Printing your WordPress blog seems like a step backwards, but it’s actually still important today and in the future.
You have a blog, and can share you opinions, stories, recipes, business, whatever, with the world. It’s incredible. But it’s also insufficient. Here’s why:
- Even today, not everybody reads blogs
- Blogs aren’t conducive to in-depth reading (no bookmarks, no notes, the content changes periodically, etc.)
- Not everybody likes reading on screens
- Sometimes you need a copy of your writing in a standalone file or printout to give to a friend, instructor, student, or customer
- Often blog content would also make a good eBook or even printed book
- And someday your blog won’t be around anymore, it would be great to preserve its content for generations to come.
There are certainly already some options for extracting your content out of a blog, but it’s surprisingly difficult.
Sure, you can already print a blog post directly from your browser, but that’s usually terribly formatted, mired with extraneous content like headers, menus, widgets, footers, etc, and not very kind on your printer. You can copy and paste the posts one-by-one into a more traditional word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but that likewise will require fixing formatting and replacing content that’s ill-suited for print; hours, if not days, of time; and often word processors will struggle with the size of your blog. Copy-and-Pasting your entire blog isn’t usually a good idea.
There are already some existing websites that try to help. But the websites are generic, attempting to support all blogging platforms at once, but only doing a good job with the most basic content. And none of them are open-source, meaning you can’t customize it to your needs, you’re at their mercy if their policies or pricing changes, and you can’t know what they’re doing with your data.
Usually people have solved the problem of “how do I get my content out of WordPress?” by instead doing all their writing elsewhere, like Microsoft Word, then copy-and-pasting into WordPress afterwards. So Microsoft Word is their authoritative copy, WordPress is just the blog and contains copied data. But they, again, struggle with keeping the nice formatting across copy-and-pasting; and they need to re-struggle with it every time they fix a typo or rewrite a phrase. It’s not a great experience.
What’s wrong with writing right in WordPress? WordPress’ editor has become, in many ways, superior to most other editors. Here’s the features that come to mind:
- its block editor makes writing rich content for the web great
- categorize your posts by category, tags, date published, etc.
- built-in post revisions
- writing stays in-sync whether you’re using your laptop or mobile device
- over 50k plugins, many of which add blocks or shortcodes you can use from the editor
- the software can be modified and customized
- you’re not locked into one hosting company, or one software company (you can even switch to ClassicPress, a totally legal modified version of WordPress maintained by a totally different team)
- oh, and the software is free to download, and has no recurring fees
The only problem of course, is that it’s a pain to get your content out of WordPress…
Now’s a good time to introduce Print My Blog, a free WordPress plugin that lets you turn blog posts into paper copies, PDFs or eBooks.
It’s purpose is to liberate you content from your blog. You’re writing memoirs, stories, essays, recipes, tutorials, books, not just blog posts. They have value beyond just being blog posts, so they should be readable elsewhere too.
Print My Blog isn’t like a WordPress-to-Wix exporter, where you leave WordPress and never come back. Print My Blog lets you write in WordPress, then create a copy of your content as a printout, PDFs, book issue, etc. But always using WordPress as the authoritative copy.
Creating different formats from your content should be easy, and Print My Blog aims to automatically handle all the boring differences in formatting. A single blog post’s content should work for what gets shown to blog readers, in the paper printout, PDF whitepaper, chapter of your book, slide presentation, whatever.
Here’s some ways the same content might get formatted differently depending on the medium:
- sans-serif font for web but serif font and paragraph indents for print
- gorgeous big pictures on web and digital PDFs, but ink-saving pictures for print
- videos and hyperlinks in eBooks, but footnotes in print
- show author, category, and other meta online, but remove it for the eBook
- inline images on the web, but float images to the top or bottom of the page for paged media
- use multiple columns of text in the PDF for legibility, but no columns in anything else.
And this is really only scratching the surface. The point is: you write your great content, Print My Blog formats it for the mediums you choose.
Go download the free version of Print My Blog if you haven’t already, and make a PDF or eBook from your blog. Give it to your friends, or upload it to the cloud for long-term storage.
If it doesn’t yet meet your needs, please reach out on the WordPress support forum or GitHub and let us know.
We’re also making a pro version, aimed at meeting the needs of professional authors, and are looking for “Founding Members” (people to guide its early development in exchange for a free membership later). If that’s you, please sign up:
Best wishes printing your blog!