The Ugly Truth Behind Starting a Web Design Blog
There is always a starting point for every major web site. No one reached where they are right now in one night. In this post, we will analyze what makes a good web design site and the role of the design community in this process.
If you are a web designer or web developer, who recently discovered the passion for blogging and want to share the techniques and wisdom through your blog , this is your ultimate guideline.
You Do not exist
This is first thing you should keep in mind when you are starting your web design blog. This statement might be harsh, but it is the truth. The blogsphere is big galaxy where so many sites and blog with quality have already claimed their places. If you are thinking your blog will just come out of no where and start making buzz , then forget it.
If you already have an built up reputation among the design community that's a different story. For example. Line25 is a newly launched web design Blog that was started by Chris Spooner , who is very well known web designer among the design community. Therefore, the readers already know what kind of quality to expect.
If you are someone who is starting a design web blog without any communication with your design community, what you should do is:
Communicate: Ways to gain exposure
The four best way to make yourself known among the design community are:
1. Well designed portfolio
3. Guest Blog
4. Social Media
1. Create a Well Designed Portfolio
If you are a web designer, graphic designer or a web developer, having a well designed portfolio is a must. Also, you should consider submitting your portfolio (which should be well designed, flickr or deviantART does not count) to CSS showcase sites.
If you have a good designed portfolio, most likely you will get featured in a web deign site and that way people will get to know your work. So when you are launching your new site, people will consider visiting your site. If you have no idea what a good designed portfolio are , here are some for your inspiration.
Useful resources for an effective portfolio
- 10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website
- 24 Kick Ass Portfolio Designs
- Build a Killer Online Portfolio in 9 Easy Steps
- How to Create A Better Online Portfolio
- Creating The Perfect Portfolio
- Create a Professional Portfolio Design in 17 Easy Steps
Twitter is the New Marketing tool
This Twitter thing has been coming on like gangbusters. The messaging site has been around for a couple of years, but its popularity seems to have exploded just recently. At first, when Twitter started it came across a false hope and joke, but it turned out to be one of the best marketing tools. It is simple, short and useful.
One twitter (secret) tip for web designers is that they should go to Wefollow's Web design directory and start following the relevant web designers. You will come across so many post talking about guaranteed method to get you more followers, but honestly these method will work for certain number of people and they are mostly not going to get you 20000 followers overnight. It will take some time. When you follow more web designers you will get more useful information and can connect to more people.
Here are some Twitter ethics you might need to follow:
- If you want to get more followers quickly, notice the difference between the number of followers and following people. If certain individuals has a big difference between those two numbers most probably they will not follow you.
- Retweet useful links and Give thanks if someone retweets your links.
- If you share useful links you will see that Twitterer will recommend you to other Twitterer. Anyone can get a good amount of followers if you play by the rules.
- Make friends and join in conversations.
- However, don't except someone like Problogger, Smashing Magazine , or Copyblogger to retweet . Sometimes they retweet but we are following them for the resources they share. You get the point right?
You may ask how is this going to help when I launch my site? Well if you publish a post you will get more retweets and as a result more viewers.
Guest Blog will Help...Up to Certain Measure
If you google right now "Increase Blog Traffic", almost all the articles you find suggests to guest blog. Guest writing on blogs can help you reach a new audience and build a better network. While it is a great opportunity you have to do it right.When you guest blog people get more exposure, you make money, get more followers and people get to know you. For example: look at screenshot of Matt Cornin's from Spoonfied designs about the author section from a Six Revisions Post:
If you write a guest post for a bigger blog, with a link back to your blog, it will almost certainly increase traffic to your blog, at least for a couple of days. Most of time if you guest post you get "about the author's" block where the author's information is shown. This gives yourself and your blog more exposure.
However, guest blogging will help you up to certain measure. It will not give you a million page views. Well why not? When you guest blog for other websites many times the readers will not even notice about the author's section. There are some many incidents where the readers thanks the blog owner for the great, not the author. That's does not mean you should not guest blog. Aside from the direct benefit of increased traffic, you are also exposing your blog (and your name) to a new audience — and helping to brand your blog and yourself in the process.
How Does Guest Blogging Work?
- The Art of Blogging: How Does Guest Blogging Work?
- Why Guest Blogging is a Powerful Way to Gain Exposure for Your Blog
- How To Guest Blog Without Disaster
- 5 Reasons To Start Guest Blogging
Use the Power of Social Media Sites
Social Media is redefining the way people around the world communicate with one another. You can connect to people on personal level. Sites such as Facbook , Delicious, Stumbleupon, Reddit, DesignFloat can make you heard on the Web.
