The big buzzword now is “blog”. Everyone has one, and it’s probably one of the most profitable online industries out there. Think about it, 15 years ago there was no such thing a professional blogger, and the opportunity for the average person to become a professional blogger just came about in recent years. Now, the industry is booming and every day ordinary people are getting paid by high-profile companies such as HP and The New York Times for anything from product trials to simply mentioning their businesses or products in personal blogs (if you’re using Kodak for your photo cards, imagine simply mentioning your personal experience with their specific product and getting paid!). The door for making money and connections through blogging has flung wide open, and this is a great time for you as a talented designer to start using this tool to your advantage today.
In order to get your blog started, you want to do the following:
Find a blog host
There are tons of places that offer free blog pages. Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Blogspot.com, Typepad.com, Thoughts.com, Sosblog.com, Okblog.net, Soulcast.com and Aeonity.com are just a few of the hundreds of places where you can host a blog for free. Most of the hosts have sites that are very easy to navigate, and you can quickly set up your blog space. With customized templates and the ability to alter HTML code (for most blog sites), you can quickly make the blog unique to your style.
You’ll also get to have a customized URL for your blog. Most likely, your URL will include the domain of the blog host for example myblog.blogspot.com. Another option for a more personalized blog domain is to shell out about $10 and purchase a domain name. After doing so, you can forward your domain and point to your blog, so that when people type in your specific domain, ex: www.myblog.com, it will automatically direct them to your free blog site.
Decide on content
When creating a blog, you want to make sure that your content is focused. Pick an area that you’d like to center on and stick to it. If your blog is going to be about graphic design, great! But as a graphic design blog, all of your topics should have some aspect of graphic design about them. A resource for graphic designers, the everyday life of graphic designers, challenges that graphic designers face, graphic design jobs, portfolio work, design program tips and tricks are all things that center around graphic design. Celebrity favorites, what you ate for dinner last night and your party spots for the weekend would not be topic centric for a professional graphic design blog.
Don’t get me wrong, personal blogs can encompass everything that you’re thinking and experience, but a successful professional graphic design blog should showcase you as an expert in the design world. Getting too personal could hurt more than help.
In order to maintain your blog, you want to do the following:
Invite others to read and subscribe
What other designers and advertisers are looking for is a strong following of your blog. To do that, you’ll want to invite everyone that you can get your hands on. Follow other design blogs and post links to your blog in your profile and your comments. Use your social media sites to promote your blog; Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to do this. Also, any professional association that you’re a part of should be posted your blog. Use your own personal website to promote your blog as well. Use keywords and tags in your posts that are related to design searches such as “design tutorials” or “graphic design jobs”. These tags will allow your blog to come up on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing when people use those words in their searches.
Keep people coming back to your blog
Advertisers want to know if and how many people are reading, commenting and subscribing to your blog. The best way to get people to stay on your site is to make it interactive. What is the average designer looking for on a design blog? What would you look for? Design work, tutorials, continuing education resources and resume tips are just several of the hot topics that designers read up on every day. Make it known that you want people to comment and leave messages. Ask your audience what they feel is an important issue in the design world right now. Highlight graphic designers that are doing good quality work. Encourage designers to submit their best designs and hold a contest where subscribers can vote on who they think is the best. These aspects will keep your audience coming back.