WordPress is a great publishing platform. It is not, however, a great writing platform. We write all our posts in Google docs, which is fantastic for collaboration.
But if you’ve ever tried to copy and paste from Google docs to WordPress, you’ve shared some of the same frustrations we have.
Thankfully, we’ve found a way around the stupid formatting that Google docs adds to WordPress posts.
Why Google Docs for collaboration
We’re a 100% remote company, and as such, we collaborate using a variety of tools. Sometimes, I’ll start writing a post, then Emma will come in and edit, adding suggestions here, comments there, and relevant (royalty-free) images as well.
WordPress is not made for this kind of collaboration. But Google Drive (Google Docs in particular) does a great job with this. Edits can be suggested — and seen — in a word processing environment much better than an online publishing environment.
Plus, and this is really important for collaboration, two people can be in the same document at the same time without anything bad happening.
We have a process for each post we write:
- We come up with a topic
- We write the intro
- We write the outlines — making each section header of the outline in Header 2
- We write the body text under each heading
- We add pictures above each heading, making sure they’re the right size (1200×628, typically)
Then, we go through it again, with the following in mind:
- Is this helpful?
- Does this answer a specific question?
- Where does this post need visual breaks? Do screenshots make sense, or will a stock image do? (Although remember, stock images don’t help you stand out in your customers’ minds. And I’m well aware of my hypocrisy because I use stock images liberally in the blog and throughout our website.)
We’re not interested in simply getting the attention of search engines, we want to help people get their questions answered so they can move on with their lives.
Why use Google Docs for writing blog posts (aside from collaboration)
Collaboration is important, but it’s just the first piece.
If you’re creating blog posts, from scratch, within WordPress, you’re playing with fire.
Or you’ve never once had technology fail on you.
And, just like people who drive motorcycles recklessly, things are going to go wrong. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
Sure, WordPress saves your posts automatically. Every couple of minutes.
But Google Docs saves them in real time (which makes me happy — I lost a 10-page paper in high school and I’m still not over it nearly 20 years later).
Now, of course, writing your posts in Google Docs will not prevent:
- Power outages
- Internet troubles (although they have a workaround for that and allow you to write offline, promising it’ll sync back up when you’re connected again)
- Spilling coffee on your keyboard
- Computer theft (watch for those coffee shop people!)
But having a great piece of content in Google Docs allows you to repurpose it far easier than you can from a WordPress draft.
By repurposing, I mean:
- Turning it into a presentation and uploading it to Slideshare (here’s our example: 21 Different Types of Opt-ins: Which Should You Choose?)
- Adding a related worksheet and turning it into an opt-in (can you tell we think about opt-ins a lot over here?)
- Creating a webinar using your post as a base
- Creating a live presentation using your post as a jumping off point
- Reworking the Google Doc to make it more conversational, then creating a video for your YouTube channel
- Reworking the topic and main thesis of the post to make it a podcast episode
Once you create something great that answers a specific question your audience has, you do not have to be done once you hit publish.
You know this. But you may not know that when you start with a Google Doc, it’s so much easier to repurpose because you don’t have to start from scratch — you already have something valuable!
How to easily move from Google Docs to WordPress: Wordable.io
It’s long enough into this post that I feel comfortable enough to admit something: before I learned about Wordable, I wrote posts directly into the WordPress draft editor.
I lost posts.
I lost pieces of posts.
Sometimes, things didn’t update.
But because it was challenging to copy and paste from Google Docs to WordPress, I decided it wasn’t worth it.
It felt like a duplicated effort.
Until I learned about the plugin that saved hours (by now, it has probably saved me days) of my life: Wordable.io.
It’s a plugin as well as a standalone website. I personally don’t use the plugin because I’m picky about how fast my site loads and the more plugins a WordPress site has, the more likely it is to slow.
Also, their website works great.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Log into Wordable.io
Click log in at the top of the screen:
It will, perhaps not surprisingly, ask you to log into a valid Google account.
Then, you’ll see this screen:
Okay, you’ll see your own version of the above screen. You can search for your post, but if you worked on it recently, it’ll likely be in the first few drafts.
Since you connected to your Google account, Wordable knows that you’re ready to export your post from Google Drive and get it into WordPress.
Only you can know if you’re ready, but once you are, click the export button and let Wordable work its magic.
It takes less than a minute.
Here’s one thing I haven’t mentioned yet: if you add pictures to your post as you write it, Wordable will magically upload those images and put them where they’re supposed to go!
A few important notes about images in posts: size and names
Image size: what you see isn’t what you get
Google Docs will make any image fit on the page, which is fine for a book report or something, but our ultimate goal is to publish on the web, so, unless the picture you’re uploading is a piece of art or a photograph that you want people to print, adjust the width before you insert the picture. My max is 1200 pixels wide.
Image name: change it!
When you take a screenshot or download a stock image, the names you get are meaningless. And, believe it or not, what you name an image in your blog post still matters to SEO. So, before you insert an image into your Google doc, rename it to your post name, and make sure it’s not 3500 pixels wide.
This might sound like an extravagance: paying for something that seemingly “just” formats your blog post.
But have you seen Gutenberg? The new fancy/shiny editor in WordPress?
Here’s what it looks like:
They replaced the old editor with one that looks honestly really nice.
There are content blocks, and the first time you use it, they give you an example of what every piece means.
But the problem with this is that it takes away from the experience of writing blog posts, and replaces it with formatting.
I’m not knocking formatting. I’m the kind of person who cannot write a single word in an ugly font, so I’ll be the last one to say that formatting isn’t important.
But the prevailing wisdom from Neil Patel is that long posts will bring more traffic to your site.
And in my opinion, it’s far easier to write in an environment made for writing than one made for publishing.
It’s the difference between using Microsoft Word or Apple Pages versus creating an ebook in InDesign from scratch.
It can be done, but there are far better uses of my time.
And, I suspect, yours, as well.
So give Wordable.io a try, and if you do, let me know what you think!
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