Popular Design Bloggers Reveal Their Secrets

Psst....Popular Design Bloggers Reveal Their Secrets
Blogging as a designer or developer can be tough and at times exhausting. In a crowded niche it can become disheartening when perhaps our blogs growth doesn’t match our expectations.

However help is at hand! I asked a small selection of well known bloggers to share their secrets, advice and tips on how to get (and stay) on the road to becoming a successful blogger.

For this interview each participant was asked the same set of questions. Below you will see the questions listed with the corresponding responses from each person.

1. How do you generate post ideas?

David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

 
There’s really no set method. I could be walking down the street, talking to a friend, watching a movie, reading a book, visiting a design website. Anything can spark a post idea.

Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

 
Post ideas come and go throughout the day, sometimes they’ll be developed from client projects, sometimes from stumbling across an awesome design online and sometimes from random interactions with various objects during the day, for instance a character on a cereal box might give me the incentive to create a new character design tutorial.

Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

 
Generally, my article ideas are inspired by my work and experiences as a designer. For example, my ‘What to include in your design contracts’ article was inspired from a recent interaction with a client where I felt that I needed to reword certain parts of my contract to protect myself and my clients more effectively, while the post ‘Content heavy websites showcasing beautiful layout, structure and hierarchy’ was inspired by research I was conducting for a website redesign that required a lot of copy. I keep a notebook of article ideas and as I encounter situations that could turn into a blog post I write them down for later use.

Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

 
Post ideas usually come after I have had my coffee. I tend to be most creative after the caffiene is flowing. The important thing is to have my moleskine and a pen. Nothing else. If I get something else in-front of me I get distracted and don’t do what I need to do (brainstorm). I then let the ideas flow and where ever they take me is where the post ideas go.

Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

 
It’s hard to explain how I generate post ideas because a lot of times ideas come to me spontaneously. I carry a Moleskine everywhere I go, and when inspiration hits, I jot down the idea for a post. Usually, I’ll even jot down the actual title of the post because it helps me conceptualize what it will be about. If I were to take a stab at it, it would be inspired from things I’m currently working on at the moment.

For example, the idea of creating a Browser Performance graphic came from me needing to test a webapp for cross-browser performance. I wanted to quantify this data, and as I was testing it in different browsers, I noticed significant differences in JavaScript DOM selection of MooTools in each browser. That led to me to eventually obtain other data and present it in a nice and consumable format because I thought many other developers would find the information useful.

Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

 
My ideas are generally derived from my work experiences and through what I read on other blogs. Either way, I make a conscience effort to write down post ideas as soon as they come to me. If I don’t jot them down immediately, then I usually forget them all together. I make my notes on scrap paper, a napkin, whatever is around really, then as soon I get the chance, I add them to my to-do list using Ta-da List.

Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

 
I have a big list that I keep in a notebook. Whenever I have an idea I write it down. Most of the post ideas will never turn in to anything, but when I am in need of a topic I have plenty to go through. I also have a list of my prioritized topics (because the main list is huge) where I write down the ideas that I want to pursue in the short-term.

David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

 
Typically, I only write posts when I have something on my mind. I find that the natural posts are usually the best. They might be far and few between, but the natural ideas always feel less forced and better thought out to me. If I’m scrambling for post ideas (deadlines, heh), then mindmapping and brainstorming sessions are my friend.

Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

 
Generally I generate post ideas by day to day activities that I m involved in, such as if I m designing a corporate web site ill have a look around the CSS galleries for inspiration and this may spark a post idea, its in the galleries you get to see a lot of trends that you can actually learn from. I post a lot of textures on Design Shard so I am always thinking of new ways to make and create these, there’s always some one releasing free textures that you think there awesome so it never hurts to create your own, and release them on your blog, I’ve recently been buying cheap old books especially for the great textures of the pages, I just need to find time to scan them in…coming soon!

2. Explain your writing process – do you follow a formula?

David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

 
I think about what I’m going to write. I write it. I think it’s crap. I rewrite it. I edit my rewrite. Edit again. Publish the post. Edit again. Simple, huh?

Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

 
When creating a tutorial, I’ll often create the design first of all, then go back and take screenshots of the various stages of the process. These will then be loaded into Photoshop with the good old Load files into Stack command. Images will be cropped and resized, then I’ll start jotting down some wordage to go with the article.

Once the files are ready to go, I’ll boot up my coding app and write out the post as HTML content, which can then be quickly inserted into the WordPress admin area. Finishing touches such as tags, meta description and general WordPress stuff is then added and the post scheduled up for going live.

Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

 
I don’t really have a so-called “formula” for writing, but I always try my best to get the point across in as few words as possible. No one wants to read loads of ramble. They want the information in the headline and that’s it (most of the time). Also on my blog I try to bring more substance. For example, instead of only showcasing a list of beautiful content heavy websites, I try to write a bit about what makes them structured and why hierarchy is important for readability.

Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

 
It’s pretty free flowing, I write the introduction paragraph first so I can get my head around what I’m going to be discussing. Then I mull over some thoughts and start building it. I worry about content first and then worry about the order of the content later. I use google and “the wonder wheel” to help my find things relating to my topic to compile and use in my posts. Then at the end I tidy it all up, re-organize/edit and then set the styling and publish.

Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

 
I’m very task and process-oriented, so anything that I do that’s repetitive has a formula. I start writing in MS Word -> create graphics and process screenshots in Photoshop -> transfer the Word doc to a source code editor to clean up the HTML markup manually -> put it in WordPress. It doesn’t sound efficient, but it works like a charm for me.

As for the actual content writing: I start with formulating the title of the article. This lets me define in my head what I will be covering (the scope of the article). I write an introduction first to formulate the direction the article will take; this makes sure that I deliver what the title of the article promises. Many people get stuck with the high school approach to writing where you write the body first, then summarize what you wrote as an introductory paragraph. This is bad practice for the web, because by doing so, you risk going off on all sorts of tangents and covering way too much stuff in one article. The average web information consumer has limited patience: he or she wants specific information – they won’t take the time to read the entire article to find out what they need. You should define what it is exactly you will talk about in the introduction before you start writing.

Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

 
I’ve tried various techniques, but inevitably I tend to be a little scattered. I generally start by furiously writing down everything I can think of, it’s more of a brainstorm/free writing exercise then a well formulated post, but it helps me cover more ground. After that I keep proof reading and editing, until I’ve refined the post well enough to publish it.

Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

 
I don’t really follow a formula. My process depends on the type of post and the situation. If the post is an article that is mostly text, I will outline everything and get my ideas organized before I ever start to write anything. In the past I’ve had some ideas that I thought were good, but when I started writing the post I realized it wasn’t as good as I originally thought. Getting organized ahead of time helps me to see if I have something that justifies writing a post.

David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

 
No. I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. Usually my posts are trains of thought.

Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

 
No formula really, I generally keep my writing short, my blog is intended to be useful to me and if any one else benefits from it that is an awesome bonus, so I keep it rather visual, and other people generally like this method too.

3. List the 5 tools (apart from WordPress) that are essential to running a popular blog?

David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

 
Passion. Patience. Consistency. Determination. Humility. They’re maybe not tools by definition, but they’re vital all the same.

Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

 
I personally use my Mac’s sticky notes on the dashboard for jotting down post ideas, Word, Photoshop and Coda for producing the actual post content. Other than the WordPress app, I’d say Amazon S3 file storage is important for keeping the server alive. Over two years worth of images can generate some serious bandwidth!

Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

 

  • Photoshop – For preparing images, cropping, adding text, etc.
  • LittleSnapper – For storing and organizing inspiration and screenshots of websites and other samples.
  • Tweetdeck – For interacting, sharing and staying up to date with other happenings around the web.
  • Woopra – For tracking traffic, It’s like Google Analytics on steroids.
  • Google Calendar -For keeping track of my crazy life.
Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

 

  • 1. My big one is Evernote. I am always on the go and I need to hash out/capture ideas as best I can and this keeps me in sync regardless which computer or iPhone I am on a the moment.
  • 2. Email – lame I know but, without it I can’t keep track of who is guest posting or people’s interview or whatever else.
  • 3. Twitter – twitter has become one of the easiest places to grab inspiration or talk to others. It’s our new social network and allows me to keep in touch with people or find great content in one little place.
  • 4. Basecamp & Things – This is huge for FUEL and myself. I setup my milestones, and to-do’s because if I have a creative mind that can be 50 places at one minute and if I don’t have my deadlines organized in a place that I look for them, I will forget and then thats bad. Very bad.
  • 5. iPhone – I am not sure how I would live without this. It has changed the way I mobile compute/work. I can be in california tomorrow and still keep up with everything I need. Especially with apps like Evernote, Outpost, Tweetie & WordPress, I can stay on top of everything I just listed from the palm of my hand regardless if my desktop/laptop is close to me or not.
  • Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

