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3 Tips for DIY Webmasters

The Sprocket Report

This article was updated on 2/6/2019 with the article entitled “New to Updating online Content? Hacks to Make It Look Good!""

When you were trained by an expert or watched an online tutorial, it looked so simple! Just a few clicks to edit, add a photo and voila! Nifty new content on your website!

But where did all those extra characters in the text come from? Why are the column widths all messed up? And how come the headlines don’t look right any more? These glitches are easy to avoid if you follow the following three tips.

Pasting Text from a Word Document
Either we compose documents ourselves or people send us Word documents that we cut and paste into the text editor at our CMS website, click on save, and then – yuck! Weird extra characters appear seemingly out of nowhere.

When you cut and paste Word text, you are inadvertently bringing some unseen code with you. Your CMS doesn’t react to the code the same way the Word program does, so it translates it as text.

Here’s how to circumvent this problem: In your Start menu find Notepad and open it. Cut the text from your Word Doc and paste in Notepad which removes all that extra code. Then cut the text from Notepad and paste in your CMS text editor. Yes, it’s an extra step, but way quicker than cleaning up weird extra characters.

Controlling Column Width and Adding Photos
People often don’t connect the cause-and-effect of photos on their CMS templates, but it’s very common. Proud code writers point out how the flexible template adapts to the graphic size, while perplexed admins wonder why the column size inexplicably changed.

Here’s how to circumvent this problem: Know how many pixels across your columns are supposed to be and resize your photos to be the right number of pixels wide before you upload them to your CMS. If your computer doesn’t have a program to do that, simply go to Picnic.com which is a free, online tool where you can edit your photos. Save the modified photo with a new name and then upload to your webpage as usual

Correcting Inconsistent Headline Sizes
The standard design rule say there should be one main headline, a couple of slightly smaller sub-heads, and perhaps a few even smaller sub-heads under those. But if you are adding one new item just every once in a while, following the design rule becomes complicated. People start adjusting the font size in the CMS editor which often results in a strangely piecemeal look to their webpage.

Here’s how to circumvent this problem: Go back to your trainer or manual to locate the style sheet editor. From there, you can edit all the attributes on the entire page. If you make your changes on the style sheet instead of in each module or extension, your look stays consistent throughout.

These three tips are so common, experienced folk just assume everybody already knows them, but there is always someone to whom they are new. If you need a little more assistance, feel free to contact us. We're happy to help.

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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