What you shouldn’t ever do on your CMS based website

CMS means Content Management System (meaning: you can add, change, remove content from your site, with simple word processing knowledge)

This article assumes that you have a minimal knowledge in editing CMS based websites, resizing and uploading images, word processing.

You probably got your website ready made by either a professional web design company, either you got it from a free web service provider, it may have a facility that lets you add new content to your page without any technical (meaning programming/HTML, CSS) skills.

This is a very good thing, BUT it has drawbacks. I will explain them below.

1. Bad formatting

A site is looking exceptional, the text in it is well formatted, so visually is OK, until someone creates a new article, or changes an existing one, and tries to format the text.

This is a badly formatted text in this design and context

Don’t try to format the text, even if your editor lets you do it. Never change the font color, or background color, unless you know about colors and how they look with each other, and which color is suitable in the current color scheme/design. If the editor offers you styles in a dropdown list (usually it has a “Styles” text inside it), please be a bit ‘lazy’ and use it. Styles are usually provided by the web design company or built into the CMS system. Styles provided in this manner usually are following the overall site style and are in harmony with other site elements.

With Styles use only the Bold, Italics, sometimes Underline, predefined formats(paragraphs, headings, pre, code, etc.) and the alignment options, lists (numbered or bulleted), indentation.

2. Content created with word processor software, Spreadsheet software (Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Openoffice Write, Calc, etc. )

Never _EVER_ paste content directly from word processor software and spreadsheet software (neither from PowerPoint). WHY? Word processors and Spreadsheets use their own styling and proprietary formatting solutions, which are not always compatible with web standards, and very often bloated.

With compatibility are coming problems like the site design falls apart, bad formatting, ugly stuff, missing images, etc. Do you know what i’m talking about, am i right?

The second bad thing: word processors are using bloated techniques for formatting (nothing wrong with them, those tecnhiques are ensuring quality in word processing) which INCREASE the size of the downloaded page. Two lines of Excel tables (roughly 500 bytes(characters) of useful information) took over 800 KB (approx. 800.0000 characters). I know this is an extreme example, but the 800 KB of garbage is still there, even if you insert 1000 table rows or a dozen of paragraphs. This will increase the download time of your pages to almost triple or even quad (depending on how compact is your site’s design and structure). There are some editors which strip the extra garbage from the pasted info, but som meta information still remains in the inserted code, and that’s what really can mess up you webpage.

If you have previously created materials, written text, copy them from your word processor, paste it first into a plain text editor (PlainHTML (It has a plain text mode too), Windows Notepad, Notepad++, Notepad2 or any other), select it again in the plain text editor and paste into the online editor. The pasting and copying from a plain text editor gets rid of all formatting stuff created by the word processor, and you get the clean text only. After you inserted the cleaned up text into the online editor, you may format it again.

3. Badly inserted, wrongly sized, misshaped images.

It is ugly, isn’t it? If you have a visual editor in your site editor, it will allow you to insert images and to resize them AFTER they were inserted. There is nothing wrong with this function, it is rather welcome. The wrong is how one resizes them. The results may be distorted, pixelated images, and long download times for ‘small thumbnails’. Some things that certainly will help yo in this:
Resize the images ON YOUR MACHINE first (Any decent image viewer has this function) to the intended size (they are nearly all below 1 MP).

If this isn’t possible, or you wish to store you image as it is (although i don’t recommend it if you ar thinking seriously about your online presence and page loading times), then just insert the image into the online editor, click it hold down the Shift key and resize the image. This ensures, that the image just resized won’t be distorted, it’s proportions will be kept.

If you keep these in your mind when updating your site, your site will always shine as new and will look as it was dreamt.

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