Best practices for advertising in your digital publications

Full-page advertisements, Google AdSense, affiliate links, native ads – there is no shortage of advertising techniques for digital publications. In this article, we will distinguish some of the approaches to advertising with the goal of helping you figure out what would work best for your publication.


Example of a full-page ad


Full-page Ads

In terms of aligning everyone’s interests, full-page ads take the cake. Ideally, they offer non-intrusive imagery or interactive content targeted to the readers of the publication.

Pros: They have virtually no limits to what they can do or how interactive they can be

Cons: It’s more time-consuming to work individually with advertisers and build relationships with them, which enables these types of ads in your publication

Example of animated banner ad

Banner Ads

Banner advertisements have a bad reputation, primarily from their historically distracting and offensive nature. But banner ads today have mostly moved away from the “Punch the monkey!” techniques to deliver better results through non-abrasive and appealing design, which often blends in right with the content itself.

Pros: With their standard sizes and designs, it’s easy to find places in your content to fit in banner ads

Cons: Because of their history, many readers have trained themselves to ignore banner ads and are very good at not noticing them anymore.


Example of affiliate linking program with Amazon

Affiliate Links

Having come very far in the last few years, there are now publications and organizations funded immensely via Affiliate Links, and the ways to use them have grown as well. Amazon, for example, makes it very easy through their Associates program to advertise products and earn advertising fees via a series of links and widgets.

Pros: Affiliate links can be 100% relevant to your audience and therefore not imposing on your design or content.

Cons: Depends on your audience and subject matter – smaller audiences can be very difficult to predict revenue, sharing and affiliate income.

Information about Google AdSense Responsive Ad Units

Google AdSense

Google AdSense has also come a long way. Similar to the banner ad, many people had previously trained themselves to be able to ignore AdSense ads. However today, AdSense ads are more customizable and can even be responsive. So they don’t have to awkwardly stand out in your article, and in fact can be much more relevant than before for your readers.

Pros: Easy to add, style and publish, so it requires no relationship or contracts with advertisers

Cons: Cannot predict the content, so you run the risk of irrelevant or non-useful ads for your readers.


Example of native advertising

Native Advertising

Native advertising started life as sponsored content, but now is possibly the fastest-growing area of digital advertising and ad spend.

Pros: Native ads are growing very fast as is the number of agencies and content creators willing to help advertisers design and create them. You’ll have no shortage of content if you go this route.

Cons: Need to be very careful with ensuring the ad is called out as “sponsored by” or “paid for by” or you run the risk of losing your readers’ trust

Are you working on incorporating advertising into your digital publication? Talk to us about how you can include thoughtful and valuable ads that make sense for both your readers and your advertisers with Woopie.

Ideas from Innovative Digital Publishers

Today we have an inspirational roundup for you as we take a look at some of the cool things the most forward-thinking digital publications are doing online now.


Image focus as you scroll down :: Sidetracked Magazine

This is one of those tiny details you might not even notice if you’re reading in a hurry, but its subtlety makes it an even more thoughtful touch. With a lot of fixed background images, as you scroll you simply see less and less of the top as you scroll down. What Sidetracked did is to place a focus on the most interesting part of the image (the bicyclists) such that as you scroll, both the top and bottom of the image contract to leave the bicyclists there as long as possible.


Screenshot of article from Sidetracked Magazine with a full-sized header imageScreen Shot 2015-04-09 at 18.05.19Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 18.05.28

Interactive animations :: QUEST from KQED Science

Creating educational digital books today often means considering interaction and engagement. KQED created interactive animations for their online books to help readers and students understand how the Berkeley Darfur Stove is more efficient than a regular, three-stone fire.

Screenshot of KQED's Berkely Darfur stove interactive animation

Background videos in the Table of Contents :: Government of Maharashtra

The Directorate of Information Technology for the Government of Maharashtra put together a fantastic digital version of their report on the State of e-Governance. While the table of contents page can often be the least interesting part of the publication, they chose to use that as the document’s opening and made it more interesting with a background video and a lovely, low-key soundtrack.

