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      Decoding WordPress: The Media Library

      The WordPress Block Editor enables you to upload images and files directly to your site’s posts and pages. However, your media collection can become disorganized over time, and you might struggle to find media that you uploaded in the past.

      Fortunately, you can use the WordPress Media Library to organize your images and files. Thanks to multiple views and filters, you can develop an effective organizational system for your uploaded files. Additionally, you can optimize your images to rank higher in search results.

      In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the WordPress Media Library and its main features. Then, we’ll show you how to extend these features and fix any potential errors that occur. Let’s get started!

      An Introduction to the WordPress Media Library

      When you upload images, videos, and audio files to your WordPress website, these are stored in your Media Library. Essentially, this catalogs every piece of media you’ve used in your posts and pages.

      To open the Media Library, click on the Media tab in your admin dashboard. Then, you’ll be able to view your files and upload new ones if needed:

      WordPress Media Library

      Here are some files you may see in the Media Library:

      • Images (.jpeg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .ico)
      • Audio files (.mp3, .m4a, .ogg, .wav)
      • Videos (.mp4, .mov, .wmv, .avi, .mpg, .ogv, .3gp, .3g2)
      • Documents (.pdf. .doc, .docx, .odt, .psd)
      • Spreadsheets (.xls, .xlsx)
      • Powerpoint presentations (.pps, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptx)

      If you need to narrow down your results by type, you can use the dropdown menu. Here, you’ll see the file types listed above, along with items labeled Unattached, Archives, and Mine:

      Media type

      You can also select a specific upload date. This can be particularly helpful if you’re unable to find an image but you know when it was uploaded:

      Upload date

      To organize your Media Library, you can use the Bulk select button. Then, you can select multiple images and delete them permanently:

      Bulk select

      In the top-right corner, you’ll see a search bar. Here, you can enter keywords to filter your results:

      Search Media Library

      Please note that you’ll have to have tagged the images with these keywords beforehand — but adding this little bit of extra effort to your workflow can make a huge difference when you’re trying to find things in the future.

      As you can see, the Media Library can help you organize the files on your website. It provides an all-in-one solution for uploading, editing, and deleting files.

      5 Useful Media Library Features

      If you’re new to WordPress, you might not know how to use the Media Library. Fortunately, this tool is very user-friendly, and it enables you to upload, view, and edit media files on your website. Let’s take a look at its main features.

      1. Multiple Views

      The Media Library lets you change the way files are displayed. You can either view them in a grid or a list.

      By default, the Media Library shows items in a grid view, with a thumbnail for each file:

      Grid view

      As we mentioned earlier, you can filter the results by media type and date. If you want to view the details of a certain file, you just have to click on it:

      Grid view attachment details

      Alternatively, you can switch to the list view. Instead of a gallery-like grid, your files will be displayed in a list:

      List view

      On the left-hand side, you can use the checkboxes to bulk-select files. Next to this, you’ll see a thumbnail representing each media item.

      Here’s what else you can see in a list view:

      • File: The file title, as well as the full name of the file.
      • Author: The user that uploaded the file.
      • Uploaded to: The title of the post or page where the file was uploaded.
      • Comment bubble: The number of comments for that file.
      • Date: The date when the media was uploaded.

      If you click on the file name, this will open the image editor:

      List view image editor

      You can switch between these two views at any time, depending on your preference. However, the list view can be a better option if you want to view a file’s details without having to click on it.

      2. Multiple Ways to Upload Files

      When you need to upload a file to your website, you can add it directly to a post or page. The Block Editor lets you add images, videos, and other files with blocks:

      Image block

      Once you select the relevant block, you can click on Upload and choose a file from your computer. If you’ve uploaded the file to WordPress before, you can select it from your Media Library:

      Upload from Media Library

      You can also drag and drop a file directly into this section. This will automatically upload it into the Media Library, and you can then add it to the post:

      Upload new file

      You can also upload images directly to the Media Library. Simply click on Add New, then drag and drop files into the upload area or select them from your computer:

      Add new media file

      With any of these methods, your media files will be automatically imported into WordPress. Even if you uploaded your files in the Block Editor, you’ll still be able to find them in the Media Library.

      3. Downloadable Files

      The Media Library also lets you download your files to your computer. This can be useful if you need to use the same images or videos on another site.