Create a legitimate profile about yourself and your profession. Have a consistency on your pictures and information. Do not put out 10 different information in differnt profiles. Consisteny on your profile will allow people to recoganize you more. That way you will meet people with same interest and again when you launch your site, you are covering more area on the web for promotion.
Notice that, digg is left out intentionally, because there is truly no strategy how you can make digg work for you after they pulled diggbar, users are really not in favor of digg. Nevertheless, It it also a social media platform, so use it anyway.
Be Brave and Take Risk
If there is a new project or new blog you want to create, do it! There will be lots of obstacles, sleepless nights. You have to be committed to it. If you want to start the site for the sake of blogging, your site will never make it . People always look for new and innovative ideas. If web designing , coding is your passion and you want to share with rest of the community you will succeed.
No matter what anyone says, the major keys for making web design blog successful is their readers, viewers and subscribers. There are some trend and factors the reader leans toward. In the second part we will discuss those factors and steps you should follow after you have launched your site.
thats good tips for me as newbie web designer. i have blog with my portofolio, but my blog is not perfect. i hope this article can be inspiring me. theanks.
I am not trying to be a killjoy here, but you really have to tighten up the punctuation and grammar in this article.
don’t mind that.. as long as the idea is understandable it enough.. :D
While I understand your point (that as long as the message and overall idea of the article is being conveyed then the rest shouldn’t matter) I am going to have to disagree with you. By going over your article, or even having someone else go over it for things like spelling, punctuation and grammar you are adding that extra level of professionalism to your work. It shows the reader that you want to deliver the best product possible.
I have to agree with Jonesy. This guy loses credibility when he misspells Twitter in a headline and gets all too comfy with us instructing us to “unfollow his/her”.
The web’s a big enough place that if you publish in English, then edit for readable English.
I agree. I always proofread my posts three times or so, and to have a “professional” blog with poor grammar smacks of laziness.
I tend not to follow blogs with spotty grammar; it annoys me too much. I stumbled here through a twitter link, and I don’t think I’ll be coming back. That’s not to say that the post wasn’t well-written in terms of content (it was!), but proper English is a pet peeve of mine.
(I love it when other people point out grammar issues, btw. Too many people are lazy.)
Thanks Jonesy, I am sure you have a very good point here but don’t deny it, Kawsar has some great tips over here :)
We will make sure Grammar is taken care of in any guest post in the future.
I agree Noupe, the content is gold, it just needs some polishing. =)
Excellent article, some real helpful tips! Should come in handy as I’m promoting my blog now :)
Nice Post, great tips
Wow. Great article! very inspiring to my budding web career Thx
Great article. Thanks
Good article, but I’d suggest be true to your own style. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s style simply because it’s trendy or to gain notoriety or attention.
I’m with the tips for the most part and I’ve had my own share of experience with (web)design/-development. Some general tips can be found on my blog…my advice is “Aim for the stars and you may reach the sky”…I haven’t just yet, by the way.
PS: this comment is also a experiment to show that threaded comments will be the next lame ‘first post’ thingy… ;)
I think an important thing to identify is if you are made to be a designer. There is a difference between developing a website (and having a designer design it for you) and trying to design yourself (assuming you’re not a pro designer, which is the case for many of us would be bloggers).
So realize what your skills are, what you want to do on your blog. It may be worth it to have someone do your design for you, if your skill is writing. Or visa versa, perhaps you are a rockin’ designer, but not much of a writer.
The truly successful businesses on and offline are run by smart folks who know their own abilities, they recruit people to do the jobs they know aren’t their forte. Case in Point, Ol’ Donald Trump, he would never have gotten where he is now were it not for his ability to align himself with pros in all the right places.
I have spent well over a year trying to design my own site, with varying levels of success. I have self taught html, php, graphic work and web design software. What I have learned is, design is not my ‘thing’. Writing, however, I can do. Consequently, I am in the process of finding someone to design my logo/header and color scheme.
I like your quote, although I remember it different “shoot for the Stars, you just might hit the moon”. Essentially this is another play on the whole concept of the secret, know what you want, believe in it(yourself) and just keep pluggin’ along until you get there with the belief in your own mind that you will in fact get there. You can bet that Trump never saw defeat even when he was losing billions, rather he put his feet to the pavement and got it all back and more.
Starting with a good design is key to keeping traffic coming back to your site. I can drive traffic to my site pretty easy, but increasing that traffic and getting more return visitors I think is strongly influenced by a good presentation/design.