Screenshot from the gov't of Maharashtra's interactive multimedia report on e-Governance


Receive a free, great story every week :: Electric Literature

A great way to keep you top-of-mind for your readers is by sending them things you know they’ll be interested in. If your audience is readers, a free story every week is a wonderful idea to build an email list as well as remind them to come back for more.

Screenshot of Electric Literature's signup form for free weekly stories

Fade-out story previews :: Scratch

With paid content, many publishers struggle with things like pay wall, pay wall + x number of free articles per month, share-to-read, and the numerous other ideas out there to monetize your publication. Scratch has done a nice job of fading out the article’s text so that articles can easily be shared, but subscribers get the real value, without it being a painful experience as a visiting reader.

Screenshot of Scratch magazine showing faded out article text

Exclusive articles available to prime subscribers :: Nautilus

Nautilus makes many of their articles available free online and charges instead for the convenience of the tablet and eBook editions. In addition, they offer a Prime level subscription which includes the tablet and eBook issues as well as bonus articles not available otherwise as well as occasional surprises.

Screenshot of Nautilus magazine showing exclusive articles available for Prime members


Save to read later :: Aeon

Aeon magazine not only provides all of their stories for free, they also encourage readers to download and save them to read later. Offered options include Readability, Instapaper, Pocket and Kindle.

Screenshot of article from Aeon magazine showing read later options

Give comments (responses) their own page :: Medium

Comments can be the best or worst part about an article, and online readers are often warned to stay away from them for the sake of their own sanity.

Screenshot of Medium creating separate response pages for article comments

Listing size of downloadable ePub files :: Nautilus

As shown in the Nautilus image above, the ePub file descriptions indicate how large the file downloads are. This can be really helpful for readers who might not have wifi available at the time or who might be strapped for space on their device. Knowing the file download size also gives you a better understanding of why a file download is taking a bit longer, or whether you’ll be able to get it downloaded before your bus arrives.

Select article by number of words :: Aeon

Another great example by Aeon is their article layout within their categories. Similar to Medium’s now familiar “4 min read” annotations attached to articles there, Aeon lists the number of words in the article under the author’s name (for films, it similarly lists number of minutes in the video). This can help when selecting an article, when you know you either have a lot or a little time.

Screenshot from Aeon magazine showing listing of articles including their number of words

Seen any great examples of innovation in digital publishing lately? Let us know!

If you have some interesting ideas you’d like to talk about for your own publication, get in touch. Woopie is a powerful platform and we’ve helped publishers like KQED, the Government of Maharashtra, and many others to create innovative and forward-thinking content!

All Your Cover Art Questions Answered – Part II

Last week we talked about things to consider for cover art in terms of sizes, dimensions, and focus. This week, we’re talking about where to find cover artwork or a cover art designer. 

Designing a cover for a digital publication, especially something that needs to work at different sizes, is an art and not something everyone feels comfortable with. 

If you want to design it yourself:

You’ll need a tool like Photoshop, Acorn, Gimp, or some other image editor.
Think a lot about what’s obvious and what isn’t obvious about your publication. It’s easy to make a cover which reflects the content in a way that readers are familiar with: murder mysteries have blood or knives, westerns have a cowboy on a horse, romance has a damsel in distress, etc. But a great cover captures something about the book that makes the reader think. 

There are many online tutorial videos and courses such as this one on designing a book cover in photoshop:

For inspiration, check out sites like and

If you find you’re enjoying the cover design work, a good resource is Peter Mendelsund’s Cover, ( which came out last year. Mendelsund is one of the most sought-after book cover designers in the world, and Cover, which he released last year, includes completed book jackets, rejected works, and reflections on the art and process of cover design.

If you need some art work:

If you’re drawing a blank, you can also try Amazon’s KDP Cover Creator. Alternately, perhaps it’s time to think about hiring a professional.

If you want to hire a pro:

Depending on your budget, you may want to hire someone who does this full-time and is an expert at it. Expect to pay anywhere from $99 up to $1000, depending on the designer’s experience and clientele.