      To download a file from your WordPress dashboard, click on the Tools tab and select Export:

      WordPress export

      On this page, you can download all of your site’s content. This includes posts, pages, and media files.

      Select Media, then use the dropdown menus to download files that were uploaded within a certain timeframe. You’ll simply have to specify a Start date and End date:

      Export media

      If you want to download all of your media files, you can leave these fields blank. When you’re finished, click on Download Export File. This will download links to the relevant files to your computer in an XML file format that can then be imported into another WordPress install.

      4. Image Editing

      As a website owner, it’s vital that you optimize your images before publishing them. Large files can slow down your site and take up a lot of storage space.

      The Media Library has many native image editing features. For example, you can crop your images, scale them, and more.

      Start by clicking on an image to open the Attachment details page. Then, under the photo, select the Edit image button:

      Edit image

      This will automatically open the image editor. On the left, you’ll see options to crop, rotate, or flip the image:

      Image editing features

      If you select the Crop button, you can use the handles on the box to remove certain parts of the image. When you’re finished, click on Crop again:

      Crop image

      Using the rotate options, you can flip the image 90 degrees to the left or right:

      Rotate image

      If you need to invert the image, you can use the Flip buttons. These will reflect the photo vertically or horizontally:

      Flip image

      On the right side of the page, you’ll see the original dimensions of the image. To scale the image, you’ll just need to enter the new dimensions:

      Scale image

      Additionally, you can click on the Crop button and enter the size in the Selection fields. You can also choose an Aspect ratio, which is the relationship between the height and width of the image:

      Image crop selection

      The last feature you’ll see in the image editor is the Thumbnail Settings. Here, you can apply your changes to all image sizes, the thumbnail only, or all sizes except the thumbnail:

      Thumbnail settings

      When you’re finished, save your changes. You can now view the edited photo in the Media Library.

      5. Image Metadata

      In the Attachment details page of your image, you’ll see an option to add metadata. This contains basic information about the image, including the file name, author, and description:

      Image metadata

      After you upload an image, WordPress will use the file name as its title. However, you can edit this to provide a more accurate description:

      Image title

      You can also add alternative text. This describes the contents of the image when it can’t be displayed. Additionally, it can make your website more accessible to users with screen readers:

      Add alt text

      Along with improving user experience, alternative text can boost your search ranking. It enables search engines to understand your images and their purpose on the page.

      You might also want to write a caption and description to provide more information about the image. While the alt text is only visible to search engines and screen readers, the caption is visible to all front-end users:

      Image caption

      Meanwhile, descriptions will appear on the image attachment page. Here, you can post copyright details, keywords, links, and more:

      Image description

      This information will be saved in the Media Library. When someone visits the image URL, they’ll be able to see its description.

      How to Extend the Features in the Media Library

      The Media Library provides the essential tools you need to upload and edit media files. However, you may need to install a plugin to extend its core functionality.

      As you upload more images to your website, your Media Library can get a little disorganized. Although you can delete images in bulk and use filters to find what you need, you may become overwhelmed by the volumes of files on your website.

      With the Real Media Library plugin, you can create folders in your Media Library:

      Real Media Library

      This tool has a drag-and-drop interface that enables you to easily move media items to different sections. Plus, the pro version supports subfolders, image galleries, and rearranging within a folder.

      Alternatively, you can use the free version of Media Library Organizer to add media categories for better media management:

      Media Library Organizer

      The native editing features in the Media Library may not fully optimize your images. Often, you’ll need to compress image files in order to speed up your website.

      With the TinyPNG plugin, you can let your WordPress install automatically compress your images as you upload them:

      TinyPNG plugin

      Additionally, you may want to replace old files with newer versions. With the Media Library, you’ll have to upload the new file, locate the old version, and delete it.

      Enable Media Replace is a popular WordPress plugin that you can use to quickly replace files in your Media Library:

      Enable Media Replace

      Even though you might not need these tools, they are available to help you optimize your website and manage your files more efficiently. They can be particularly useful when activated on media-heavy sites.

      How to Fix Common Media Library Errors

      Although the Media Library is very user-friendly, you might run into some common image upload issues. Fortunately, most of these problems are easy to fix.

      HTTP Error

      One of the most common issues in the Media Library is an undefined HTTP error. This crops up when something goes wrong during the upload process.

