Guides

A collection of how-to guides and information on aspects of editorial design, content marketing and business.

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

Illustration of a laptop placed on an engineering size reduction symbol with lines showing data deflected away from a red circle

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.

WebP: a “new” format for your WordPress images

Illustration of a building in Japan with a bright yellow background

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.

How to stop WordPress spoiling your images and photos

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.

How to use article spinning to reach your target audience

An illustration of a spinning wheel with words being used as thread in the spindle

Your latest content is out and results are mixed. Trying to appeal to different audiences in one article has made your copy messy and confused. It's difficult to read, too long and the keywords used by one audience confuse another.

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

Quote: It takes time for a newly minted web page to gain traction

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.

Skyscraper articles: an essential tool for small business marketing

Quote: You should be able to spot the gaps you can fill that will give your article a unique angle

Scoring a high rank on a search engine can have a profound effect on your site's traffic. Highly placed content attracts more visitors, expands the sales funnel and drives sales. As you talk to SEO experts you'll hear them talk about keyword density and on and off page Search Engine Optimisation. At some point you'll hear about a content marketing technique called "The Skyscraper" that promises to leapfrog your competitors by building on their success.

Search engine marketing: a guide for small business

Quote: SEM has a more immediate effect that makes it appealing for product sales and timely content

In December 2019, I published a report on how retailers design their mobile product pages. Within two weeks, over 300 people had viewed it, and several of these visitors had become leads. Search Engine Marketing drove this traffic, a set of techniques that short-cut the long-term organic growth of SEO for something more immediate.

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

Graphic of an editorial calendar with all entries completed

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.

A guide to using Stock Photography in your content marketing

A camera on a table next to a macbook with photos on the screen

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.

Colour: how to choose the right colours with your designer

A simple colour wheel on a rainbow background

Recommendations about the colour to use in your brand can seem a little arbitrary. Sometimes the mix "just works" and you don't know why. Or the designer suggests using a slightly different variation on your brand for this specific design. Maybe the mix of colours doesn't "feel" quite right.

How to prepare for your corporate profile photo

Two portraits of the same woman side by side, one in a professional dress, the other in a casual sweater

Even a camera-shy photographer like me needs a headshot. They're an essential part of the modern business landscape and appear everywhere. From the security pass around your neck to a LinkedIn profile or a profile aimed at attracting clients, your photograph is ubiquitous. While you might get away with a selfie on social media, a professionally taken headshot is usually a minimum to achieve any kind of PR coverage.

How to use employees in your content marketing

A man and a woman looking at a book together

Using photographs of employees can add some authenticity to marketing. Showing those who answer the phones or make the products you sell gives people reassurance there’s a real business behind the website. If you’re tempted to grab your phone and snap shots around the office, hold that thought. There are legal, privacy and practical issues you need to address before you can start.