Your Blog Posts COULD Look Better

By
Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

update November 2021
note: the workarounds in this post are no longer necessary thanks to the AR dev team making the needed corrections!! The "clear formatting" point below is not a bug however and is still a good consideration for you to take a look at.
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How's it going there bloggers? If you feel like the appearance of your blog posts with the recent updates has taken a turn for the worse, then you are not alone! Watching the Q&A in the recent weeks it seems like some developer updates may have moved some things "one step forward and two steps back." First of all, it really is a good thing that this site now has a team of devs assigned to move it forward. Growing pains come as part of the package deal. You are here reading this post, so you obviously feel the site has enough merit to see beyond the "blooper reel". Correct?

Ok - So you still want to blog here in spite of the "current issues". Let me provide you a checklist and some suggestions that can make your blog posts look better than how they might look otherwise! 

What Are the Issues?

Here are some of the blog post issues that I see at the current moment, (and this could change at any point) if you do not change the font size, it is (my opinion) now too small by default. Secondly, the spacing after paragraphs is pretty much non-existent so one paragraph runs into the next. Thirdly, if you compose your text elsewhere (e.g. google docs and paste here), you will end up with a non-standard AR font. Also, we used to be able to style subheadings in our posts to break up the sections of text (e.g. h2 subheadings).  If you have posts that are a longer format, subheadings will help break up the text so it is more readable and searchable.

I'm using this blog post also to illustrate that you can successfully workaround the above issues. Yes, it is possible to have better sized text, using the correct font, have spacing after your paragraphs, and also use subheadings on longer posts. And you don't need to manually edit a single bit of HTML code!

So What Can You Do Right Now?

What can you do right now to make your blog posts look better? Notice my checklist below. After the list, I'll give a little more detailed instructions in case you need further clarification.

  1. In my opinion, the post text box is too short. The first thing I recommend is to drag the lower corner of the box downward for a taller edit area.
  2. (If you are pasting from any other source, e.g. Google Docs... after pasting to AR, select all (Ctrl+A/Command-A) and click "clear formatting" button)
  3. (With all text selected) Change all paragraphs font size to 12pt
  4. Do an extra RETURN after each paragraph (blank line for spacing)
  5. If you did the copy+paste+clear formatting step, now is your chance to go in and find phrases or words that should be bold and make those updates.
  6. Ignore how the formatting looks (e.g. line spacing) while in the text editor mode. It is NOT the same as how it will look when published. Use the "preview" button to get a look at how it will really look.
  7. If you need a subheading, type one, then select the line and make it 20pt and bold. (It won't be an h2, which would be more ideal, but at least visibly it will be good) 

Give Yourself a Taller Editing Area

The text box where you compose your blog post is too short ("vertically challenged?") It is really nice to be able to see more of your text when you are composing a post. The good news is that it is adjustable. In the lower right corner of the box you'll see a couple diagonal lines. This indicates that if you click and drag from there and go downward, you can make the edit box taller to your liking!

Clear Inherited Formatting 

In the current round of ActiveRain updates, one of the goals was to have blog posts from all authors have the same font appearance. This will make the site overall have a more professional look to it (and I agree with this decision). However, the implementation is not fully there yet. You'll notice that you can no longer make your blog posts in Comic Sans and pink font (those tools have been removed from the editor now). A good standard font has now been selected. It is called "Montserrat."  However, if you compose your post in another location (e.g. Google Docs or MS Word) and paste it here, the fonts you used there will be inherited here. After you paste in your text, you should immediately "Select All" (Ctrl+A shortcut, Command-A on mac) and then click the "clear formatting" button on the toolbar. This will remove all the non-standard formatting and make your text appear as our site standard.

Don't Use the Default Text Size

Choosing a good font size is a very subjective thing. It has been noted though, that there are a good percentage of "older eyeballs" reading the pages of this site and it can be a little frustrating when the font is too small. Right now, it arguably is still a little too small (at 15px if you don't change it.) So if you use the "select all" shortcut noted above, choose the 12pt font size for all your text. We are only given 3 choices at the moment (12, 20, and 26pt). The latter two are pretty humongous for main text, so 12 pt is the best available choice at the moment (short of manually editing the HTML code).

 

I'm going to clear any font size adjustments just to this one paragraph so you can see how small it is. The paragraph above is 12pt and this paragraph is the default 15px. Can you see the size above is better? It would be nice if were even bigger than 12pt,
but jumping up to the next choice 20 pt  (like this) is too big. Do you agree?