      When this happens, it’s a good idea to wait a few minutes before trying to upload the file again. Sometimes, it’s just a temporary resource allocation problem.

      Alternatively, this common image error could be caused by your browser. You can try switching to another browser to see if it solves the problem.

      If the error persists, you can try clearing your browser cache and deactivating your plugins. Alternatively, you might need to increase your site’s memory limit.

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      Upload: Failed to Write File to Disk

      When you’re uploading files to your website, you may also come across the Upload: Failed to Write File to Disk error. Usually, this results from incorrect file permissions. However, you could have maxed out your hosting plan’s disk space limit or temporary folder.

      To fix this error, you’ll need to check the file permissions for your website. First, you’ll need to connect to a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client to access your site files. Alternatively, you can use the File Manager in your hosting account.

      If you have a DreamHost account, open your dashboard and go to Websites > Files and FTP Users:

      DreamHost manage files

      Then, click on Manage Files next to your website. In your File Manager, find the wp-content file and right-click on it:

      Open file permissions

      For DreamHost accounts, you can select CHMOD. If you’re using another program, click on the File Permissions option. This will open a pop-up window:

      File permissions

      Make sure the Numeric value is set to ‘755’. Then, click on OK to save your changes. This should help resolve the issue.

      Media Library Failing to Load

      Occasionally, your Media Library might fail to load altogether. This can happen if you’re using a poorly-coded theme or plugin.

      You might also see this error when there’s a conflict between two plugins. Third-party software can cause compatibility issues with other programs.

      To resolve the issue, start by deactivating your plugins. Select them all, then choose Deactivate from the Bulk actions menu and hit Apply:

      Deactivate plugins

      Now, refresh the Media Library page to see if this solved the problem. If so, you’ll need to reactivate each plugin one at a time and keep refreshing the Media Library until the issue reappears. This should help you identify the culprit.

      If deactivating the plugins doesn’t help, then the problem might be your theme. Consider activating a default WordPress theme, then try accessing your Media Library again.

      Organize Your WordPress Images

      The WordPress Media Library enables you to upload, modify, and delete files on your website. You can also use it to crop and scale images without leaving your dashboard.

      To review, here are the main things you can do in the Media Library:

      1. View uploads in a grid or list view.
      2. Upload files in the Media Library or Block Editor.
      3. Download files to your computer.
      4. Edit image size, pixels, and orientation.
      5. Add image metadata.

      Although optimizing images can improve your loading times, you’ll want to build a fast website from the ground up. Our managed WordPress hosting plans come with several performance tools to help you grow your site. Check out our plans today!

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      Decoding WordPress: Creating a Multilingual Website

      As a website owner, accessibility should be one of your highest priorities. That’s because if a portion of your visitors can’t read your content, you’re likely missing out on an interested audience. By not making your site multilingual, your reach will be limited to visitors who are able to read your language.

      Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to add multilingual features to your website. To do this, you can install a multilingual plugin or use translation software to add material in other languages. This way, you can offer multilingual content to users all over the world.

      In this post, we’ll explain what a multilingual website is and why you should consider creating one. Then, we’ll discuss how you can add multilingual features to your website. Let’s get started!

      An Introduction to Multilingual WordPress Websites

      Essentially, a multilingual website provides the same content in more than one language. This means, no matter how the original article is written, users can be redirected to their native language:

      Multilingual website

      Rather than only using a single language, you can add multilingual features to your website. Whether you use a multilingual plugin, Google Translate, or manual translations, you can start sharing your content worldwide.

      Multilingual Features in WordPress 6.0

      WordPress 6.0 brought many updated features, including extended Full Site Editing and site-wide blocks. However, the core software doesn’t come with multilingual functionality. Although WordPress itself doesn’t yet support out-of-the-box bilingual or multilingual features, many plugins enable you to easily translate your posts and pages.

      Fortunately, WordPress is consistently working on new features. Here is the development roadmap for WordPress’ multi-year Gutenberg Project:

      1. Easier Editing: Development of the Block Editor
      2. Customization: Full Site Editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, and Block-based themes
      3. Collaboration: Multi-author collaboration
      4. Multi-lingual: Implementation of multilingual features

      Currently, we are in phase two of the Gutenberg Project. Therefore, if you want to build a multilingual website with just core WordPress software, you’ll have to wait for a while, as there is no current timetable on when the project will reach phase four.