Some professional ebook designers we’ve noticed online:

Another great resource for this is the forum section of Goodreads, you’ll find many discussions like this one:

For more great suggestions, check out the list here:

Some lovely editorial and ebook cover designers we found on dribbble (search for things like “ebook, book, covers”):

And some from Bēhance (search for things like “editorial design, ebook”):

All Your Cover Art Questions Answered

A well-designed and considered cover is not only critical for your publication’s sales and marketing, it sets the tone for your reader. At Woopie, we get a lot of questions from publishers about how to go about designing their cover or getting one done for them, so this week and next week we have articles with answers to those most frequently asked questions. Because there are a lot of things to cover, this week we will focus on things to consider like content and image size, while next week we’ll talk more about how and where to get great covers.

Things to consider for cover art: 

1) First impressions matter
Book covers, like wine labels, often cause people to make snap judgements. Colors and typography affect our moods and impressions of what something will be. Background images can be dreamy or serious or puzzling, and those, too, affect how people judge a book cover. 

Take a look at the page below from Barnes & Noble’s Nook Fiction homepage. Could you have guessed from the covers alone which category each of the four books belongs in? 

screenshot of the Nook Fiction page on Barnes and Noble's website

Many people could because they make sense to us. The swirling mystery background. The strong serif fonts of the fantasy book with mystical imagery. 

Another thing you might notice is what is actually readable on the cover. Does the author’s name matter more or the book title? Maybe it’s a famous critic’s comments that you actually want to stand out. Remember that at small sizes, only a couple of words will be readable, so make sure they’re the ones that will make the bigger impact.

2) Different Focus
Your cover will be seen at different sizes on different devices. Something that looks fantastic when you’re standing in a bookstore looking at a shelf might be completely ineffective in a digital version. 

Look at the difference between what we see of the cover on an iPad versus an iPhone: 

screenshot of covers of iBooks on an iPad
screenshot of covers of books on an iPhone 6

Paying attention to this means that we can be very thoughtful when we crop & resize covers. The right image for one marketplace is not necessarily the right image for another. 

This is the view from Amazon’s Kindle store on an iPad browser: 

screenshot of Amazon's Kindle store in an iPad browser

If you’re lucky enough to be a featured book, readers see a pretty decent sized cover. However if you’re one of the sales books on the right side, they’re pretty tiny covers.

3) One size [cover] doesn’t fit all

If you’re publishing in iBooks, ideally your cover would be either 768×1024 pixels for portrait mode or 2048×1496 pixels for landscape or full-page image mode.

Apple recommends you use JPG for opaque raster images and PNG for transparent raster images if possible. 

For Newsstand, Apple made a change a while back that allows both portrait and landscape versions for subscription content covers: (more on that here

image of Apple's recommendations for layout options for both landscape and portrait subscription apps


For Kindle books, Amazon last year upped the maximum pixel limits for ebook covers. Minimum size is 625×1000 but ideally 2820×4500, with a 5MB file size limit. 

Kindle does not accept PNG images, only JPG and TIFF files.


Nook recommends your image’s height and width to be at least 1400 pixels, and requires a minimum of 750 pixels for both height and width. 

Nook accepts either JPG or PNG files. 

Do I have to make loads of different sized covers?

In terms of size, you can generally make a call on this if you don’t want to be designing 16 different covers. For portrait covers, which are the most common, a ratio of 1:5 (6×9) works well for most publishers. Start with the largest, highest quality size you can and scale down as needed, so something like 3200×4800 pixels. 

Spend some time thinking about what matters for your cover. It will pay off in sales and marketing efforts, but it will also help keep you off of this list:

Reading on Watches

Whether you watched Apple’s keynote last week unveiling the new Apple Watch or ignored the entire thing, you probably know that Apple Watch is launching soon. As publishers, we eagerly anticipate seeing how people use the devices and what the sweet spot use cases are for it. 

