Are there too many design blogs?
With the sheer number of design blogs currently on the internet, specifically those relating to graphic design, it’s worth questioning whether there are still benefits to be had from starting a blog or if there’s just too much competition now to make it worthwhile.
I’ve been a graphic designer for over 15 years and like to keep up with as much design related news as possible, so amongst other things I like to read design blogs regularly as I find them a great source of information and the discussions in the comments can be really insightful into current thinking.
Recently I decided to leave the security of a full time job and enter the world of freelance graphic design. Knowing that I needed to set up a website to promote myself and my work, the idea of starting a blog seemed like an obvious choice - one which could have many benefits, such as allowing me to write about topics I’m passionate about, connect with like-minded people and give me exposure as a designer.
Reading blogs on the iPad.
This all seems well and good, but if the purpose of the blog is to bring in regular visitors to the site, including hopefully a few clients along the way, then it’s important that the site can be found.
Now, there are several ways a site could be found online, amongst them are search engines, links from other sites or being mentioned on social networking platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Over time with hard work promoting the blog, I would imagine it is possible to get noticed, gain visitors and as this continues and the site is linked to and visited more often, it should move up the search engine results.
A small selection of the many graphic design related blogs currently online.
But, after several years of more and more graphic design blogs appearing online, have we got to a stage where there are just too many of them. A recent search for ‘graphic design blog’ on Google resulted in over 42 million entries. Of course this doesn’t tell us how many actual blogs there are, I would guess at several thousand, but who truly knows. The problem as I see it, is that there are only ever a certain number of potential visitors/readers/clients available, with the majority of them only visiting the top few dozen sites, leaving the rest struggling to gain any visitors at all.
One possible alternative, in the unlikely event that all blogs were equally findable, would be for these visitors/readers/clients to become so thinly spread amongst all the graphic design blog sites out there, that no one site can really gain any benefit.
Let’s not forget content, it’s often said that ‘content is king’, so if a blogger were to write good enough content that people want to read, then that should keep visitors coming. But of course, they need to know of that blogger’s great content before that can happen, bringing us back to promoting the blog. But there’s another problem, almost every topic has been covered in some shape or form already. Therefore a new angle on the subject would need to be found, but then again, not everyone has read everything out there, so perhaps being unique isn’t necessary all the time, as long as you aren’t repeating your own content.
Also, it’s quite common to read a blog and see an article about ‘X’ and then a day or two later see ten other blogs write about ‘X’ too, I’m not saying the other ten blogs simply copied the first, it could of been coincidence or maybe they were just inspired by the article, nothing wrong with that. You could argue that the subject being covered isn’t the only factor as to why people read an article, it could have as much to do with who wrote the article, making it difficult for new bloggers to get attention when the established ones are out there with huge followings.