks and the free versions of the GenerateBlocks and Kadence Blocks plugins.

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Experimenting with WordPress Image Sizes

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep images as small as possible because loading large images will slow a site down. However, they should never be uploaded with a smaller size, in pixels, than the size at which they will be displayed. For example, if an image is 600px wide but it is enlarged to stretch across the full width of the screen then it will look terrible.

The difficulty is that you need to balance “as small as possible” with your desire to display high quality images and you should take into account the purpose of the image. It will be important that the images in a photographer’s portfolio look fantastic, but if all you are doing is using a picture of a sundial to illustrate a blog post on time managment, then you may not be so fussy.

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Creating a Mood Board with Canva & Coolors

Some time ago I wrote an article called “Creating a Mood Board with Milanote“. I really liked Milanote, but if you use it to make a mood board you do need to find some images to start with.

In this article I want to try some different free online tools so, just for fun, I’m going to create a mood board for a fictional tea room. When doing this, I need to think not about my own personal tastes, but about my target audience. This is particularly important when considering colour schemes. I have some information, and links, in my blog post “Colour Scheme Suggestions“.

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A Simple Page Layout With GenerateBlocks

About 10 months ago I wrote a blog post, “A Simple Page Layout with the WordPress Block Editor”, as an exercise to compare using just the block editor versus using the block editor plus one of a couple of plugins; Stackable and Kadence Blocks. I concluded that:

The Stackable and Kadence Blocks plugins both made building my page a bit quicker and allowed me to make the site look more interesting without using code, but it was pretty straightforward to build the page using just standard WordPress blocks.

Since then, the blocks plugin I have used most often has been Kadence Blocks.

Now that GenerateBlocks has been released by Tom Usborne, the developer of my favourite theme, GeneratePress, I wanted to try building the same layout with this new plugin for the WordPress block editor. Note that GenerateBlocks can be used with any theme, not just with GeneratePress, although there are some features that are designed to work hand in hand with the GeneratePress theme.

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Building Static Websites Using WordPress

Recently, in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, someone asked a question about how to make WordPress more secure.

Much as I love WordPress, I have to admit that for a risk adverse person it can be worrying to know that it is a target for hackers. People who build WordPress websites for clients are likely to recognise the scenario where they hand the site over to the client, stressing that it’s important to keep the theme and plugins up to date. A few months later the client asks them to do some more work, but when they log in to the WordPress dashboard they see several plugins that have not been updated. Hopefully the client, or their host, will have been keeping backups in case the worst happens.

There are ways to get WordPress plugins and themes to update automatically, and in fact this feature will be included in WordPress version 5.5 (due in August 2020). It’s possible to set up automatic backups too, but it would be nice not to have to worry about the more vulnerable aspects of WordPress.

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Sketching a Website Page Layout with Excalidraw

Previously, I’ve written a blog post about how I used Milanote to create a mood board. I’ve also used Milanote for mind mapping. Today I came across another free online tool, thanks to the Speckyboy Design Magazine Facebook page.

It seemed that Excalidraw could be a quick way to draw out a web page layout, so I decided to give it a go. It’s quite a simple tool, without a load of bells and whistles, but I could see it being useful. It feels similar to quickly sketching with pencil and paper, but items can be moved or deleted and it’s easy to change their colour and size.

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