Neat, new features for Apple Watch will enable some unique behaviors and capabilities: 

  • WatchKit Apps – a version of your app on an Apple Watch which contains a full user interface
  • Glances – provide users with timely, read-only information they care about in a quick and lightweight view
  • Actionable Notifications – notifications to allow users to take action right from their wrists
  • Handoff –  enables continuity and allows users to pick up a task started in an app on another device or Mac 

Over at Woopie HQ, we’ve been brainstorming about ways readers might want to take advantage of smart watches. Here are some scenarios we can envision for publishers who want their content to reach the wrists of their forward-thinking readers: 

image of a hypothetical app showing an article and short summary on an Apple Watch

1) Just the headlines: For a brief overview of a publication, why not let the reader simply swipe through the various articles, viewing headlines and perhaps a summary or a subhead from the content?

Maybe add a favorite or a “like” to the article to sync it to your iPad or iPhone for more in-depth reading later.

image of a hypothetical app showing an article and buttons for listening or favoriting for later on an Apple Watch

2) Read it to me: It might simply be too tedious or awkward to read through an entire article on a watch, and since most people will likely have a phone with them anyway, an audio version of content is an option for Apple Watch publications.

The reader can swipe through the main content, clicking the play button to hear an audio version.

image of a hypothetical app showing a 'minimap' or highly condensed version of an article on an Apple Watch

3) The Minimap: A minimap is a small version of something that gives you a sense of the layout, size and flow of the article.

Providing a minimal view of an article could be a great way to let readers know if it’s something they want to pull out their phone to read versus save it until they’re at home and have more time.

image of a hypothetical Apple Watch notifications app alerting the user that a new issue is available for download

4) Notifications Only: Let the user know that a new edition or issue is available and enable them to start downloading it to their iPad or iPhone.

Devices are always changing: size, dimensions, resolution and more. Devices will continue to adapt and evolve as people’s lifestyles do and as technology capabilities increase. Do you envision consumers will read on their wearable devices? What types of things do you see people wanting to do with watches and wearables? 

Publishers who stay agile and flexible will always have a big advantage in their ability to repurpose and repackage content without having to create a new CMS or try to reformat a PDF. Talk to us about how you can keep your content responsive and delivering on your audience on any device, anywhere with Woopie.

Distributing books for free while building marketing lists

How would you distribute a book if you needed to build a marketing list?

image of a free book-sharing neighborhood library

For many eBook publishers and authors, knowing who is reading your work is as important as making it available in the first place. But there are a few things to think about in terms of restricting content, even if it’s being given away for free. Digital Rights Management, or DRM, and other forms of locking down a book often make it more painful for readers and does more to dissuade the audience you’re looking for.  

Limiting Access

There isn’t one best way in terms of distribution because it always depends on the publisher’s situation and requirements. So here are a few that we have found work great and are the least painful for the people who really want to read your stuff:

* Unique URLs per reader – If you want to send a book out to your mailing list, you can use a tool which creates a unique URL for each person on your mailing list. Obfuscated URLs, perhaps through a hash on the person’s email address or signup date, are a good way to make it difficult for external folks to guess it. However, people can share it publicly of course which brings us to:   

* Time-delimited URLs – You can set a download link that is available for a specific amount of time, only 24 hours or only one week for example. Again they are shareable, but putting a start and end on it means that you can monitor to minimize public sharing. If that’s not restrictive enough:   

* One-time-click links – You can also set a link so that once someone hits it multiple times it expires. This means that essentially everyone gets one shot to download the content. Which is fine if they’re logged in on the device where they want to download it, but that may not always be the case. So as a backup: 

* Make the book available inside your walled garden – If your readers are people who log in to your app on a regular basis, make the book downloadable from there. If people don’t log in to your app, you can use a service:   

screenshot of scribd, which lets readers log in to read unlimited content

* Use accounts to monitor downloads – This is a pretty well-understood paradigm as it’s used by popular publishers like Lonely Planet & Safari. Users click a link, and enter their email address or create an account. That gives them access to a specific number of downloads of different versions of the book. For example, people might be able to download up to 3 each of the ePub, mobi, and PDF versions.   

screenshot of Lonely Planet download page where user can download different quantities of ebook versions.

