Feature blocks, quote blocks and product pricing blocks, oh my!
The next area in my review of block options is pretty huge. There are 25 different types of blocks to handle some sort of “highlight” feature — quotes, blockquotes, testimonials, author boxes, team boxes, etc. Some have photos in them, some are just text, but every one of the eight WordPress collections (default Gutenberg, JetPack, Advanced Gutenberg, Atomic Blocks, Kadence, Qodeblock, Stackable, and Ultimate Addons) has some form of these blocks.
I generally have two specific needs I’m trying to fill. First, I do put up quotes as individual posts. What I would LOVE is some way to have a set of 100 photos ready to go as backgrounds, merge one with the quote of the moment that I’m adding, and have it be both indexed as text and shareable as an image/meme. I don’t think that is even possible, so what I’m really looking for is an easy way to post an image and to include text over top of it.
Secondly, when I’m writing a certain type of post called “Articles I Like”, kind of a curation function, I frequently quote the original article. I got the idea from one of my favourite websites that is like that for almost every post. The author curates hundreds of articles about the writing and publishing business and posts 5-10 a day with some liberal quoting. My approach is different for content. While he might write 10-20 words of his own and share 200 of the article, I’m more likely to share up to 50 of the article and write 200-500 of my own giving my own take on the subject. While the content approach changes, the need to highlight the “quoted” text is relatively the same.
The pure “quote” blocks
The default quote block is basically a grey block with a spot for the quote (in small or large font), some basic colour styling for the fonts, and a line to add a citation/author. It’s functional, and I have used it before. It’s just not very exciting for anything. I don’t see a way to change the background colour easily although I could change it for all quote blocks in my theme.
By default, there is also a “pullquote” block. The basic styling takes the grey box of the quote block, throws a header line and footer line around it to separate it from the rest of the text to make it stand out more, and adds a grey bar to the left-side of the quote box. For styling, you can go with or without the header/footer lines, alter basic text styling, change the colour of text or lines, and change the whole colour of the block without changing the colour of the text box. The last one seems odd to me, but whatever.
Neither of the above two allow images to be included by default, but you could insert them in the text through inline images.
Ultimate Blocks has their own block-quote option. It adds a bit more in the way of styling options. A quote option puts actual quotation marks at the top left-hand corner; the modern option puts a bar down the left-hand side of the block. Ooooh, fancy. Well, okay, it is fancier than the default quote block, and on that basis alone, I would generally choose this blockquote over the above ones every time. For either quote or modern, you can change the look and feel the quote through font colours, a tweet icon, spacing and how you want it to stack on various devices with other blocks. If you use modern, you can style the bar down the left-hand side; if you use quote style, you can change the colour and size of the icon. It’s definitely an improvement over the base ones, but hardly compelling.
Stackable’s blockquote block is far more robust, and the epitome of their approach to almost all of their blocks:
- Initial styling has large quote marks and indented text. There isn’t, however, a spot for the author’s name or a citation.
- You choose plain or basic as the initial option, which switches between the large quotes plus a clear background to the quotes being closer in to the text (more indented from the margin) and a slight shadow around the text block.
- There are 15 “design” layouts to change from the basic options, with five free ones and 10 premium ones. For the free ones:
- BQ1 goes super wide and with huge quote marks (pass);
- BQ2 goes dark, with a black background, large quote marks in light green, a lighter black quote box, and white text (pass);
- BQ4 is the same layout as BQ2, with black background and large quotes, but it changes the quotes to grey and switches to a white background for the text box with black text (the black header and footer are still a bit overwhelming, pass);
- BQ5 is pretty simple…small dark quote marks to the left, text centred in the middle, lighter shade to the text but on a white background. It has possibilities;
- BQ6 is a bit funkier, very subtle in its tweaks. The default font is larger, it puts a dull yellow/orange set of quote marks indented from the side (so it actually underlays some text if you have a full first line), black text on a white background with a drop-shadow in light grey around the border.
Of the five free design layouts, BQ6 is my favourite. But, to be honest, an initial basic layout worked pretty well too. And if the styling options ended there, I’d be fine with the upfront one. But Stackable offers not only Premium upgrades, even on the free ones, you can open two other tabs of customizations for Style and Advanced.
The Style tab gives you superpowers…it lets you change the border-radius; colour of the shadow; the colour and opacity of the block or the whole container (including gradient options) or, wait for it, add an image or VIDEO (sweet mama!) as your background; choose NINE different shapes for your quotation marks (10 if you include not having one at all!) and then alter their colour/SIZE/opacity/location; and play with the look of the actual quote for typography or colour; drastically change the shape of the overall block (waves, slants, etc.). Like I said, superpowers.
