Small Business Guides


Role: Design + Creative Direction

Small Business Guides is a collection of well-written articles for small business owners. These guides include topics like accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing, payroll and more.

My role with this project was to design a search engine-friendly format that allowed us to publish at scale. With eight new guides created each month, an elegant solution was required that involved minimal design and dev work - a beautiful templated approach. We needed to encourage visitors to explore not only the guides, but to engage further with

Before I started, the guides relied on illustration work, which was very time consuming. Creating illustrations for each guide took abotu 8 hours of work, so this was not going to scale.

Using photography instead of illustrations would allow us to publish at a much faster rate. I defined tight photo guidelines and contracted a photographer to shoot a variety of beautiful small businesses that were also Xero customers. Not only did this have a beautiful link to Xero the product, it also maintains a sense of authenticity.  

The result has been a huge success. Xero has had 20 percent month-on-month growth in visitor traffic for the past year. Total visitor traffic has more than tripled since the re-design. Due to the guides' success, Xero has seen a great improvement in overall search rankings across a range of core search terms such as ‘online accounting software’ ‘farm accounting’ and ‘invoice payment terms’. In the US, Xero is now at the top position for the term 'cloud accounting' purely due to one of the guides. These guides drive an ever-growing amount of (free) organic traffic to Xero. Not only does this boost the domain in the eyes of Google, but it also educates and engages Xero's audiences, and helps establish it as an authority in all things small business.

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