Write your next blog post in Google Docs

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Introduction

When writing blog posts, most people still use the built-in text editor of WordPress or whatever other Content Management System (CMS) they are using.

The sad truth is that these built-in text editors are most often far inferior to modern Word Processing applications such as Google Docs and Microsoft Word.

The Gutenberg revolt

When it comes to WordPress specifically, you do not have to look far to find users who are less than impressed with the new Gutenberg editor.

On the WordPress Plugin Directory, the Gutenberg plugin has a dismal rating of 2 stars.

Compare that to the Classic Editor plugin that has a near-perfect 5-star rating and, at the time of writing, more than 5 million installations.

Use the best tool for the job

Here at Cloudpress, we believe in using the best tool for the job. Content Management Systems are great at delivering and managing content, but, as we have already pointed out, not necessarily great at writing content.

That is why we write all our blog posts and documentation in Google Docs. Google Docs focuses on one job and that is to write (and collaborate on) content. We think Google did a great job to remove any distractions and keep your focus on writing content.

The toolbar is small and limited to the main formatting functions, which are also easily accessible via keyboard shortcuts.

Quick tip: Use ⌘ + / on a Mac or Ctrl + / on Windows and Chrome OS to see a list of shortcuts.

Understandably, a statement like “great editor” is highly subjective, so here are six more reasons why we think Google Docs is the superior choice for writing blog content.

Collaborate with others

Blogging is often a team endeavour and there could be many people involved in putting together content for a blog post. Maybe you make use of guest writers to boost the production of content. Or perhaps you are blogging for an organization and there are subject matter experts that need to give input on the content.

Whatever your situation might be, if you need to collaborate with others, Google Docs offers a wonderful collaboration experience.

In terms of collaboration, Google Docs offers three different ways you can collaborate with others:

  1. Leave and respond to comments. The first collaboration feature, and probably the one that is used most often is the ability to comment on the contents of a document and respond to those comments. This allows you to clarify things in collaboration with others within the context of the content.
  2. Suggest changes. The next way to collaborate is to suggest changes. This is useful for situations where there is not a lot of discussions required and you simply want to change a few words.
  3. Edit together. Google Docs allows you to edit documents together. It allows you to see where other people are in the document and see changes from other people in real-time. If many people edit a document at the same time it will probably cause more confusion than anything else, but in certain situations, this option may be useful.

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Research at your fingertips

The Explore tool in Google Docs docs allows you to perform research for content from inside the Google Docs editor.

To open it, click on the Explore button in the bottom right-hand corner of your document:

You can search for content in your own Google Drive as well as content and images from the web. See an image you like? Simply drag it into your document.

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Quickly insert images

Finding and inserting images in your blog posts can be a tedious process and can interrupt your workflow and thought process.

In the previous section, we have briefly mentioned that you can search and insert images with the Explore tool, but there are other techniques you can use.

You have the usual options to insert images from your computer or from a URL. Since Google Docs integrate with your other Google information, you can also insert images from Google Drive or your Google Photos.

The Google Photos option is especially useful if you combine that with the Google Photos app on your phone. Simply take photos on your phone and allow the Google Photos app to automatically upload those photos to Google Photos in the cloud.

Once you’re back at your computer to write your blog post, insert images from Google Photos using drag-and-drop from the Google Photos sidebar into your document.

There is also a Camera option which allows you to take a photo with the built-in camera of your computer or mobile device.

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Proofing tools built-in

We all make typos and Google Docs has built-in tools to assist with that. The Google Docs spell checker will underline misspelled words and offer suggestions as to what the correct spelling may be.

Early in 2019, Google also released grammar suggestions that will give you feedback and suggestions for grammar mistakes.

Google Docs also has a dictionary to quickly look up the meaning and spelling of words you are unsure of.

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Extend the editor with add-ons

As we have seen so far, Google Docs has many useful tools built-in, but there are situations where you may want functionality that Google Docs does not offer. Google provides a solution for this in the form of add-ons.

Add-ons are a way for software developers to extend the base functionality of Google Docs with custom features.

The Google Add-ons store (which you can find by going to Add-ons menu and selecting Get add-ons) offers a wide selection of add-ons across categories such as Business Tools, Education, Productivity and more.

Our favourite add-on, of course, is the Cloudpress add-on which allows you to publish the content of your document to your blog or website - all without ever leaving the Google Docs editor.

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History of edits

We’ve all been there before. We’ve made major changes to a document only to realise that we should not have made them and want to revert to a previous version of the document.

In the good old days before the internet, we would safeguard ourselves by making copies of a file before major edits.

Thanks to the version history feature of Google Docs, you don’t have to worry about this anymore. Google Docs will automatically save “checkpoints” along the way.

You can see the changes that were made between versions and even revert to a previous version.

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Even more

In this blog post, we have highlighted six of our favourite reasons why Google Docs makes a great tool for writing blog posts.

There are many more, such as the document outline, equation editor, word count, voice typing, and the mobile apps allowing you to blog (or make notes for your next blog post) while you’re on the go.

Export your content to your blog or website

Once you have written your content, you would, of course, want to get it exported to your Content Management System (CMS) with as little effort as possible.

You can copy-and-paste the content but you will typically lose a lot of your formatting. Even if your CMS does a decent job of preserving the formatting, you will still need to upload images separately.

This is where Cloudpress comes in.

Cloudpress will export your content and preserve your formatting such as headings, bold, italics, lists, tables and, of course, those pesky images. Cloudpress will keep track of documents you export, allowing you to update any previously exported document on your CMS.

You can do this all without leaving the Google Docs editor with our Google Docs Add-on.

Why don’t you register for an account today and give Cloudpress a spin? We’d love to hear your feedback!

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Jerrie Pelser
Cloudpress Founder and CEO

I am the Founder and CEO of Cloudpress. I have been a software developer and creating content for software developers for 25+ years. I understand many of the frustrations of creating content in a collaborative environment and strive to make the content publishing workflow for customers as seamless as possible.