Promoting Your Creative Blog: 8 Great Tips to Success

Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time promoting myself and my blog, Circlebox Blog. During that time I have picked up a lot of things, good and bad. The blog is growing very well now and due to that I feel I know enough to share with you eight of the many tips that can help towards making your blog a successful one.

Tip #1 – Your Content Is King

Since reading an article on DesignBump Originals called ‘If Content is Really King, Then What is Design?’, I have been calling the content on my blog ‘King’. Without good content, no-one will want to be on your site. Sure, you have a nice design, but having a nice design isn’t going to make people sit at their desks and stare at it all day long. Whereas, however, content can.

If you have enough quality content, it can rule your target-audience, no questions asked – it is the King, after all. Keep your readers engaged and if possible post gripping content frequently. If you’re only blogging part-time and find you don’t have the time to post frequently, then don’t – the chances are you’ll be rushing, and your readers will most probably become aware of that. Instead spend a longer period of time on a very high-standard article.

Tip #2 – Your Design Is Queen

Although your content is the main people want to visit your blog, that doesn’t stop you from having an attractive and sexy design. If you’re on a tight budget there are some excellent free themes about. If you have little budget, purchase a subscription to a premium theme site or purchase an individual theme. There is of course one problem with this; the theme isn’t unique to you. Most free and premium themes do allow you to make as many changes as you want so long as you keep the link back to the original designer/developer in the footer of your blog.

Having a unique and fresh design specifically for your blog is always the best way to go, though. Sure, it takes a lot of time as there is a huge list of things to be done: planning, sketching, designing, developing, testing, fixing, releasing… and this doesn’t involve any complications a long the way, which in one way or another you are bound to cross at least once or twice. Don’t be scared to ask for a helping hand. Can’t design? Hire a designer! Can’t code? Hire a developer! Don’t have the time? Hire both! If you want your blog to be successful you need the three main ingredients: time, money and lots of hard work.

Tip #3 – Promote Your Design

If you decided to design and code your own blog theme, then you will want to promote it. If it’s good, it will get accepted to design gallery sites such as UniqueCSS, CSSMania and SiteInspire, so be sure to submit it! Many blog writers browse these sites on a weekly basis looking for fresh and unique web designs to showcase on their own blogs, so this is a great way to get a little exposure!

It’s a good idea to keep your audience updated about the new design via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Tip #4 – Don’t Keep Your Personal Life Locked Away

This is one thing I know a lot of people are scared of doing. You look up to big sites, lets say Smashing Magazine and HongKiat, which are both incredibly successful and popular blogs. It’s always good to look up to such big sites, think big and never look back. But (there’s always a but!), if you’re reading this you’re probably a one-man show – don’t be scared of adding a personal touch to your blog! Write articles about what you think and your opinions, what not the community think: you may find this is more likely to attract people commenting on your posts, causing deep discussions and debates.

Let people know what you are doing! Where did you go on vacation this year? Did you spot anything different about their design trends such as logos, shop window decorations, etc? Share your photos! Be individual, be yourself, be unique!


Tip #5 – Be Active In The Community

I’m not talking about your daily exercises, although that is important too! What I’m talking about is the online design, art and photography community. You expect people to comment on your blog yet you never comment on theirs, or anyone elses for that matter? Commenting on other blogs can be a great way to attract loyal and genuine subscribers to your blog, there’s an incredibly likely chance they will like the content on your blog if they found you though another blog in the creative niche.

Don’t comment with one-liners! Be productive, share your opinion on the post with the other readers, what did you like, what didn’t you like? What do you agree with, what don’t you agree with? It’s all about discussion! Oh, and remember to get a Gravatar! Having an avatar will increase the chances of people becoming familiar with you, making it more likely for them to click on your name and be taken through to your blog.

Tip #6 – Use Voting Sites

Voting sites are a superb way of promoting your blog and it’s new content. You can submit a post and leave it up to the users of the particular site to promote your post. If it has a catchy title and the content is superb, it will get promoted – no questions asked. Some great voting sites they are commonly used in this niche are Digg, DesignBump and DesignMoo.

