How to Start a Successful Design Blog

Let’s be honest here: your website is awesome. How could it not be? That’s what you do. It looks really awesome, flows smoothly through the user experience, and tells a story about your company that draws new clients in. Yet, the one thing you’re missing is a kick ass blog.

Blogging is an important way to show off your value to potential clients. With it, you attract new customers by creating educational and engaging content that benefits your readers. Essentially, if you’re helping people find solutions to their challenges, you’re sure to be successful.

You might be asking:

“Why do I need a blog if I’m just a graphic or web designer? Doesn’t my portfolio tell enough of the picture to draw in new clients and get them to trust me?”

The thing is, simply completing kick ass designs just isn’t enough anymore. While it does show potential clients that you know what you’re doing, it’s becoming much harder to a) market your business and b) close the deal with just your portfolio.

A successful design blog will not only educate your leads and gain their trust, but it will also tell your story in a way that closes the deal and turns them from lead to customer.

So, what steps can you take to have an awesome blog? Here’s a few things that will help you, especially if you’re just starting out.

1. A Blogging Platform

The first thing you need when creating a successful design blog is a platform to publish on. 

If you’re using a host such as Wordpress or Squarespace, then adding a blog is easy to do, as it’s already built into their system. Even if you’ve built your website from scratch, you can still host your blog on one of these platforms.

While Wordpress and Squarespace are two of the most popular blogging platforms out there, other options include Blogger, Wix, Tumblr and Weebly.

Once you’ve decided on a platform, make sure it’s connected to your website’s domain for easy access. Many websites opt to use domain.com/blog or create a sub-domain like blog.domain.com. Either one will work as they are easy for your audience to remember and stays consistent with industry standards.

2. A Content Strategy

The second element to a kick ass design blog is a content strategy. While it may sound daunting at first, this can really be as easy or as difficult as you make it. While content strategies can become very inclusive, the most basic ones should include the following elements:

  • Target Keywords (for Search Engine Optimization)
  • Target Audience (your buyer persona or ideal client)

  • Editorial Calendar (or at least some content ideas saved somewhere)

These components are crucial to ensuring the content you create is not only relevant to your audience, but also works to attract and nurture leads into loyal customers for your agency.

Next week, we’ll discuss these key elements to a content strategy a little more in depth. Sign up with your email below to receive a notification when this article is published.

3. A Consistent Flow of Content

Now that you have your platform and a strategy for content output, you need a consistent flow of content being published on a regular basis.

One myth about content creation is that in order to be successful, you need to publish as much content as possible. Because of this myth, many businesses become burnt out as they’re trying to publish fresh content 4-7 times a week.

The thing is, many design studios and freelancers don’t have enough time or energy to put in the effort to create quality content on a daily basis. This results in poorly written content that does nothing to promote your brand.

To become successful with blogging, approach the concept with an idea of quality over quantity. Publishing quality content on a consistent basis, rather than posting on a daily basis, is the key to success.

Whether you publish twice a week, weekly, or even every 14 days, pick a schedule and stick to it. Then, create awesome content (or outsource it) to publish at this time frame.

4. A Way to Promote Content

We’re here! You have a platform, a content strategy, and some amazing content that is being published on a consistent basis. There’s only one thing we’re missing: promotion.

It’s often said in the marketing world that content marketing is 20% creation and 80% promotion. That means for every piece of content that is written, four times as much effort needs to be put into getting it out into the world.

Fortunately, there's a few great ways to promote content online.

Social Media

One of the most common way to promote content is through social media. Choosing social media channels that resonate with your audience is key to capturing their attention and driving them to your website.

One mistake that many designers make is clicking the “publish” button, posting the link on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn once, and moving on to the next big thing. Instead of making that mistake, schedule multiple postings of your content in various formats throughout your social media channels.

You might post the title of the content and an image on Twitter one day, and a quote without an image (but still a link) the next. Whichever way you choose to present your content on social media, the key is repeatedly pushing it out to the world to get it in front of your audience.

Direct Outreach

Another common, and proven, way to share your content is through direct outreach. If you have someone (or a list of individuals) in mind who would really get a lot out of what you wrote, then send it over to them.

The key here is to make sure you’re not spamming your leads; no one wants that. Reach out to individuals in an authentic and truly engaging way, and don’t ask for anything outside of just reading your blog.

In this busy world, time has become a commodity and asking for even a little bit of it can sometimes be a lot to ask, much less asking them to invade their personal social media by sharing it (unless they truly find it helpful, then they will anyway!).

Email Subscribers

Finally, building an email list is a tried-and-true way of building a loyal audience who is more likely to engage with your content.

Build up subscribers on your site by giving away something for free and keep them engaged with useful content that educates and inspires them. When treated right, these people will (hopefully) always be your loyal fans and the perfect people to promote your content to.

Let’s Save You Some Time

As you can see, a lot goes into creating a successful blog in the design industry. Not only do you need to publish high quality content on a consistent basis, but you also need a way to promote it to those who will read and engage with it.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to outsource both your content creation and strategy. Click here to find out how I can help you streamline your content marketing with a free 30 minute content consultation.

Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer based in Seattle who writes for businesses in the tech and design industries. She has studied digital marketing for over five years and has worked as a marketing professional for over two. She loves good books, awesome design, coffee, and natural disasters.

Find her on Twitter: @ashhmarketing