Add Space After Each Paragraph

One of the hiccups right now in the site styling, is that there is no margin (whitespace) after our paragraphs. All the text just runs together and this makes quickly turn into an undesirable "wall of words." For now, just press an extra return after each paragraph and you'll get the whitespace separation that you need. (The caveat to this is that the paragraph styling will probably be fixed soon [hopefully!] and then what you had added the extra returns to will have too much space, but better that then running all our words together)

Make Your Main Points Pop

If you "clear formatting" from pasting in your text from another place where you compose, you fix the font and size issues, but any formatting you had like bold and italics will be lost also. You should really not do those types of edits elsewhere but save them until you get your text over here. Selecting key words and phrases in your text and then making them bold will help your main points stand out. It also helps people skim through your text and take away the main points quickly.

The Real Look is Found in "Preview"

In the post editing area, you may see some strange things happen as far as font sizes and spacing. However, the real appearance of the post will likely be quite a bit different. The best thing to do as you compose it hit the "save" button near the top of the page and then click the "preview" button. Then you'll get the "real look" of how your post is going to appear.

Add Subheadings in Longer Posts

Sometimes blog posts can be a little longer (like this one is, right?). But do you see how I've been using subheadings to help navigate your way through it without it being too hard to follow? Ideally, in web pages, subheadings will be tagged as h2 headings (h3, h4, etc as needed, but generally h1 and h2 are sufficient!) However, we don't have the ability to do h2 headings at the moment. The next best thing is to type your subheading, select it, make it bold and 20 pt size. As you've seen in this post. That makes those headings pop out nicely.

 

Hopefully these tips can be helpful to you as you continue your forward momentum in your blogging journey. In the next weekly ActiveRain Zoom meeting (Tuesday Aug 24), we are scheduled to get our next development update from Ben Kinney and his team. They listen to our feedback on what has been done so far and can adjust accordingly as the need arises. If they aren't already aware of some of our latest struggles, they are sure to get an earful on the next round LOL. Will we see you there?

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Craig Daniels
This blog is all about technology and helping you to use it smarter! Your digital footprint is your chance to attract new clients. What kind of impression are you making via your website, blog, and social media? We’ll be talking about that! Are you as productive as you can be? What apps might help you out? Do you know how to use all the best tools inside the apps? I enjoy photography and videography, you can expect to see those topics also on this blog.
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PS - get ready for some homework… :) 

Comments (40)

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello Craig Daniels - I just noticed the graphic which I had not when I first read your post. I was so focused on reading it I missed how perfect the graphic illustrates the title and the content.  Too Funny! 

Aug 21, 2021 03:11 PM
Craig Daniels

🤣

Aug 22, 2021 09:46 AM
CANDACE (Candy) STEVENS, EA
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Good Afternoon Craig Daniels.  Thank you for your tips during these growing pains.

Have a Happy Day!

Aug 21, 2021 03:22 PM
Craig Daniels

Thanks Candy, I hope these ideas are helpful to those still keeping the blogs coming.

Aug 22, 2021 09:46 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Hey there Craig! With the exception of using bullet points, I can do a straight copy and paste from Microsoft Word.
Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Aug 21, 2021 03:48 PM
Craig Daniels

...just don't forget to clear formatting so we get our new standard font, right Rocky, ;) thanks!


 

Aug 22, 2021 09:47 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Craig:

 

Thanks for the excellent tutorial - as always. Seems like "workaround" is the key buzzword for AR these days. Bookmarked.

 

Jeff

Aug 21, 2021 04:28 PM
Craig Daniels

I'll be really glad when I can do a non-workaround type of post, Jeff. but here we are again. thanks!

Aug 22, 2021 09:48 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Craig, you provide some of the most valuable tech tips here on ActiveRain.  I really appreciate them!

Aug 22, 2021 12:43 AM
Craig Daniels

appreciate that Myrl, thanks!

Aug 22, 2021 09:48 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Craig, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Aug 22, 2021 01:00 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Craig, I think this post and comment thread illustrates both the best of ActiveRain (the membership such as you cares enough to try and make things better and helps each other) and the worst (why is something so fundamental as blogging so difficult to do for so many?).  You know my personal frustrations and the bulk of the issues mentioned in the comment thread have been repeatedly reported to Feedback with little or no acknowledgment. 

Aug 22, 2021 05:43 AM
Craig Daniels

Thanks Bill. The fixes are relatively simple ones and course correction on any missteps could be very quick. But we don't get the two-way dialogue that would make this so much better. It's so puzzling and frustrating! But as you say, what we like about this place keeps us coming back which says a lot to endure through it all. Although we've seen more and more just stepping away tired of the wait.

