Collaborative WordPress Pages via Google Docs? Yes, Please!

The internet, we’re told, are supposed to make things easier. Socializing comes to mind, as does research (if you can dig your way through all the “fake news”). Collaboration is another. From project management systems to event coordination, the internet has been as essential as phones to communicate and work with others. So why, then, is working on a single document still an archaic process? For the most part, people still use email to share files, which really is not much different from handing a printed piece of paper to a coworker.

A New Hope: Web 2.0

Among the innovations that fall under the umbrella of Web 2.0 is collaborative workspaces. Solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint and Google Docs enable teams to work together on one document, by enforcing check-in and check-out rules, tracking past versions, and even allowing multiple people to edit a document at the same time. This represents a great leap forward, saving untold hours of work and mountains of aggravation.

So it was only a matter of time until someone wondered: “If we can collaborate this way on spreadsheets and word-processing documents, why not on WordPress blog entries?” And thus was born WordPress.com for Google Docs.

The Google Docs Solution

WordPress.com for Google Docs (a name that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue) is a Google Docs add-in that enables you to post a Google Docs document as a draft post to your WordPress site. If you have a need for multiple people to contribute to a post before it goes live, this is a much cleaner way than emailing text back and forth and then copying and pasting in WordPress.

You need to tell the add-on what your WordPress site is and give it permission to post to it. If you have more than one site, you can manage them all this way – no need for separate Google accounts. The add-on lets you choose which site to post to.

So if you’re a busy business owner (or politician) whose writing is a tad wobbly (or incoherent) and you need an editor to follow behind you to make sense of your prose, this is an excellent approach.

Judging by the comments (another Web 2.0 cornerstone) on the add-in page, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out:

  • Positioning of images in Google Docs does not always translate well to WordPress. You may need to tweak the positioning of images on the WordPress side.
  • Currently there is no way to open an existing post in Google Docs. The document flow is one-way only, from Google Docs to WordPress.
  • Some formatting features of Google Docs, such as footnotes, may not survive the trip to WordPress intact.
  • If you are using a Jetpack-enabled site, you need the latest version of Jetpack.

WordPress.com for Google Docs is brand new as of March, 2017, and like any new software, there are some issues. Over time, the bugs will be fixed and it will become a more robust solution. So if you’re interested, give it a shot (it’s free!), and if it doesn’t work out for you, try again in a few months or give us a call and we’ll help you set it all up. In the meantime, keep those cat videos rolling.