Even the best designed blogs have bad days. Or perhaps a bad year. Just how long has it been since you updated your blog with some fresh material? A day? A week? A decade? While perhaps not a full decade has passed since you last posted something that really caught the eye, it is admittedly a challenge to stay engaged with your audience and produce interesting, relevant content day after day. Week after week. You may be tempted to scrap the old blog. Just let it wind down and die a natural death.
We don’t need to tell you this is a bad idea – what are your readers going to think if your design blog is dying? What will your customers say if your site isn’t being managed? You need to bring that dying blog back to life. Fortunately it’s a bit easier to do this than you might think.
Bring Your Blog Back to Life
1. Give it a New Theme
Who wants to look at your tired old blog with its 2008 theme? Start your revamp by putting on a new theme. Download a basic WordPress theme and add a bit of color to the standard. Or if your visual theme is sound, change the tone of your blog to introduce a new feel through your choice of posts and phrasing.
An old design on a design blog is especially miserable. You’re showing your best features here! Update the design to showcase your work.
2. Share Pictures and Tips
We all know the power of an image, so why not include a regular series where you “throwback” some old pictures of your business, your products and the changes that have happened over time in the design field. What were you designing five years ago? What are you designing now? Pictures make you and your product or service relatable for readers.
3. Quit Bragging
This one isn’t as much about what you can add to your blog, but more about what you can take away from it. Go back through your blog and take out any posts that demean others. You might be the very best designer there is, but if you’re acting like a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you. The only caveat would be if you’re already at the top of the game and can play off exclusive – but this is unlikely with an almost dead blog to revive.
Image credit: Bigstockphoto
4. Enjoy Captions
If you’ve just been posting design after design without doing much in the way of interacting with your followers, this might be a nice chance to gain some personality online. Include captions and clever phrasing for each design you’re creating. Not only will it make the designs more fun, but it will make your customers feel more connected to you as a designer as well.
5. Use Pictures in Your Post
If you’re used to creating posts of just design styles, why not break things up by using pictures instead of one box after another? Not only will the post be more interesting, it will give you a bit less to do that particular day as well. Show off some of the inspiring elements that go into a design. What did the original picture look like? What sort of design did you create from the image?
6. Use Success Stories
Take a page from the fundamentals of marketing and share the success stories from your clients or customers. Find examples of where your design is being used well – almost like a digital portfolio. Take a look for positive reviews and then expand on those as your blog posts for the week. Or if you have negative publicity out there, this might be a great chance to turn that negative energy into a positive experience by addressing concerns and reaching out to dissatisfied customers publicly.
7. Make a Top 10 List
Who doesn’t love a good top 10 list? Find the best 10 designs of the month. Or the worst 10 designs. Create sub categories of designs to list the top ones according to you, according to voters and according to the eight-year-old you asked on the street the other day. You can praise others, stir up some drama or just amuse yourself with the lists, but they are always a good time.
8. Video Yourself
Who doesn’t like a slightly awkward, rather amusing video post? There comes a time when you’re tired of reading and you’d rather watch the action. Make a video explaining the aspects of the designs you’re posting. This might not make sense for every single design, but you can certainly take some time to explain the best features of your top designs in videos – sell the designs, if you will – through media.
Image credit: Bigstockphoto
9. Interview in the Industry
Give exposure to others using your blog. This is easy enough if you contact others who don’t mind being interviewed. Perhaps you can interview someone who has created some of the most popular designs of the year or an industry expert on why design matters or on another interesting topic. Call your subject and then post the transcription of your conversation or the actual call itself – with permission of course. A series of industry interviews can be a pretty powerful element on a blog, and it will make you a lot of friends in the industry as well.
10. Share Some Data
We all know how valuable data can be, so why not gather some and then share it? You can round up some statistics that are already out there in the field of design, or you can create your own data by simply setting up some polls and surveys for your loyal readers or followers. You can even grab a clipboard and pencil and catch people on the street for new insights and information. After consolidating your data, you can create a beautiful infographic to entice your readers.
11. Interview Customers
What are your customers really saying about the designs you or your competitor are selling? Do you know? Why not find out? Find a way to get a bit sneaky (legally, of course!) and get the scoop on just how satisfied your customers really are. If you don’t have customers just yet, you can always get the scoop on what your target market is saying about products like yours – this is an excellent post and excellent marketing opportunities as well. Your feedback may inspire you to create some new material as well.
Go back in time and help readers understand what it was like in your field or industry just a few short years ago. The internet is always moving and often we forget how far we’ve come. Use pictures, stories and examples to help your readers see just how much you can offer them now and where they might have been if they were shopping five, ten or fifty years ago. This might also be a great time to explain why customers need a new design for their own websites and blogs – it’s a new world out there, and that old site they are running needs to be revamped.
13. Biggest Players in the Industry
Every industry has major players and you either love them or hate them. All of us must live with them. So take those big players in the field of design or in just your niche of the industry and help us understand if we should be inspired by them or perhaps hate them as well. Just be careful not to make anyone really angry, but remember a peek behind the curtain can never hurt.
14. The Up-and-Coming
Just like there are those in the old guard who have earned their place at the top of the design industry, there are those at the bottom who have tons of energy and momentum – you just know you’ll be seeing them at the top soon. Feature and highlight a few of those individuals and the projects they have taken on in an occasional post for your readers and other industry professionals.
Image credit: Bigstockphoto
15. Round-Up Your Industry
Check on the status of design and marketing news over all toward the end of the week. Leave your readers with plenty to ponder over the weekend as you find interesting stories, amusing posts and clever designs others have prepared. All you have to do is organize them in a round-up and your readers will be able to count on you to find the good stuff.
16. Seasonal Posts
When the holidays are on us, why not celebrate them through your blog? Showcase your designs that work beautifully for the holidays. Or offer a few holiday designs or skins that readers can use to take their own sites up a notch during the holiday season.
17. Create Gestures of Goodwill
If your blog has a decent amount of traffic, you can start a new trend by helping others out. “Pay it forward” if you will, and you’ll be able to see how you’re helping one individual, one group or family, and perhaps you can get your readers involved in the cause and you might be able to make a tremendous difference for someone who really needs help.
18. Get Hot Under the Collar
If you really want to get readers fired up, take on a controversial topic and choose a side. You don’t have to get political, but you can easily donate a design to a worthy cause or perhaps add some elements to a design that you market to others to use to show their own opinions. There are countless hot topics out there. All you need to do is pick one. Hopefully your designs will be right there in the middle of the debate and controversy – getting quite a bit of interest for you as well.
There are thousands – perhaps millions – of blogs out there right now languishing. All blogs – not just design ones – are always started with the best of intentions, but they can easily fall apart over time or fade away as regular updates stop.
This is your chance to breathe new life into your design blog and then to let it work for you and your company. You don’t have to change every single thing to make your blog fresh and exciting again. Simply make changes one at a time to find a happy medium in your schedule and abilities.
Make small changes now and soon those small changes will add up to big improvements, you’ll bring that blog back to life and start enjoying the benefits of blogging again.