Written by Tom Ewer on 11 November 2013
As a web designer you probably have some kind of online portfolio and perhaps a more complete website with additional information about your company and services, but do you have a blog? I’m not talking about a personal blog with accounts of what you did at the weekend and pictures of what you had for breakfast, but rather a web design blog that is an integral part of your business website.
If you don’t, today I’m going to explain why creating a professional blog could be one of the most important things you ever do for your business. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
Why Start a Blog?
If you think that blogs are just a way for wannabe writers with a superiority complex to express themselves, think again. Blogging has come a long way since its inception in the late ’90s and now has the potential to be a powerful tool for attracting new business to your website and engaging with your past, current and prospective clients.
When you start a blog for your web design business, you can look forward to enjoying the following benefits:
- Increased search traffic to your website
- Higher positions for your website in search engine result pages
- Increased chance of others linking to your website
- Becoming known as an authority in the field of web design
- Developing a more personal voice for your business
- Great way of staying in touch and communicating with clients
- Effective promotional platform for your web design services
- Networking opportunities with other professionals
- Possibility of your articles being shared on social media
- Greater exposure for your brand
- Good way to connect with prospective clients and demonstrate your design process.
A static site containing your portfolio, contact information and some additional information about your services may be sufficient when you’re just starting out. However if you really want to grow your business, engage effectively with potential clients and keep up with your competitors, publishing regular content in the form of a blog is a must.
Many people are put off by the idea of blogging, thinking that it takes up a lot of time or they’ll never be able to compete with the big names like Smashing Magazine, Mashable and so on. The fact is you don’t need to compete with these big names. Remember, your blog’s main priority is to support your business, not to help you towards becoming an online celebrity. While it may be nice to become known as an A-list design blogger, a blog with only a small readership can still provide (and create) a lot of value.
It’s true that writing a blog will take up some of your time, but you’ll probably find that the investment is well worth it in terms of additional business and improved reputation. A couple of hours spent on your blog every week could add up to some fantastic benefits for your business.
Getting Started With Blogging
Anyone can start a blog with no technical knowledge required (although that probably won’t be an issue for you!). If you don’t have time to work out how to set up a blog on your existing website, it’s easy to use a hosted service like those provided by Blogger, WordPress.com or Typepad and simply include a link to it from your main website and social profiles.
One of the main reasons that creative professionals put off starting a blog is inertia – why spend time that could be spent on client work setting up a blog when you’ve done fine without one for so long? These free services remove some of these mental objections because they make things so quick and easy; you really have no more excuses to fall back on.
If you’re more technically minded and comfortable with coding (a distinct likelihood), you can opt for a self-hosted solution like WordPress and either design your own theme to showcase your skills or opt for a pre-designed theme.
How to Market Your Blog
Setting up a blog is just the start. To ensure you get maximum benefit from your efforts, you’ll want to make sure that as many people as possible are reading your blog. Search engine optimisation is one way of bringing more traffic to your blog but you should also be making efforts to market it to other potential readers:
- Include social buttons on all your articles to encourage sharing
- Link to your articles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ when you publish them
- Guest post on other blogs
- Build an email list and contact your subscribers when you publish a new post
- Add your blog to blog directories
- Comment on other related blogs
It takes time and effort to build up your blog readership but it is all worth the effort when you consider that a percentage of your blog readers may well turn into paying clients.
In the next article we’ll cover some content ideas for your blog so you’ll never be stuck for what to write about.