What Is WYSIWYG And When Should I Use It?

Posted on October 29, 2020 • Written by Tony Diaz
What is WYSIWYG and when should I use it?

If you’re not a web developer, adding content to your site or editing existing content may seem daunting. Luckily, WYSIWYG editors make it easier for you and your team to make changes to your site without diving into lines of code. Read on to learn what WYSIWYG editors are, the pros and cons of using them, and tips on how to perform error-free updates using this type of interface. 

What Is WYSIWYG? 

WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get.” WYSIWYG interfaces allow you to edit content in a convenient way, even if you don’t know any code. Microsoft Word is a good example of a WYSIWYG interface. Word gives you a blank page with tools that allow you to add and format words, images, tables, and more. What you see on the screen is exactly what you’ll see when you print the document out – hence the name, “what you see is what you get.” 

Advantages Of Using WYSIWYG To Edit Your Site 

There are many advantages to using a WYSIWYG editor. Some of the top benefits include: 

  • Usability: WYSIWYG editors are relatively intuitive. The interface allows users to add, remove, or reformat text, images, videos, and more without having a background in web development or programming. This can be especially advantageous if you want to make small updates to your site quickly, or you have non-developers adding content to your site. 
  • Error-proofing: It can be hard to catch a mistake in a block of code, and even harder to correct it. WYSIWYG editors make it easier to catch and resolve errors quickly. 
  • Templates: Many WYSIWYG editors have templates you can choose from. By using a template, you can speed up the development process and focus on the content you’re creating for your site. 

Disadvantages Of Using WYSIWYG To Edit Your Site 

Of course, there are some drawbacks to using WYSIWYG editors, including: 

  • You don’t always see what you’ll get: Websites can be viewed on tablets, phones, and desktops of all sizes, which can make it more difficult to ensure your site looks great on all devices. Some WYSIWYG editors don’t offer responsive designs, which can make your site more difficult to navigate for mobile or tablet users. 
  • Limited functionality: Templates and drag-and-drop interfaces can only take you so far. Depending on your needs, you may need a web developer to create new code or edit the WYSIWYG templates to give you the result you’re looking for. 
  • Bloated code: Some editors generate excessive code. While this won’t make a difference in the final appearance of your site, excess code can increase the loading time of your site. 

Tips For Using A WYSIWYG Editor

WYSIWYG editors can make it easy and convenient for your team to update your site, but there are some tips and tricks to make using a WYSIWYG editor as easy as possible: 

    • Paste as plain text: If you write content in another application, like a word document, don’t directly copy and paste your work into the WYSIWYG editor. Word processors often add hidden characters and formatting that make your content look great on that platform, but can create formatting issues in a WYSIWYG editor. To avoid this issue, Instead, paste your copy in as plain text to remove characters and formatting. 
    • Remove Excessive &nbsp: In HTML, &nbsp indicates a line break. These can pile up in a WYSIWYG editor, especially if you’re editing in the application itself. It can be difficult to spot &nbsp indicators since they can only be seen in the code of the website. To see the code, look for the “Text” button on WordPress Sites or a “Source” button on other platforms. If you’re seeing a lot of huge spaces on your page, check the code and remove instances of  &nbsp as needed. 
    • Simplify the slug/URL Alias: The part of the URL that describes the page’s content is called a “slug” in WordPress and a “URL Alias” in Drupal. For example, this page’s slug or URL Alias is /what-is-wysiwyg. WYSIWYG editors automatically assign new pages a slug, but they may be too long, not descriptive enough, or missing valuable keywords. Check the slug to make sure it follows best practice before the page goes live. If you change the slug after the page has launched, you’ll create a 404 error that will need to be addressed. 
    • Use headings appropriately: Many WYSIWYG editors have heading options. Headings provide a stylistic break in the content, but most importantly, they provide SEO value. Search engines like Google crawl your site and scan titles, H1s (Heading 1) and H2s (Heading 2) to understand the content and serve it up to users. Each page should only include one H1, but you may use several H2s per page. To gain more traffic, be sure to use H1s and H2s to capture keywords and crawlable content, rather than using them as a stylistic choice. 
  • Use Preview: When you’re editing content in a WYSIWYG editor that has a preview feature, it’s good practice to preview your work before you update it. Previewing allows you to view any new work before you fully commit to the update. If you notice something you don’t like about the new work, you can always click the back button to start over or make changes. 

Do you need help editing or adding content to your website? Let us know! Our development and Service Desk teams are available to help you with everything from building a new site to ensuring your current site stays up to date. As a full-service digital agency, our SEO team can also audit your site and provide recommendations on how to optimize new and existing site content. 

Contact the experts today!
Tony Diaz

Written by Tony Diaz

Tony Diaz is Fruition’s Service Desk Lead. Tony’s career has taken many twists and turns along the way. He’s been involved in video production in one capacity or another since high school. He earned his bachelor’s in Media Communication from the University of Houston, where he entered various film festivals and produced two student-lead programs that aired on local PBS. Tony has extensive customer service experience, having managed restaurants and hotels over the course of 20 years. This experience brought him to Fruition, where he’s worked for the last three years. Tony is Fruition’s main point of contact for web administration work, and he applies his customer service background to grow the Fruition Service Desk. In his free time, you can find him walking and jogging through Denver’s best parks.

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