      In the next few years, we should also see other Content Management Systems (CMS) become multilingual-ready. If you use a headless CMS, the future will likely bring support for multilingual content.

      Benefits of Creating a Multilingual Website

      No matter the type of content you produce, you can benefit from creating a multilingual website. Whether you run a business website or a small blog, translating your content can be an effective way to grow your audience.

      By translating your website, you can significantly increase your organic traffic. Although English is the most common language on the internet, it only makes up 25.9% of online users. That means, if you don’t translate your English content into another language, you could fail to reach a larger, global audience.

      Besides, creating a multilingual website can improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you’re trying to gain traction with English keywords, you may have noticed that these have a lot of competition. In other languages, the same keywords can be far less saturated.

      For example, the keyword ‘meal delivery’ has a high amount of searches and competition. With an expensive top-of-page bid, you may not want to use it:

      English keyword results

      However, using ‘entrega de comida’ can improve your results. By simply translating your keyword into Spanish, you can run a cost-effective ad campaign without competing with other websites:

      Spanish keyword results

      Additionally, offering content in a visitor’s native language can provide a better User Experience (UX). Instead of having to rely on Google Translate, users can immediately understand your website and find the information they’re looking for.

      This can also make your website more credible and trustworthy. When you can remove a communication barrier, users from all over the world may be more likely to trust what you’re saying.

      Types of Multilingual Plugins

      Since WordPress isn’t multilingual-ready out of the box, one effective option is to install a multilingual plugin. With these plugins, you can start publishing content in other languages. However, some multilingual plugins can offer more in-depth translations than others. Let’s look at a few different types.

      Comprehensive Multilingual Plugins

      The best multilingual plugins will enable you to translate every part of your website, from your written content to your themes and plugins. When you want to make your entire website multilingual, these plugins can be effective tools.

      One of the most popular multilingual plugins is TranslatePress. After installation, you can use its front-end editor to translate everything you can see on your website:

      TranslatePress plugin

      Additionally, by integrating TranslatePress with Google Translate or DeepL, you can set up automatic translation for all of your content. Please note that relying on a service that leverages machine translations will not work as well as having someone who can natively understand the language you are translating your content to.

      Fortunately, you can fix any mistakes that machine translations may make manually and see a live preview of these changes during the editing process.

      Polylang is another powerful multilingual plugin that enables you to translate your posts, pages, media, categories, and tags. You can even create translations any custom post types, widgets, navigation menus, and URLs:

      Polylang plugin

      Plus, Polylang can improve your multilingual SEO. By setting up HTML hreflang tags, SEO-friendly URLs, and open graph tags, Polylang can help you to start showing up in global search results.

      Both of these plugins are free to download. However, if you want to access advanced features and add-ons, you’ll likely need to purchase the premium versions.

      Automated Translation Plugins

      Alternatively, some multilingual plugins connect to automated translation services. This type of plugin can provide translations for certain parts of your website, but won’t be nearly as comprehensive.

      For example, Translate WordPress with GTranslate can make your website multilingual using Google Translate. With this plugin, you can add different languages in a widget, allowing users to easily switch to their native language:

      GTranslate plugin

      The free version of GTranslate includes statistical machine translations. With a premium version, you can access Google neural translations, which can be much more accurate. Also, the core software does not support manual revisions.

      If you’re a software developer, you may benefit from using Loco Translate. Unlike the other options on this list, Loco Translate enables you to update the language files in your theme or plugins:

      Loco Translate plugin

      Using the built-in translation editor, you can modify WordPress translation files directly in your admin dashboard. This will contain integrated automatic translation services to help you design a multilingual-ready theme or plugin.

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      How to Create a Multilingual Website with WordPress (7 Methods)

      Translation can be the key to driving global traffic to your website. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a few different ways you can make your content multilingual.

      1. Choose a Multilingual Ready Theme

      Often, picking a theme can be an important first step in improving your website’s appearance and functionality. When you’re trying to make multilingual content, you can consider installing a translation-ready theme.

      In a translation-ready WordPress theme, the software will support translations into many languages. To achieve this, developers usually concentrate on a variety of factors including:

      • Internationalization (i18n): Theme development that focuses on easy translation.
      • Localization: The process of translating from the original language into a new language.
      • Right to Left (RTL) text: Supports languages that read from right to left, including Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew.

