Google Docs is a fantastic tool for collaborative business. However, there is one thing about Google Docs that is not so nice, and it’s hidden. It’s actually hidden when it’s in Google Docs itself. It is when you finally go from Google Docs to website publication that you are able to see this hidden menace (for lack of a better term). What is this menace? It is unnecessary formatting code in the HTML.
Why is this a big deal?
Unnecessary code can be problematic on several levels. The first deals with jumps in the formatting. By jumps in the formatting, I mean those times when you copy over an item from Google Docs, you go to edit the document in your content management system (whether HubSpot or WordPress or something else) and all a sudden, for instance, the entire paragraph shifts into the Header font, or maybe everything has the wrong font or font weight. The second problem can occur when the post is loading. Unnecessary code can cause strange mobile loading issues and occasionally even loading issues on desktops. Finally, the third problem can come when you start making further formatting edits inside your content management system: your new formatting can start clashing with the existing formatting code in unexpected ways, causing your text to start behaving in all sorts of unexpected ways.
Here is what this unwanted formatted code looks like in the context of this blog article, for instance:
What can you do?
There is one solution that we have been using for over a year now. When we have an article in Google Docs ready to be published, we copy the contents of the article and first paste it into Windows or Mac Notepad. Notepad is a plain text editor, so by doing this it strips all unnecessary formatting code from your content and leaves only the text itself behind, ready for formatting in the website platform of your choice.
A new solution
Recently, HubSpot has begun working on another new solution. This solution is entitled Composer. It is currently in beta, but once available to all HubSpot users, it will provide the same service as copy and pasting into Notepad. However, instead of requiring the user to re-copy from Notepad into the publisher, this new tool will give users the ability to remove the bad formatting and input the new formatting all natively in HubSpot. It also has the extra advantage of keeping the formatting that you do want, such as header and subheader tags, bold text, bullet lists, and so on, so that you don't need to manually re-enter that formatting after first stripping it out.
Hopefully you've been navigating around the unnecessary for a while, but if you haven't, now you have two solutions to this often missed mistake. Give them a try, and let us know what you think!