A blog (web log) is a type of Web 2.0 web site that is made up of entries/articles referred to as posts, which are displayed in reverse chronological order.
The popularity of blogs rose in the late 1990’s with the web publishing tools that allowed the novice web user to create and publish web pages.
Today blogs are maintained by a single or group of authors and built around a community of readers who share comments and grow the conversation of each post.
The impact of blogging has today become mainstream. Most blogs focus on a particular topic; such as cooking or web design. While other blogs are more personal journals, documenting daily life events.
As the popularity of blogs has grown marketers are using blogs to promote products and services through the personal opinions of blog writers. Studies have shown that blog posts that relate a story regarding a product or service is more effective than a traditional ad campaign.
Why Should I blog
In the early days of the web designers would create websites that advertised their skills and were essentially online portfolio/resume websites.
Though these sites were effect at time for promoting designers and getting their work seen, since then this method of online promotion has seemed to be come stagnant.
These portfolio/resume websites were infrequently updated and only provided a sample of skills sets of the designer, not reflect their personality and passion.
Blogging on the other hand, offers designers with fresh and current content for their sites. It also allows them to really highlight their personality and passion on topics in their field.
Today it is not a question of “Why should I blog”, for designers, employers expect for them to have one.
10 Reasons to have a blog
- Relatively low cost
- Branding Tool
- Fresh Content for the Web
- Learning Experience
- Share your unique voice
- Demonstrates your knowledge
- Inspire others
- Competitive Advantage
- Give clients a way to connect
Following Other Blogs
Part of the effectiveness of blogging is being part of the community and conversation. With that said it is just as important for designers to follower other designers blogs, as it is to maintain their own blog.
The following is a list of some top web design blogs to follow:
- Smashing Magazine
- Tutplus Network
- CSS Tricks
- Web Design Ledger
- Web Designer Depot
- Web Designer Wall
- A list Apart
- Creative Bloq
Starting a Blog
A Content Management System (CMS) is web application that allows for easier content authoring and content delivery. Management and maintenance of an entire CMS website can be done from a central interface and with no little to no web technical skills required.
While CMS are used for developing a variety of websites, today many blogging applications are built on a CMS.
There are many different options for developing a blog. In 2013 The Next Web published an article on 15 of the best blogging and publishing platforms. The top three are discussed below.
WordPress is a CMS platform that comes in two forms, self-hosted and hosted.
A self-hosted package of WordPress CMS can be downloaded for free as an open source application from WordPress.org.
Self-hosting basically means that one controls the server host, and requires purchasing a domain and hosting space.
While a self-hosted WordPress CMS allows for full control of the platform it may require advance developer skills in order to truly customize features.
WordPress.com is a hosted packaged that users can easily sign-up for and have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. WordPress.com offers different package levels for their hosting services, from premiere business accounts to free single user accounts.
WordPress as a CMS is the platform for 19% of the websites on the World Wide Web, and 48% of the top blogs are also built on the WordPress platform.
Blogger is a free blogging platform from Google. Blogger like other online blogging networks allows users to quickly get started and start publishing online.
However, Blogger tends to be limited in their customization and style features. Google also seems to have lessen the support for Blogger updates.
Yet, anyone with a Google account can set up their Blogger account in a matter of minutes. With so many Google members it’s no wonder that Blogger is so popular.
Tumblr, which was only recently purchased by Yahoo!, is relatively a newcomer to the blogging platforms.
Tumblr tends to be popular with a younger 16-24 year old age group and those who are more active on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The layout of Tumblr blogs can be customized by users, and tend to be more photographic in nature.