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“We are overwhelmed by a torrent of information: 900,000 blog posts, 50 million tweets, more
than 60 million Facebook status updates, and 210 billion e-mails are sent off into the electronic ether every day. Eric Schmidt likes to point out that if you recorded all human communication from the dawn of time to 2003, it’d take up about 5 billion gigabytes of storage space. Now we’re creating that much data every two days.”
— Christopher Butler, On Creating Content
Blogging evolved from a casual practice to a necessary business strategy. It offers a way for an audience to learn more about you (or your company), what your primary objective is and what services you can provide. Strategic blogging not only gets your name and brand on the web, but it may also receive offers for advertising space, leading to potential extra income.
Quick Blog Writing Tips
Design and blogging share the same the first step—honing in on a concept. Denise Bosler’s book Creative Anarchy perfectly defines a concept’s purpose:
Design [and writing] need a concept, the idea that supports a design’s direction, purpose and reasoning. A concept is not “I think I’ll draw a purple box around the type, use a great big flower in the background and tell the audience it looks pretty.” A concept is “I’m going to develop an analogy between the three Fates and the pitfalls of poor education.”
Next, identify your target audience and research their interests. Google Analytics will be your best friend for this endeavor. Once a target audience is nailed down, begin writing relatable, sincere blog posts. High-performing posts include a headline that hooks the reader in, high-value links, and easily scannable content. Consuming content on computer screens is harder on the eyes than it is in other mediums. People tend to skip around on a webpage looking for relevant keywords and information that they are interested in—which leads to another necessary element: inserting keywords, or the terms people use to look up information in search engines. Popular, low-competition keywords will draw users to your site. Learn more about finding keywords with this online course, Optimizing Content: SEO Strategies for Designers.
After carefully composing a post, the last critical step is to proofread! Publishing an article filled with grammatical errors will result in an undesirable outcome and undermine the credibility of your brand. If an article is published online with errors, luckily, you can quickly edit and republish, but it’s best to publish your best content at all times. After publishing content online, it is essential to apply social media marketing to attract users to your site.
While this is a brief summary of the blogging process, the full process is more involved. Successful bloggers write engaging content and apply strategic content development tactics for search engine discoverability. However, not everyone in the blogosphere possesses these skills. For those looking to boost their blogging or just entering the blogosphere, the resources listed below will assist in your expedition. Even if you feel confident with your blogging prowess, these resources provide additional methods to maximize your blog’s potential.
10 Blogging Resources for Designers & Creatives
by Robin Houghton
Utilizing real-life blogger stories and examples, as well as expert advice from those who have learned the hard way, discover a renewed look at blogging that explains when, why, and how to break the blogosphere’s golden rules.
by Mark O’Brien
This hour long webcast exposes common mistakes writers make with blogging. It then covers the basics of why blogging, who should blog and then dives further by expanding on how to market blogging efforts and measure it’s performance.
Listen to Mark O’Brien provide expert advice on the blogosphere.
by Fred White
This devotional for all writers emphasizes the importance of deep thinking in the context of writing and cultivating a meaningful writing life. Action-oriented entries prompt you to integrate practice into your daily life and dedicate meaningful thought to your writing pursuits. From getting in a creative frame of mind to maintaining good writing habits to breaking through writer’s block, this helpful guide is every writer’s key to developing the discipline, focus, and dedication needed to become successful.
From The Daily Writer’s introduction, the book “is designed to help awaken and nurture the spiritual side of writing through daily meditation and practice throughout the calendar year. A writer needs to acquire a certain degree of mental readiness, of deep concentration and attentiveness, necessary for embarking on a daunting writing task, and then staying on course.”
by Derek Mabie
You have uploaded strong content to your site and it’s ready for users. Now, how do you make it easy for users to find your site? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is key to make it easy for users to find your site.
To perform successful SEM, you will need data to analyze your audience and to note the users’ needs. Once you have that knowledge, you can create a design that resonates with your target audience.
Remember, SEM is different than traditional marketing. The purpose of SEM is to provide answers to questions your audience are asking instead of presenting a captivating campaign to draw in an audience.
Instructor Derek Mabie explores SEM and how to create a strategy with proper tools and consumer insight. This video discusses how to reduce budget waste and to maximize conversions.
A HOW Expert Guide by Chris Butler
In a world where information has become currency and “content is king” it’s important to really understand what all of the talk about content is all about. In this helpful guide, digital marketing and technology expert Chris Butler gives you insight into what makes great content, advice for what makes content marketable, and ideas for creating content for your intended audience in the best possible way. This guide won’t teach you how to write – there are plenty other references for that. Instead what you’ll find is a good jump off point that will give you disciplines that make for successful professional writing and ideas for how to create a content strategy that will help you target your intended audience, give them the value they seek, and further your goals for the content you create.
by Jesse Friedman
Learn the basic skills to create a WordPress site. This HOW Design University course will walk you through of creating an account on WordPress.com, then later installing WordPress on a server, adding content, and installing themes and plugins. By the end of this course, you’ll have a strong understanding of WordPress and content management, not to mention an actual WordPress-powered website of your own.
Most of this course’s lessons will come in the form of video. They vary between 5 min and 25min, and will walk you through everything you need to know. I do not cover the super basic aspects of WordPress that you can easily learn from using the help documentation or using the resource links provided. This course is designed to give you the foundation you need to create a business or personal website using WordPress and the tools that are out there and available to you. Learn more and register.
How designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success
by Robin Houghton
Congratulations! If you want to know about blogging, this book will get you started on what could become a lifelong hobby or enterprise. Why write a book about blogging? Don’t people just Google “how to start blogging-and go from there? It is true, there is a huge amount of information on the web about blogging. There are blog gurus, blog tutorials, veteran bloggers, expert commentators… you could spend all day, every day reading about how to blog.
That’s the problem with learning from web sources—yes, it can be done, but who has the time to sift through it all? How do you decide what’s relevant or authoritative? If you read two conflicting pieces of advice, which do you believe? At what point can you say “now I know how to blog”? You will probably never feel you know everything about blogging, but in this book I aim to give you as much of the nuts and bolts, insights, and inspiration as I can to get you started.
An online course with Denise Bosler
A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words. Whether you’re in need of a simple headline or a full-blown request for proposal, what you say means just as much as the image you create. Add in the need for social media posts and blog updates, and today’s designers find themselves responsible for both the visual and verbal responsibilities of a project. Learn to elicit the attention, response and action that words bring, and become a dually valuable resource as an accomplished copywriter/designer in this in-depth informative course.
by Margot Bloomstein
Even if you’re not a content strategist, the importance of aligning your message with your business model, metrics, and other relevant factors in undeniable. Find out which channels and content types are best for communicating your business’s message with real world examples and case studies from teams at Johns Hopkins Medicine, MINI, Icebreaker, and more. No matter your role, learn how to develop a plan that gets the message across and provides for better user experiences.
An online course with Jess Farris
In this quick-and-dirty SEO course, you’ll get a comprehensive rundown of the content optimization process, from the seemingly obvious to the in-depth intricacies. You’ll learn how to make sure your best content shows up on Google searches and how to approach ranking your site. This snappy, thorough course will show you how to adapt your web content for the best results possible. Learn more and register.
To learn about upcoming trends in web design, check out Chris Butler’s live webcast on “The Future of Web Design.” Christopher will explore the history and trajectory of web design and development and offer a glimpse of things to come.