Pagebreak: SEO Content + Copywriting https://pagebreak.info/ Vancouver Sun, 21 Mar 2021 17:20:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Convert Word docs to PDFs with clickable URL links! https://pagebreak.info/convert-word-document-pdf-clickable-url-links/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 20:18:49 +0000 http://pagebreak.info/?p=17885 Clients often ask me how to add downloadable, printable PDFs to their websites, so this blog includes an easy how-to video. But first, you’ll need to know how to convert Word docs to PDFs, while keeping the clickable URL links LIVE. That’s right—if you thought you needed to buy software to do that, you were…

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Clients often ask me how to add downloadable, printable PDFs to their websites, so this blog includes an easy how-to video. But first, you’ll need to know how to convert Word docs to PDFs, while keeping the clickable URL links LIVE. That’s right—if you thought you needed to buy software to do that, you were mistaken!

Kudos to the wonderful Lise Cartwright for her article about this. If you’re short on time, here’s my TL;DR version of that in 6 easy steps.

Convert Word docs to PDFs with clickable URL links:

  1. Email the Word or Pages document to your Gmail email account
  2. Don’t download your document; rather open it in Google Docs
  3.  MANUALLY test all the hyperlinks to see they are working – including your header or footer links
  4. Check and re-do any formatting changes that may have occurred
  5. Click on ‘File’ from within Google Docs (not your web browser) and choose ‘Download as’  PDF document
  6. Google will then convert your Google Doc to a PDF, with ALL links functional and live

Now for the quick how-to video to add downloadable PDFs to WordPress sites.

This shows step-by-step how to add downloadable, printable PDFs (with live URL hyperlinks) to your WordPress site. Thanks and feel free to contact me if you need help with copywriting, digital advertising, or blogs.

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Diversity Marketing: The Best Stock Photos for Inclusive Imagery https://pagebreak.info/diversity-marketing-best-stock-photos-inclusive-imagery/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:35:00 +0000 http://pagebreak.info/?p=15003 Whether you’re a blogger or marketing agency, you share one common goal: finding the best stock photos. And now that diversity marketing is finally the norm, not the exception, you need website-ready inclusive imagery. Well, look no further. In this royalty-free photography list, you’ll find photos of diverse people in stunning settings. Some of the sites…

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Whether you’re a blogger or marketing agency, you share one common goal: finding the best stock photos. And now that diversity marketing is finally the norm, not the exception, you need website-ready inclusive imagery. Well, look no further. In this royalty-free photography list, you’ll find photos of diverse people in stunning settings. Some of the sites in my list offer free stock photography. They also all have photos with similar prices to Shutterstock (but they look so much better)!

best stock photography: diverse, global people

Real People Photos vs. Staged Stock Photography

You might be wondering: What’s wrong with Shutterstock?

One of the problems with the big-brand stock photography is the obvious “staged model” look to them. The worst is when models look straight at the camera and smile — while in awkward positions. These dental office shots are prime examples. Smiles. So. Big. (Must be the Percocet!)

 

hilarious stock photos: smiling dental patients and dentists

Notice anything about the montage? Yep. Everyone has smooth hair and light skin. No size or age diversity. No uniqueness of any kind.

Until recently, finding stock photos of happy, contemporary diverse people was nearly impossible. For instance, when searching keywords like diverse people on the beach, in a park, at work, or shopping…I got nada.

Thankfully, some entrepreneurs noticed this void and filled it! Before I show you the best resources I’ve found, here’s a brief PSA for all the photographers out there.

When looking for specific imagery, if you have the budget for it, please try to…

Support Your Local Photographer

If the message you want to convey in your marketing is authenticity or individuality, generic shots won’t do. For specific imagery or settings, I use a local Vancouver source called Sashique Photography. Most of her photos are commissioned, as a one-time sale only. But these days, many photographers are creating online stock libraries. So if you find a local photographer that you like, ask if they have any non-exclusive shots for sale. It never hurts to ask.

Now for my list of the best free stock photography…

1. The Best Stock Photos for Website Banners

CreateHER

CreatHER: the best stock photos and inclusive imagery for websites, blogs

createherstock.com

One of the best free photography resources, in my opinion, is CreateHER. Not only is the quality of the shots stellar in colour, theme and style, but the compositions and dimensions are absolutely PERFECT for websites.

Notice how CreateHER photos leave some space for text to go? This is crucial for website banner text. When it comes to inclusive imagery that’s website ready, these ladies are on top of their game. CreateHer offers both free pics, as well as more exclusive for-purchase options.

