How to Start a Design Blog and Get Readers Fast (2020 Edition)

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Learning how to start a design blog has gotten dramatically easier over the last decade.

In 2009, while I was a college student, I started my first design blog: the one you’re reading right now.

And that one simple act of starting a design blog has led me to receive multiple job offers, grow a side-hustle, and ultimately work for myself full-time.

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It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, allowing me to spend way more time with my family, work fewer hours, and get healthier.

Whatever your reason for learning how to start a design blog, I want to help.

Which is why this quick free tutorial will show you how to start a design blog and build the right foundation to succeed.

Here’s how to start a design blog in 2020:

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Porkbun

1. Register a domain & buy hosting

First things first, you’ll want to choose a domain for your design blog. Since you’re just getting started as a blogger, you’ll want something affordable that can scale with you as you grow. 

Here are the two options I suggest:

Option 1: Bluehost

I recommend Bluehost because with their tool you can register your domain AND set up your hosting for your design blog. It’s all there in one simple package. 

Plus, they walk you through the entire setup process to get you blogging faster. It’s probably the best option if you’re a little unsure in the blogging tech space.

If you use this link, you can start for as little as $2.97/mo and I’ll get a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Option 2: Dreamhost

When I started my own design blog years ago, I started with Dreamhost. They’re a very affordable and easy-to-use option. 

While Bluehost (above) is very good at ushering you through the process of setting up your design blog, Dreamhost takes a little more learning. But it’s still quite simple and the pay-off is you get a little more flexibility when designing your blog.

If you use this link, you can start for as little as $2.59/mo and I’ll get a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

BONUS use .design for your blog: 

If you’d like to register a .design domain (something like: myblog.design instead of myblog.com), I recommend you use Porkbun

A .design extension can add creativity and flare to your domain and it can be a lifesaver if the .com of your domain is taken already.

2. Install WordPress

The next step on your journey of learning how to start a design blog is to install your actual blogging software.

For bloggers who need ultimate flexibility in the design and presentation of their blog, I recommend you start with WordPress

If you went with one of the suggestions I gave above, you’ll have the option of a simple, one-click WordPress installation. 

Depending on how comfortable you feel with HTML or CSS, you may want to install a drag-and-drop editor for easy and fast blog design that looks great. I recommend Elementor.

Of course, there are lots of WordPress Alternatives you can look into if you don’t want to use WordPress. However, the remainder of this free tutorial will assume you are using WordPress for your design blog.

3. Design your blog

Normally, when I’m helping someone learn how to start a blog, I tell them design doesn’t matter too much in the beginning. 

And while that’s somewhat true when learning how to start a design blog, I’ll be the first to admit this simple fact: if you’re preaching about design, your blog should look pretty well-designed.

A warning for designers like us…

Fair warning, though: lots of bloggers get hung up at this stage of the process and never make any progress with their blogs.

We designers can be especially bad at this—delaying other important tasks until our blog design is “perfect”.

Instead, take a “minimum viable” approach and design your blog to look “good enough” to get started with the full recognition that you can update, improve, or change your blog design later.

If you need inspiration for your blog’s design, try reviewing our list of top design blogs you should follow.

The simplest way to design your blog is to choose a WordPress theme you like and make small adjustments as you learn.

4. Publish your first posts & pages

If you’ve made it to this step, then congratulations! You’ve officially learned how to start a design blog.

Now the fun can really begin!

Start by publishing your most important pages. These may include a “start here” page, an about page, and/or a contact page.

You should also publish a few posts so your design blog isn’t a ghost town for new visitors once you start promoting your blog.

For general ideas on what to blog about, take advantage of our guide on what to write about on your blog

You can also use our list of more specific design topics to get the ideas flowing for your own design blog.

While there’s not a predetermined number of articles you have to post on your design blog before you can start promoting them, I would try to have a few posts ready so people can get a feel for your style and they can trust you as a source that has more than one thing to say.

For even more ideas, you can review that list of top graphic design blogs to follow.

5. Promote your blog posts

Finally, as you continue to write new posts for your design blog, you’ll want to promote them heavily. 

Share them with networks you already have, email them to people who will find them helpful and relevant, and build relationships with other bloggers who may be just a bit ahead of you in the journey to learn how to start a design blog and build it up.

Get creative with your promotion efforts. You’ll need to do more than just publish a new blog post every week. Consider studying Pinterest marketing, SEO, and email marketing.

