What is a WYSIWYG?

A content management system should allow you to streamline the creation, publication and distribution of your content. Yet too often CMS newbies begin to use the software only to stumble through various hurdles and stop-blocks. When it’s supposed to save you time and stress, why do you have such a gigantic headache?

One of the most common areas of frustration is the CMS web content editing tool. If you can become an expert at this one component of your CMS, I can guarantee your content marketing ship will soon begin sailing more smoothly.

Web editing tools either through a CMS directly or through a content marketing platform like BrandpointHUB are typically called WYSIWYG.

This stands for “what you see is what you get” (and is a prime example showing that developers have a pretty awesome sense of humor). A WYSIWYG editor allows users to manipulate text and graphics to resemble what its appearance will look like when published.

This is awesome for people like me with minimal HTML knowledge and zero understanding of advanced coding. Essentially it allows anyone to edit in a Word-like fashion, which is great because that’s what most professionals are familiar with anyway. That means you can easily do basic editing such as bolding text, adding subheads, placing bullets and inserting italics without getting into the nitty-gritty of HTML.

A good WYSIWYG editing tool will be fairly self-explanatory, but it’s wise to go through tutorials to ensure you have a solid understanding. A small investment of time in the beginning can save you loads of stress down the road, so make sure you become an expert at this style of web editing tool before making it your go-to for content marketing efforts.

TinyMCE is the most popular WYSIWYG web editing tool and often it is built right into a CMS.

In fact, the HUB uses TinyMCE. Check out a demo here to get a sense of the WYSIWYG editing process if you’re never done it before. You’ll see it’s pretty simple for a non-techy person to highlight and manipulate text. You can even flip the view to see the long-form HTML code should you need to dig in further for more advanced formatting.

Of course a WYSIWYG web editor has its limitations.

It will never make you a web designer. For minimalist pages with simple designs, you’ll probably be OK. Interestingly, some of the limitations are intentional in order to promote website uniformity, which can be advantageous if you’re not used to spotting these unique considerations. For example, you can’t choose different colors or text sizes. This ensures that your website has a universal feel, and that means you won’t be able to mistakenly place a big purple heading on one page and a tiny red one on the next.

Alas, you may still want more. If you have detailed demands and exact expectations regarding how everything on the page should look, you’ll probably need to work with a designer or developer to customize certain features. A WYSIWYG editor can produce a basic page and then these experts can enhance the HTML with CSS coding. That is the easiest way to turn your specific vision into a reality.

In the past, WYSIWYG editors were messy and produced some downright ugly coding. Today is a new era, one in which they typically produce clean and concise results. To become a master of your CMS and save your company time and money with your content marketing efforts, it’s essential to understand your web editing tool. WYSIWYG FTW.

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