2. The Best Resource for Inclusive Imagery

Tonl

Tonl features stunning photos of various cultures from around the globe. The angles, lighting and spirit of the people in the photos are unique and full of life. So if you’re looking for photos with natural poses and diverse people of all sizes, ages and skin-tones, you will love Tonl. I’d say they’re far better than Getty Images and Shutterstock’s forced, posed shots!

royalty-free photography: diverse, global people

tonl.co

Costs: One photo is $20. 15 photos cost $29 a month. That averages to only 1.93 a shot! Get 45 or 75 images a month and save even more. Considering the photographic quality and the fact that these photos are not over-used, this is a bargain.

3. The Best Free Stock Photography

nappy

As a former art student, I find Nappy’s work to be exceptionally artistic in quality. They have everything from action shots, aerial views, and beautiful portraits. Sure, their library may be small (for now). But what they lack in bulk, they make up for in beauty. If you’ve used Colorstock before they closed shop, you’ll appreciate Nappy even more. Be sure to bookmark them for diversity marketing images.

Nappy free stock photography: beautiful diverse people for diversity marketing

If you’re a photographer making relevant work, submit your shots to Nappy. The process is easy!

Diversity Marketing Shows How Life Really Is

Until these sites came up, finding great free stock photography of diverse people was almost impossible. Now I can find students, ballerinas, techies — you name it — in every colour, size and age. Plus they’re depicted doing cool things, they’re shot artistically, and they’re in interesting settings.

What about you? Are you a writer, marketing pro, or web designer looking for free stock photography of inclusive imagery? If so, let me know if these resources for diversity marketing come in handy for your next project. Thanks for reading!

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The Brand as a Hero’s Journey: Build Customer Loyalty with Authentic Brand Storytelling https://pagebreak.info/the-heros-journey-build-customer-loyalty-with-authentic-brand-storytelling/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:18:42 +0000 http://pagebreak.info/?p=14902 Did you know that authentic brand storytelling is more effective than SEO tricks? In fact, research shows that a brand’s mission and backstory motivate consumers more than advertisements. Millennials, in particular, often turn to social media, website About pages, or blogs to see if you’re “legit”. How can you build customer loyalty if your brand sounds generic? To create…

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The audience awaits.

Did you know that authentic brand storytelling is more effective than SEO tricks? In fact, research shows that a brand’s mission and backstory motivate consumers more than advertisements. Millennials, in particular, often turn to social media, website About pages, or blogs to see if you’re “legit”.

How can you build customer loyalty if your brand sounds generic?

To create an easy-to-love brand, you must first understand and articulate your mission and backstory. If your story shows integrity, you’ll gain customer trust. And the way to do that is through your brand’s unique “Hero’s Journey”.

Classical Greek Hero's Journey

Ancient Greek Mythology

How It Works

As a copywriter who studied screenwriting and journalism, I’ll share with you the tried-and-true techniques that storytellers have used throughout history.

Joseph Campbell analyzed this process decades ago. Later, Christopher Vogel transformed it into a 12-step Hollywood screenwriting formula.

For marketing content, I’ve adapted this method into a technique I call “Your Brand is a Hero”. I use it to create authentic brand storytelling and web copy for all of my clients. And now, so can you.

If you’d like to hear this described in a podcast, tune in to WP Builds. In part 1, I show how this technique can build a compelling brand story. In part 2, aired this December 14, I show how it relates to web copy. Both versions are free and can be found on the WP Builds podcast.

To get started now, grab a pen and notepad and follow the steps in this blog. Let’s begin.

The Hero’s Journey for Authentic Brand Storytelling

1. The Ordinary World: In film, this often occurs within 5-12 minutes. We see the hero stuck in his/her regular routine. And we see why breaking out of that world is necessary for growth.

The hero's ordinary world: Dorothy, Wizard of Oz, Hero's Journey

Dorothy yearns for life over the rainbow.

In relation to a brand’s backstory, this is what you were doing before you built a new business or brand. Jot down what your needs and goals were then, and what motivated you to change.

For a great example of an entrepreneur’s journey, watch the film JOY. Compare the protagonist’s world in the beginning of the film to each step of her journey.

In my own backstory, I was a designer in NYC with a journalism and art background. For fun, I’d invent fake, ridiculous products and paint cheeky “ads” about them. You’d never have convinced me that many years later, this would become my dream job.