* Email the book itself – If your book is small (generally under 20MB), you could simply include it in an email blast to your mailing list. That doesn’t stop people from forwarding it to others, but it makes access a little less complex for readers. 

Tracking Readers

All of the above solutions cover ways to ensure your current list of approved readers can access the book. But if the point of making the book available is to get people to share and grow your marketing lists, here are some good approaches for that:   

* Share with a friend – All of the above could be used with a “share with a friend” email input box. Have your current readers give you an email address of a friend who would also appreciate the book, and send it to the new person with one of the methods above.   

screenshot of Intercom's ebook page where readers can download the book by sharing emails of friends who would also like to read it.

* Use a cookie to identify new folks – Cookies aren’t always a failsafe method, but having one static link that people click would allow you to check if a cookie was set on the person clicking the link, and if they aren’t already in your list, ask them for their email to read or download the book.

* Default to asking for emails – If you’re putting up a landing page for the book anyway, you could certainly just ask for emails by default for people hitting the page. This could get a little annoying to some readers, but it may be slightly less painful than being asked to create an account. 

screenshot of Marketo's ebook page which defaults to asking for email addresses unless you are logged in.

* Share a sample – People reading the web version of the book could click a link to share the current page or chapter via twitter or facebook. We’ve seen this done with a smart URL that strips out the navigation and chrome so that people don’t click sharing links and get door slams.

screenshot of Valuable Content's page where readers can input their email address to get a free chapter.

There are unlimited ways to share and distribute your publication, so it is important to think carefully about the way that makes the most sense for your business goals. 

Photo courtesy of

If you’d like to talk about your company’s goals for publishing and reaching more readers, get in touch. We’re happy to discuss a variety of publishing and distribution options that will work for your content.

SoGloMo – An Insight into Creating Publications With a Global Reach

A few times each month, we get inquiries into Woopie’s language and globalization features. Questions like these:

  • It turns out we have some readers in Russia, can we publish this in Cyrillic?
  • Can Woopie handle these custom Thai fonts?
  • Will Woopie display my Arabic documents properly with right-to-left text?
  • How can I create and publish translations of my magazine?

So I wanted to write a bit about how Woopie supports languages and character sets to keep publications localizable and global-friendly.

Image from Sino-Foreign Management Magazine - Philip McMaster

Composing & Importing Content

Woopie content can be written in most languages and character sets, and its publication accessibility settings ensure that no matter the language, the documents created will be 100% accessible. Additionally, Woopie can import content in most languages and character sets because it was built from the ground up to handle global publications.

Custom Themes & Custom Fonts

All of the Woopie default themes use Google Fonts for header and text content. The current available Google Fonts don’t have every language, but Google has some early access fonts in languages like Tamil, Lao, Telugu, Korean and many more here:

With custom-designed themes for certain customers, we often incorporate specific fonts that the publisher has purchased or licensed for the document. Fontdeck ( , Webtype (  & Typekit ( all offer beautiful fonts designed for the web with appropriate licensing terms. Custom themes can include extra licensed fonts, specific colors, custom social media and header icons and alltogether have a lot more flexibility.

Text Direction Settings

Woopie publications also have a setting for text direction so that you can ensure all your documents are generated correctly. Simply swap the text direction setting on the publication settings page as shown below to have your content switch from left-to-right to right-to-left.

 Screenshot of Woopie edit publication screen

Translations of publications

To facilitate translation versions of digital documents, we work with publishers to create individual “issues” for the various languages they wish to support. While we don’t do automatic translation and conversion, we do make sure that settings, designs, media and interactive components can remain the same across the different versions. For translation services, we are also happy to recommend partners of ours who are experts at translating and can assist with this work.


With this level of control and customization, we expect that Woopie publishers can ensure their documents reach the broadest audience possible. Languages, fonts, accessibility and globalization choices no longer block out an audience; instead they are an asset that can help more readers and fans enjoy your content.

