So you want to blog about design, eh? You’ll have to take a number and wait in line because, frankly, there are thousands of blogs about design out there.
Starting a successful design blog is like learning to walk: You will most likely fail a number of times, you’ll need a lot of patience, and you can’t do it on your own.
This article will give you a few pieces of advice to help your blog be as successful as possible in an extremely saturated market.
Why do so many designers blog?
There are probably a lot of reasons that so many designers have decided to start blogging. In a very popular post here on GDB titled “Top Designers Discuss why they blog“, bloggers in the design community like Chris Spooner, Jacob Cass, Andrew Houlme, John Phillips and more, share their motivation for blogging. After reading through their answers to the question “why do you blog?”, you might notice a few similarities–many designer blog for two primary reasons:
If you simply hide away in your own personal corner of the universe and avoid interaction with other designers, you are really missing out! Designers make up one of the most active communities online and the majority of them are willing and anxious to provide feedback, inspire and teach, and help you become a better designer. Take advantage of the design community and give back by blogging about your experience.
While blogging might be an enjoyable hobby, not many designers actually make a full-time salary from it. And that’s okay. A lot of designers don’t necessarily start blogging with that goal in mind. Not one of the designers that responded to the question mentioned above said that they began blogging for money. As a result, blogging can be a great way to get clients, boost reputation, increase your personal brand awareness, and increase your business as a designer.
Getting started: 6 steps to a successful design blog
Spend a lot of time reading other design blogs. You’ll learn as you read through the rest of this article that one of the most important things you can do to make your blog a valuable tool for other designers is to read what is already out there about design. This will help you become familiar with how the blogosphere functions. You can then find your place in the community and start adding to it.
Find a niche. As mentioned before, there are thousands of design blogs out there. Certainly new ones are being created every day. It is getting to the point where a design blog can’t simply be just another design blog.
To be successful as a design-blogger, you should carefully consider your niche. It is a longstanding marketing strategy: Define a purpose, and let it drive your success. In other words, instead of blogging about web design, logo design, print design, and all other design under the sun, find an angle. This blog, for example, is tailored towards designers who hope to make design more than a hobby. It provides business tips, client advice, project management suggestions, and more for designers who hope to make a living from their passion.
As you determine your niche, designers are more likely to visit your site when they have a specific need.
Market your blog as a valuable resource. Thousands of designers, and people in general, have started a blog that is simply their “rantings and ravings about (fill in the particular subject here).” While this may serve a purpose for some bloggers, if you really want to see your blog grow, you should market it as a valuable tool for other designers. Write articles that inspire, teach, or persuade. Then use social media or other means to market your blog as something that others will be missing out on if they don’t read.
Connect with others via social media. For every design blog created, there is most likely a twitter account, facebook fanpage, or some other social media connection established. If you aren’t currently using social media to market your ideas and your blog’s content, you are missing out on countless opportunities.
It’s all about content. You’ve heard the phrase: “Content is King”. Believe it or not, it’s the truth. You might be a killer designer but if you can’t provide valuable information for your readers, they are not likely to be visiting your blog in the future. While your blog should look professional, don’t waste so much time ensuring your blog design is the best one around. Use that time to make sure you are providing great content to your readers instead.
Create a professional theme. I know, I just suggested that the blog’s design doesn’t matter as much as the content–and it’s true. But have you ever heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”? The truth of the matter is, we always judge a book by its cover and a blog by its theme–especially in the design community. GDB featured an article titled “Build your first wordpress theme with 4 easy-to-follow tutorials“. While I still believe this is a valuable tool to any designer looking to create their own wordpress theme, I strongly suggest a new article I recently discovered on Chris Spooner’s blog. It is titled “How to Build a Custom WordPress Theme from Scratch” and will be a valuable tool for any design-blogger.
My blog is ready…now what?
Once you have decided on your niche, you’ve begun to create a few posts here or there, and you have started to market your blog online, what’s next? The most important thing you can do is craft your posts in a way that will make others want to read them. Below are a few tips on writing content for your design blog:
- Don’t just duplicate information. Make your content original by finding a new angle, taking a spin on a popular topic, writing about something controversial, and keeping it fresh and creative.
- Make it easy to read. For most design blogs, I suggest a friendly writing tone. Make it conversational and your readers are more likely to engage and participate.
- Write about what people care about. Keep your content relevant to your audience. Don’t go off on random tangents that distract or annoy your readers.
Summing it all up. What do you think?
While there are thousands of tips for brand new design-bloggers, the information mentioned in this article is what I feel to be most relevant to a designer who hopes to start a successful blog. What other tips can you add to the list?