My dear content creating friends and colleagues! I present to you my tips on writing content specifically for WordPress. Here are some technical and creative approaches that are sure to speed up writing and posting time.
Don’t write directly into WordPress
From a creative perspective, writing directly into your site means you can become easily sidetracked. You start watching the word count at the bottom. You feel compelled to check on how your Yoast SEO score is shaping up. Oh shoot, a plugin needs updating? Better pause and do that! Next thing you know, you’ve lost the will to finish writing.
Your favourite word processor – even pen and paper – is more ideal. This allows your thoughts to be more flowing, without the distraction of the dashboard. Not to mention moving text around is faster offline than saving drafts continuously through the site.
For a technical reason, you never want your content to only exist on your site. Should the unthinkable happen where your database is corrupted, you’ll lose the only copy of your content. Back that shit up in many places. It’s easier to cut and paste 30 blog posts saved as .docx files after a disaster than it is to rewrite it all.
Don’t forget to include tags, links, categories and publish time in the document as well.
Avoid formatting issues: copy and paste content correctly
Ever see random indents, line spacing or font styles show up when you hit ‘preview’? Your word processor may be the culprit! Avoid copying and pasting content from word processors. This is because they use their own format coding, which can carry over into the site when you paste. The code conflicts with the HTML and CSS native to your theme. Meaning strange results.
Use a text editor that will strip extra formatting. For PC users, I recommend exporting approved content as ‘Plain Text’ or pasting it into Notepad. For Macs, I recommend TextEdit, making sure the content is changed to ‘Plain Text’. To do this, go to the menu > Format > Make plain text.
Paste content from these text editors into your WordPress page or post. Make sure your paragraphs are set correctly in the text editor before you do! Yes, you’ll have to set your headers, italics and bold text again. At least now you’re setting them via WordPress’s native formatting. This results in a truer representation of how it’s going to look to your readers on the front end.
Remember to take care of the ‘excerpt’ or ‘Read More’ function, depending on your theme
The excerpt is a ‘sneak peak’ snippet of your content readers see before clicking to full content. You usually see in an archive or blogroll view. By default, WordPress will grab the first few lines of text in your page or post to use. This might not be what you want though in cases like:
- your most compelling content exists further down the page
- there’s a call to action you want to highlight
- you want to craft completely new text not found in the content
- there are shortcodes at the start of your post or page. Often these display wrong or not at on the front end.
Refer to your theme’s documentation to see if it calls up the excerpt via the ‘excerpt’ (natch) or the ‘read more’ function.
- Locate this box on your post or page screen. It is generally towards the bottom. If you don’t see it, scroll to the top of your screen and expand ‘Screen Options’ to reveal it.
- Paste in the snippet you want your readers to see into the ‘excerpt’ box.
- Place your cursor where you want the ‘read more’ to start
- Click the ‘read more’ button in your kitchen sink (where your edition tools are)
- A dotted line now indicates where the ‘read more’ call will happen. You see this in the back end, but it doesn’t show up on the live site.
Have your own tips on writing specifically in WordPress? Tweet them at me!