If you are working on documents in non-Latin character sets or looking at custom language fonts, we would love to talk more with you about what’s standing in your way and if Woopie might be able to help. Please feel free to email me at martha [at] and we can talk more about your scenario.

Photo courtesy of

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional, beautiful, global publications & documents that your readers will love to share. Try it for free for 14 days at

Anti-Social Publications, Yay or Nay?

photo of brick wall with graffiti stating quiet please

We recently wrote about some things to consider if you’re adding social and sharing features to your publications. 

But what about leaving social out completely? Are there reasons this decision could be valuable for your readers? 

Pros for Anti-Social Publications

1) Peace and Quiet
Readers are likely bombarded with interruptions all day. A publication with no reminders of social media, where they can simply read feels like a rare gift in this day and age. 

2) Ability to Focus
Have you ever been at a great event, like a live concert or sports match, and you look around to see people watching the live event through a tiny window as they try to take the perfect shot to share on Facebook? For some readers, having social media embedded in what they are reading gives them a sort of anxiety, a nagging voice asking, “what’s the best phrase I can tweet from this article to let everyone know?”  When there are not distracting social icons and cues, that feeling for many people can just disappear. Or at least fade until the next time they see a twitter icon. 

3) Cleaner look-and-feel
Social media icons occasionally take away from the look and feel of an article and leave you without full control of the content of the page. 

4) No maintenance worries
No sharing button works correctly forever. By adding sharing options to your content, you’re signing up to continue to test them on a regular basis. Without third-party integrations, you can relax, secure that your publications can exist without further maintenance or api call updates for third-party social libraries.

Cons for Anti-Social Publications

1) Marketing Assistance 
The most obvious advantage to including social capabilities is the free marketing. If people enjoy reading your content, we can expect that a percentage of them would share it with others who might also enjoy it. 

2) Lack of follow-on discussion
Often when an article makes a big impression, readers enjoy participating in discussions about the ideas put forward, chiming in with their own solutions, and reacting to the authors and other readers. Without social, those who want to continue to discuss or find people to talk about it with may feel lost. Comments sections below the article can be a good mitigation, but as anyone on the internet knows, they can be a hotbed as well and often require time-consuming moderation. 


We’ve looked at a number of interesting ways to cater to different types of readers at Woopie. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to include social and sharing in your own publications, here are some suggestions: 

1) Offer an on/off switch to enable or disable social media 
2) Offer both online and downloadable/offline versions
3) Offer a premium “interruption-free” version
4) Share teasers or previews of articles via social media, through your own Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc channels to alert fans, but let the content itself be free from distraction.

Photo courtesy of

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful publications & documents that your readers will love to share. Try it for free for 14 days at

How to offer a free ebook for signing up for your mailing list

(Photo courtesy of

Ebooks are becoming increasingly useful methods of offering concise and focused information to help educate and inform your audience. But beyond being a valuable offering to give away or sell, companies are using ebooks to help grow their direct marketing efforts as well.

It makes sense that a reader who is attracted to a book full of your expertise might also be a great candidate for a relevant email newsletter focused on the same topic. Which is why offering potential customers or readers a free ebook or a sample of your book is a great way to encourage them to also sign up for your mailing list.

If you already have your ebook written and ready to distribute, you’re 90% there. (If you don’t, start with this article on formatting your ebook. – The critical step is incorporating the book download with your signup form.

Automate for Free With MailChimp:

To automate the ebook downloads for free, check out this article over on MailChimp.

If you don’t already have a MailChimp account, create one, set up a mailing list & follow the instructions for creating a “Final welcome email.” You’ll end up designing an email that looks something like this and get an html snippet to embed in your sign up page. 


Here are some great examples of companies offering useful, focused books for their readers and audiences via email lists:

Whether your mailing list is brand new or growing at a healthy rate, ebooks are a helpful way to both educate your readers and give them something valuable, while also building your marketing pipeline.

