What Should I Blog About as a Web Designer? with Meghan Hartman
The “What Should I Blog About?” Series gives you examples of what real business owners are blogging about to promote their work in their industry. These interviews will spark new ideas for your own blog and give you encouragement in overcoming your blogging struggles. Check out other posts in the series here.
I hear from a lot of web designers who aren't sure how to make themselves stand out through blogging. This interview with Meghan Hartman should clear that right up for you!
Meghan Hartman is the web designer + strategist behind Crafting Creative where she works with freedom-seeking female creatives to craft websites that convert through her goal-driven design process. She excels at giving voice, vision, and volume to your brand message so that you can get more clients and cash from your site.
Read on to hear how Meghan went from writing her first blog post (with footnotes!) to using her blog to connect with potential clients for her web design biz.
Welcome, Meghan! Tell us about your business and yourself.
Hi, I’m Meghan! I’m a Web Design Strategist and website shame tamer. I work with freedom-seeking females to craft websites that convert by blending your biz goals with your dream client’s desires in a cool, calm, and collaborative process.
I first started my business as a side-hustle back in early 2016 and went full-time this year (after being laid off from my startup gig as a UX designer). At first I felt like I had to do #allthethings and shoot for six figures, but then I realized that my version of success looks much different than that.
Other things about me: I’m an introvert (INFP), unintentionally rebellious, a chemistry geek turned creative, and a genuinely warm-hearted person (trapped in a shy girl’s body).
When did you first start blogging for your business? What did you write about as a new blogger?
I published my first blog post in March of 2016. It was titled, “Coffee & Umlauts: On finding your creative spark and fanning the flame” (and it had footnotes, lol). It was about the things that inspire me and getting into the creative “flow.” But I quickly realized that was much too general and started blogging about web and graphic design.
What does your blog look like these days?
Even though I know that consistency is key when it comes to blogging, it’s still something that I battle with every week (my creative rebel tendencies make it difficult to maintain a consistent schedule). Right now, I’m trying to post every Wednesday morning, but sometimes I don’t get it up until Saturday AM. On weeks that I’m published on a guest blog, I don’t write a full post on my own, but I create a graphic and link to the guest post.
As for the topics, I’ve gotten more focused since last year. Now I try to blog about websites and branding as it relates to your website. But I want to get into more of the foundational parts of the website design process as well as the strategy behind the design.
What are some of your most popular posts? Why do you think they resonate with your readers so much?
My most popular posts are, “How to Know When it’s Time to Refresh Your Website,” “How to Increase Your Know-Like-Trust Factor on Your Website” (which was actually a guest post on Being Boss), and “What Platform Should You Choose To DIY Your Website?”
In general they all present concepts that are more commonly discussed but offer an uncommon point of view. The idea is to get my audience to feel that “ah-ha moment.” They also all discuss website design from a strategic (rather than aesthetic) basis.
How have you used your blog to educate readers about how your role as a UX designer is different from what many other designers do?
I’ve purposefully shifted away from calling myself a UX designer and instead started talking about user experience in terms of strategic website design. For me, user experience isn’t just about the end user (or ideal client), it’s more of a blending of your brand and your ideal client. It’s about clarifying your brand vision and business goals and connecting with your ideal client’s struggles and desires. Then we blend that clarity and connection to create a strategic plan for your website. It’s really about designing intentionally over aesthetically.
Designers have their own industry jargon that regular readers might not understand. How have you gotten around that barrier and still communicated clearly to your readers?
Like I said, I’ve tried to drop the jargon from my vocab, but I realize it still creeps in. One practice I’ve found that helps weed out the tech-lingo is to ask, “So what?” when I’m writing about features or benefits (but really anytime you’re writing, you can use this).
For example, I might write, “You’ll get a competitive analysis of your top three identified competitors.” Then I’ll ask, “So, what? Why does that help me?” The answer: because, by identifying your competitors and how they’re speaking to your target market, you can position yourself differently and stand out from the competition---rendering them essentially non-existent.
You’ve seen some great success from guest blogging---you’ve even landed clients as a direct result of your guest posts! How did you find your guest blogging opportunities, and how did you know what to write about to make the most of your post?
When I first started guest posting, I went for the publications that said they were looking for guest writers and submitted my ideas to them. And that strategy worked. I’ve never gotten a denial from a guest post proposal.
However, the guest post that got me a client came after I got more intentional with my strategy. Instead of just pitching to blogs that said they were accepting guest posts, I thought about my ideal client and what blog she is most likely to be reading. Then I did a bit of research to see if they had any guest post submission guidelines and sent in a brief email with three topic ideas.
Lesson learned: always be intentional. Don’t go for the easy win. Go for what is going to help your ideal client in a way that grows her relationship with your brand.
Any other tips to share with other online entrepreneurs who want to blog for their business?
Absolutely! Prioritize creation over consumption. Don’t buy into all those tempting launches---just because someone’s launching a course, doesn’t mean you need to buy it; if it’s not the right time, sit this one out.
Along those same lines, take a moment to define what success looks like to you, in the immediate-ish future (like within a year). Does it include 6-figs and a high-energy launch? Probably not. Success for me looks like $3k a month and the freedom to spend more time with my family. Once you define success on your own terms, you can see what marketing tools you should focus on and the ones you can let go of. Because scrambling to do all the things is a recipe for burnout.