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Add New Blocks to Your Site Using the Block Directory

Description

The Block Directory helps WordPress users discover, test and install new blocks for their website. The WordPress Block Directory searches the free WordPress plugin directory for third-party WordPress block plugins, or those that are not part of a standard WordPress installation. Users can seamlessly install a new WordPress block into their site without leaving their current editing location.

The Block Directory is only available to content creators who also have the capabilities to install and activate plugins.

Objectives

After completing this lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Search the Block Directory
  • Evaluate Blocks from the Directory
  • Add a new Block
  • Find the freshly installed Block in the Admin Dashboard Plugins listing
  • Uninstall the Block
  • Identify what plugins are installed that add Blocks

Prerequisite Skills

Participants will get the most from this lesson if they have familiarity with:

Readiness Questions

  • Can you write a post in WordPress?
  • Do you want additional functionality and layout options on your website?
  • Have you used the block interface?
  • Have you reviewed what plugins you have installed that add additional blocks?

Materials Needed

  • Admin permissions on a website
  • Internet access
  • A draft post

Notes for the Presenter

  • Demonstrate that it can be easy to have multiple blocks that serve similar functionality. Example: several countdown timers.
  • Show what happens if the plugin that added the block is removed, including what happens to the post layout when it is removedd.
  • Demonstrate removing the plugin and connect this to deciding that after testing the block, the user has decided not to use it.

Lesson Outline

  • Talk about what blocks are
  • Ask for examples of functionality users might want that does not come with default WordPress installs
  • Demonstrate using the Exercises outlined below

Exercises

How to Add a Block from the WordPress Block Directory

  • Search for a Block
  • Install a Block
  • Explore the new Block settings
  • See the Block has been added to Installed Plugins
  • Delete the Plugin
  • View where the Block was used as an editor and as a website visitor (front-end)

Assessment

I can install a block from the Add Plugin page

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: 1. True. It is possible, though perhaps not the most efficient way to search for a new block.

A Block that was installed from the Block Directory and later removed no longer displays the content on my site.

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: 2. False. If you wish to remove the content, you will need to also delete the block from within the Post, Page, or elsewhere that you have used it.

Where can you discover new Blocks to use on your website?

  1. Searching for a term in the Add Block modal while composing a Post or Page.
  2. On the Plugins Directory
  3. By Installing a Plugin
  4. All of the above

Answer: 4. Adding a new block may be easiest from the Add Block interface, but all of the options above are available.

Additional Resources

Example Lesson

How to Add a Block from the WordPress Block Directory

How to Search the WordPress Block Directory

  1. To add a block from the Block Directory, navigate to the post editor. Place your cursor where you would like a new block option.
  2. Select the “Add Block” button in the top-left area of the editor screen.
  3. Notice if any existing blocks related to this feature already are available on your site.
  4. Review the results displayed.
Screenshot: in the WordPress post editor, select the "Add Block" in the top left area of the screen. Search for the type of block you would like to use. This image shows a search for "map" in the blocks directory.

How to add a new Block from the WordPress Block Directory

This is a helpful time to point out reviewing how many active installs this plugin has, ratings, and how to see other plugins that this plugin author has in the Plugins Directory.

Screenshot: select Add Block to install a new Block from the Block Directory
  1. After finding a block you would like to test, select “Add Block”
  2. Test how the block works on your website.

After adding the block to your website, you will see that block automatically display in the post or page. Each block will have unique settings for you to explore.

When you want to use this block again, you can search for it by name in your “Add Block” regions.

Screenshot: searching the for the block that we have already installed will reveal it by name in our add Blocks area

What is the difference between regular plugins and a block plugin?

You may have noticed that adding a block to your website also displays as a plugin.

Go to Admin > Plugins > Installed Plugins to review the plugins you have installed on your website.

Screenshot: Viewing Add > Plugins > Installed Plugins reveals the Block we added is installed as a plugin

How to Remove a Block from the WordPress Block Directory

To remove a block from your site, Deactivate and then Delete the plugin from your site.

Why should I delete unused Block plugins

If you have tested the Block and found that you no longer want this on your website, you can delete the block from your site. Having unused plugins (and Blocks) adds to additional maintenance for your site. It is best to only have what you are actively using.

What happens to content after a Block Directory plugin is removed?

Generally, after you have deleted a plugin from your site, the content that Block had displayed will continue to be visible. You will no longer be able to add this block again on your website until you reinstall the Block or plugin.

If you wish to keep the content, you can simply leave it as is.

If you would like to delete the content created with the block, you will need to manually delete the block in each location that it has been used.

Screenshot: content from a block plugin is still visible after deleting the block plugin.

There is a block I want to install, but I get a message saying “No blocks found in your library”.

If you don’t have an Administrator role in your WordPress site, you don’t have permission to add plugins, nor can you add new blocks directly from the block directory. You will need to ask your site administrator to install any new blocks. See User Management.

Lesson Wrap Up

The Block Directory can help you quickly customize the look and functionality of the content on your website. Remember to test for conflicts and delete any unused Block Directory plugins from your website.