How many times to you save your blog post, explore the preview pageview of the post, and then continue editing before you hit publish and are done with it? Or do you just trust the WYSIWYG visual editor and never preview your blog post before you publish it?
I’ve been asking bloggers at conferences informally and the average number of saves and reloads are four, with some doing it only once or twice, but some bloggers reload their post previews as many as 8 times or more before they are satisfied with the post for public viewing. Personally, it’s about four times for me, though more for longer posts.
Many bloggers admit that the longer and more complex the blog post, the more times they will preview the post, making sure that all the links are right, the headers look good, the images are aligned properly, and nothing is out of alignment or wonky. Bloggers who tend to blog 500 words or less per post rarely previewed their posts before hitting the publish button.
Many of the “older” bloggers miss the inclusion of the post preview in past versions of WordPress and are frustrated with the current preview process, keeping two tabs open for their blog, one for writing the blog post and the other for previewing. Among the new bloggers I’ve talked to, many didn’t even realize they could look at the “final” version of their blog post before hitting the publish button.
In WordPress, the post preview feature is a frustrating area for bloggers and for blog developers. Many wish they could just have an interface similar to Windows Live Writer, agreeing this is the best and fastest way to publish to their WordPress blogs. When you can see what you are blogging in real time, within the format and style of your WordPress Theme, you have better control over what your blog post looks like.
WordPress developers told me that they removed the built-in post preview from WordPress.com due to the high number of page reloads and complaints about slow page loading of the Write Post panel. Personally, stuck on slow Internet connections, I found the page loading sped up as the team worked harder and harder to streamline and increase the speed of WordPress in general. However, saving and waiting for the Write Post panel to reload, then switching tabs and hitting the page refresh and reloading the post preview within my blog’s Theme takes even longer.
As for hits on the server, the number of reloads have not changed for me. I reload the Write Post panel and reload the post preview tab equally as much as I did before, except that the process is now more inconvenient and time consuming for me with the two pages on separate tabs. In a perfect world, the Theme’s styles, at least the post content area, would be incorporated into the WYSIWYG visual text editor so you would honestly see what you get and we wouldn’t have to bounce back and forth between tabs in order to see what we’re going to get when we hit publish.
Why Preview Your Posts?
For the few who didn’t realize they could preview their posts before publishing, they wanted to know why any blogger would want to preview their posts?
Because we are serious about our blogging and want our blog posts to be our best work.
Post previews help the blogger see what the final version will be. If their post is just text with no links or images, then it isn’t as important as there are only words to misspell and little else could go wrong. Once you start adding links, bolds, italics, lists, headings, images, and more blog bling, there are more things that can go bork in the blog.
Links can be easily screwed up if a bit of the code isn’t right. WordPress will convert the remaining code to HTML character entities or the URL will be to your blog instead of the external site. A forgotten closing tag on links, bolds, italics, headings, fonts, and more can turn half of your post content into a hard to read design style. An image too wide for the post column width can overlap the sidebar or push the sidebar down to the bottom of the page. Or maybe the image is overlapping a header or blockquote, pushing the text around in a way that isn’t pleasing to the eye. All of these things can be spotted when your web design is displayed and never seen in the default design of the WYSIWYG visual editor.
Many just find it easier to read their blog posts when they are in blog format rather than within the Write Post panel. I catch a lot of little mistakes I missed when I see it in its final version.
The best bloggers edit their blog posts thoroughly before they hit publish, and previewing their blog posts as they would look in the final version on their blogs is an important step.
Are you previewing your blog post before publishing? Or do you just trust that it’s right? How many times, on average, do you reload the post preview before you are satisfied it is ready to publish? What would you recommend to WordPress or your blog program for post preview methods? Do you like what they offer?
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.