Have you ever needed to reuse the same piece of content over and over in your WordPress website? I bet you have. Every website needs, sooner or later, to recycle some parts of its design.
A straightforward example of this is the header and footer, which are present in almost every single post you create and always have the same content.
But what happens when we need to create blocks of content and use them on a set of specific posts and pages?
The case for reusable content blocks
Normally, when you need to reuse a piece of content, you simply copy and paste it over. Any number of times you need to.
This is fine for a couple of pages, but when you do this with tens or hundreds of posts, it can become a nightmare to maintain. If by chance you need to modify this small piece of content, you would have to repeat the same task many times over and waste a lot of time.
But thankfully, there is a simpler way to do this.
Infuse is a free WordPress plugin that lets you create individual pieces of content, and then insert them throughout your website based on a number of different criteria.
In a way, it is similar to using shortcodes to insert dynamic content in your posts.
But unlike there is a big difference with this plugin: It does not need to use shortcodes to embed content into your posts.
This plugin takes advantage of WordPress hooks to add pieces of content throughout your website, making it really easy to use. Not only it is faster and simpler to use, it’s also cleaner and avoids having to modify your current theme.
Creating your first content block
Infuse is very simple to use. First off, you will need to install this plugin from the official WordPress.org repository by going to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard.
Once installed, you will see a new section called Content Blocks in the admin menu. Here you can create any number of blocks like you would do with posts or pages, each one being a single piece of content that you can then embed into your site.
It is worth noting that content blocks are very flexible; you can use shortcodes inside of them, work with HTML, and do anything you would with a normal post.
Once you have added some content, you can click on Publish, and your content block will be ready for usage.
Tweaking the layout of a content block
In addition to having any content, a single block also has a number of design options. If you look below the visual editor in the content block edit page, you will see a box that lets you tweak the following:
- The outside margins of the block
- The inner padding of the block
- The color of the background
- The color scheme of the text
You can modify these to your liking, depending on how you want the content block to look like. For instance, if you want to create a small warning box, you might want to add a yellow background coupled with generous paddings.
Since you can make your content blocks as big or as small as you need, be sure to play a lot with this!
Placing content blocks on your site
Here is where all the magic happens.
If you take a look at the Block Location box right below the visual editor, you should see something like this:
This is where you can tell the content block in what part of the layout it needs to appear. Since Infuse makes use of hooks to embed itself without resorting to shortcodes, you will need to type the name of the action hook you wish to use.
If this seems complicated, do not fret. Although you can type anything in the location textbox, you can use the library of hooks to find your preferred action hook.
Simply select the category in the left column that’s relevant to your interests, and then you can navigate in the right column to locate the best hook. Each one comes with a small description that will help you know where it is used. By clicking on a hook, it will get copied instantly to the textbox and you’re done.
Bear in mind that the available hooks are entirely dependent on the theme and plugins you are using. For example, our themes here at CPOThemes provide an extensive number of hooks that you can add your content to; however, simpler themes such as Twenty Fifteen don’t have any.
In cases where you cannot find a suitable hook, your are out of luck. You will have to resort to shortcodes in order to embed your content block in a post or widget, or use a little bit of PHP to add it directly to your theme:
<?php echo infuse_block(35); ?>
Controlling the display of blocks
Lastly, you can control when you want your content block to be displayed.
Each block can be configured to appear on specific areas of your site, such as Pages, Posts, or even the Homepage. In the right-hand side of the screen, you will see a series of checkboxes that you can customize to your liking.
This list will also include any public custom post types, taxonomies, and archive pages, so you can exactly choose when to display your content blocks. For instance, if you have WooCommerce installed, you could add a small block of content in the description of each product in your shop. Talk about fine control!
4 ways you can take advantage of modular content
Infuse is a great tool to have around, but what about its practical uses? Let me give you some ideas that you can execute right on the spot:
1. Add a site-wide announcement
The single, most efficient use of this plugin is to create an announcement spanning your whole website.
If you have published a kickass blog post, or are running a special promotion in your store, this can direct the attention of your visitors to it. As a result, you can boost the impact of your marketing strategies by a large margin, generating explosive traffic when you need to.
2. Easily add extra content to your posts
If you have a serious blog, you might find useful adding some additional content to each post.
For instance, take a look at Chris Lema’s blog. He has a highlighted box at the end of each post that promotes the Rainmaker platform. Or Nathan Barry’s website– he has a small box asking readers to follow him on Twitter and RSS.
You can do the same thing, highlighting the thing that is most relevant to your goals:
- Add an opt-in form.
- Add an AdSense advertisement space
- Add a small message inviting people to share your content
3. Reach places you could not before
The biggest advantage of using WordPress hooks to insert your content blocks is that they can reach almost anywhere. For example, you can use a hook to add content right in the middle of your WooCommerce cart.
This alone gives you a powerful tool to improve the layout of your site by a large margin. Have you thought about these?
- Adding testimonials inside your WooCommerce shop
- Placing advertisements in between each entry of your blog listing
- Adding forms, buttons and more right in the header of your site
And the list goes on.
4. Customize the look of your pages
If you use WordPress, chances are your standard pages will look very similar to any other website. They have a proven layout, but it might not do much in terms of differentiation.
That’s why you can use content blocks to add specially tailored content to each of your pages. Take a look at Heap Analytics:
Their pages all have a call to action area at the bottom, always asking the visitor to join and start a free trial. You can do the same, pointing to your most valuable pages and boosting conversions. This comes in line with the following idea, as well.
5. Boost your email opt-in rates
Email marketing is essential to any website that wants to generate revenue. It is, after all, the most profitable form of marketing.
One clever use of your content blocks is to add more opportunities for your readers to sign up to your list. That means adding more opt-in forms, especially in places you thought couldn’t be added:
- The header of your sites
- The footer of pages
The more forms you add, the more likely you are to boost your email marketing results. However, try not to go overboard and overwhelm the reader, and instead focus on finding a sweet spot.
Take advantage of reusable content today
As you can see, having the ability to create reusable content is a boon to website management. These WordPress content blocks will not only make your life easier, but can also open up new ways to customize your website without needing to touch a single line of code.
Have you ever taken advantage of this? What would you use the content block for?