Aug 22, 2021 09:51 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker

Craig Daniels which is sad too see so many do so.  I simply don't have the time to figure it all out once again.  Hopefully SOON they will get these issues fixed OR hire you to do so.

Aug 22, 2021 05:55 PM
Peter Mohylsky
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL

I love tecnology.  or do I hate it.  I'll get back to you on this issue.  Thanks for this information,  It is great.  

Aug 23, 2021 06:55 AM
Craig Daniels

that describes technology pretty well, yes it does :)

Aug 23, 2021 11:50 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hello Craig Daniels, I held off on posting on ActiveRain for some time as I did not want to do all the workarounds but I'm really hurting myself so I started posting again. I appreciate all the tips! 

Aug 23, 2021 08:33 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks Beth. The workarounds aren't too terrible once you are aware. After tomorrow's zoom, we might have some clarification on the fixes.

Aug 23, 2021 11:51 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Thank you - again!

I didn't realize the bullet points weren't working - seems like it would be so easy to fix.

I still can't thank you enough for the multipe-photo workaround you helped me with- finally my posts have photos in a nice and neat order.

Aug 23, 2021 04:43 PM
Craig Daniels

thanks Margaret. I love to hear my earlier suggestions are working out well for you! :)

Aug 24, 2021 07:48 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

All good suggestions for having a better looking post.  I use Save and Preview to make sure it looks presentable before I publish.

Aug 24, 2021 07:12 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks Ed. Yes, preview, adjust, and publish :)

Aug 24, 2021 07:48 AM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Thanks for the information Craig Daniels.  I figured a few of those things out on my own but it took a lot of hit or miss tries.  I'll keep this post handy.

Aug 24, 2021 03:05 PM
Craig Daniels

I hope this helps a few out there still struggling with the current issues. Hopefully, more so, that the issues disappear soon!

Aug 25, 2021 06:16 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Great tutorial. I wondered why our posts were not showing a break between paragraphs and then learned this was due to something in the system. I hope it gets worked out. However, I have figured out how to create the space by just clicking the return bar twice.

Aug 24, 2021 05:25 PM
Craig Daniels

We're on track to get this fixed soon! A little while of workarounds in the meanwhile. Thanks Paula

Aug 25, 2021 06:17 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Really great post Craig. Hope everyone reads it. 

This has happened in the past & some people that are now complaining had this before in a previous upgrade many moons ago. Not sure why they can't remember some tips from before?

Thank you for all your help.

Aug 25, 2021 02:29 PM
Craig Daniels

Thanks Lyn. The dev team has acknowledged the items of this post and are working to push out a correction soon. We could do without the workarounds... someday!

Aug 25, 2021 06:18 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Craig - really sorry that I was not able to attend Tuesday.  I hope these issues were addressed.

Aug 28, 2021 03:13 AM
Craig Daniels

Hi Grant. Yes, they posted an update on the site yesterday that fixed these issues!

Aug 28, 2021 04:38 AM
David Snell 704.545.0098
WWW.ExecutiveRestoration.Com - Charlotte, NC
CERTIFIED MOLD INSPECTOR, CERTIFIED MOLD REMOVAL.

Very informative post and comments.

Thank you, Craig.  You are awesome!  keep up the great job and thank you for being so helpful.

David Snell

 

Sep 29, 2021 12:00 AM
Craig Daniels

Thanks David for that comment! Happy to report most of the items on this post (workarounds) have been cleared up now also!

Sep 29, 2021 08:42 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Craig Daniels - there are days you just have to switch gears and pull up a youtube featuring Roseanne Roseannadanna Always Something (SNL) and have a good laugh. 

For what it's worth, I appreciate all you do. Seriously, you would not want me on your Tech Team. 

Oct 01, 2021 07:43 PM
Craig Daniels

Thanks Patricia, that's appreciated! Happy to report most of the issues reported on in this post have been fixed now by the dev team. They are helping us move forward!

Oct 02, 2021 10:01 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

😃 - You and your team are the best! 

Oct 02, 2021 10:42 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and your outstanding advice.

Oct 17, 2021 08:17 AM
Craig Daniels

thanks Roy, I'm glad to see your visit. Happy to report that the issues on this post has now been resolved (clear formatting step is still a valid one to recommend to people) thanks! :)

Oct 17, 2021 09:46 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Thanks for all the tips in creating abetter blog presentation Craig. Will bookmark for a future read and heed!

Nov 12, 2021 09:13 AM
Craig Daniels

Thanks Wanda. The workarounds are no longer needed happily :)

Nov 12, 2021 12:50 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Craig, thanks for these tips, and will need to revisit this later today, working on getting on my Internet connected products.

Dec 09, 2021 07:40 AM