Overall point being, to have a successful site, you need to have a good design (unique), good useful content and be very active within the social networks to build/increase traffic and your following. You need each component (some SEO is pretty powerful too) to have a successful site, fall short on any one of these and the equation doesn’t work.
Jeromy (AKA hillbilly)
Great!The idea is there.
Great article, thanks a lot..
Not a bad article. Although you’ve not mentioned anything about the quality and uniqueness of content – articles that people will want to send to friends and colleagues. I think any successful blog is down to the top quality content it offers. If you’ve got that sorted then it’ll find it’s way out there.
Thanks everyone for leaving your opinions.
@Alex I guess you missed the part in the beginning of this post that this post is divided into 2 parts.
The second part will explain the characteristic of a good web design blog and how to market and promote your newly launched site.
Why are there short, dashed lines under the “Reply” buttons within the comment blocks? they look out of place. I’m viewing with the latest Firefox version (3.0.10) on PC right now. it looks like the underline is part of the “comment-reply-link” style, which seems to wrap over the reply button image. there also seems to be an inline style of “border-none” on the image, but it’s not taking effect.
Whomever it concerns may want to fix that.
Wow, already fixed. nice response time ;)
Great article!! Definitely watcing/waiting for part two!!!! ;)
I love this site!!!! LOL!
This couldn’t have come at a better time. Though a lot of what you said can be perceived as common sense, it’s still helpful, to not only the novice, but a good “checklist” of sorts for veteran bloggers.
The only thing I’d recommend is proofreading, and spell checking your articles; that way they come across a little more professional and well thought out.
i just thanked to twitters who retweet my post :)
thank you :]
Good read, thanks.
This article is just what I needed. When I first found Noupe, it inspired me to start a blog of my own in which I would post all of the web design resources I have used, along with snippets of code that I frequently use.
I found that this was no easy task; I’d have to say that the hardest part of a web design blog is keeping up with the posts.
Thanks so much for all of these tips! I’m sure they will be very helpful in the future. :)
A truly inspiring article!
There are many sites out there including noupe which wanted me to start my own blog type website! Just need people to find out about it now!
I am thinking of starting a blog, so thank you for a useful and informative article.
Thanks Ali for sharing your valuable thoughts, Though I am not into web design, yet still learning, I think overall your idea can help new designer.
This is a really great article – thanks for sharing so many resources. I appreciate it.
great little section on twitter ethics there!
Awesome! You guys are always helpful. Where’s part 2?
Some great tips here, thanks for the article
Really Great Tips!
Thanks for sharing, will need to improve on some and try some things.
Love it! Well put outline on blogging. Love the social media bandwagon…too funny!
Lots of useful information :) Thank you for this great article.
Woah! So true, a friend started a blog for riches and glory but went up in flames in 3 months flats. He is planning a comeback and your tips will help a lot!
Great post. I would add to this that guest blogging can be even more effective when you have built up a respectable amount of content yourself, that way you are more likely to convert the traffic from the guest post into a subscriber.
A post which complements the guest post (on your own blog), and draws visitors in – is also a great idea, as chances are your traffic will be set in a particular mindset, and be enticed to read.
thanx for sharing…..
Major take away point for all bloggers, it’s not easy and success won’t come overnight. However, with most things worth doing, if you put in the work consistently you will eventually be rewarded, but don’t expect it to be easy or instant. Blogging is about continuously sharing your expertise, promoting yourself and connecting with others in your niche/community.
good read, kind of inspiring I think I will finish a bunch of projects that I just sort of never put the time into finishing.
Very well written. Content is the main factor behind it. All the tools to build it are there, but if there are no content behind a great design, users will not come.
If freelance designers are only trying to build up a “reputation among the design community” then that is a problem, because they won’t make any real money promoting only to the design community. The focus of any serious designer/developer who wants to make a living from their craft should be “building a reputation with their client base”. Just my 2 cents.
Lots of useful information.Thank you for this great article.
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For one, this is a really good resource for all internet users, and thank you for producing such a thorough post – I know how painstakingly boring it can be to go through social media sites.
Social media interaction is one of the most popular key elements to get traffic to your site alongsite blogging etc.
This article will help me to improve my blog
thanks for the tips, completely still long way to go for me
Interesting collection, I am working with my wife (traditional graphic designer) on web sites and we are trying to get some novelty in layout, design and functionality into the sites. Would appreciate any feedback if you have the time.