      It’s important to keep in mind that a translation-ready theme won’t automatically translate your content. It simply provides a solid infrastructure for your translated content.

      To find a multilingual theme, you can apply a filter in the WordPress Theme Directory. Here, click on Feature Filter and select the Translation Ready option:

      Translation Ready filter

      This will exclude any WordPress themes without multilingual support. After browsing these results, you can install and activate a translation-ready theme:

      Translation-ready WordPress themes

      One of the most powerful translation-ready themes is Divi. It integrates with many multilingual plugins and supports full translation of its front-end interface:

      Divi theme

      Plus, Divi’s localization covers everything from form fields to descriptions. Moreover, after you enable a right-to-left language, this theme will automatically turn on RTL mode.

      If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the Neve theme. Although it has a more minimalist design, it can adapt to almost any new language that you might need it to:

      Neve theme

      With Neve, every element of your theme can be translated, no matter which multilingual plugin you use. Like Divi, Neve is fully capable of using RTL text, so you’ll never have to worry about translations affecting your web design.

      2. Add a Language Switcher

      Once you find a translation-ready theme and a multilingual plugin, you can start translating your online content. To do this, you can create a language switcher. This is a dropdown menu or button that visitors can use to select a translated version of a page:

      Language switcher

      A language switcher can enable each visitor to your site to select their preferred language. This provides a quick, convenient way to translate your website without leaving the page.

      With TranslatePress, you can add a language switcher to your site in just a few steps. First, install and activate the plugin:

      Install TranslatePress

      Then, go to Settings > TranslatePress > General. In the All Languages section, there will be a default language set for your website. Here, select some alternate languages:

      Select languages

      Next, scroll down to the Language Switcher settings. With TranslatePress, you can display your language switcher with shortcodes, as a menu item, or with a floating language selection menu:

      Language Switcher settings

      For any option, you can customize the appearance of the language switcher. Using the dropdown menu, you can choose to display the language names, flags, or both:

      Language switcher display

      When you’re finished, save your changes. One way to add this feature to a page is with its shortcode. On any page or post, simply add a shortcode block:

      Language switcher shortcode

      To display the language switcher, paste this shortcode: ‘[language-switcher]’. On the front end you’ll be able to see your list of available languages:

      Front-end language switcher

      Now any visitor can easily read your website in their preferred language simply by selecting it!

      3. Enable Automatic Translation

      Another simple way to create a multilingual website is to set up automatic translation. This will translate every word of your content from one language into another. Although this may provide some awkward phrasing, it can be a quick and easy way to translate your website.

      If you decide this option is right for you, you can use the TranslatePress plugin. It provides automatic translation using either Google Translate v2 or DeepL. However, the free version will only support Google Translate.

      After you activate the plugin, navigate to Settings > TranslatePress and make sure to set your desired languages. Then, click on the Automatic Translation tab:

      Enable Automatic Translation

      At the top of the page, select Yes next to Enable Automatic Translation. Then, choose the translation engine you want to use.

      To continue setting up either Google Translate or DeepL, you’ll need to use an API key. For Google Translate, sign into your Google Cloud Console and create a project. Next, go to APIs & Services:

      APIs & Services

      At the top of the page, click on Enable APIs and Services. Search for the Cloud Translation API and enable it:

      Cloud Translation API

      Find the Credentials page and select Create Credentials. Then, click on API key:

      API key

      This will generate an API key for Google Translate:

      API key

      Now you can go back to your WordPress dashboard and paste your API key into the Automatic Translation settings. If it’s working properly, you should see a green checkmark:

      Paste API key

      When you select the Translate Site button at the top of your dashboard, this will open the visual translation editor. Here, you can select the new language and you’ll see the automatic translation on the right:

      TranslatePress editor

      If you notice anything wrong with your translation, you can also make manual edits. This can ensure that native speakers understand your content.

      4. Edit Your Site’s Translations

      If you enable automatic translation, the result might not be perfect. Since it translates on a word-by-word basis, it can sound strange to native speakers. To solve this problem, you can manually edit your translations.