2. Call to Adventure: This is the catalyst that propels the hero to take action. Think of what compelled you to start your business. Recall what you sacrificed or endured to put yourself “out there”. Initially, you may resist this leap. But you do it anyway, because your life (or the lives of others) depends on it.

Overcoming fear, crossing the threshold: real life hero's journey

Vivian Malone bravely enters the previously all-white university.

3. Overcoming Fear and Meeting Your Mentor: Who gave you confidence when you were starting out? Who taught you to overcome fear and take risks? This could be a deceased parent or teacher from long ago, or a mentor in the business world. The more unique and personal you make your brand’s story, the more interesting it will be to others.

4. Crossing the Threshold: Here’s where the hero adapts to this strange, new environment. The mentor usually appears with sage advice and guides the hero to the next step…

5. Commitment to Change, Despite All Obstacles: This beat is crucial to every story, yet amateur writers omit it. Why? They’re afraid of appearing weak. They don’t realize that…

We all stumble in life, especially when we’re on new terrain. But we pick ourselves up and continue. That’s commitment.

Has this happened in your business? Write down how it motivates your brand today.

For me, this took place during my first theatre production in New Zealand.

It was opening night at the Fringe Festival. Everything was in place and the venue was packed. But throughout the play, it was clear that the audience did not enjoy this political satire. As they trickled out of the venue, a seasoned festival director pulled me aside and said:

“All of the biggest media people were here. So at least you know your press kit was killer.”

I realized later that these were the words of a mentor. His insight assured me that, while I couldn’t control a play’s content, I knew how to fill seats. I had a knack for persuasive call-to-action and marketing copy. And I was determined to build on that.

This is the turning point where the hero’s commitment to change leads him/her to…

6. Meeting Allies

7. Enduring Ordeals

8. Adapting to New Conditions

In films, you sometimes see these 3 steps as a montage. Usually the hero is learning new skills from various allies. Often they are preparing for battle or the ultimate test.

Friends training for battle.

In relation to my backstory, I had just moved to Canada. It soon became obvious that in order to keep my international clients, I’d have to branch into web copy.

I was already aware that my combination of skills —writing, design, and marketing— gave me an advantage over many other writers. But I hadn’t written for websites yet. How would I showcase this? To paraphrase Field of Dreams, I decided:

“If you build it, they will come.”

Baseball diamond from Field of Dreams.

That’s right. I built baseball diamonds (websites), so people could see me pitch (write web copy).

Sounds crazy, but like the film, Field of Dreams, it worked. I attracted stellar marketing and web design teams. They wanted me as their pitcher/brand storyteller. And thankfully, they didn’t expect me to build the baseball diamond each time I played.

This High Point for the hero occurs toward the end of Act II. It’s called a False Victory.

Why false?

Because in a hero’s journey, no prize comes that easily. 

9. Big Changes

All stories have ebbs and flows called arcs. Without these, the pacing can become overwhelming (too much conflict), or boring (not enough conflict).

Here’s a brief example. While teaching myself how to build websites was fine at first, I needed to learn more. I joined a Facebook community of website builders and took a heap of notes. After some trial-by-fire training, I met Paul Lacey, a seasoned Web Designer. We agreed on a skill exchange: I’d edit his web copy and create brand slogans; he’d help me with web design and coding.

Things were going well. I secured a big client. Paul was teaching me CSS via custom-made videos.

Then one day, while finishing up a site, I experienced the hero’s lowest point in a story:

The Whiff of Death or All is Lost moment.

It happened after working 24 hours straight. My brain was fried, but I just had a few minor customizations remaining. When, suddenly–

POOF! The site crashed.

I stared into that dreaded White Screen of Death, a web builder’s worst nightmare.

white screen of death, smartphone website

The white screen of death.

Losing a full day’s work (with only 1 day ’til deadline) put me in a tailspin!

True to The Hero’s Journey, I called on my ally, Paul Lacey. He immediately helped patch things up. Now, we’re a long-distance team: I send web clients to him; he sends marketing copy jobs to me.

What’s the point of Step 9?

To gain customer trust, share how you overcame a big obstacle. This shows that you’re capable, humble, and honest.

10. New Dedication: This is where the hero comes up for air. He/she has learned to swim, but still has a distance to go before reaching land.

In my story, it comes to this:

The result of my hard work, research, and challenges are paying off. I’m getting calls from headhunters and companies. They’re saying how impressed they are with my writing and they’re networking for me.

That feels great, because I’ve always been the promoter for others. I love doing that. But getting this treatment in return and having others network for me… well, this fortifies me for the final leg of my journey.