Sites like Fiverr Learn, Udemy or Skillshare offer insanely helpful resources to help you learn how to get more traffic to your blog.

6. Keep at it and be patient!

Depending on how much effort you put into learning SEO, Pinterest, or other forms of traffic generation, you’ll need a nice dose of patience as you build your design blog up from zero.

This is normal. Most bloggers go through it. And while it’s not appealing to say it: most people just have to go through the fire of growing a blog to learn how not to do a lot of things.

With time, patience, and persistence, you’ll succeed.

Add some rigorous effort, aggressive learning, and powerful networking and you’ll see success even more quickly.

Whether you hope to start a design blog to build a side job or work full-time for yourself, I wish you the very best of luck.

This community and I are here for you as you continue on your journey learning how to start a design blog and succeed. For more support, consider joining our free Facebook Mastermind Group.

Good luck and remember to have fun!


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  1. I am just starting to write a blog as a way to put myself out there more, especially to potential clients. I’ve found though that I’m not entirely sure what I can write about for designers. After reading this I realized my first blog post is aimed more at the general audience than designers. Any advice or suggestions would be fantastic.

    One more thing, I’m a bit confused. Should my blog not be part of my website?

  2. Hi there, I totally agree with your points! A good design can lead to the success of a blog. I’ve been searching the internet for hours for the info you just provided. Thanks a lot!

  3. Thanks for the great post, I am venturing into the world of blogging and I am struggling to know where to start, I need to find a way of writing that makes it worthwhile not only for fellow designers and people in a similar situation to me but in a way that benefits me.. in bringing potential customers to my website.. Or may I just have the wrong end of the stick…? My business is designing and creating luxury wallpapers and handmade soft furnishings. The people I audience feel confident in blogging to are very different to my customer audience…

  4. Just reading some comments. I think a blog critique would be a great idea. Just a thought.

    I have been blogging for a about 8 months and its getting easier with time but some times I question myself. Would love to hear your thoughts…
    http://mistdesigns.wordpress.com/

    Thanks for the article Preston!

  5. A nice article, Preston. I have just started my own ‘design blog’ and these tips sure are useful! I think I need to concentrate on the design and the niche part more..

    Thanks a lot.

  6. nice article, nice tips. im going to start my own design blog, because i live in hungary, and there arent many hungarian design blogs, so i hope it will become popular 🙂

    just keep it up! 😉

  7. Great post with some valuable advice. I can’t recommend your first point enough, to spend time reading other design blogs. Examine the ones you think are great, what do they contain, or how are they constructed, in comparison to the one’s you find lacking. Once you’ve worked out the differences, it becomes far easier to write your own blog posts, which hopefully, others will enjoy reading too.
    If you found this article interesting, you might wish to check out my first ever blog post.. Are there too many Design Blogs?

  8. Great post, Preston, thank you! It’s very challenging to continually find something different to write about, particularly in a field where so many learned people have already walked. I try to blog about my experiences and things I’ve learned, but I also am blogging about my experiences with networking. It’s more for me to keep things straight and I’ve not had many comments at all, but over time I’d like to see that change to even offer challenging opinions.

  9. nice post…I just launched my blog in January and I can relate to all these answers. These tips are right on for sure.

  10. Hi Preston.
    Well, I’m learning about how to create and manage a design blog since now less than 2 months, and after all I read I have to say all tips you gave are just right.

    Thank you for this really interesting article!

  11. Thanks for the article, it is very interesting and inspiring to me, who like many others will be launching a design blog soon. My motives for wanting to start one are: that I love writing and do not get to do enough of it and the desire to create a source of valuable information for other designers. So many design blogs simply regurgitate information, I think the real challenge these days is to create an honest blog with carefully researched and written articles.

    Thanks again for the post Preston, you have gained another reader!

  12. Very helpful post. I have just started my blog and was searching for such advice only. Keep Posting.

  13. Thanks Preston for sharing these information. I would suggest one to keep on trying and experimenting for the optimized outcome on your blog. Don’t be afraid to try sometimes.

  14. Preston,

    This is a very helpful article. I have just begun blogging and have been learning while making lots of mistakes! 🙂 Thanks for your effort in giving this advice. I’d appreciate any advice you have; if you have a moment to check out my blog I’d appreciate any tips that come to mind.

    Thanks again for your informative blog. I have subscribed and look forward to reading more!

  15. I agree with all your points, Preston. I would also like to add this : As a beginner in blogging, you cannot find the ‘niche’ easily. You need to keep experimenting with articles. Analyze how your readers react to it. Then carefully carve out your niche.

    Initially I think it can be hard to keep with the pressure as there are so many design blogs and most of them have the same area of articles. So, the trick is to think different and think ‘new’. Never expect a huge turnover in a month or so and therefore get disappointed. Maintaining the tempo/zeal is the key in being a successful design blogger. The results will surely follow 🙂

    All in all, A very good article and definitely a guide for those who have just entered the blogosphere, someone like me 🙂

    Thanks a lot,Preston

    1. @Richie,
      Great addition. Finding a niche is a process which I think is why people generally use the verb “carve”. It takes time, patience, and attention. This blog for example, is aimed toward the business side of design. It didn’t start out that way, but I found that my articles about project management, client advice, and business tips were my favorite to write and end up being my most successful.

      Thanks for sharing.

  16. I’m into my third month of blogging about design and it’s been quite a bit harder than I thought it would be but I feel like I’m finally reaching the flow of it all. You’re spot on with almost all of your points and this is a great read for anyone thinking about getting started in this field. Great post Preston!

  17. Preston: Thank you for the advice! Right now, I changed my blog to target web designers or anybody owning a website, but I’m thinking of either going to helping businesses get the most of out their website or webmasters getting the most out their website. Both are good niches for my target audience, but I’m not sure which one to incline more towards.

  18. A fantastic article with some simple but extremely useful tips. Will certainly be using this advice on my own site!

    Thanks!

  19. Nicole Foster,
    I left a comment on one of your posts and would love to chat more about your blog with you. I think you are doing a very good job at it. One thing that might help is to narrow your focus and target a very specific reader.

    CSS Gear,
    Good luck with the new blog!

    Tyler,
    Great addition to the collection. Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer,
    Some great additional inspiration. Thanks for adding to this article.

  20. Great advice here Preston. I’ve applied all of these tips and techniques already to my blog and it has really had such a positive effect. This is definitely a great reminder for me to keep on doing these things. Also, this should be an article that all newbie bloggers should read, study, and apply in their blogging efforts.

  21. Really interesting and useful article. I’m a graphic design student with a penchant for all these photographic, design, and communication graphic. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while, and only just getting to grips with web/blog design with WordPress. – my motivation for starting a blog is to share what I’ve learned and discovered and to help others who are also interested. Not so much to ‘sell’ anything, Many employers (so I’ve heard) are only interested IF you have a design blog! – (that could be scaremongering by my tutor) – But it is likely! which is also a great motivator. I just wish I started much much earlier!

    Philip

  22. Hi there. Well written article. I agree there are so many design blogs now it’s hard to keep up. I’ve been blogging for close to four years now and it’s definitely a labour of love at times but it is worthwhile. I have gotten design work because of my design blog and I also have a regular writing gig with Sitepoint too, so that was an unexpected bonus. So I’d say for anyone starting out, keep perservering/

  23. I remember when blogs existed just because people were passionate about their given area and wanted to talk and share it as much as possible. Funny that this wasn’t really mentioned in your reasons to start a blog.

    Today, it seems all blogs are just throwing up content just to get traffic for their advertising/premium services. Most content I’ve found promises big things (especially tutorials), and then the content itself is nothing new or very informative.

    I feel bad complaining about content that is mostly free, but the ulterior motives are becoming more and more blatant, especially with design blogs.

  24. I have had such a hard time lifting my blog off the ground. I have been blogging about many different things about websites business related and design related, but I’m not sure which one will get me a better audience and more clients.

    Tell me what you think of my blog and what route I should take; I really need some advice 😛 http://www.serenedestiny.com/blog

    1. @Nicole Foster, I like your blog and think there is very valuable information. Keep up the good work!

    2. @Nicole – I’m brand new to blogging also. In my case…I gave a public presentation and at the end I told everyone I had a newsletter with design tips and tricks and let them know they could sign up. I didn’t think anyone actually would sign up, so when they did I gave myself one month to create some worthwhile content for them and I figured the newsletter could be a gateway to my blog and to my website. Then I tweet about my posts and paste them to facebook and linkedIn. Long story short, maybe start looking for speaking engagements to get some following offline that is more personal? I mean…I only have 6 newsletter subscribers for the time being, but I’m sure that will grow! (If you are curious: http://joannazobjeck.com/blog/)

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