      In the visual translation editor, you can click on the pen icon to view text in multiple languages. It will show the original content, as well as the new translation:

      Manual translation

      If you speak the translated language, you can change any awkward wording using the text box on the left. To help you even further, TranslatePress can provide translation suggestions:

      Translation suggestions

      By clicking on these suggestions, you can automatically update the translation. Then, click on Save translation to implement this in the front-end editor.

      Now, when visitors switch your website into the secondary language, they’ll be able to see your new changes:

      Live translation

      These edits can improve the quality of your translations. This can help make your content more relatable and understandable, rather than sounding like a stiff, automatic translation.

      5. Change Your URLs

      Along with translating your web pages, you may want to modify your URLs for your translated content. Using the Polylang plugin, you can change the language code in your links to align with the new translation.

      First, be sure to install and activate Polylang. Using the setup wizard, select the languages you want to add to your website:

      Select Polylang languages

      Continue through the setup process and return to the dashboard. Then, go to Languages > Settings and find URL modifications:

      URL modifications

      Open this section and enable Hide URL language information for default language. If you have English as your default language, this will remove the ‘/en/’ from your URL:

      Hide URL language

      This will change all your links to a structure like this:

      English URL:

      Spanish URL:

      Once you’re finished, save your changes.

      6. Add Multilingual Content

      If you don’t want to install a new plugin, there are other simple ways to include translations on your website. For instance, you can feature two different translations on the same post. Then, you can create an anchor link so readers can easily jump to the translated content.

      To do this, you’ll need to create a new post. You can start by writing the content in your native language:

      New English post

      Next, you’ll need to open a translator like Google Translate. After you choose which language to translate to, you can paste your content:

      Google Translate

      Then, copy your translations and paste them beneath the original text. Be sure to translate all the elements on the page:

      Translated post

      Once you’re finished, click on the heading for the translated section. Open its Advanced settings and find the HTML anchor:

      HTML anchor

      Here, create a unique identifier and copy it. Next, at the top of the post, add the name of the second language:


      Click on the link button to add an internal jump. For the link text, include ‘#’ followed by your HTML anchor:

      Add translation link

      Now visitors can see that there is a translated version of that new post! Anyone who reads that language can click on the link, which will take them to the translation.

      Alternatively, you can include the translation as a completely new post. In this case, the link will redirect them to another page rather than a single page jump.

      If you decide to do this, you may want to create a new category for that language. This way, native speakers can find those posts all in one place.

      7. Create a WordPress Multisite

      Instead of creating multiple versions of your posts, you can create a WordPress multisite. Essentially, this can host different translated versions of your website on a single WordPress installation.

      However, this involves customizing your database by editing site files. Since this can harm your data, be sure to backup your website beforehand.

      Then, open your wp-config.php file. Right before the ‘/* That’s all stop editing! Happy blogging. */.’ line, add this code:

      /* Multisite */

      define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

      Now you can go to your WordPress dashboard. Find Tools > Network Setup:

      Create network

      You’ll need to choose between subdomains and subdirectories. Here’s how your URLs will look with each option:

      • Subdomain:
      • Subdirectory:

      Then, review your Network Details and click on Install.

      To enable the network, you’ll need to add some information to your wp-config.php and .htaccess files. After you paste the given code, log back into your dashboard:

      Enable network

      You should now see new icons for managing your network. When you click on My Sites, you’ll be able to create a new translated website:

      Network sites

      With this method, you can add new child sites for virtually any language!

      Go Global with a Multilingual WordPress Site

      Ultimately, having a multilingual site can improve your SEO and boost your organic traffic. When you provide well-translated content, you can expand your audience to multiple countries. Furthermore, since English keywords have a high level of competition, this may be the best time to go multilingual.

      To do this, you can simply install a multilingual plugin. With TranslatePress, you can enable automatic translation, add a language switcher, and manually edit translations. Alternatively, you can use a service like Google Translate to create multilingual content.

      If you decide to build a translated version of your website, you’ll want to make sure it’s fast and secure. With a DreamPress hosting plan, you can create a high-performing WordPress website that isn’t a hassle to manage!

      Do More with DreamPress

      DreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!

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      Decoding WordPress: Block Patterns

      When WordPress released WordPress 5.5, “Eckstine,” on August 11, 2020, many of the refinements focused on three major areas: speed, search, and security. The release also offered new features for the Gutenberg Block Editor, and perhaps none were more exciting and creatively promising than block patterns.