11. The Resurrection

12. The Prize or Elixir 

These last 2 steps are how films and books wrap up.

Flower blooms from under snow.

Flowers bloom from underneath snow.

The Resurrection is where a hero is stronger by resolving the polarities he/she faced at the start of the journey.

He/she has escaped death, won the prized Elixir, and must share it with others.

The closing scene usually shows that the hero has come full circle. In fact, quite often, the closing scene visually mirrors the opening.

In the beginning of my story, you’ll recall that I was the anti-copywriter. I eschewed consumerism and made cheeky paintings that mocked advertisements.

By contrast, at my story’s end, I’ve combined my design and writing skills to become a professional copywriter. Now, I help small businesses manifest their big visions. That’s the Elixir in my brand’s journey. And this is how I share it.

Hero returns from the journey to share the prize.

Hero returns from the journey to share the prize.

In Field of Dreams, the hero builds the baseball diamond and attracts his dream team. Against all odds, he saves the farm and converts the naysayers. As a result, he connects with his family in ways he never expected.

That’s how his story ends.

Yours has just started. Let me help you tell it. 

For authentic brand storytelling and copywriting services, call +1 (778) 712-1268 (Canada) or email regina@pagebreak.info. I specialize in adopting a brand’s tone and voice for every platform, and can use British, American, or Canadian grammar. Oxford commas are optional. 🙂

New clients: Get a 30 minute brand consultation FREE. Contact Pagebreak today.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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WordPress Website Security: Block Hackers and Scrapers https://pagebreak.info/wordpress-website-security-block-hackers/ Sat, 03 Jun 2017 03:32:30 +0000 http://pagebreak.info/?p=6902 Did you know that by 2021, the estimated global cost of cybercrime is predicted to be $6 trillion? Financial loss from downed websites or data breaches can harm corporations and small businesses, alike. So, how can you block hackers and content scrapers without breaking the bank? This step-by-step WordPress security guide shows you how.  …

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Did you know that by 2021, the estimated global cost of cybercrime is predicted to be $6 trillion? Financial loss from downed websites or data breaches can harm corporations and small businesses, alike. So, how can you block hackers and content scrapers without breaking the bank? This step-by-step WordPress security guide shows you how.

Using WordPress security to block hackers.

Photo: © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

 

In this blog, you’ll see how to set up the SecuPress WordPress security plugin to:

  • Protect e-commerce transactions
  • Stop scrapers from duplicating content
  • Block spammers 
  • Lock out hackers immediately
  • Prevent “user creation”
  • Ban bad IPs, spambots, and more

I’m not a SecuPress affiliate, by the way. I’m just sharing which WordPress security plugin gives me more security for less money.

Here’s a SecuPress versus Wordfence comparison chart that shows exactly what I mean.

 

 

As you can see, SecuPress Pro costs about $40 less than Wordfence Premium, yet has more features. Likewise, the free SecuPress option also provides more security features than free Wordfence.

The best features that both SecuPress Pro and SecuPress Free share include the Hide my Login page, XML-RPC and REST API management, and Hide WordPress, WPML, and WooCommerce.

Ready to learn more? Continue reading or download SecuPress first.

 

Website Security to Lock Out the Bad Guys

locks to depict locking out hackers

Photo: Wall of Locks, Pixabay

STEP 1: BACK UP YOUR SITE

Always back up your site before adding or updating new plugins. If possible, it’s also wise to test new plugins and major updates on a staging/demo site. That’s because new code can sometimes conflict with existing code.

So, have you backed up your site? Did you install SecuPress? Great—let’s move on to the next step.

 

STEP 2: SCAN YOUR SITE

The first thing you’ll notice is how clean and intuitive the SecuPress user interface is. Call me a design geek, but I appreciate these easy-on-the-eye modules. Once you’ve looked around, the next thing you’ll want to do is use the SecuPress site scanner.

Just go to your WordPress Dashboard, scroll down to the SecuPress section on the left-hand side, and click on Scanners. This takes a minute or two and will produce your website’s report card.

 

Your Website Security Report

Website Scan to improve WordPress Security

SecuPress Scan: Security Report

One-Click Fix It 

Don’t be alarmed about a bad grade. With one click of the “Fix It” button, SecuPress automatically fixes issues for you. Just click the issues that you wish to resolve.

 

Scan results with Fix It options

 

 

Pro-tip: Always read up on unfamiliar features before selecting them. SecuPress provides informative links on these, so it’s easy.

