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You Might Not Need That Block

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As I was perusing the WordPress plugin directory this morning, I noticed a new block plugin, which is always one of the highlights of my week. It was a simple pricing block. Of course, I installed it and began playing around with its features. It was a version-1.0 product, so I was not going to fault it for not exceeding any expectations I might have had.

I have little doubt the plugin will meet many users’ needs. However, it did not bring much to the table that users could not already do with stock WordPress. And, as the block system continues to mature with more block options, end-users will gain more design control over every aspect of the existing core blocks.

This is not a knock at this particular plugin. I see less and less need for many third-party blocks the more I browse and test them. With WordPress’s base blocks and a decent theme, many custom solutions are possible via patterns.

To test the plugin’s block, I added it to a Columns block and duplicated it a couple of times to create pricing columns.

Pricing Block from a plugin inserted into columns.

The structure of an individual pricing block is straightforward. It contains the equivalent of the following core blocks:

  • Group
  • Heading
  • Heading/Paragraph
  • Heading/Paragraph
  • Paragraph
  • Button(s)
  • Separator
  • List

Since I had the structure, I tried recreating it while using the Twenty Twenty-One theme. I kept everything nearly the same other than a couple of font sizes and colors.

Pricing columns pattern as shown from the Twenty Twenty-One theme.

The result was not particularly impressive, but it was mostly on par with what the plugin was doing. The biggest letdown with Twenty Twenty-One is that there are no vertical spacing controls to tighten up some of the text. This is more of a limitation of WordPress than the theme. Plus, margin and padding controls are coming.

Aside from one-click insertion into the content canvas, the benefits the Pricing Block plugin brings are rounded borders, box shadows, and list icons. However, these items would fit more into a site’s design if they were controlled by the theme.

Knowing that the Eksell theme solved the vertical alignment issue with a custom block style, I decided to try it. Again, I mostly stuck with the same structure.

Pricing columns using the Eksell WordPress theme in the block editor.

Much better. However, Eksell is such a beautifully designed theme that it will upgrade the appearance of nearly anything. It almost isn’t fair.

Kicking things up a notch, I gave the pattern an overhaul. I moved some things around, changed a few colors, and tried to have a little fun with it.

Alternate design of pricing columns with the Eksell theme. Added heading background.

The noteworthy thing here is that I had far more control over the placement and design — within the current WordPress limitations. This was not possible with the plugin’s block.

There are more robust pricing blocks. This is not a comparison of all the available options out there. However, many blocks share these problems. Often, what they need to do is take advantage of WordPress’s “inner blocks” system and nest core blocks, which provides access to existing design options.

Wanting to take this experiment just a bit further, I activated a development version of the Gutenberg plugin and a block-based theme I have been tinkering with. With the right tools in hand, I had control over spacing, borders, typography, and far more — features that users will have in the coming months.

Custom pricing columns with a custom-built WordPress theme and full-site editing.

I like it, but I would also like to see professional designers take over from here. I want to see various pricing columns/tables available as patterns in themes and in the upcoming block directory.

The next level of pricing columns would be integrating with plugins like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and other eCommerce solutions. For example, users could insert a product’s price or buy-now button into a pre-built pattern inserted into the editor canvas. That way, the data stays updated.

However, this is not specifically about pricing columns. It is about the blocks ecosystem altogether. Nearly every time I see a testimonial block, for example, I just see it as another pattern that could be registered.

For end-users, the quick solution will often be to activate an extra plugin. This requires more resources in the editor and, usually, the front end. It also ties them to another third-party tool, one which they may not necessarily need.

Ultimately, most webpage sections can be broken down to the individual blocks that exist in WordPress. They simply need to be arranged in a specific order and grouped together. Our community of theme authors can start providing these solutions by doing the legwork of this grouping and register them as patterns.

The most useful blocks do something that WordPress is incapable of doing alone or adding elements that do not exist.

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An Easier Way to Share Progress on Your Website – WordPress.com News

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An Easier Way to Share Progress on Your Website – WordPress.com News

We’re excited to announce Site Preview Links, a feature that will let you easily share a “Coming Soon” Business or eCommerce site.

Do you build sites for others? Have you ever struggled to coordinate and manage access to in-progress projects? How often do you have to help clients reset their passwords? We feel your pain, and we’re excited to announce Site Preview Links, a feature that will let you easily share a “Coming Soon” Business or eCommerce site.

Use Site Preview Links to Share Your Work

With Site Preview Links, you can generate a unique preview link for your in-progress Business or eCommerce site, allowing your team or clients to access the Coming Soon site without having to log in. This way, you can easily show off your work-in-progress and get feedback from your stakeholders without having to resend invites, update user roles, or reset passwords.