     
    ‘Essential’ is really subjective to the style and preference of the blogger. I use several tools that very few people would be using in the blogging process. I’ll take a stab and try to name 5 tools:

    • Web Browser – It’s gotta be open so that you can quickly search and check your facts. I use Firefox.
    • Word Processor – It’s great for making sure grammar and punctuation are correct. I use Word 2003 on a Vista machine. It has a similar interface as Open Office, but generates much cleaner HTML when copied directly into a source code editor (I know, surprising, right?)
    • Dropbox – If you’re writing on multiple computers, you should have this set up so that you can continue to develop your ideas regardless of what computer you’re on.
    • Gmail – It can keep track of your tasks, organize your emails very easily, keep track of conversations, organize your contacts, combine your email accounts into one interface, and much more.
    • Text Editor – I use Notepad++; It’s essential for keeping track of ideas, writing article outlines, and dealing with source code.
    Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

     

    • Macbook Pro – I use a 17″ Macbook pro. It’s slick, runs great, and powers all my apps. I used to be a PC guy, but I don’t think I could ever go back now.
    • Firefox/Firebug – I love safari as well, but it doesn’t have Firebug. Honestly, for purely web browsing, I think Safari is better, but I can’t make it a day without utilizing Firebug.
    • Mail App – It’s a simple and easy way for me keep track of my emails.
    • Helvetireader – Helvetireader is just a skin that you can put on Google Reader using Fluid. It has an awesome minimalistic feel, and makes Google Reader nice to look at.
    • Coda – My code editor of choice, and FTP program of choice for that matter. I love how it helps my workflow, but doesn’t get in the way with bloated features like Dreamweaver can.
    Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

     
    I’m not sure there is anything “essential” that I could not do without, but here are some tools that I use on a regular basis:

    • Google Reader – to stay up-to-date with my favorite feeds, and in a crowded niche like design blogging it helps to know what everyone else is publishing if you want to produce original content that will stand out.
    • Twitter – to stay connected to fellow designers and bloggers and share links that I come across.
    • My Notebook – to keep my ideas organized.
    • Blog Desk (blog editor) – to write posts without having to do so directly in WordPress.
    • Delicious – to keep track of valuable links.
    David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

     
    Photoshop, a text editor, and an email client.

    Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

     

    • Twitter – There are so many talented designers, developers… creatives, hobbyists on Twitter, if you follow the people who interest you the most and prove that you have useful tweets most will follow you back. This leads to a great twitter stream filled with insightful tweets as well as people taking the opportunity to promote your tweets too…Make sure you have a retweet button in your blog posts.
    • Analytics – Just like any web site you should probably be tracking your visitors, with blogs you can see which days are most popular, and there fore publish your articles on those days, you can also see which articles people are visiting and start producing similar articles, but a varied selection is always good.
    • Feedburner – Not particularly essential but nether the less useful, it allows you to track you subscribers as well as offer your blog feed via email it also has other useful tools to help promote your articles from the feed reader.
    • Delicious – Provides endless inspiration and articles to digest.
    • Article Submission – Submitting articles to user link feeds and the likes of design bump provides some extra coverage.

    4. What (in article) factors are essential to create a ‘popular’ or well received post?

    David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

     
    In the early days of my blog’s life I used to go chasing Digg or StumbleUpon traffic, but I think it becomes very clear to people that’s what you’re doing, because I see it happen all the time on other blogs. It’s a put-off, and your blog post will read like you have too much of an ulterior motive, so I avoid it, and just write about what interests me.

    Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

     
    I always aim to create a post that’s helpful to people in some way, whether it’s a tutorial, an opinion post or a list of designs or resources. If someone leaves a post having learnt something or found it particularly useful, they’re more likely to share it with friends. The title also seems to make or break a post, with the infamous ‘insert number and cool adjective here’ style titles performing the best by a clear margin, despite being widely slated and hated.

    I’ve also found from browsing other articles, that I’m much more likely to immediately click off an article if it’s a huge block of text. On the other hand if it’s packed with plenty of images and eye candy, I’ll be much more likely to skim read, or bookmark it for a more in-depth viewing later on.

    Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

     
    As I stated above, substance is important for a successful post. Allowing the reader to learn, inspire and understand all in one post will take your article a long way.

    Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

     
    I would like to say content is king, however thats not entirely true. The posts I have worked the longest on and poured my soul into don’t always generate the best hits. It tends to be a list post that generates the most “interest” even though these are hot in the design blog world, they need to be smarter and better thoughtout. If you make posts about what is cutting edge and happening now and mainly something people want to learn about you have winner. You also have to keep it brief, people don’t want to read through a 60 paragraph post. They want to get their content, learn and get it out. Its just how it works.

    Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

     
    I think that in order to be popular, a post must be fresh and new. When I say fresh and new, it doesn’t have to be completely unheard of because with so much content on the internet, it’s impossible to come up with something that hasn’t been covered a thousand times over. When I say fresh and new, it can be a unique take on a subject.

    Another factor is how the post relates to the reader. For example, Kayla Knight wrote a popular post recently about what web designers hate hearing from clients; a lot of the comments were something along the lines of, “Yes, I’ve been there, I’m glad I’m not the only one”.

    Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

     
    If you are writing a post on how to do something or why something works, I think it’s imperative that you display useful examples. Blog readers tend to want info fast and easy. Lot’s of quality images and thoughtful headings can go a long way toward improving reader experience. All that being said, beautiful pictures and helpful headings can only take you so far, the content itself must be unique and well-written.

    Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

     
    I’d say an idea that is unique or at least taking an angle that hasn’t been taken before, even if it is a topic that is covered frequently. Also, I think post formatting and readability are important. Knowing what your readers want is also critical. It can be a great idea and a very well-written article, but if it doesn’t interest your readers it won’t become “popular.” Titles also can have a big impact – that is something that I struggle with.

    David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

     
    Value is the key to a successful blog post, and in turn to a successful blog. If you’re not offering a solution to someones problem or wants, you might as well be talking to a wall. Address a specific audiences needs, and pretty much everything else will eventually fall into place. If you aren’t capable of solving a specific readerships problems, then don’t pretend you can.

    Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

     
    I think a well received post is a post that looks like you’ve put in some effort and time, it could actually be quite a bad post but as long as you’ve tried to put some information out there i think it will be well received by most people.

    5. What is your process or plan for growing and expanding your blog?

    David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

     
    To help my readers in any way possible. Sometimes I’m simply too busy to reply to every blog comment or email, but I do what I can.

    Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

     
    Other than keeping a one post per week schedule for main articles, and a weekly or fortnightly roundup of some kind, I don’t have many plans! Post wise I’ll get the urge to look into certain topics every once in a while, whereas other times I’ll simply create content based on whatever ideas spring to mind.

    Exposure and traffic are key ingredients for the growth of any blog, so for each post I’ll tweet out a couple of links, and submit the article to various sites that offer news submissions.

    Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

     
    Not really much of a plan here. As long as I see improvement I will continue to do the same things I’ve done since starting The Design Cubicle. Staying consistent when you have a good thing going is always a safe bet.

    Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

     
    I think forward thinking and having some sort of a plan is always good. I know in the tech age 5 year plans seem a bit dated since twitter is not in a 5 year plan and has impacted the internet forever. I think being able to adapt and give your readers what they want is key. If you can provide reliable, quality resources that are always there for them to read and consume then you will always have a fanbase.

    Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

     
    My main plan is just letting it grow on its own. I don’t really have a game plan for how to expand Six Revisions; I think that as long as the content that’s being published on the site is something relevant to the readership, it will grow organically. I just evolve and continually make the content better. Recently, it has been the expansion of the Tutorials section on Six Revisions. Last month, I experimented with visual/graphic content which I think many people like (though very time-consuming to make).

    Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

     
    I’ve got a new design in the works which includes a redesigned logo, a better overall look and feel, and easier navigation. I also have plenty of good post ideas on the back burner, and am always on the lookout for talented guest writers.

    Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

     
    My approach is to focus on the content and do the best job that I can. When I started my first blog I did a lot of marketing, things like social media, commenting on other blogs, guest posting at other blogs. Those things are all productive uses of your time, but once you have established an audience I think most of your time should shift to focusing on content for the blog. With an established audience you will be able to get an impact just by producing quality content.

    David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

     
    Enjoy what you do, be “ok” at what you’re doing, do your best, offer the best solutions you can, and have fun.

    Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

     
    Plan…there is no plan haha, what ever happens, happens, in my case growing the blog has been quite natural and I’m sure in many other peoples cases too, I started writing articles and people started subscribing its just continued from there, its great to have quite a large subscriber base and so many cool people to interact .

    6. What elements do you feel have attributed to your success?

    David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

     
    Learning from those who are more successful than I am. It’s important not to think I’ve ‘made it’ in any way, because I haven’t, and if I ever come across like I have, you’re more than welcome to swing a boot.

    Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

     
    Keeping up with posting new content on a regular bases is probably the most important element of my success, especially in the early days. I’ve seen a few blogs start off with high hopes, but can fall flat if the passion dwindles before the traffic starts building and a consistent flow of visitors come along. It’s hard work pumping out content when no-one is there to see it, which is why it’s important to do it out of passion, rather than for money or for fame/exposure. Somewhere along the line there will be a couple of big breaks and the site will gain recognition. Combine this with increased search traffic over time and a blog will start to pick up nicely!

    Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

     
    Many of my readers who have emailed me, @replied me on Twitter or chatted with me Facebook chat have always stated that they felt a personal connection when reading my articles — so I’m going to say having a personality to my site has helped it grow into what it is today. I try to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly on my blog; a way for readers to see all aspects of my work and career as an independent graphic designer. I like to share inspiration, tips, tricks, experiences, personal practices and more with my readers. If it’s something that I feel other designers could potentially benefit from I’ll do a post about it.

    I always try to come up with new, original content — something that no one has thought up of before that will “wow” and intrigue people.

    Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

     
    Long hours, caffeine, being able to step away and unplug. You have to know when to hammer away and when to say “Ok, I am burnt out, I need sleep”. Unplugging is VITAL to your survival and I see many people who do not unplug. This is bad for your health and mental well being. I also think putting in the long hours and “doing” instead of “saying” gets you a lot of places.

    Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

     
    Passion and dedication. I live and breath design and development; it’s my source of income and my passion, so I’m lucky in that way. Dedication is something I feel has helped tremendously. If people saw the amount of work and time involved in maintaining a site like Six Revisions, they’d be surprised how I’ve been able to sustain for this long.

    Andrew Houle Andrew Houle – Designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

     
    I think the biggest thing is being willing to put the time in. It’s a big commitment, but it’s helped me improve as a designer, and helped me give some back to a design community that has helped me so much along the way.

    Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

     
    Well, I am not yet to where I want to be so I’m hesitant to say that I am successful. But whatever results I have been fortunate enough to get can primarily be attributed to consistent effort and determination. I didn’t know anything about blogging when I first installed WordPress and posted a few articles, but once I realized the possibilities I have worked to keep improving. I’ve had a lot of friends and contacts along the way that had much better potential with their blogs than me, but the majority of them got discouraged when things didn’t come easily and they gave up. I try to stay focused on constantly improving myself and my work rather than comparing myself to other people or making the most money possible. If I’m able to keep improving everything else will work itself out.

    David Leggett David Leggett – Designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

     
    Success seems like a relative term. My “success” might be another mans “getting by”. I’m happy with what I have, with what I do, and I am excited about the future of my work. Perhaps I just got lucky finding something I really enjoyed at an early part of my life.

    Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

     
    I remember early on talking to a lot of people on twitter, fellow designers etc and they were more than happy to help out by promoting my articles or including them on their blog roundups, so I think fellow bloggers and general design enthusiasts have played a big part in the success Design Shard and continue to do so, Thanks!

    Bonus Question – If you could be any character from The A Team, who would you be and why?

    David Airey David Airey – Blogger, Brand identity designer, consultant and founder of Logo Design Love, answers:

     
    B.A. Baracus, because I pity the fool who goes out tryin’ to take over the world, then runs home cryin’ to his momma!

    Chris Spooner Chris Spooner – Designer, Blogger and creator of SpoonGraphics and Line25, answers:

     
    No doubt he will be everyone’s choice, but I’ve got to choose B.A Baracus! I can just imagine being stood at a Customer Services desk with my huge mohawk, gold jewelry and bullet belt across giving some annoying customer services rep some ear bashing: “Listen FOOL!…”

    Brian Hoff Brian Hoff – Designer, writer and founder of the ever useful Design Cubicle, answers:

     
    I’d be Hannibal because who doesn’t like to be the leader.

    Adelle Charles Adelle Charles – Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Fuel Brand Inc. / Creators of Fuel Brand Network, answers:

     
    I would be Col. John “Hannibal” Smith because he spearheads whatever comes the way of the A Team and I do the same, his ways are unorthodox like mine but, thinking outside of the box is where the true creative ideas come from.

    Jacob Gube Jacob Gube – Web developer, designer and founder of Six Revisions, answers:

     
    I think I’m one of the handful of people on this earth that hasn’t seen an episode of The A Team. A good friend of mine said that I most resemble Face because I have a quiet personality and because I’m resourceful. I’d be the opposite of Mr. T’s character, B.A., because he’s flashy and in-your-face, whereas I don’t like being flamboyant.

