If a web designer has a website, he most likely treats it as a resume that showcases his portfolio of work. This can be particularly true of web designers who are constantly preoccupied with searching for leads and bidding on projects to secure their next client, preventing them from investing the time to develop content for their blog.
Unfortunately, this short-sighted approach can lead to a never-ending struggle to grow a web design business. Here's why your web design business should be blogging and how content marketing can offer you long-term growth and stability.
01. Trust and credibility
It's one thing to tell potential clients you're trustworthy and experienced, it's another to prove it. High quality blogging is a subtle way of marketing yourself as the right designer for a client's project.
Web designers can achieve this by sharing industry knowledge, best practices, insightful analyses, and pre-emptively addressing common questions, problems, or concerns clients may have. The goal is to establish yourself as an industry expert who clients need to hire to help them navigate the challenges of building a great website.
For example, I recently created StartABlog123.com to teach beginners how to build a blog. Instead of going for the hard-sell and telling every reader they have to start a blog with a self-hosted WordPress platform, I developed resources detailing the best free blogging platforms, a chart comparing different CMSs, how to write blog posts for different audience groups (B2B vs B2C), etc.
The idea is that I'm helping readers learn what is available in the marketplace. If they choose to set up a free blog, then I am happy to have provided them a useful resource. On the other hand, if they want to start a self-hosted WordPress website because that is the best option for them, I'm hoping they will reward me by using my tutorial, if not now, then maybe in the future.
Another reason blogging is a crucial part of any web designer's marketing strategy is that it helps build a relationship with your target audience. Although you may not intimately know every one of your readers, by building a sense of community around your blog, readers begin to feel like they have a connection to you.
This starts with your "About" page, being open and honest in your content, and responding to as many comments and requests for help. By highlighting yourself as a personable, likable, and approachable authority in the niche, you can grow a loyal following.
So when your readers eventually need web design work, who do you think they will turn to? The web designer they found after a Google search or the blogger they've grown to trust, respect and develop a relationship with?
03. Quality leads
Leads are the lifeblood of any service-based business. If you have spare capacity to take on more work or believe that you are underselling yourself to compete with cheap designers overseas, then you need better quality leads. While you may have become a web designer to avoid writing blog posts, content marketing may be the best way to build a sustainable lead-generation machine.
The best part is that inbound leads are usually much higher quality because there is user intent to hire a web designer. Furthermore, designers have the ability to consult and discuss projects as opposed to commoditizing their services through bidding sites.
04. Long-term growth
Finally, consistently getting traffic to your web design blog can help you avoid feast or famine cycles, allowing you to enjoy a stable flow of income and focus on long-term growth.
Like any other business, laying a strong foundation early on can be a serious investment of your resources (i.e. time, energy, capital).
However, producing evergreen content to target keyword phrases that are regularly searched is worth the initial investment.
For example, imagine promoting your web design services on social media and freelance sites, eventually generating 5000 views, 25 leads, and 5 new clients. After those projects are finished, you must repeat the process.
Now imagine writing articles titled "101 Best Web Design Tips" and "How To Hire A Freelance Web Designer". After their initial publication, say each blog post earns you 1 new client. However, in a couple months, your posts are now ranking for the keywords "Web Design Tips" and "Web Design Pricing".
Each of these keyword phrases is searched several hundred times a month, meaning unique readers who are actively interested in web design services will be finding your website. Think about the potential for growth when your blog is generating new business while you are vacationing with your family.
The other benefits of this growth include a decrease in the cost of lead acquisition, an increase in productivity, and the option of hiring employees to take on the additional workload.
Ultimately, if you are an artistic or technical type of person, the idea of writing may not appeal to you, and that's your choice. However, the benefits of blogging for your web design business are undeniable. An effective blogging and content marketing strategy can mean the difference between a fledgling solopreneur and a growing, one-stop design shop.
Words: Gary Dek
Gary Dek is the blogger behind StartABlog123.com as well as a dozen other niche sites. His passion is helping new and professional bloggers build sustainable online businesses. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.
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