Content Editing for WordPress

A few pointers to follow when editing your site. In order to maintain our excellent work.

NEVER EVER paste text from MS Word!

So you have a nice WordPress site and have a beautifully designed and hand-coded template built for you. This allows you to add content and images into to framework provided by the template. The last thing you want to do is spoil the look of the site with your content.

Here are a few pointers to follow to not undo our excellent work.

The principle here is the design should be left to the designer, the technical aspects of the build should be done by a developer and the words should come from you, the site owner*.

Styling – less is more

Don’t be tempted to apply loads of styling. This breaks the principle of content-style separation. If you “burn” styles into the content you are at the risk of

  1. Being inconsistent. You may forget that your headings are bold, comic sans with colour #fd04e1 (don’t EVER do headings like this)
  2. Locking in the design. Want to restyle your site? And have 100’s of articles with colours and other styles mixed through the content? That is a lot of reformatting.
  3. Downright ugliness. 

The image associated with this post is there as a warning. NEVER EVER PASTE TEXT FROM MS WORD, or another website, or any word-processor. It will bring styling with it and ruin your site.

Keep styles separate from content. Restrict yourself to ‘headings 2,3,4’ ; bold, italics, blockquotes and underlines should be used sparingly. A site re-design can be undertaken without having to trawl through the content.

WordPress Images

WordPress can automatically crop and resize images which you have uploaded to the site. Many templates define multiple image sizes and position them correctly on the page.

How big should my image be when uploading? Ideally it should be larger than any pre-defined image sizes, but also it shouldn’t be too large. Caution: Only a limited amount of memory is available to the web-server, so if you upload HUGE images it may fail to process them. I would say your images shouldn’t need to be bigger than approximately 1000 pixels in any dimension (unless you are a photography site).

Typically a small thumbnail is defined for list-views and a larger image size is used on the main article page. Consider this when selecting an image to use as the ‘featured image’ for an article. The small thumbnail may be square whereas the primary image may be landscape aspect. If your site is like this – choose an image which works well when cropped to both sizes. Images that crop well don’t have text or detail near the edges of the image. There is a rotate and crop feature in the WordPress editor. Much as we love WordPress we don’t think this should be used. The place for image manipulation is elsewhere. Gimp is a free and comprehensive image manipulation package.

In addition to a single “featured” image,  each page and post on a WordPress site can have a gallery of images. Templates can select these images and display them consistently. You can also insert images into the body of posts and the wysiwyg editor allows for rescaling, positioning and styling of these images. Don’t be tempted to use it. Again this breaks the content-style separation rule.

To conclude – keep your content (words and images) separate from the style (the template)

Ask us about our

short-code capability for consistently inserting images into the body of post content.



* Writing copy is also an important skill. Employ a good copy-writer for excellent copy, particularly for sales or general copy. A good copy-writer can write to a specified style and will need to pick your brains about subjects which only you are knowledgeable. This is not written by a copy-writer (and I’m sure they can all tell)

Published on: 8th November 2012
Categorised in: help and tips

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