Using a Blog to Promote Your Web Design Business
Posted by Support on 05 March 2008 10:42 PM
Today it seems that everyone has their own blog, or web journal. People use them to comment on everything from politics to business and digital photography, but as a web designer with your own business, have you ever thought about starting a blog to attract new clients? If not Iâ€™m about to teach you how to do just that.
When used correctly a blog can be your most profitable marketing tool. The idea behind using a blog to promote your web design business is simple. Instead of finding clients and then hard selling them on your web design services, you instead use a blog to educate them, which then earns you their trust and then their business.
If youâ€™ve never created a blog before then donâ€™t worry â€“ itâ€™s easy. Because you will be using your new blog to promote your existing web design business you should setup the blogging software on your website, such as www.yoursite.com/blog. The reason you setup the blog on your own site is because when you start writing useful posts, other sites will link to them, which will increase the ranking of your website in the major search engines, which can lead to more clients, but more on that later.
There are a few different ways you can setup a blog on your site. I recommend using Wordpress (free) if you need a basic blogging platform.
Once you install the blogging software you should setup a few different post categories. When you create a new post on your blog you can categorize it so that visitors can easily read articles based on how they are organized. You can create as many categories as you like, which will help make it easy for visitors to read only the articles they are interested in.
Posting on Your Blog
The first post you make on your blog should be a welcome post. You should talk briefly about your web design business and explain why you started your blog, which is to educate and provide honest advice and tips about web design for small businesses.
After your first post you need to decide what you will blog about and how often you will blog. Generally 2 or 3 posts a week is a good aim for new blogs. Each post should talk in detail about one topic or idea and at the end of the post you should invite your readers to leave a comment, like this:
What are your thoughts on [topic]. Leave a comment using the form below to share your views. Weâ€™d love to hear from you.
For the first few weeks you should write about topics you think your readers will be interested in, such as how to choose a good web designer, why a professional website design is important, how eCommerce websites work, etc.
After 10 or 15 posts you will start to see that certain topics get more comments than others. These are the types of posts that you should aim to write because they encourage the most feedback from your readers.
One of the most important things to remember is that although your blog is a marketing device, you should never promote your web design business on your blog. Sure you can have links to your home page on your blogâ€™s menu bar, but never try to hard sell your service on your blog because you will come off cheap and unprofessional which is never a good thing.
Generating Leads From Your Blog
So if you shouldnâ€™t promote your web design services from your blog then how can you use your new blog to generate leads? Good question. The best way is to add a page on your blog called Inquiries. On this page you can add a contact form that invites readers of your blog to contact you with web design questions and/or to request a quote for their web site.
When people ask for a quote or request more information by filling out this form then you donâ€™t have to do any hard selling because half of the battle has already been won: they contacted you and sought out your advice, and not the other way around. They will be receptive to your advice and eventually when you do provide them with a quote they will be more likely to want to work with you because they trust you from reading the expert advice youâ€™ve provided them with from your blog.
Replacing Your Website With a Blog
A blog is just another way to present information online. A blog in itself can even be used as a website. You can create a different category for each section of your website (such as case studies, services, etc) and add new posts in each category. A good example of how to do this would be to write a new post for each client that hires you.
Create the post by stating the clientâ€™s problem first and then explain in a casual and relaxed manner how you were able to help them by providing them with a solution to their problem. At the end of each case study post you make you can add a line like this to attract even more leads:
As you can see we are experts at turning problems into profitable solutions. Click here to ask us a question or request a free quote for your new web site.
Promoting Your Blog
Because your blog contains useful and relevant information thereâ€™s a great chance that once the word gets out other blogs will start linking back to you, which helps to increase the ranking of your blog and website in the search engines, thus leading to more clients.
I personally know from experience that the best way to promote your blog is to write excellent posts. Eventually the word will get out that you have a blog worth reading and you can expect hundreds of even thousands of people reading your blog every day.
If you donâ€™t have time to write a few quality blog posts each week then you can use a site like RentACoder.com or Elance.com to outsource the writing to someone else, for around $50 a post (500 words or so). Spending $100 or so a week on high quality and relevant posts for your blog will do wonders for your search engine rankings and will help you gain an enormous amount of trust from those who read your blog.
If you outsource the writing of your blog posts then it might also be a good idea to have the person who you outsourced to ghost write the posts for you. This simply means that when they create new posts on your blog, they put you as the author instead of them. This is a common and perfectly legal way to create a blog when youâ€™re running low on time.
Aside from writing great content, another way to promote your blog is to leave comments on other blogs that are similar to yours. A good place to find blogs like yours is the Technorati Top 100 list. When you leave a comment on other blogs you will be able to type in the link to your website and your name. Your comment will then be added to the blog post along with your name. Your name will be linked back to your blog so that people who like your comment can click on your name to see your blog.
When you comment on other blogs you should never use the comment to promote your blog. Your comment should be relevant to the blog post and should contain your honest thoughts and opinion on the blog post you are commenting on, otherwise it may be deleted and you may be banned from any further commenting.
I could write a book about promoting your blog, but Iâ€™ll leave it at that for now. If youâ€™re interested in learning more about promoting your blog then just let me know.
Using a blog to promote your web design business is the cheapest and most effective way to generate new leads, period. In my opinion itâ€™s getting harder and harder to attract new clients using traditional marketing methods, so you have to start thinking outside of the box for other effective ways to spread the word about your web design business.
Remember that the aim of your blog is to educate people about web design, which will lead some of them to contact you with questions and to request a quote for your services. Never try to sell your web design services through your blog â€“ only post relevant content that you think businesses looking for a web designer would like to read.