Designing for blogs, creating blog themes and building websites with Content Management Systems (CMS) make up probably the fastest growing aspect of web design. The measure of a web designer who is keeping their skills up to date is that they offer at least one of these services.
A good web designer should also have a working knowledge of XHTML and CSS, the fundamentals for quality, standards-based web design. Additionally, it’s expected that they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability via their own website. But how about a blog? Is it necessary when working in the creation of blogs, for a design or developer to be maintaining a blog themselves?
Like a web designer showcasing their services on their own site, it makes sense for a blog designer or theme developer to have their own blog, in order to reinforce to prospective clients that they know the medium.
Once you’ve been responsible for your own blog for a period of time, you come to understand aspects of blogging which aren’t obvious to the casual observer. This can range from archiving blog posts, to analysing traffic statistics, and the most useful plugins. The more a designer understands about running a blog, the better they will be at designing with attention to the little (but very important) details like these.
A good designer knows when a particular service just isn’t right for a particular client. Not everybody is suited to blogging. Maybe a client seems unlikely to have the commitment to regular posting, or maybe they’re not a great communicator. It’s better if a designer has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that come with blogging, and it’s definitely better if they can be honest with clients when the service they’re seeking isn’t the best fit. And no blog designer wants a stagnant or defunct blog on their portfolio.
It should be a basic consideration when shopping for a web designer to create your new (or new-look) blog: does this person have their own blog?
It doesn’t need to be updated daily or have a subscriber list in the thousands. Any experienced blog designer will tell you that building a subscriber base is a lengthy (yet rewarding) exercise. What’s more, a successful designer or developer may be too busy with work to be posting blog updates more frequently than once or twice a week! So long as the posts are reasonably regular and the style of writing gives a positive impression, that’s a good enough message that the designer has a fair command of the blogging medium.
What do you think? Should a blog designer be running their own blog? Is it a reasonable expectation for clients to have when selecting a professional to design their blog or CMS-based website?