Copy and Paste is not your friend…

…At least not in the blogging world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful tool, when used correctly. The problem is, in this world of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, if you’re not familiar with the acronym) copy and paste can and frequently is the monkey wrench in the works. That’s because it’s a quick and easy shortcut and when most people use copy and paste, they generally don’t proofread what they pasted. After all, They proofread it before they published it and it was fine, right?

No, that’s not a mistake, that’s an example based on something I read earlier. That’s one of the pitfalls of copy and paste. What they wanted was italics, so that example would have read “That’s because it’s a quick and easy shortcut…” but what they got was the first example sentence, complete with CSS tags that the majority of readers don’t know and won’t be able to interpret. Not very pretty and with just a bit of extra effort, completely avoidable.

What’s far worse is when copy and paste brings over a bunch of extra code that you never see on the page that affects your formatting. It’s HTML and CSS coding that can override the stylesheet of the blog and makes the formatting or appearance of your blog inconsistent. You may have run across it before in reading blogs on the web, where one post will look like this and…

…The next post looks like this.

Unless you know what you’re doing, you probably won’t be able to fix it and even if you do know what you’re doing, it’s a pain to clean out all the extra code. Microsoft Word as an example, has a reputation for adding extra code and I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked people with whom I work not to save to a .doc file then copy and paste.

So, what do you do to avoid the problems with copy and paste? Proofread, for one. You’ll catch a ton of problems before they make to the virtual page that way. Another habit you should start is saving to a plain text format, like .txt, then copying and pasting into your virtual document. You’ll have to format the text again after you’ve pasted it, but it all but guarantees that your page will look better because of it.

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