WHY BLOGGING IS IMPORTANT FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS?
I started blogging six months ago and it was a completely new experience for me. Basically I decided to launch a blog as a support for my studies with KLC School of Design: I wanted to share with other students information about my projects, get their opinion and feedback, systematize things that I’ve learned. However, very soon I started to write about other subjects as well: Interior design news and trends I read about, architecture, my inspirations and ideas.
Now I am completely sure that blogging is very important for all interior designers: doesn’t matter if they are already certified specialists or still studying. I draw this mind map explaining how blogging can beneficial for interior designers:
As you can see from it I found 5 main areas where blog can be useful:
1) Business development. Blog is a perfect tool to increase people awareness of your brand. You can show your portfolio to prospective customers and describe the projects you have done. By sharing some useful information, giving tips and advice you can prove yourself to be an expert and a thought leader. Thus you will build your reputation and get trust as a professional.
2) Broaden knowledge. Since I started my blog I am always looking for the topics of my future posts. Every day I spend some time reading about industry news and trends and I visit every possible professional trade show and exhibition. No one can write about the subject without actually knowing it, so blog is an amazing opportunity to broaden professional knowledge and stay updated with industry news.
3) Developing creativity. Creativity is an essential quality for an interior designer, which allows to offer new alternative solutions to the clients, make their homes unique and interesting from a design perspective. This also what makes designer to stand out from the crowd and be successful. Blog is one of the ways to train your creativity, as you will need to make an attractive design of your site, choose interesting topics to write about and illustrate your posts.
4) Help for Interior Design students. As I mentioned earlier blogging is important not only for certified professionals but for future specialists as well. As long as you grow, your blog will be an illustration of your career path. You may get some feedback about your works, share your projects, receive advice and encouragement. Also you might think about your blog as a small business: you will learn how to promote it, grow it and make successful.
HOW TO START
First of all you should think about an idea of your future blog. You need to choose attractive name, decide on categories of articles, think about how your blog’s design can reflect its idea. I advise you to create a mind map where you can write all your thoughts.
After all preparation work is done, it is time to register your blog. There are plenty of free blogging softwares: for example, I created mine using WordPress. It is very user friendly and the whole process took me only few minutes. It has a huge variety of free themes (designs), but you can also purchase a premium one and pay for upgrade to be able to change the fonts, colours, layout, etc. One thing I recommend to do from the start is to buy a custom domain, which doesn’t have wordpress.com ending. Custom domains always look more trustworthy and professional and I am sure that at some point you will decide to buy it anyway.
There are plenty of resources for bloggers today: books, articles, websites. Sites like WordPress also have a support forum where you can find a lot of useful information and tips.
Another challenge you will probably face at some point is the difficulty of finding subjects of your posts and the problem to actually start writing. The thing which I do and which helps me a lot is writing down my ideas whenever they come to my mind. For example, on the photo you can see some little paper sheets and my notebook. Those notes were done by me when I was in the taxi and when I was having dinner with my husband and we were discussing my blog. Another thing which I do is I always take camera with me.
When your blog is launched you need to learn how to promote it. Social media will be a perfect tool. I created a Facebook page dedicated to my blog, where I post updates on my new articles. I registered on LinkedIn professional Interior Design groups and promote my blog there as well. I tweet about my posts on my Twitter account. This all will not take much time as there is a special option in WordPress settings menu, where you can install publisizing your posts automatically on your Social media accounts. You can go further and register on Google+, StumleUpon and Reddit: use as many promotional tools as possible. My blog gets the most traffic from Facebook and Twitter. Also you can submit your blog to special directories, such as Technocrati . However, I advise you to do it after your blog has already existed for some time since there are more chances that those directories will submit your application.
See what other people do. Read other blogs, leave thoughtful comments, put “likes”. By doing so you will not only promote your blog and get followers but will learn what other people do good and bad. For example, I created a list of my “don’ts” after reading some of the blogs. You actually can learn from other people mistakes as well.
5 Things which irritate me on the other people’s blogs:
1) Plenty of advertisement. Some of the blogs are full of adds which is really annoying. Pop up ads are the most irritating: when I see them, I close the website without reading. If you still decide to place some adds, at least make them relevant to the subject of your blog.
2) Difficult to navigate. The navigation on the site must be as simple as possible. I get so frustrated when I can’t find a list of categories and a search box. I believe those two must be on the most visible place.
3) Lack of consistency. So many times I was reading posts starting with “Sorry for not writing for such a long time…”, “Sorry for being absent…”, etc. Consistency is one the most important quality for bloggers – if people started to follow you, they expect to read new posts on a regular basis. Before writing the next “Sorry for being away”, ask the question if your readers really need to know that you were writing because you were:
Unless it is not a personal diary blog, save this information for Facebook status updates.
4) Messy look. When I see some blogs I really get an impression that their owners have a phobia to an open space. Every square centimeter is used for blogrolls, links, pictures, advertisements, archives, etc. I really want to say to the author: “Sorry, your blog might be great, but it is a mess!”. My advise: place only those things which you consider really important. I also doubt that it is appropriate to place your reading list on the main page, as it can distract from reading and lead readers away to other blogs. I believe the best thing is to make a separate “Useful Links” page on the main menu.
5) Poor design. I don’t know how many times it was mentioned that it is very tiring for a human eye to read white letters on the black background and I wonder why some bloggers still do it. Also I don’t like those funny fonts: I already have short-sightedness minus 2, and I don’t want to make it minus 4 just because some people think that
The same relates to photos: nothing looks less professional than poor quality/distorted/greased photo.
6) Going out of blog’s subject. I believe if your blog is dedicated to a specific subject, e.g. Interior Design, it has to contain information relevant to this subject. I get really surprised when I open Interior Design Blog and see the post’s title “How I lost 20 kilos”. If you have chosen the niche blogging, keep to this niche. Be relevant.