You can create and access the preview link directly from the Sites page:

You can then share the link with your team or client. When they access the preview link, they’ll bypass the Coming Soon screen and be able to view your site.

Site Preview Links is an easy-to-use feature that will save you time and hassle. It’s perfect for anyone who builds websites for others, whether you are an agency with a growing client roster, a contractor with just a handful of projects, or simply someone who knows a lot of people who need websites.

How Site Preview Links Work

WordPress.com uses a secure HMAC hashing algorithm to generate Preview Link that is unique across all sites. The possible number of unique hashes is 2256, which heavily exceeds the number of grains of sand in the world!

Users who access your site using the shared preview link can continue navigating through the site, as WordPress.com uses a browser cookie to preserve the link value for the user’s session.

The link won’t expire, but you can disable it anytime. Users who already have access to your site using the preview link won’t be able to access the site anymore once you disable the link.

If you change your mind, you can always enable the link again, and we will generate a new, unique, ready-to-share URL.

If you need help with Preview Links, check out our more detailed guide.

Build Your Next Site on WordPress.com

Try Preview Links today and see how it can help you save time and make your life easier. Your clients will be impressed with the convenience, and you’ll be able to get their feedback faster.

Preview Links are just one of the reasons WordPress.com is the best managed WordPress hosting on the planet alongside other features we released this year: the Sites page, SSH access, SSH keys, and our data center picker. If you are interested in more details, you can follow our Developer Blog.

What other feature would you find valuable? How could we make WordPress.com an even more powerful place to build a website? Feel free to leave a comment or submit your ideas in our short feature request form.


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An Easy Path Over to WordPress.com – WordPress.com News

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An Easy Path Over to WordPress.com – WordPress.com News

If the recent Gumroad price change announcement has you considering a migration from Gumroad to WooCommerce, we’re here to welcome you with open arms. Changing eCommerce platforms may seem like a big hurdle to overcome, but we have an expert team in place to help you migrate your Gumroad store to the WordPress.com eCommerce Plan with WooCommerce.

With lower fees and transparent pricing, you’ll improve your margins and expand your earning potential. 

We’ve also created a tailored migration guide to walk merchants through importing from Gumroad to WooCommerce. This step-by-step process requires no technical expertise and will enable you to seamlessly transition your store.

When the import is complete, you’ll have a ready-to-go site with your content preloaded. Your customers will never know the difference. 

If you’re looking to get help moving from Gumroad, reach out now.


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New WordPress.com Themes for January 2023 – WordPress.com News

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New WordPress.com Themes for January 2023 – WordPress.com News

Five beautiful new WordPress.com themes, including our new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Three.

The WordPress.com team is always working on new design ideas to bring your website to life. Below you’ll find the four newest themes that we’ve added to our library, with beautiful options for food-based businesses, podcasts, and bloggers.

To install any of the below themes, click the the name of the theme you like, which brings you right to the installation page. Then simply click the “Activate this design” button. You can also click “Open live demo,” which brings up a clickable, scrollable version of the theme for you to preview.

Premium themes are free to use for any user on a Premium plan or above, or can be purchased individually by those with free sites or Personal plans.

You can explore all of our themes by navigating to the “Themes” page, which is found under “Appearance” in the left-side menu of your WordPress.com dashboard. Or, just click here:


Twenty Twenty-Three is designed to take advantage of the new design tools introduced in WordPress 6.1.

With a clean, blank base as a starting point, this default theme includes ten diverse style variations created by members of the WordPress community.

Whether you want to build a complex or incredibly simple website, you can do it quickly and intuitively through the bundled styles or dive into creation and full customization yourself.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.


Tazza puts the spotlight on your products and your customers. This theme leverages Woo Commerce to provide you with intuitive product navigation and the patterns you need to master digital merchandising.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.


Calyx is a minimalist theme designed for single-page websites. Featuring a coming-soon pattern on the homepage, Calyx is a perfect choice to spread the word about the upcoming opening of a cafe, restaurant, or bar.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.


Muscat is a simple blogging theme with grid post templates and a centered post layout. Its geometric sans-serif typography contributes to a delightful, comfortable, and modern reading experience.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.


Loudness is a bold opinionated theme created with music education in mind. Use Site Editor tooling and relevant patterns to create a unique experience.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.


Stay tuned for more updates about new themes, patterns, blocks, and other exciting product updates! And be sure to click below to take a look at the entire showcase of themes we offer:


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