In today’s world it’s all about sharing. People tweet, digg, stumble, share, sphinn, bump, blend, and more. The key to success of any blog is how well you make sure others are talking about your content. This article contains 20 tips on how to get people talking about your design blog. After you read the list, share your opinion.
Get the sociable plugin
Possibly the most popular way to share content on your design blog (assuming you are using wordpress) is to install the sociable plugin. To quote from the plugin page, “[Sociable] automatically add links to your favorite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed. You can choose from 99 different social bookmarking sites.” This is a simple tool for those who are less confident with coding and implementation of your own social media tools.
Use Tweetmeme to share content via twitter
Another popular tool used to share content is Tweetmeme. To understand a meme, if you care, we have to understand a little about biology. A meme is “an element of a culture … that may be … passed from one individual to another … by imitation.” Tweetmeme does exactly that: it allows for people to share your content on twitter by simply clicking “retweet”. At the left you will see the standard and condensed versions of the Tweetmeme buttons.
Build your own custom social media menu with these codes from ProBlog Design
For those who are more comfortable with coding your own wordpress theme, these codes offer amazing flexibility and opportunity to use the social media tools you love the most with the page styling you prefer.
Create custom tweet links
This is a simple method of understanding the code that tools like the tweetmeme button use. I recently implemented this technique on a new post here at GDB. With a simple click of the mouse, any visitor to the blog can “quote” you on twitter.
The details of this method will be described in an upcoming article here at GDB. Be sure to subscribe to free updates so that you don’t miss a beat.
Make sharing easy for readers
There are many techniques that make sharing more easy for your readers. Use shorter titles, making them more tweetable. Submit your posts to popular sites like Digg.com, StumbleUpon, etc. This will make your readers more likely to digg or stumble your content.
Use the twitter tools plugin
The twitter tools plugin integrates your posting routine with your twitter account. In other words, your twitter account will automatically be updated each time you create a new post–letting all your followers know about the new content instantly.
Read “30+ plugins to make your wordpress blog more social” by Mashable
In this article Mashable divides tips by social media site. There are many wonderful tips in this one post. Check it out–enough said.
Use shorter post titles
“What does this have to do with anything?” you might be asking. Think about it. If people are going to share your story on social media sites all over the internet, the title should convey a message rapidly and effectively. In addition, services like Twitter have a limit to the number of characters that can be used when sharing. Shorter, more concise titles make sharing easier.
Write about something controversial
I recently read an article called “Good Designers copy, Great Designers Steal”. I bet 50% of the people reading this article just clicked on that link. Now that’s a good post title–it’s controversial and intriguing. Remember, to write something controversial you don’t necessarily need to offend or attack others personally. Controversy will attract readers and engage them in conversation.
Recently, WebDesignerDepot.com celebrated one year since it’s inception. I couldn’t believe it! From the looks of it, WDD has been around for a while. What makes the site look so professional? The beautifully obvious custom wordpress theme it utilizes.
Submit your content to design-sharing sites
There are probably hundreds of sites you can submit your content to. While sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are great for sharing content, the following sites are geared specifically toward design. Here are a few that I recommend (add to the list if you like):
Network with other design-bloggers
Recently an acquaintance of mine (dare I say friend of mine), Grace Smith recommended me on Follow Friday on twitter. She has also linked to a couple articles of mine. Each time she does this, I see spikes in twitter followers or blog traffic. I also wrote a guest post at Brian Hoff’s The Design Cubicle which brought a substantial amount of visitors to the blog. As you network with other designers, be confident and respectful. We’re all people and the design community online is a great one to belong to.
Have a good reason for blogging
Don’t blog for blogging’s sake. People won’t care what you say on your blog until you solve a problem they have. Here on GDB, top design-bloggers like Chris Spooner, Jacob Cass and others have shared why they blog.
Be a good writer–not just a good designer
Even though you may be writing about design, people aren’t reading the design–They’re reading the words. Be sure to use good grammar and a clear, understandable writing style. It may be helpful to have a friend read through the content before it gets posted. For more blog-writing tips, visit Copyblogger.com.
Solve problems for people
Let’s take a look at this blog post for example. What does the title say? In essence, it says, “click here if you want to get more people to read and share the content on your blog.” The problem: people aren’t sharing your content online. The solution: this article. Always share a solution.
Document projects and methods
Some of the greatest blog posts are when designers share a recent project or their methodology in achieving a specific technique. By sharing these types of articles, we all learn together and people are more likely to share these techniques with others.
Create a twitter account for your blog
A secondary twitter account devoted solely to updating your readers when you post a new article (see above) is most likely a good idea. This will allow more personal or diverse tweets from your individual account and more blog-related tweets from your blog’s twitter account.
Display twitter-chatter about your blog
Chris Spooner, at Line25.com, uses a great technique to display the RSS documenting the online discussions concerning his web design blog, Line25. (You can find this info in the lower right-had corner of his blog.
Thank those who talk about your blog
Deep down, we are more likely to do something again if we are thanked the first time. It is the same in the digital world. Thank those that leave comments, share your articles, vote on your posts, etc. This will help you build a relationship with those that matter most–your readers.
Monitor who is talking about your blog
Ensure you frequently check up on all the comments you can find about your blog. Frequently perform google searches, twitter searches, and search other social media sites to ensure all conversation about your blog is positive. If there are negative discussions about your blog, take corrective action quickly.
These are a few of the techniques I have used and observed that have helped design-bloggers be more effective in sharing their content. What else would you add to the list?Written by Preston D Lee Preston is the founder of GDB, a designer, programmer, marketer, and entrepreneur.