Managing Your Content
MemberClicks' Content Management System (CMS) uses a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editor for managing your site's content. WYSIWYG refers to an application that displays content onscreen in a form that closely resembles the final product. Similar to a word processor which prints a document just like you see it on your screen, the MemberClicks WYSIWYG editor displays your content just like you'll see it when viewing the finished article/page. These editors are extremely popular because just about anyone can create a webpage without knowing HTML code. For those that are comfortable working with HTML, the editor offers 2 "modes" - the default WYSIWYG/visual mode and then the HTML mode where you are able to work directly with the code.
It is important to remember that WYSIWYG editors are not perfect. The editor actually has to translate your actions into HTML code. This adds a layer between the designer (you) and the code, which makes it less precise than coding by hand. Similar to using a language translator, there may very well be bits and pieces that are misinterpreted. While extensive knowledge of HTML isn't necessary, it certainly helps to have at least a basic understanding. Many issues can be resolved with very little effort or website know-how.
One of the most common issues with page formatting is a direct result of copying and pasting content. The source of the content that you're copying can have a large impact on how well it pastes into the WYSIWYG editor. Have you ever experienced issues when copying content from a Microsoft Word document? There are plenty of reasons as to why these issues occur, but mainly it's because Word and the WYSIWYG editor are 2 completely different pieces of software. When you copy Word content you're actually copying much more than just text - you're also copying margin and tab settings, specific fonts, special characters, and so on. When you try to paste that into the WYSIWYG editor, it doesn't know how to handle all of the "extras"... resulting in format problems.
What should you do to cope with the issues? There really isn't a simple, one-step solution. You can, however, try some of the following tricks:
- Change the content source to plain text before copying it. If you're copying from a Word doc, save it as a "plain text" file and then copy the content over. This removes all of the "extras" (margin/tab settings, fonts, etc.) and allows you to paste clean, unformatted text. You can then use the editor to format the content in any way you'd like.
- Copy the content as-is and then cleanup the resulting HTML code. You don't have to be an HTML guru to do this, and you can find some beginner HTML information in the previous article.
Keep it Simple
The best way to create and easily maintain your pages is to keep them simple. Take a look at our design portfolio - notice that most of the sites have just a few different font sizes/colors (mainly paragraph text and headings) and only a few other elements - simple, clean, easy to create/maintain. Remember that your site's CSS file controls the regular paragraph and heading fonts/sizes/colors; keep your site consistent by letting it do it's job. When you add new content, don't use the editor to change the font sizes/colors/styles... look at the HTML code - you ideally want to see only <p>, <h1>, <h2>, etc. type tags around the bulk of your content.
When in Doubt, Ask
If at any time you're having trouble using the WYSIWYG editor, please do let us know - feel free to open a ticket or give us a call.