#Web Master Essentials

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WordPress: how to remove unwanted code from your site’s header

July 15, 2021

When WordPress generates a webpage, it adds a lot of information unseen by the user. Much of this appears between the <head> tags in the code, and asks the browser to interpret information in a certain way, or load additional files and resources. While some of these are useful (such as style.css, which turns raw words into a stylish website), others are not. Some could compromise the security of your site.

Each resource that's requested slows your website a little. It makes sense to remove anything your theme or site doesn't use, even if all it does is shave a third of a second off the loading time.

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WebP: a “new” format for your WordPress images

June 29, 2021

WebP’s arrival is getting WordPress fans excited. As a photographer, I’ve been watching this image format evolve for a couple of years. It promises much, delivers some of it and is gaining popularity. Question is whether now is finally the time to make the switch from trusty JPEG.

Although you may only just be hearing about it, WebP has been in the works for a decade. Designed from the outset for the web, Google is pitching it as a replacement for the venerable JPEG. With support for both lossy and lossless compressions, animations, and transparent backgrounds, it looks like a solid option to replace JPG photos, PNG illustrations and countless animated GIFs.

Screenshot of CNN.com after disabling JavaScript showing an almost blank web page

It’s 2021 and we’re still building inaccessible websites

June 4, 2021

CNN and I have had a falling out. Every time I visit their website a video starts playing and there's no way to switch it off. Whatever music I'm listening to has to be put on hold so I can waste a couple of seconds of my life tracking the thing down and muting it. 

Ah, you might be thinking, browsers have an option to stop videos from autoplaying, and you'd be right. Only somehow CNN has found a way around it.

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Mobile Broadband: lessons from the slow lane of the internet

May 24, 2021

Mobile broadband seemed like a good idea at the time. We were moving away, so a long-term contract wasn't viable. A rolling monthly contract would give us freedom to end it when we needed to. With promises of 10Mbps downloads and unlimited access to Netflix, it seemed like a perfect way to get the "high speeds" needed in the digital age and stay flexible.

If only it had worked out that way.

How to stop WordPress spoiling your images and photos

May 19, 2021

You upload your latest photo to WordPress and click “preview”. But what’s this? The image looks blurry and the text on your watermark is horrible and pixilated. This isn’t what you wanted.

Welcome to WordPress image hell.

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Off-page SEO: an essential guide for small business marketing

May 10, 2021

When you're working with content professionals, the chances are you'll hear about on-page and off-page SEO. We can get excited about these terms and start talking about outreach and backlinks and a bunch of other things that may not make sense.

This article explains what off-page SEO is, what it means in business terms and offers an outline of how to start your own efforts. 

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The Editorial Calendar: a focus for consistent, high quality content

April 22, 2021

Modern marketing demands a steady stream of content for blogs, social media and newsletters. Eager to deliver, marketers charge into the fray, determined to write 1,000 words of high-quality content each day. Overwhelmed by the task, most will fall by the wayside until their efforts dwindle to nothing, and content marketing is declared a failure.

Yet there are real benefits to content that many are exploiting. They produce regular features and articles readers enjoy, which generates new leads and customers. Far from the chaos of blogging, these successes often come with disciplined management and an approach closer to traditional publishing.

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Mobile product pages in fashion retail: a review

April 19, 2021

There’s no doubt 2020 had a profound impact on online shopping. As stores and high streets closed, many shoppers flocked to the websites of their favourite fashion retailer. Overall sales were down, yet online’s volume and share increased.

It is inevitable online shopping won’t go away. More than a third of fashion retail is online, and some have reported over half their sales happen on a mobile phone. This picture of consumers using their phone to shop makes a mobile friendly website as important to a small fashion retailer as having a phone or a way to take payment by card.

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A guide to using Stock Photography in your content marketing

April 15, 2021

Images are an integral part of content marketing. They appear at the top of blog posts, teasing the visitor to read on. Sometimes they're found further down the page, adding context or breaking up longer copy. Social media is awash with photographs of smiling people, panoramic vistas and carefully crafted graphics. These photographs and illustrations demand our attention, and sometimes we're willing to oblige.

Creating a unique photo for each blog post would be a full-time job. Fortunately, there are ways you can short-cut this process and use work that's already created. This is the "stock photograph", an image that's ready for you to use. All you need do is agree to a few terms, possibly pay a fee, and you can use it in your next piece of content marketing. At least, that's the theory.