WordPress is fantastic, isn’t it? It has enabled pretty much anyone to have a website to market their business online. But when it goes wrong, it can go spectacularly wrong – unless you have some technical knowledge to put it right, or know someone else who does.
I manage quite a few of my clients’ websites and whilst it isn’t rocket science (once you’ve got your head around it) it can be time consuming, particularly with the many, many updates to plugins and themes that seem to occur frequently.
However occasionally a client may decide to add new content to their website themselves, most likely because it’s such a minor change they feel they could do it easily themselves, or because they need it done immediately. Ordinarily this shouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s where WordPress can feel like it has a mind of its own!
For any technical people reading this you’ll know exactly why formatting can kick out of place, causing major headaches for those less technical.
So why does it happen?
In a nutshell, when you copy new text from another programme such as Microsoft Word, you are also copying over any formatting used within that programme, which is often not compatible with other programmes, such as WordPress. So whilst on the face of it you can’t see any issues after pasting into the editing field of one of your website pages, when viewing the live site you can see discrepancies, such as a different font size, or different font colour, and have no idea how to fix it.
There is an easy check you can carry out if you spot a formatting issue when viewing the live site, and that’s to switch from ‘Visual’ view to ‘Text’ view when editing your page.
To switch across, go back to the editing field of the page you’re making changes to and click the ‘Text’ tab that appears above and to the right of the main editor toolbar. As you can see from the visual below, you are now viewing the content of the page as a programmer would:
But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a website programmer! This just allows you to see if there are any pieces of code that don’t look right e.g. perhaps there’s some code that isn’t surrounding text or part of text that you added to the page.
If you spot anything out of the ordinary, it was probably caused by copying and pasting directly from another programme. At this point, you can try to remove the offending piece of code yourself, but unless you are fairly technical I’d probably advise getting your Virtual Assistant to do it for you, just to ensure nothing else gets removed or lost.
But there is a preventative solution.
Firstly I always recommend ensuring you have a backup of your website content. So make sure you write each page text into Microsoft Word first and save it to your computer. That way if you ever need to re-build your website due to a major crash, you can do so in a matter of minutes, rather than days.
Then there is just one simple step to remember when you copy and paste content from Word into your WordPress website.
Always click the ‘Paste as Plain Text’ icon () before pasting when in ‘Visual’ mode, which can be found on the bottom row of the main editor toolbar:
A box will then appear on screen for you to paste your text into:
When you’ve added all your text, click the ‘Insert’ button and it will be transferred across to your website.
By doing this process each and every time you add new content, all formatting from the other programme will be automatically removed. Thus alleviating your frustration when trying to figure out what went wrong!
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