But wait, there’s more! If you act now, you also get the Advanced tab! You can add HTML tags to the whole block (like DIV, etc.) so that custom CSS styling can be applied. Then you get to play with the block itself — alignment vertically, overall natural height, alignment with other blocks, margins, padding, etc. The block is entirely responsive, but you can hide it on tablet, desktop or phone.
If you go premium for about $35 for the first year (it gives you support and full upgrades, but you keep all your blocks for your lifetime use), you get a bunch of other upgrades. Like more designs to choose from on the quotes. There are two that I see — one with a small-centred quote and another with a chic abstract shape motif — that look pretty attractive. Even one with a typewriter in it. Most of them I think I could easily make myself with the tweaks available, but it might be worth the price of the upgrade for the simple available options to choose from ready to go.
Okay, I’m gushing, so I’ll confess. I’m in love with this block. It can handle my quotes needs almost perfectly. There would be nothing lacking in styling these for my website, it would work great. Sure, I can’t turn it into a shareable meme, but as I said, that’s not possible without a custom plugin.
But you know what? Stackable has another option for me. It is called a Header block. It doesn’t at first glance seem like a quote block, but it allows you to basically take an image (like you were designing a header for your site), and then style text over top of it.
As with the above options, it starts out simple — a big background, a title block (missing from the quote block), and a description for the block (smaller text). There is also an option for a “call to action” button. You again go for plain (white background, no styling) or basic (dark background, basic styling) and then can choose multiple layouts. All of them come with an image in the background as a default, and they are quite compelling. If you were only doing a simple “header” once or twice, it would be great. I’m looking for something I can use a LOT, which might get a little too repetitive with the same image, right? If I go Premium, there are also ones with a desk layout with text above (very business-y/creative), another with a fabulous Northern Lights image, and still another with a great simple layout with abstract shapes in two corners but complete white space in the middle. Almost any of them would work with my need for a quotes layout. Why so many great options? Because they have 24 extras in the premium upgrade.
Styling lets me change all the stuff I mentioned above that gives you superpowers, but you can also keep or discard the title and description or add a second “call to action” button. Even the buttons give you a ton of control (all the way down to hover movements or adding icon images next to the text). The options are almost mind-boggling. If you can’t style it with this block, you probably can’t do it at all. And, of course, you still also have the Advanced tab which does all the same standard awesome functions that Stackable gives you that nobody else does. It seems almost anti-climactic a second time after you have already gone through those options on any of their previous blocks.
I have convinced myself that I will use the Stackable option, and likely even upgrade to Premium, not to mention ditching the default quote one and Ultimate blockquote. I don’t know which I will use, but it will be one of them, most likely.
I haven’t ruled out though the pullquote block. As fantastic as the Stackable blocks are, I don’t YET have a great option for styling a large block of text in a different way that stands out as a cited source. I’m sure I can do it in the Blockquote block, I just haven’t turned my head in that direction yet. Eventually, I will, and then I’ll ditch pullquote too. In the meantime, I’ll keep the two Stackable options and the default pullquote.
But that is only a handful of quote blocks. Now it gets REALLY interesting as I consider all the other blocks that I could use for quotes.
Every one of the extra plugin collections has a testimonial block, which is not surprising how ubiquitous they are on business sites. I have no need for testimonials on my site, although I do have some that I could post if I was so inclined, but the functional layout for them is generally similar to that of quotes:
- A small footprint, often in a box of some sort;
- Stylized text;
- Possible image or not; and,
- A source/citation for the testimonial.
Kadence puts an “s” on their testimonial block which starts with choosing an inline style (plain, with a photo, as a quote bubble above a person’s contact info and picture, or with a photo inside a quote bubble that wraps around the photo). They can be done consecutively and styled as a grid or as a carousel. I only ever have need for one at a time, so that’s not really relevant. I also would never put an image by itself, but I don’t have to use the image of course. You can choose the number of testimonials, how many columns there should be, etc. An interesting option is to add an icon to the box and guess what the default choice is? A quotation mark. I’m not the only one who thinks it looks like a blockquote. But I can use ANY other icon in a standard package of some 1600 different choices. I played with one that is a picture of two people in a coloured circle that stands out pretty well. I can include a title or jsut the text, plus alter the width. The icons are a bit basic, but then again, so is a quotation mark. It’s pretty compelling.
Kadence also has an info box block, with an icon or image, title and description, but its real strength is six different layouts that move that icon and text around the block as well as changes the border of the box. I like its options to style the icon and you can add a Learn More option (rather than a button). Not bad, I just don’t really need it compared to the other options available.
Advanced Gutenberg’s testimonial block is pretty basic. A spot for an avatar image, their name, title, and some text. Pass. While I’m looking at AG’s options, they also have a price box. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a quote option, but again, it is often the same four elements (box, image, text, and source). The Price box allows you to add an icon, title and some text, but no image. And the icons aren’t even that interesting. Pass.
