5 Reasons for Web Designers to Start a Blog, Even if it Doesn’t Bring World Fame
When you see blogs like Web Designer Wall and Line25 and you realise the recognition and status they achieve, it’s easy to think ‘I wouldn’t mind a piece of that!’ And that’s why we now have an extremely dense market in terms of Web Design blogs.
Some have made it and have risen to similar levels to the aforementioned sites; others have fizzled into obscurity or are plagued by poor quality content. The few that have made it however make up a tiny percentage of the overall market and represent the elite of the industry (there are inevitably one or two exceptions who have just got lucky).
But the point is, it’s so easy to set up a Web Design blog and it’s even easier to think it’s going to be an instant success, but that is very rarely the case.
Don’t be Naive
So, haven’t I just described the reasons why you shouldn’t start blogging?
I’ve simply expressed a word of caution. Don’t be naive and don’t start a blog with the expectation of recognition; that is completely the wrong reason to set up a Web Design blog in the first place. If fame and/or recognition is your sole motive then your chance of failure soars to the dizziest of heights.
Okay then, why should you start a Web Design blog?
1. Self Improvement
For me, the biggest benefit of starting a Web Design blog has been educational. There’s little I don’t know about CSS3 now, but if I’d never started this blog, my interest in it would never have been sparked and I’d probably know half as much as I do now.
Seriously, pushing yourself to learn something and having the desire to blog about it will do absolute wonders for you as a practitioner. We can read about stuff ’til our eyes sting, but until we actually put something into practice, it’s very difficult to get a full understanding of the matter.
After reading about various CSS3 techniques and experimenting with them via this blog, I’m now constantly thinking of practical ways it could be implemented right now in day to day projects.
2. It shows you’re keen
Near enough everyone who works in the industry claims to be passionate about what they do, but few really demonstrate that claim. Running a blog shows that you want to experiment and refine best practices, you want to push the boundaries, you want to share… you want to talk about Web Design.
Don’t think about your peers, don’t think about recognition; think about potential employers weighing up your suitability for their position. Running a Web Design blog displays the passion that so many claim to have for their work; it shows that you’re serious about what you do and that you genuinely love doing it.
It looks like your keen and potential employers will eat that up!
3. It’s like a portfolio, but with context
A blog doesn’t just show your keen, it shows what you can do and what you’ve been doing to better yourself. Consider a standard application for a Web Design position… what might you send off? A CV and your portfolio, right?
Your blog would be like your portfolio, but of far more value to those who are sizing you up. A portfolio pretty much shows what you can do, whereas a blog shows what you can do, with context.
It’s your portfolio, but with explanation, with discussion and a representation of your thought processes. This is 10x more valuable to a potential employer than simply looking at your CV and some work examples!
I know I stated earlier I don’t believe you should start a Web Design blog if your main concern is receiving recognition and exposure. But exposure you will get, and it is to your benefit, how ever limited this exposure may be.
It puts yourself out there, it makes you available to those who want to look and you never know who may stumble across your scribbles.
Exposure shouldn’t be your goal, but it should be the result of your passion to create quality content.
5. It’s your platform
A blog is your playground. Think of it like a sketcher’s doodle pad. If they don’t have their pad to scribble down their ideas and let their pencil wander, a lot of their ideas would simply fade away into non-existence. Sometimes you need to get your thoughts out of your head and into something visual, with structure.
If you’ve got something you want to say or express, I’d say it’s pretty advisable to have a space where you can do this. You might write things down or post things on Twitter, but they have their limitations. Your blog is whatever you want it to be; it’s your platform and on your platform, you can say and do whatever you want.
Build your platform, climb up onto it and have your say.
So what are you waiting for?
Seriously, if you start blogging about Web Design and ensure it’s fairly regular, it will soon become infinitely more valuable than anything else in your portfolio.
About Stephen Greig
Stephen Greig is a 25 year old Freelance Web Designer/Front-end guy, currently living in Nottingham, UK. Stephen is also the creator of messivsronaldo.net and author of CSS3 Pushing the Limits, a book on advanced CSS3. You should follow him on Twitter where he talks about the web, sports, music and swears a lot. Stephen's also on Google+ if that's more your bag.