Contributor Style Guide

Using WordPress

You will need to submit all articles via WordPress – not emailing Word documents. For this you will need an author profile – please see our contributors page for access. Once set up it is recommended you add details like social media profiles and an avatar.

WordPress is a standard publishing tool on the web, powering millions of websites. You can see a tutorial on how to publish through WordPress here.

Setting Up Your Profile

Once you have access, fill out a short bio about who you are and you interest in the subject matter. You can edit this at Users >> Your Profile >> Biographical Info. To get a profile picture, sign up to gravatar.com using the same email you have used to login to WordPress. You can then upload your own gravatar image.


Golden Rule – Copy and Pasting

Do not directly copy and paste text from a browser window or Microsoft Word into Visual text editor on WordPress. If this happens, you will add custom code and styling to the site, making your article look different to the rest.


Headlines

We recommend that you make it clear what the article is about through your headline, stating specific people or events in full. The following rule applies:

“The headline text has to stand on its own and make sense when the rest of the content is not available.” (Jakob Nielsen)

Thus you must consider your headline appearing in isolation on search engines and social media. Think about:

  • How would people search to find this content?
  • Why would someone click this headline over another?

Headlines can be as long as you feel necessary. Below are examples of good and bad headlines:

Example article

  • Bad: Into Battle: Poems from the Start of WW1
  • Good: 66 Lines of Poetry that Reflect Early British Optimism for World War One

The first has an unnecessary/meaningless prefix and doesn’t state exactly what the rest of the article is about.

Headlines on the site are written in title case – that is only important words are capitalised.

If you are indicating a number of ‘assets’ (like photographs), or reasons for something happening, then we use the numeric version for numbers. For major events, like ‘World War Two’ or ‘Seven Years War’ we use the more formal word version.

We’re all about accessibility of history, so stating numbers in headlines (a quick easy or at least indicative way to understand an issue) is often a good way to go.

Thus:

  • 36 Colour Photos of the Devastation of Warsaw in World War Two
  • The 4 M-A-I-N Causes of World War One

Categorisation

Articles should fit into one category (not multiple). There are occasional exceptions to this, but if in doubt leave in one.

Our main categories for submission are currently:

  • American Domestic History
  • Cold War
  • Middle East
  • Referenced (miscellaneous blog)
  • World War One
  • World War Two

We will be broadening the categories according to demand.


Tagging

We only tag ‘page types’ depending on what your article is.

  • Data
  • Gallery
  • Graphic
  • List
  • Map
  • News
  • Timeline
  • Video

If your article does not have one of these media types as its key focus, leave the tagging field blank.


Adding Media

All articles must have at least one image, and usually more. Feel free to add any media if you think it adds to your piece. Our standard article template is 690px wide, so it is recommended that you resize images to this size.

File Size

If an image is above 200kb file size, you should optimise it (make it a smaller file size) using a photo editor before upload. The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free version of Photoshop and allows you to undertake simple image editing tasks. Most 690px images should be under 50kb if in black and white.

Media Types

Complex images such as photographs should always be saved as JPG – any other format will make the filesize too large. GIFs are only for images with very limited colours or looping video. PNG is not used.

Image File Names and Alt Text

These must be descriptive. Here are some examples:

  • Bad: 1.jpg
  • Better: tank.jpg
  • Best: sherman-tank-ww2.jpg

Use descriptive alt text when uploading your image: “Sherman tank in World War Two”.

Featured Image

The featured image is the accompanying image to your article, shown on navigation pages through the site. It is 330x220px – you can place an image that is larger than this, but it should scale down to these dimensions.


Inline Linking

Inline linking to other documents, particularly on Made From History, is encouraged. It often serves to back up points much like footnoting.


Copy Editing

  • Article submissions should not be less than 500 words – otherwise, what’s the point?
  • British English – we’re a UK publication, which should be reflected in spelling.
  • Keep it simple – keep sentences short, always use a simpler word than a more complex if it means the same thing.
  • Paragraphs – generally should not be longer than 5 lines on the standard template.
  • Numbers are written with a thousand separator: 1,000 or 1,000,000.
  • Subheadings should use the menu box on the left of the text editor (where it says paragraph below). Subheadings should use Heading 2, and any nested points within that should be Heading 3. They should also be written in title case.
  • Block quotes – if you are quoting someone at length (for instance a paragraph of text), then highlight the text in the block quote tool.
  • Dates – No th or st: 3 September 1939.
  • Proper noun capitalisation – if a word is a proper noun then it should be capitalised, when it is used as a generalisation it should be lower case: McCarthy was on the hunt for communists / McCarthy wanted to destroy the Communist Party.
  • Abbreviations – The Nazi Party is unique, in that it is an abbreviation that is lower case – all other abbreviations should be upper case and without periods: USSR / USA / UN.