Jo Cox Design

Simple Ways to Link Your WordPress Blog With Twitter

Special Offer: 3 Years Free Web & Email Hosting in January

_MG_4602

In the spirit of the New Year if you commission a new website in January I’m offering you three years free web hosting. It’s the Unlimited package, which is the highest level on offer and worth £149.97 over that period. Get in touch Starter Business Unlimited Diskspace 100mb 1,000mb Unlimited Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Sub…

Keep Reading

5 Free Web Design Resources For Commercial Projects

111H

Image from Gratisography 1. Creative Market Creative Market sellers pick their own prices and yes, you usually have to pay for the resources you find in their shops. There is also, however, an ever changing offering of free downloads including photos, illustrations, Photoshop brushes and graphics. Not loads, but what is put up for free download…

Keep Reading

Why You Should Never Have an ‘Admin’ User Account in WordPress

If you set up a WordPress installation with ‘admin’ as the default administrator username you’re opening up an easily exploited security hole. If your site is subjected to a brute force attack, you’re playing right into the hands of the attacker. A brute force attack is password guessing and it’s very common. An attacker will try various…

Keep Reading

How to: Use Custom Shapes and Text as a Clipping Mask in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to use a really simple technique to create some great looking effects that appear a lot more impressive than they really are. Using custom shapes and text we’re going to create clipping masks which effectively constrain our image to the shape we’ve created.

How to: Create a Stitched Fabric Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’m looking at the basics of how you can use custom shapes and the text tool to create a realistic looking stitching effect. I start with a circle and apply a pattern overlay to make it look like a piece of denim. Then I create a second smaller circle inside which will…

Keep Reading

How to: Create Your First Business Website With WordPress

tumblr_myebwtELvb1st5lhmo1_1280

If you’re setting up a new business and money is tight, this article is for you. I’m going to go over how to set up a simple brochure style business website using WordPress with only the cost of a domain name and web hosting to fork out for. I’ve chosen WordPress, which is a content management…

Keep Reading

How to: Cut Out Images in Photoshop Using the Pen Tool

Looking for help cutting out images from photos so that they could be pasted into different scenes? There are many ways of doing this, including using the magic wand tool, although many work well only where there’s a plain background. My suggestion involves using the pen tool to create a path around the image, converting…

Keep Reading

The Importance of Permalinks

settings-265131_1280

This is just a quick piece, written off the back of an assessment I did earlier in the week of someone’s current WordPress setup. One of the points I made was to do with permalinks, which are the permanent URLs to your posts. When you first set up your WordPress website, the default format of…

Keep Reading

Cherwell District Council Bicester Website Grants

Good news – if you’re a business based in Bicester (OX26 postcode only I’m afraid) you’re currently eligible for a grant from Cherwell District Council to cover 50% (up to £150) of your website design costs. All you need to do is get a quote, contract a designer and fill out one simple online form….

Keep Reading

WordPress 3.9: Setting Image Crop Positions

Of all the improvements to existing WordPress functionality in the latest core update (3.9) there was one that caught my eye – the ability to set image crop positions. By default thumbnails crop center both horizontally and vertically, which means that if you upload a portrait and it crops square the head gets cut clean…

Keep Reading

How To: Use FitVids.js with WordPress for Responsive Videos

Let me set the scene. You’ve got a great responsive layout, you’ve tackled the navigation menu and your typography all looks spot on even when you view it on your iPad mini. Then you go to insert a video in your blog and you realise that it’s shooting out somewhere into oblivion. Nuts. Thankfully some…

Keep Reading

Web Design and the Retina Screen: First Thoughts

Yesterday, after many years as a loyal Windows user, I switched to a Mac. There were many reasons which I won’t go into here but suffice to say one of the biggest attractions, despite the price, was the stunning high density Retina screen. Before I took the plunge I read quite a lot of articles…

Keep Reading

What are Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)?

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. It’s an XML-based image file type. Advantages of SVG Unlike bitmap based image files like jpgs which remain the same size, they’re scalable. That means the resolution will change to fit the viewing window without loss of clarity You’ll typically find they have smaller file sizes than jpgs and…

Keep Reading

5 Tips for Minimalist Website Designs

1. Pay extra attention to detail The difference between a fair design and a great one is always attention to detail, but within a minimalist website design you only need to get a margin slightly out and it’s going to be glaringly apparent. That’s why you need to pay special attention to detail – style…

Keep Reading

How to: Create a WordPress Custom Post Type

For a long time it’s been possible to set up your own post types to handle different kinds of content, but in WordPress 2.9 this process was simplified with the inclusion of the register_post_type() function. Here’s a really basic guide to setting one up, using the example of an events post type. Plugin Versus functions.php…

Keep Reading

How to: Add to wp_head From functions.php

If you’re looking to add elements such as favicons and tracking codes to <head>, the best way forward is to put them together in your functions.php file and then pull through using the wp_head hook. To do this, open up your functions.php and create a new function. It should go something like this (I’ve used…

Keep Reading

How to: Embed Shortcodes in a WordPress Theme

If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, you will have come across shortcodes. They’re used to run certain functions, with a number built into WordPress and numerous others installed with plugins. They look something like this: [shortcode] or [shortcode] [/shortcode] Usually you just copy or type them straight into the content area of your…

Keep Reading

Basic SEO Tips for Product and Service Pages

Product and service pages are core to most business websites. They tell prospective customers what you do and what you can offer. But how do you make the most of them from an SEO perspective? Here are a few basic tips to get you started. Service page SEO 1. Create individual service pages. You can’t…

Keep Reading

How to: Correctly Include JavaScript Files in WordPress Themes

There are quite a few ways to include JavaScript files into a theme, but only one method that is recommended by WordPress. The reason? To ensure maximum compatibility with updates and plugins, and avoid scripts being called multiple times. Following their guidelines, whether you’re handing over to a client, developing for yourself, or putting out a free theme…

Keep Reading

How to: Keep Your WordPress Website Safe

tumblr_n5wattoQ2M1st5lhmo1_1280

It’s easy to think your website is immune to malicious attacks and that only big sites with high volumes of traffic are likely to be a target, but this is a naive assumption. Here are 10 tips any webmaster can utilise to help keep their WordPress website safe. 1. Never use the default ‘admin’ username…

Keep Reading

Going Beyond SEO: Content Marketing

Printed poster with SEO sign and tags on social engine optimization theme. Added a slightly vignetting, and toning on the image. Close up shot.

Almost every new client I quote for asks the same basic questions about SEO. How can I optimise my site for Google? How can I rank on the first page for my chosen keywords? How can I use search engines to draw visitors to my website? But few are actually asking the right questions. How…

Keep Reading

WordPress Themes: Why Free is Sometimes Best

As I write this, WordPress has been downloaded more than 11 million times. That’s a lot of users, all needing a theme from somewhere. Some will, of course, always stick with the bundled Twenty Eleven theme and not venture any further. But for everyone else there is a decision to be made between trawling the…

Keep Reading


As a freelance musician and teacher my website is very important for generating business and maintaining good contact with my clients. I have found Jo Cox Design very useful to help maintain elements of my site which are more complex. I like to have control of my site but I often find there are things I cannot achieve on my own. I would certainly recommend Jo as a friendly person who’s easy to work with and who can help you achieve such goals.

Trev Williams