      In this blog post, we’ll look at what block patterns are (and refresh your memory of block basics), their benefits, and how they’ve evolved — particularly as it relates to the releases of WordPress 5.9, which introduced Full Site Editing, and WordPress 6.0, which introduced the Block Editor among other features. We’ll also show you how you can start building and using custom block patterns now.

      Even if you’re not a pro WordPress developer and you’re just starting to learn how to work with WordPress, creating and using block patterns is well within your reach!

      Let’s roll!

      What Is a WordPress Block Pattern?

      A WordPress block pattern is a pre-made, ready-to-use layout made of WordPress blocks in a certain layout or design. This grouping of WordPress blocks gives users more design flexibility and allows them to create complex yet attractive and professional layouts by only clicking a few buttons.

      WordPress Block Patterns hero section

      Once a block pattern has been selected (see above), it gets inserted into WordPress site pages and posts. It can then be edited and modified, which includes the ability to easily customize individual components within the block pattern such as color options, images, media, and other content. All the blocks work just like regular Gutenberg blocks.

      A block pattern can be reused countless times on your site, much like a template, eliminating the need to manually create page layouts one block at a time. You can even insert multiple copies of a single pattern onto a post or page, increasing the volume and diversity of your design options as you build your site.

      The Basics of WordPress Blocks

      Now we know what WordPress block patterns are, but what are the WordPress blocks that they’re made of?

      Blocks have been a fundamental aspect of WordPress since late 2018. Version 5.0 of WordPress replaced the classic editor with a new WordPress block editor called Gutenberg.

      A block is a specific element that you can add to your site. For instance, there are blocks for images, headings, lists, paragraphs, and more. This system provides users with a simple and intuitive way to create a unique website.

      WordPress Quote Block

      Each block comes with a set of customization options, such as alignment, color, and size. Additionally, blocks can be moved around via a drag-and-drop editor, facilitating a simpler page-building process.

      Block Patterns: What’s in Them For You?

      As we mentioned earlier, a WordPress block pattern — which resembles a quilt layout — can be modified by customizing its individual blocks, and it can be reused like a template.

      WordPress Block Patterns hero section

      Let’s look now at the key benefits that come with using block patterns on your site.

      • Create your own block patterns. Creating your own custom block patterns allows you to give anyone who works on your site control over content without sacrificing control over layout and design.
      • Use pre-made patterns created by professional designers. Block patterns created by professional designers can also be modified and used. This brings a wider variety of options when creating a post or page.
      • Save patterns that you use often. When you create or select block patterns and save them, you enable a consistent design and presentation on your site.
      • Save time. Using pre-made block patterns created by either yourself or other designers when developing your WordPress site, you save time and increase productivity.
      • Flexibility and customizability. Prebuilt block patterns aren’t “chiseled in stone.” Their look can be modified and tailored to your specific design and functionality needs. Find a block pattern in the pattern directory that appeals to you and change it however your creativity guides you.
      • Avoiding frustration through theme-independence. One of many benefits of custom-built block patterns is that they’re not bound to any one particular theme. If you change your WordPress site’s theme at a later time, your patterns won’t change as a result.
      • Flexible page and post layouts. Designing your WordPress site using blocks and block patterns means that your site’s content will be properly optimized when you view it on different devices like smartphones or tablets.

      WordPress Block Pattern Library

      A New Chip Off the Old Blocks: Evolution of Block Patterns

      Ever since their introduction in the August 11, 2020, release of WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine,” block patterns have evolved through subsequent releases to become even more user-friendly and functional.

      In WordPress 5.9, ready-to-go block patterns could be copied and pasted directly into the Full Site Editor.

      Over the long term, this also means that the nature of block themes may change. They’ll likely become broader, more feature-focused, and visually non-specific (providing more of a “blank slate” to work with).

      In WordPress 6.0, block patterns were improved even further in several ways.

      • Block patterns were easier to find in template editing because the quick inserter would only display block patterns when they were accessed at the top level of a template. This would be the case, for example, when a block you intend to add is a direct descendant of the document.
      • Theme developers could add recommended patterns to the theme.json.
      • Implicit pattern registration meant that themes could implicitly register patterns by categorizing them as PHP files under a new /patterns directory at the root of the theme.

      The Building Blocks of Patterns: Creating Custom Block Patterns

      So far, we’ve learned what WordPress block patterns — and blocks — are, why they can be useful to you, and how they’ve evolved over time. But how do you create and use custom block patterns so that your site fully embodies your aesthetic preferences, the functionality, and the purposes that you’re pursuing?

      Here’s how to create block patterns in Gutenberg in five easy steps!

      Step 1: Create a Draft Post in Gutenberg

      To build a custom block pattern, start by creating a draft post or page in your WordPress dashboard. A draft is recommended because it won’t have any existing or new content like text, images, and other content cluttering it, and it’ll be easier for you to work with in designing the block pattern.

      In this step, you’ll add blocks for paragraphs and text, columns, images and galleries, video and audio media, separators, and other content.

      Once you’ve added your blocks, you can now style them with color palettes, fonts, and more.

      Step 2: Select and Copy Blocks

      Once your blocks are created and styled how you want them to appear, you need to get their source code. Fear not! Getting the code is easier than it seems!

      Here’s how. Manually select all of the blocks that you want in your block patterns. To do so, click the first block, press and hold the ALT key on your keyboard, then click the last block you want to appear in the pattern.

      Lastly, click the “More Options” button (three vertical dots) at the top of your editor. Then click “Copy.” This step copies all of the source code from every one of your selected blocks.

      WordPress copy Block

      Step 3: Format Block Pattern for Your Theme’s functions.php File

      Once you’ve copied your blocks’ source code in the previous step, you’ll need to format (encode) your chosen theme’s functions.php file with it. This is a very important step that’s done in a JSON Encoder. This causes the HTML output to be escaped and allows it to work with the Block Pattern API.

      Access the Encoder and paste your HTML code into the “Enter the String” box, then click the Escape button.

      Next, copy the Result String code that populates in the second box.

      Step 4: Register Your Custom Block Pattern

      Now you’ll register your block pattern with the WordPress platform. With the Block Pattern API, you have two choices where your custom block pattern can be registered:

      • Custom plug-in: Allows you to use the pattern even if you change your theme later.
      • Your theme’s functions.php file: This option may also be recommended if you’re building numerous block patterns and don’t want a lot of additional plugins installed. Do note that using functions.php will tie your block pattern to the theme you’re using and may cause issues should you decide to switch themes in the future.

      To register your Gutenberg block pattern in your chosen theme’s functions.php file, go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Tools → Theme File Editor, and paste the Result String HTML source code that you got in Step 3. Click “Update File.” Then, you can go to “Theme Functions” and find the theme PHP file.

      Editing the WordPress functions.php file

      Step 5: Insert Your New Custom WordPress Block Pattern

      Finally, on the Gutenberg page, search for a new pattern. Look for “Uncategorized” by clicking on the “Pattern” tab. Your new Gutenberg block pattern will be stored successfully.

      The last step is to click on the new WordPress block pattern and insert it into your Gutenberg editor.

      Using Custom WordPress Block Patterns

      Now it’s time to get creative by using your custom WordPress block patterns in the design of your site! And it’s super-easy.

      When you’re ready to apply your custom block pattern from the Pattern Directory, click it once, and it’s then inserted into your page at the location of your cursor on the page.

      Once you’ve inserted your pattern, you can change the content at will. To do this, click on any block to add or edit content, including text and images, within that block.

      Something to keep in mind about images: images provided within block patterns and page layouts created by other designers are typically referenced from external sources and aren’t added to your site’s media library, so it’s possible for them to change or be removed at a future point. If you’re using a block pattern that contains images you like, this can be disconcerting when they suddenly change or disappear.

      Therefore, it’s advisable to always use your own images, photos, and graphics. If you’re a graphic designer and/or photographer, you can use content you’ve created. You can also source content in WordPress from a library of over 40,000 copyright-free — and free to use — photos that are provided by Pexels.

      Still Not Convinced?

      Even though we have total confidence in your ability to develop your WordPress site and to build and use your own custom block patterns, we get that you still might not be convinced that you can do it on your own.

      If you’re lacking that confidence and feel like you need help, we’re here to save your day. Our DreamPress managed WordPress hosting service offers hassle-free, high-performance WordPress. It includes unrivaled DreamHost features like: extreme speed with built-in caching; powerful tools like email, staging, and backups; free WordPress migration; and 24/7 expert WordPress support.

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