In the case of secateurs, another important consideration is the type of wood that is being pruned. If cutting flowers, young shoots and fresh wood then bypass secateurs are the best choice. Both blade and counter blade are ground and penetrate into the branch simultaneously resulting in a clean cut that is less likely to harm the plant. For hard and dry wood, an anvil type pair of secateurs with its precision-ground upper blade coming straight down onto the flat surface of the bottom anvil exerts the optimum power needed for this task (a good analogy is an axe coming down hard on a chopping block).
When pruning stems, the perfect spot is where the bud or leaf emerges. Stem structures can be arranged in two patterns; alternate or opposite. For alternate buds (think roses), the best location for the cut is just above an outward-facing bud at a 45 degree angle downwards away from it. This will avoid water pooling on the top of the cut stem and on the bud itself. The base of your bud should more or less be in alignment with the base of your cut on the opposite side. If instead, you are faced with an opposite patterned plant with the two shoots positioned exactly opposite each other on the stem (think basil) then the best cut is straight across above the junction of the two shoots where there are two healthy buds just waiting for their turn to grow.
RULE #6: End with kindness
Pruning makes your plants momentarily vulnerable so make sure to water, feed and mulch them well once you are done.