Google Docs: The Best Way to Post to WordPress?

Ever since I started using WordPress, my writing has been done almost exclusively in the WordPress editor. Sometimes manually coding the HTML, sometimes using the rich text editor, always wondering if there was a better way. So for quite a while I experimented with various offline and online editors, but none of them quite came up to scratch. So I was filled with joy, yes, actual joy, when I discovered that my Web Based document editor of choice, Google Docs, supports blog posts.

The Advantages of Google Docs for Blog Posts

While Google Docs doesn’t, on the face of it, appear to offer much more editing functionality than the standard WordPress Rich Text Editor, it actually does alot more. Along with the standard formatting options, and the ability to edit the raw HTML (which is hugely important), you also get the advanced document management features that Google Docs provides.

The real winners from this will be authors on multi-author blogs. Not only can you work collaboratively on posts, but you can implement a rudimentary work-flow for authorising posts before publishing them. The easy way to do this is to allow a group to work on a set of documents and then only give the publishing rights to one of them, the editor as it were. This idea can be taken a step further if you use Google Apps for Your Domain. This provides a central location for all the authors, which can be augmented with posting schedules and tasks through Google Calendar and real time collaboration with Google Chat.

One of the other advantages of Google Docs is the increased space you get to write in when compared to the WordPress editor. It’s also a much nicer experience. Much like I enjoy the iPhone interface, I enjoy using Google Docs. The consummate way it handles multiple documents by multiple authors is especially impressive.

Some Drawbacks

There are some draw backs to this way of writing. Firstly, you don’t get as much control over your posts as WordPress allows. For example, you can add categories but not tags, and you can’t schedule a post to appear in the future. You also don’t have the convenient access to your media library, so reusing things like images isn’t quite as easy as it could be. There are also some minor issues with the HTML it produces. Lot’s of inline styles, non-breaking spaces, line breaks and such like. If you tend to like clean code, you may want to spend some time cleaning it up before you post.

I think it’s important to put it into context though. Google Docs isn’t a dedicated blogging tool. Rather it’s a feature-rich web based word processor that happens t do blogging. And for something that’s essentially a side feature, it does a remarkable job by largely nailing the fundamentals of writing.