Atomic Blocks has three options — standard testimonial, pricing and a profile box. The testimonial option is way too basic — text colour, alignment, etc. and to add a picture from the media library as a rounded profile pic. I can’t even stylize the photo. Their pricing box is decent — a spot for a title, description, price, features, and a BUY NOW button. There’s no built-in option to add photos, but you can do it inline from the media library. The various text features have some small tweaking options for currency or adding lines between them. Quite decent if you had only a few items to list somewhere on a website. I have no need for it although it does make me consider using it for downloads of various products. Hmm…interesting. Hey, wait a minute. I just realized the pricing box isn’t a single block at all…it’s a collection of smaller blocks to handle each element – pricing (checkout block), lists, text, paragraph, buttons, etc.). Interesting approach. The profile box is also decently functional. Image to the left, name, title and profile text to the right. One could easily use it for showing off images with descriptions too or even videos. Nice, but all three are a pass.
Qodeblock has its own testimonial block, plus a pricing and author block too. For the testimonial, it has text, room for the citation, and an optional picture to include. While the features are pretty basic, it does allow you to style the citation differently from the main text easily (i.e., main text left-aligned and citation right-aligned). Not enough to sell it, but nice. The pricing block works almost identically to the Atomic Blocks one, and I passed on it too. An author profile box looks like a clone of other ones — image to the left, spot for name, title and some text. Pass.
Ultimate has four extra options — testimonial (of course), info box, price list, and team. The testimonial one has a spot for text, title, and company. Looks fine, nothing special. Info Box has room for an icon or image, a title, a separator line and then some text. Meh. The price list one is very well done, and unlike the other options, is really designed to look like menu items. Title in bold, some text below, and a price to the right. I don’t have any need for such an item, but if I did, it would be a contender. The final team profile is basic but you can add an image, their name, designation/title, and a description. All “ho hum” standard stuff. And then it shines. It adds options for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest links. You can even replace those images with other icons if you want and link to something totally different. You can do such links through separate plugins, but it’s a really good touch for a personal profile box, and EVERY profile block should have that option even if people don’t use them. I just don’t need it.
Finally, we come to Stackable again. And again they offer options out the wazoo. They have a testimonial block, card block, pricing box, and a team member block. There are also two unusual ones called feature block and feature grid block. Whew.
The testimonial block has Stackable’s now standard layout, style and advanced options. For their base layout, it has text in a box (the quote) followed by a photo, name and title. Surprisingly, the free ones didn’t excite me at all. Their premium options (that I already said I would buy) comes with two that add options for other types of theming photos, better backgrounds, and a boxy format for better styling of the testimonial itself. Styling lets you choose how many testimonials there are, how many columns, etc. but it also gives you options to have really odd-shaped images (square, round, and BLOB????). They are all interesting options, but underwhelming.
Stackable’s card block has room for a large photo, title, subtitle and some text. I feel like the image would be too large for a profile, but not bad for any other purpose. There’s even an option for a CTA button at the bottom. None of the samples excite me much. Their pricing box is similar — image, title, price and some description options, plus a CTA button. I don’t have a need for it, but their premium choices have some awesome bright multi-coloured boxes for side-by-side pricing of products. If I did need a price box, this is the one I would want. Their team block is actually better than the one I liked with Ultimate. It has a photo in various shapes, title, position, description, and then, really nice social media boxes. Wait, hold the phone. One of their premium options with a single team member has a really good layout in the background. If I ditched the photo, it could really work well as a quote layout. Hmm. I’ll mark it as a definite contender, although I suspect I’ll go with the previous ones.
Stackable’s feature block caught me by surprise. It’s basically like the original media and text options. Default has the image to the right, title to the left with text and a button. It’s a GREAT looking block. So much so that I started thinking maybe THIS should be the one I use for videos with some text. Except the media/image box only takes images. No videos. Dang. There are some fantastic styling options though with swashes going here and there, and images overlaid. Just of no real use to me for the other purposes. I’ll keep it around for general styling options for images but it is more about the way the text flows around it than the image control itself.
The feature grid is actually not just the features in a grid, but rather a pretty ho hum standard layout of photo, title, text and button. The premium option includes one where the three boxes side by side have very different contrasting looks to them, but other than that, yawn.
Wrapping it all up
That was a very long post reviewing the options. Where does that leave me?
Basically in love with Stackable. I will use their Blockquote, Header, and Team Member blocks, plus I’ll keep their feature and pricing box ones around for fun. The default quote and pullquote blocks will get deprecated as soon as I can switch over to a new format (that won’t be instantaneous — there are quite a few posts using the default quote one). Kadence’s testimonials has some nice features as does the Ultimate’s Team block, but not enough to keep them active. More just to note their options. The other 16 are out.
Update: To see my current collection of blocks, check out the blocks I use.