Would you like to create an ebook to offer your customers? Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap. Try it for free for 14 days at

Considerations for Going Social in Digital Publications

image of sharing icons

(Image courtesy of

Including social links in a digital publication seems like a no-brainer. Readers like your content, they share it with their friends and colleagues, free marketing, number of readers goes through the roof, right? It does happen, but only when a few factors are considered to make sure the experience is great. 

Here are some things to think about before you add social links to your publication: 

1) Where does it make sense for people to share this information?

screenshot of too many sharing options

I call these types of sharing dialogs “Jam Jars” after the famous study cited in The Paradox of Choice.  With so many, mostly useless, options, the majority of people will resist making a choice versus deciding how to share. 

Instead, think hard about how and where people might be compelled to share the information. Would people want to share this article on Twitter? Why might they want to do that? Are these tech-focused articles that readers might want to share with Hacker News or a Reddit community? 

You can also use analytics to see where new clicks are coming from. If readers are going to the trouble of sharing on Pinterest because that’s what is appropriate for this content, make it easy for them. 

Being thoughtful about this will greatly inform your answers for the next item as well. 

2) What are you sharing?

Pre-populating a twitter message like this doesn’t usually get you a lot of traction:

screenshot of example tweet showing boring content in all caps

But if you’ve thought about what might trigger your readers to share the article, you probably have a good idea of what makes sense to put here. Answers often include: a) a link to the article, b) twitter handle of the author, c) link to a comment left on the article, d) article title or subtitle, e) hashtag relevant to the context of the article.

Another trend in this area we’re seeing a lot lately is allowing readers to select text blurbs & tweet that with a link. 

screenshot from little big details showing nice select and tweet behavior from

(Image courtesy of Little Big Details – an excellent collection of UX/UI best practices!)

[if you aren’t using paywalls you can skip this one – if you are using paywalls, this is extra important]

3) Is there a paywall? If so, what do people who click a link to the paywall-ed content see?

This is a critical item to think about. Ignoring this will cost you both readers and goodwill. Clicking something that looks interesting, which a trusted acquaintance has shared, and instead of seeing the article you thought you were going to read, being presented with a request for payment, even a tweet or social media share, is a very bad experience to offer people. 

But there are many creative ways to enable and encourage people to share your content while still observing a paywall. Here are some of the ones we’ve helped our customers do: 

  • Sharing links without the navigation chrome (so visitors can read the individual article, but not go forward or backward in the publication)
  • Sharing a time-restricted link (so visitors can view a shared article for, say, 24-hours)
  • Making all content viewable via sharing links for a set amount of time (so visitors can read anything on the site when the publication first comes out, for up to, say, 2 weeks)
  • Giving readers a set amount of “shares”, so they can share the articles they truly want other people to read
  • Offering snippets, or teasers, of the article, with the option to unlock the rest of the article by tweeting or subscribing (example here:

There are a lot of interesting ways to protect content but also encourage new visitors and readers. The point is to find something that works for you and not to present new visitors with an immediate request to part with their money. 

4) What’s the Call-to-Action (CTA) for a drop-in reader?

Your community is amazing. They’ve shared articles for you & brought you new potential readers. What happens when that new reader gets to the end of the article? 

screenshot of what to read next suggestions from Make:

(Image of related content from Make)

According to Contextly, the single, most important factor in being able to predict if a reader from Google, Twitter or Facebook will return to your site is whether they read more than one article during a visit.

So a solid CTA would be to give them another article to read that might be in their field of interest. 

Some other options are: 

  • Direct them to subscriptions. 
  • Show them a relevant, beautiful ad (please don’t show them a banner ad or annoying flash ad). 
  • Encourage them to comment or share.
  • Offer ways to get in touch with the author, editor, publisher or community

But the point is not to waste this opportunity to offer someone something of value when they proactively came to read your article. 


Offering the ability for your audience to share content widely with their communities can be a great boon for marketing and sales. Doing so while thinking about the experience of clicking those links ensures the new visitors to your site are much more likely to return and share again.  

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