Ask any graphic designer and they will tell you that everyone thinks they are an expert on what looks good and what doesn’t. There are as many different tastes as there are people and everyone thinks their taste is the right one. What everyone can agree on, though, is that when they do find something that they think looks good, they want to present it in a way that really shows the thing in the best light possible. This is why it is important to have the ability to show documents and other graphics on your WordPress website in a way that your visitors can get the most out of them. Issuu can help you do that.
What Is Issuu
At heart, Issuu is about trying to display and distribute magazine-like content online. If you do produce magazines or similar material, then you have a wonderful solution. For those of you who don’t produce a magazine, there are a few other applications that Issuu can help with:
- Advertising Materials
What Issuu does is to make it easier for your readers to view your content on a platform that preserves its quality. With newsletters, you usually lose some of the HTML when they are viewed in different browsers; with resumes, you often have to resort to simply emailing a PDF to make sure that it looks the way you want it to; and with advertising materials, you can frequently suffer from both problems. Issuu helps by ensuring that your content always looks as you intended and is easy to share with those whom you intend to share it with. To see a video (they have their own Youtube channel here) that explains what they do in a more appealing and interesting way than my article, check out the below:
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How Does It Do That?
Getting Started: First, sign up for their service (it’s free) and begin uploading your documents or graphics (documentation here). When they are uploaded, you can begin embeding Issuu documents on your WordPress site by either pasting the embed code in a page (or post) or installing their WordPress plugin and using their shortcodes.
Display: There are basically two ways that documents that have been uploaded to Issuu can be displayed on your website: as a shelf and as an embed. The shelf is more or less what it sounds like. It looks like a wooden shelf (you can customize the look a bit if there is another look that would work better with your site) and displays thumbnails of your uploaded documents.
The embed looks, at first glance, like any other PDF you would see displayed on a website. And in this basic display function, Issuu does do a good job: you can customize the width and height of the embed and the embedded document opens very quickly and easily (i.e. no lag). After the embedded document has been opened by the user, though, it will display a range of sharing tools: email, link, embed, Facebook, Twitter, and a button that copies the URL to the user’s clipboard. They also run some unobtrusive branding, but if you want that removed you can go pro. You can even add music to your document. Not sure why you would want to do that, but you can. For an example of the shelf, check out the below (for an example of an embed, take a look at the bottom of this post):
Distribution: Issuu has also put high priority on being able to easily distribute your uploaded documents to your intended recipients. There are two ways to share it:
- You can import your web contacts and directly email your intended recipients
- You can share it across all of the major social networks
Once shared with your intended recipient(s), they can use the native document sharing tools (described in Display above) to share it within their own networks. If you would like to protect your documents, you have the option of enabling or disabling downloading of the document, but cannot prevent it from being shared once it has been published (you can mark it as Private, though, and keep it from being listed by Issuu or visible to Google). After you have shared it, you can review the statistics they compile on the number and type of users who have looked at your document. If you want to do even more to promote your work, you can turn to their advertising services.