    Andrew Houle Andrew Houle is a designer and founder of MyInkBlog; a resource for web and graphic designers alike, answers:

     
    I’d be Col. John Smith because his plans seem to be strange and unorthodox, but they often work.

    Steven Snell Steven Snell – Web designer and blogger who runs Vandelay Design, DesignM.ag and Traffikd, answers:

     
    Who wouldn’t want to be B.A. Baracus? I don’t really remember any of the other characters any way, so he is the easy answer..

    David Leggett David Leggett – designer, developer, and the man behind the popular resource Tutorial9, answers:

     
    Haha, that show takes the cake! B.A. Baracus. C’mon, have you not seen his sweet ride?

    Max Stanworth Max Stanworth – Designer, lover of Typography and creator of Design Shard, answers:

     
    Max unfortunately didn’t back to me on this question, so you can suggest which character would suit him best in the comments!

    Let’s recap some of the main points:

    • Take inspiration from everyday (working) life and experiences.
    • Concentrate on providing value within each article.
    • Address a specific audiences needs, offer a solution or solve a problem.
    • Post formatting and readability are equally as important as content.
    • If content is King then headlines are Queen and should be carefully crafted.
    • Be yourself, interact with other bloggers, get social.
    • Most importantly, keep your sense of humor!

    Thank you to all of the contributors who were very gracious in taking their time to answer my questions.

    So there you have it, some fantastic input from a selection of top bloggers. If you found any of this info helpful then feel free to drop them a line in the comments, or share your own tips and advice.

    Photo Credit

13 Comments

  1. Paul Randall says:

    I create tasks for myself, e.g. creating a monthly wallpaper to keep my blog updated regardless, but I do find spur-of-the-moment posts to be the most rewarding.

    I love the A-Team question, but i’m surprised no one chose “Howling Mad” Murdock – my personal fave!

  2. Great article, Grace. Lots of helpful tips from some great web folks!

    • Grace says:

      @James, @John and @minanube Thanks for visiting and commenting guys, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      @Nikki Honestly It was a pleasure to put together as I’m a huge fan of all of the bloggers featured so I was able to gain some good insights myself.

      @Preston Appreciate the thumbs up Preston! Couldn’t agree more with you, it really is about being yourself, connecting with people and being open and transparent. Thanks for leaving a link, excellent article.

      @DesignInformer It certainly is, I think we can all learn something from these amazing bloggers.

      @Chad Glad you liked it Mr Engle!

  3. very cool! thanks for this info. more help the better.

  4. Nikki Jeske says:

    What an awesome list of designers you got! This is probably one of the most helpful articles on the web for design bloggers right now. Thanks a ton for the great questions!

  5. minanube says:

    Wonderful list here from some great web folks!

    Many thanks for it’s article

  6. Preston Lee says:

    Grace,
    Wow, this is a GREAT post! Very nicely executed. It’s a much more in-depth look into the method behind design-bloggers’ success.

    I agree with Brian about making your blog personal. It’s all about connecting with REAL people these days. The more transparent your online presence, the better.

    Can I also add a shameless plug for “Top Designers Discuss Why they blog” as additional reading?

    Thanks for the post!

  7. I love this post. Very informative.

    It’s interesting to see all the different processes that these design bloggers use. They are all quite different, but in the end, their individual way of doing things all lead to some great quality blog posts and tutorials.

    Thanks again for compiling these.

  8. Chad Engle says:

    Woh,
    Super awesome insightful post. Its really cool to see how the pros do it. This is valuable information as always Grace!

  9. I’m glad they all came out honestly. My favorite part was where they got to show off the tools they use daily.

    For them 9 to share how their first experience were like in blogging was very uplifting and useful for me as I’m only starting out!

    Great job for putting the interview together, Grace!

    I thought Leggett was quiet only when talking to me but apparently, he doesn’t say much in public either!

  10. It’s always good getting an insight into what other web designers are doing, and related disciplines, such as blogging and content writers. Thanks for sharing these ….

  11. Vegard says:

    Lots of good tips there. Didn’t think I would get trough the article, because of the length, but it turned out to be an interesting read. As a new blogger, advice form the pros is always good.

  12. Very informative post, Grace thanks. I’ve been blogging on my small business site for a few years, but just recently started a new blog ooh nice! and I’m starting from square one with it. So this is really helpful.

Leave a Comment