To learn how to manually activate SecuPress plugin settings, continue reading.

 

STEP 3: WORDPRESS SECURITY SETTINGS

User and Login Settings

 

Heard of Brute Force? No, it’s not a cheap cologne. It’s one of the most common attack points on WordPress websites.

With a Brute Force attack, a hacker relentlessly slams the wp-login.php file until they break in. Consequently, the server may fail.

So, how do you barricade your site from brute force? One way is to hide your login page.

Luckily, that’s easy with the Move the Login Page feature. This allows you to invent your own login suffix to replace the default /wp-admin.

For example, you can make it www.mydomain.com/mynewlogin. Obviously, it should be something hard to guess; never use any info you’ve shared online.

Once a hacker fails that login URL, they are immediately blocked and redirected to the page of your choice. I like tossing them to my home page.

Other “Users and Login” module settings include:

  • Control user sessions
  • Require Captcha for logins 
  • Prevent new user creation
  • Get two-factor authentication

Here’s just a portion of what those settings look like:

 

Website Security Settings

Login protection settings

Protect Sensitive Data

Sensitive data is the soft underbelly of your website. And unfortunately, many site owners leave it exposed.

Well, SecuPress Pro has you covered. In fact, they offer several settings built to block hackers and content scrapers. This image shows a small portion of that module.

 

Website Security settings for SecuPress WordPress plugin.

SecuPress WordPress security settings

Block Content Scrapers

Other sections of the Sensitive Data module protect your site from content scrapers. Why is that so important? Content Scraper bots steal your hard-earned web content which damages your SEO. In fact, if you’ve noticed that your search ranking has suddenly fallen off a cliff, content scrapers may have pushed you. Here’s how to push back.

Within the Sensitive Data module, be sure to select settings that:

  • Block access to your PHP, readme, and robots.txt files
  • Disable XML-RPC and Directory Listing
  • Forbid bad URL access to your files
  • Protect your profile and settings pages

 

 

Block Content Scrapers from accessing your website.

Settings that fix PHP vulnerabilities

 

As you can see, you can quickly block hackers from accessing PHP vulnerabilities just by clicking a few SecuPress boxes.

 

Firewalls and Bad IPs

We’d all like to think we know a bad guy when we see ‘em. But these days, new malicious user agents show up regularly. It’s enough to make your head spin.

Well, relax, because SecuPress has a naughty list or two—located in the Firewall and Anti-Spam modules. Just click all the settings that block these bad guys:

  • Suspicious long URLs
  • SQLi scanners/scripts 
  • IPs of brute force attempts
  • Bad user-agents and requests

Here’s something else you’ll appreciate in the Firewall module…

 

Block Country and IP Settings

A recent client balked when I said WordPress is prone to Russian hackers. Then I showed her this report from Wordfence.

 

 

Bad IPs on a WordPress site

 

As you can see, within one week, the Russian Federation had made 191 attacks, compared to less than a handful from most other countries. To think, I actually tried blocking these IPs by hand, once. It was an endless task—new IPs pop up every day!

Thankfully, SecuPress Pro lets you block whole countries with one checkbox. Of course, you can also set up blacklists to ban particularly worrisome IPs.

Lock WordPress Core, Plugins, and Themes

Aside from a Data Security section, SecuPress has a Plugins and Themes module. This lets you block new plugins, themes, and zip files from being uploaded to your site. You can also protect your existing plugins from being deleted.

In the WordPress Core Protection module, you can disallow unsafe file edits within WordPress. You can also set your WordPress updates to occur automatically.

Pro-tip: Just tick all the boxes in these two modules.

Alerts, Logs, and Schedules

Finally, SecuPress Pro regularly backs up and monitors your site. The Alerts, Logs, and Schedules modules have settings that:

  • Block comments and fight spam
  • Schedule backups and malware scans
  • Send email alerts and reports
  • Log WordPress actions and banned IPs

SecuPress Services and Support

It’s good to know that SecuPress also offers hacked-site cleanups, plugin configuration, and technical support.

Conclusion

In summary, whether you want to try the free version or go for pro, you won’t be sorry. In my opinion, SecuPress offers the best value for WordPress website security. If you’re ready to try SecuPress, here’s a link for both the free and pro options. As I said earlier, I get no commission or perks for sharing this. I just enjoy helping people save money and protect their websites.

For more articles about writing, design, marketing, and WordPress plugins, visit our Freesources page. For links to articles I’ve written for others, check out my writing samples page. Thanks for reading!

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