One thing blog designers must have

Designing for blogs, creating blog themes and building websites with Content Management Systems (CMS) make up probably the fastest growing aspect of web design. The measure of a web designer who is keeping their skills up to date is that they offer at least one of these services.

A good web designer should also have a working knowledge of XHTML and CSS, the fundamentals for quality, standards-based web design. Additionally, it’s expected that they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability via their own website. But how about a blog? Is it necessary when working in the creation of blogs, for a design or developer to be maintaining a blog themselves?

Demonstrating ability

Like a web designer showcasing their services on their own site, it makes sense for a blog designer or theme developer to have their own blog, in order to reinforce to prospective clients that they know the medium.

Demonstrating knowledge

Once you’ve been responsible for your own blog for a period of time, you come to understand aspects of blogging which aren’t obvious to the casual observer. This can range from archiving blog posts, to analysing traffic statistics, and the most useful plugins. The more a designer understands about running a blog, the better they will be at designing with attention to the little (but very important) details like these.

Demonstrating professionalism

A good designer knows when a particular service just isn’t right for a particular client. Not everybody is suited to blogging. Maybe a client seems unlikely to have the commitment to regular posting, or maybe they’re not a great communicator. It’s better if a designer has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that come with blogging, and it’s definitely better if they can be honest with clients when the service they’re seeking isn’t the best fit. And no blog designer wants a stagnant or defunct blog on their portfolio.

It should be a basic consideration when shopping for a web designer to create your new (or new-look) blog: does this person have their own blog?

It doesn’t need to be updated daily or have a subscriber list in the thousands. Any experienced blog designer will tell you that building a subscriber base is a lengthy (yet rewarding) exercise. What’s more, a successful designer or developer may be too busy with work to be posting blog updates more frequently than once or twice a week! So long as the posts are reasonably regular and the style of writing gives a positive impression, that’s a good enough message that the designer has a fair command of the blogging medium.

What do you think? Should a blog designer be running their own blog? Is it a reasonable expectation for clients to have when selecting a professional to design their blog or CMS-based website?


  • inspirationbit

    September 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I would say it is essential for a blog designer (not simply a web site designer) to be a blogger. I personally come across that necessity more than just a couple of times, and was able to give a sound advice to my clients and explanation as to why they should do something this way and not the other on their blogs.

    I think it’s just like in teaching web design and programming: if the teacher/instructor has never designed an actual web site for a client or developed a real-world application his/her lack of the practical knowledge would severely downgrade not only the quality of his/her teaching but the credibility as well.

  • Tracey Grady

    September 24, 2008 at 7:42 am

    That’s an excellent analogy about teaching web design/programming. A teacher needs to inspire confidence that his/her teaching methods are based on a solid working knowledge of the subject matter.
    Even clients who don’t want a blog will often still want to update their site themselves, so it’s handy to be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of running a site with a CMS.
    Thanks for a very well thought out comment!

  • kristarella

    September 24, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Yeah, I agree a blog designer having a blog is definitely a sign of experience and indicates credibility.

    How often they post is another thing I guess. All of the best blog designers I can think of have blogs, well designed and most have very useful info, but they only post once every couple of months or less. I guess we should be thankful for that because they’re spending their time designing great blogs for us to use or view.

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  • Webdesign Meppel

    September 25, 2008 at 3:58 am

    I don’t know if running your own blog is that important… I tried (and did) to start my own blog but I experience that can’t keep it up to date due to lack of time… But that doesn’t mean I won’t be capable of building a blog for someone…

    But besides all this… isn’t it true that you just got to have an enormous wordpress knowledge? 😉

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  • Tracey Grady

    September 25, 2008 at 7:10 am

    A blog which is thoughtful, original and well written will always create a great impression even if updates are published once every few weeks. Like you, I know bloggers (and blog designers) who post infrequently; to me, posting even every couple of months counts as reasonably regular.

    Thanks for sharing your experience of starting a blog. It certainly can consume a lot of time. Kristarella’s point is a good one – it’s possible for a blog to look good and gain respect even if it’s only being updated every month or so. I’m sure your experience has been useful for you and your clients. Let us know if you find the time to start another blog!

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