How do you write your blog?

There are a few different ways to upload blog posts. For some, it can be a very stressful task. Here is a very quick tip I learnt over 20 years ago on how to do stress free formatting of blog posts.

How I learnt the hard way.

A long while ago I was asked to upload some academic articles to a blog, and was sent them in PDF format. If you are an experienced blogger, I’m sure you will be cringing already. Time was of the essence, and it was quite an intense document. By intense I mean that it was full of references and very academic writing. The thought of having to retyping it spurred me on to find a better solution.

In my naivety, I thought I would be able to highlight and copy the text, then paste it into the default editor in WordPress. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately I’m not able to share the result with you, but believe me, it looked a mess. The formatting and alignment was all out of sync. Paragraphs appeared where there weren’t any, and as for the references – the least said about them, the better.

An old programming tip

I was a programmer in a former role from 1999 to 2005, (so relatively early days for the Internet). We built the Corporate Intranet sites (for those not aware, an Intranet site is just like an website, but is hosted within a company’s own network, and is not accessible to the public).

One of the big systems I was responsible for developing was the Council Chamber, where amongst other things, the minutes of Council Meetings were to be published online.

Historically these were always available in hard copy format in word documents in libraries and other public buildings around the Borough, and were all on a standard word template. As you can imagine they were often quite lengthy documents.

We had some programming whizzes in the team who thought we should import all i the text into the database, to make the control of the display easier. That didn’t quite work! We broke our database, which couldn’t cope with the data. We later found a way to upload the document to the server and display it in html format. All was good until Microsoft brought out a new version of MS Word. All of a sudden the formatting was all out of whack, and no-one could understand what or why it was wrong – or how to fix it straight away.

This was the same problem I encountered with the academic document. What you don’t see in these documents is that they have lots of hidden XML code. So when it is copied into a blog post, the browser tries to read it and gets very confused with what it is trying to display. I will add in some images in the very near future to show what I mean.

So how do you do stress free formatting of blog posts from Word or PDF without it reformatting the text?

There is a very simple time saving trick which allows you to publish blogs from existing pdf or Word documents. This also applies if you do a rough draft of your own post in Word.

All pc’s have some free software called Notepad, which is the most simple and basic form of a word processor. (You can embolden text or change the font / size, but that is about it). Simply copy and paste the text from PDF or Word into Notepad. This will automatically strip out all the formatting for you.

My personal recommendation would be don’t reformat the document in Notepad. Just copy and paste the text into your WordPress Post. You can then tweak the headings and font sizes as you wish once you are in the post editor in WordPress.

Nowadays I write the bulk of the narrative in Notepad, copy it into the default editor in the WordPress post, and tweak it there. It only takes a few minutes to do. You can of course just type straight into WordPress when you have access to the Internet.

(N.B. I must point out at this point the documents must belong to yourself or your client, and it would be unethical to reproduce other peoples’ Intellectual Property)

This post was written for day 4 of Vicki Jakes’ 30 days of blogging challenge. It’s not too late if you want to join in. You can find her over here on her website, or in her free Facebook Group Online Marketing For Busy Website Owners.