Ask any web editor what bugs them about WordPress and you’ll get an immediate (and usually pretty passionate) response. Anyone who spends most of their day in WordPress has a list of quirks and kinks that have – at one point or another – driven them to the verge of insanity. Things like videos not centering, disappearing embed codes, and funky formatting are among the most common culprits.
As a Web Editor and Producer, let me share with you some of the typical frustrations that people come to me with (or that I have battled with myself) and offer some useful solutions.
Why won’t my video center?
I’m going to be honest. I don’t know why your YouTube video won’t center. At this point, I don’t even know if I care anymore. I spent a good amount of time (and I really mean an obsessive, excruciating chuck of my life) trying to figure this one out. There is no answer that I can give you. Sometimes… It. Just. Won’t. Center.
FINALLY I found a trick, thanks to my good friend Google, and I want to share it with you now, to save you from the pain and agony so many have been forced to suffer before you. So here’s what you do:
Switch back to the “Edit” view and simply wrap this bit of html code around your video embed code:
<div style=”text-align: center;”><video embed code></div>
I’ve tried other HTML codes for centering, too, but they don’t seem to work consistently. This one does the trick, every time. You’re welcome.
Every time I hit “Save” my video embed code disappears! What the heck is going on?
Once again, I’m going to have to say that I don’t really know. Let’s just let that be the theme of this article, okay? Things happen on the internet and we can’t always explain why. The good news is that you don’t have to know HTML inside and out in order to MacGyver your way into a perfect looking website or post. Through trial and error, and a lot of Google searching, I’ve been able to solve most, if not all, of my posting problems.
But back to that disappearing video. This is what I do:
First, make sure your post is completely ready to publish. Edit it, get your images in there, set your featured image, and so on.
Now, make sure the very last thing before you hit publish is this:
Switch back over to “Text” view, paste your embed code where it belongs, and then hit publish. Now close the window. Important: do not switch back to “Visual” view or it will vanish again. I know, annoying.
This disappearing embed code problem doesn’t happen all the time, but rather randomly (as far as I can tell). I don’t know why it happens to some embeds and not to others, and I don’t know why keeping the post in “Visual” and closing the window keeps the embed intact. But I do know one thing for sure – it works.
What is up with the spacing in WordPress? Why is it so hard to get the spacing to do what I want?
We’ve all had the problem in WordPress where the spacing isn’t even between each paragraph. Some spaces are slightly shorter or taller than others. Usually this has to do with some extemporaneous HTML code attached to your text that was pasted into your post from Microsoft Word or another website.
To fix spacing issues, switch to “Text” and remove any unusual looking code that could have latched onto your text. Especially when you see – this is always going to cause spacing issues, and is probably appearing because you pasted something without stripping the code out of the text. Deleting any unusual code should fix the issue, and get your spaces nice and even.
Afraid of deleting something important? I have a trick for that too. Copy and paste the code in a Text Edit document before you start your HTML surgery. That way, at the very least, you can always go back to where you started.
Which brings me to another tip…
WordPress is so frustrating, every time I paste something into my post, it’s all jacked up!
It’s never a good idea to copy and paste something from one doc, site, or blog, into another. It always brings some lingering HTML code with it – hidden in the text – but potentially full of all sorts of formatting code you don’t want or need.
So what you need to do is this:
Anytime you’re pasting something into your WordPress blog post from somewhere else – be it Microsoft Word, or a Google Doc, or another blog post – first paste that text into a Text Edit document. (I’m on a Mac, but I’m sure there’s a PC version of something similar to Text Edit.) The key here is to strip the text of any coding that could be attached to it. Think of Text Edit as a place to clean your text before bringing it into your canvas, which is WordPress. Just as if you were painting with paint brushes, you would make sure the brushes were clean before starting a new painting.
Once your text is in Text Edit, highlight the text (or select all). Then under “Format” in the control bar, select “Make Plain Text” from the drop down menu. Now take that plain text and copy and paste that into your open blog post, into the “Text” portion. You are basically stripping your text of all formatting and then placing it into a new space with no formatting. Starting fresh, so you can better control your content. Now you should be able to switch back to “Visual” with no further problems.
I’ve tried using the WordPress options (see image below) and I just don’t like them as much as I like doing it the old fashioned way. Works every time.
So I have to learn HTML?
Don’t be afraid of HTML. Most of your posting issues can be fixed or resolved with some good old-fashioned HTML. A lot of what I know has come simply from Google searches. HTML is your friend. Trust me.
You don’t have to know HTML, you simply need to know how to use search engines to find the information you need. You can type in searches for “HTML code for centering a video” or whatever you are looking to do, and you will find it. The key is to look for the “HTML code for (insert whatever task you are trying to perform here)” and you’re on your way to WordPress Rockstar status. Seek the code my friends, and ye shall find!
A Bit Of General Advice From a Veteran Web Editor
If you’re experiencing a merciless issue or problem, here are a few things you can try.
Restart your computer. I know it’s obvious, but sometimes the obvious ain’t so obvious when you’re neck deep in confusing code.
Take screen grabs of any issues you are having and send them to your developers or trusted technical advisor. It’s always better to show, rather than to explain. A good developer will be able to tell you what the problem is, or find a plug in, to do something to fix the issue. If you don’t have a developer, or trusted technical advisor, you are going to have to turn to the Internet and do some searching.
Don’t trust the first answer you find, you’re going to have to test the advice you’re getting and I suggest texting any advice you get in a post that is not critical, something that you are not in fear of losing. Give yourself a safe place to figure out what works best for you.
Not all fixes work on all computers, or all operating systems, or all browsers…Same goes for the quirks. If you find a new problem or quirk, and restarting doesn’t fix the issue, it’s a good idea to log into your site on various browsers so that you can test to see if the problem exists across the various browsers, or if it is specific to one particular browser. You have to troubleshoot before you can figure out exactly what the problem is, or how to solve it.
I’d love to hear more from you about the frustrations you have with WordPress. There’s probably a work around that you’re not aware of. Let’s compile a list of these things and save future web editors a lot of time and gray hair.
And for all you developers out there…now’s the time for me to finally find out…WHY won’t my YouTube video center?!
dotcomedy.com. From there she has gone on to work with Online companies like Mania TV, AOL’s Lemondrop.com, Smosh, Huffington Post, EQAL, The Pet Collective and others. She works with clients ranging from huge companies to individual blogs. She even had brief career as a celebrity “ghost blogger.” Follow C.J. on Twitter and friend her on Facebook. You can also contact C.J. via her website, cjarabia.com.
C.J.’s latest project, ThePetCollective.tv, just launched July 23 so go check out her handiwork and enjoy the site!