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.

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.

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

Educational & Interactive Content in a BYOD age

Some fascinating information came out this week from Pearson on a study of students and mobile devices for grades 4-12. 90% of students surveyed believe that tablets will change the way they learn in the future, and 89% feel tablets make learning more fun. Read more from Pearson’s announcement here, and the actual study results are here

But with so many schools and organizations and students using tablets and devices, of course there is great variation in the types, operating systems and sizes of these devices, as shown in the image below: 

screenshot of Pearson report showing breakdown of tablet sizes owned by students

With such varied audiences, there is a temptation to create materials that work for the lowest common denominator, such as a PDF document. We’ve worked with a few groups to create educational content and learned a lot about making interactive and engaging learning materials that work across devices.

(To see Woopie’s case study on creating educational material for the Abbey Theatre, click here.) 

All of the examples below work for any size tablet or phone, desktop, eReader, and everything in between, and while these examples are education-related, we have also used these features for professional publications where appropriate. 

Flip cards can be interesting ways to check cognition or test memory of something that has just been read. Flip cards have a definition or words to jog your memory on one side, and clicking on them reveals the answer

example of flipcards used for education in Woopie publications

You can see a live example here ::

Quizzes are great for providing instant feedback and helping readers assess their understanding. They are fun and quite mainstream in sites like Buzzfeed to drive engagement. 

example of Woopie quiz element

You can see a live example here ::

Sometimes a pull quote isn’t quite right – sometimes you have a bit more information, perhaps a definition or short glossary or other complete thought that needs its own little section. Sidebars are great for calling out interludes, interviews or other parallel thoughts that occasionally don’t make sense within the main content section. 

example of Woopie sidebar

You can see a live example here ::

Callout images, like sidebars, are for content that needs its own emphasis. They are generally full-width and work best with striking images and bold, short text blurbs. 

example of Woopie callout image

You can see a live example here ::

A summary box is a concept most people are familiar with from educational books, magazines, newspapers and most forms of journalism. It’s a way to pull together the main thoughts or summarize critical lessons from a piece and put them together in one place for the reader. 

example of Woopie summary box

You can see a live example here ::

Whether you’re working on educational content for professionals or students, it’s only going to become more important that your documents adapt to whatever devices your readers are choosing to use. Woopie ensures your content is readable, accessible, and engaging for everyone. 

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and educational interactive publications and documents. Try it for free for 30 days at

Why Create an Interactive Annual Report?

opening screen of Concern Annual Report

We’ve just put Concern Worldwide’s professional and gorgeous annual report up on our portfolio page (check it out here:, and we’re working with many other international companies to create something along these lines. What is the appeal of an interactive annual report? 

Here are some of the most unique and interesting reasons you should think about creating an interactive annual report:  

1) Responsive and easy to read on any device.

PDFs just don’t cut it anymore for documents, they are very painful to read on small screens. And documents with spreadsheets in them? Forget it. 

A responsive annual report means that it will scale to the device. Will readers typically be on-the-go, reading on their phones? No problem. Is it a longer, more involved document that someone might want to read on an eReader? Done. In all cases, the text, fonts, sizing, images all look perfect on whatever device your reader has so it’s always a joy to read. 

Example – images and elements like pull quotes, captions, paragraphs all scale:

page of Concern's annual report

2) More engaging stories with thoughtful editorial design.

There is a reason stories like Firestorm and Snow Fall are so gripping, they engage  readers more than paragraphs of boring prose.

Telling stories in interesting ways is a great way to get readers interested in your cause, and enables you to give them a more in-depth feel for your organization, the things you are working on and how you’re making a difference for people. 

Example: Concern’s reporting on emergencies

another example of Concern's annual report on emergencies

3) Multimedia like audio and video clips.

If you have videos that share your stories or audio clips that make a difference, why not include them in your documents? 

Audio and video, when done well, can be very powerful and often give readers a more realistic view of your efforts.

Example – audio clips: Government of Maharashtra’s audio clips from government ministers
Example – background video: Gov’t of Maharashtra’s beautiful cover page

sample page from Maharashtran government report

4) Spreadsheets are responsive and easy-to-read, even on phones!

No one wants to pinch-and-zoom to read spreadsheets on a mobile device. What was this column heading, which row am I on? It’s an exercise in frustration. 

Woopie’s responsive spreadsheets allow you to specify which columns are priorities so that they are shown at any width. Other columns and row details are always still accessible by clicking the “more” icon, so readers always have all of the data, but in a view that works for them.

Example – Annual Revenue & Expenses Statement:
Example – Financial Performance Indicators:
Example – How your money was spent:
Example – Financial Statements:

example showing dynamic financial reporting in Woopie

5) Check comprehension with quizzes and flash cards.

If you read Buzzfeed or use Facebook you’re well aware that people enjoy taking quizzes. Take advantage of this & offer your readers interactive quizzes and flash cards to check their memory and comprehension. 

Example – Flash cards:
Example – Quiz

example of using a quiz in a report to check comprehension

This trend is growing worldwide – here are a few of our favorites: 

Woopie’s easy-to-use platform makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful interactive reports and documents. Try it for free for 30 days at

Creative Revenue Ideas for Digital Content

photo of storm troopers saving money in a piggy bank
Image courtesy of

You have an idea for a publication and now you want to think about how you can generate revenue for your content. Whether you need to pay contributors, distributors, or fund an entire business with full-time salaries, there are some very creative ways you can fund digital publications. Here are just a few: 



  • summary: Issues or individual documents are downloadable after paying a one-time fee
  • example: The Atavist stories (iOS app) –
  • tool: There are many solutions – you can roll your own or a WordPress plugin like easydigitaldownloads will do the trick —


Ready for Zero example of signing up for a mailing list to download an ebook


Example showing paywall to unlock content with a tweet



screenshot of kickstarter-style publishing project

DISTRIBUTORS – Amazon/Kindle, Apple/iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, etc.

ADVERTISERS – Using paid advertisements relevant to your audience to provide value for readers, advertiser and you the publisher (we like non-intrusive, full-page responsive ads like this one:

screenshot of dynamic, interactive advertisment used by Blacknight

SUBSCRIBERS– More and more consumers are happy to pay for content they find valuable or want to support. Follow Model View Culture’s example and charge your subscribers on a regular basis: