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.
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.
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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:
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.
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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:
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.
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.
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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