Guest post by Mister Thorne.
If you want a blog to do you a lick of good, you have got to concern yourself with things you have probably never had to concern yourself with before. In this article, I consider five of those things, and they are all about design: form and function.
Unless you are a graphic designer, do not try to design your blog yourself. Get someone to help. And unless you are familiar with things like HTML, CSS, SQL, and PHP, do not bother trying to bring your blog to life (i.e., make it functional). Get someone else to do that.
Find someone who knows blogs—someone who can design your blog and bring it to life. And then collaborate with that person on the design—both the appearance and functionality—of your blog.
Here are five ideas to help you find a designer.
- Find several good candidates. Where do you find designers? Pretty much the same place people find personal injury lawyers: by asking trusted sources for references, and by searching on line. Some ideas: Ask friends, associates, and other attorneys you know for recommendations. Review the blogs of other attorneys nearby (but you do not have to restrict your search to your geographic area). If you find a blog that strikes you as a great sample, see if the designer is identified. Look on Craig’s List, under Services > Computers, as that is where designers often advertise their services.
- Review their portfolios. Experience matters, and a designer with experience has a portfolio of other blogs you can review. Do not hire a designer until you have reviewed samples of his or her work. An experienced designer is sure to have a Web site, and that Web site is sure to show samples of past work. Review the samples, and look for a designer with good style. And don’t just consider appearance; consider functionality as well.
- Interview them. You are going to be working with this person for a while, and you are going to be collaborating on a project, so find someone who is a good fit, and who is reliable, conscientious, etc. Be as careful in selecting a blog designer as you would if selecting an interior designer.
- When you select a designer, you select a platform. Just as there are different computing platforms (e.g., Windows, Macintosh, Unix), there are different blogging platforms, the most popular being WordPress, Movable Type, TypePad, and Blogger. Most designers are familiar with just one platform. So, when you choose a designer, you also choose a platform, and you are going to have to live with it, so choose wisely. As you interview designers, ask which platform each prefers. And ask why.
- Do not be cheap. If you want a cheap design that makes you look cheap, hire the cheapest designer you can find. If you want your blog to make you look good, choose an experienced and talented designer.
Mister Thorne (yes, his first name is “Mister”) is a wordsmith for lawyers and others whose writing needs a bit of polish before publishing.