Your loyal readers will help promote your content, so include networking buttons at the bottom of your posts. Digg, DesignBump and DesignMoo all use self-updating buttons that don’t even require a user (so long as they are logged into the voting site) to leave your post, making them much more likely to click it. So you’ve got a few hundred or more RSS subscribers but your posts are only getting a few votes? That’s common! A great solution to this is to get involved with your audience, respond to their comments and don’t be afraid to ask them to help promote your post! If they like your content they will only be too happy to help you out in return.

Tip #7 – Write Detailed Tutorials

Tutorials, so long as they are of a good quality and are helpful, are virtually always guaranteed traffic. I was reading Photoshop tutorials from the young age of 11, and that is really where my passion for design started, so allowing people to see how you work can really inspire them. You can submit your tutorials to tutorial archive sites such as Good-Tutorials and Pixel2Life. Once submitted, if your tutorial is good, expect a thousand or so hits to flood in within the first 24 hours. If only 1% of them subscribe, you’ve gained 10 subscribers. Keep them engaged in your blog by following Tip #1, and you’ll be gaining readers quicker than you could ever imagine!

Tip #8 – Write For Other Blogs

Once you have a few successful articles on your blog you should maybe think about writing for some other blogs. Other blogs in the niche are your friend, not your rival. They can, after all, be an excellent source of traffic. There are plenty of blogs out there that accept guest authors, some in return for author links, some in return for a small payment, some in return for a very good payment.

I had an accepted tutorial on Tutorial9 a couple of months back. I got paid $150, got a good response from the readers, an increase in my traffic count and a huge confidence boost. Since then I have become an author for Smashing Magazine, Six Revisions and the Tuts+ Network. With my blog and writing for these other well-known blogs, my name is becoming more and more known in the online community, until there became a point where I actually felt I could earn a full-time living from home – I felt strongly about this and quit my job a few days after! I recently compiled a list of articles on self-employment and how to become a better designer, so if you want to find out more about that be sure to check them out!


Hopefully you’ve picked up a little bit of useful information from this post. Please do discuss my points below, I’d love to hear what you think. Is there something you do that really works when promoting your blog, or something that you’ve done in the past that did the complete opposite? My readers and I would love to hear your story. And remember… don’t be scared to experiment. Try something new, if it doesn’t work then tough luck, if it does you might just be on to something!

“He who is afraid of making mistakes, is afraid to succeed”

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37 thoughts on “Promoting Your Creative Blog: 8 Great Tips to Success

  1. Design Informer

    Great article Callum. Thank you for gathering these tips. While I already do most of them, I still learned a few things.

    Submitting to tutorial sites? I never heard of that before, and I will be sure to do that on my next tutorial.

    By the way, this is a great guide for anybody who is just starting out with their blog. I will be sure to promote this article.

    Keep up the great work, and you are right. I see your articles everywhere! :)

  2. underpk

    Good article, sometimes when I write a content all I want is some feedback or comment that keep me continue writing but there’s nothing.

    From what I feel the westerner reader habit and my own country reader is quite different, they just read and too lazy to give any feedback (I asked my friends, do they like to comment when they read the article on the website, they all said no :S).

    Now I’m translating a really good article about visual effect industry and will be published soon. :X

  3. Callum Chapman Post author

    Design Informer, Thanks for the great feedback! Tutorial sites are a superb way to get some more traffic, there are quite a few out there but I’ve always had a better experience with Good-Tutorials :)

    Underpk, Thanks! I like feedback, too. Good and it keeps me writing, bad and all I want to do is make sure I improve on the next ;)

  4. Jan Cavan

    I agree with underpk. Even in my country, people seem to be too frugal with their comments – most especially when it’s positive. It’s something that up to now, I still don’t understand.

    Anyway, this is a very well-written article, Callum. Good job! Keep it up!

  5. Brian Jones

    Great article – thank you for sharing these tips. Another great resource to rely on – during my journey into Freelancing – thanks again Callum!

  6. Josh

    This is a well written piece. I certainly agree with the idea that the best way to achieve a loyal readership following is indeed to engage actively in discussion on other websites.

    Being of mixed heritage myself, I can testify for a fact that certain cultures are more open to open discussion than others. This is a fact of life but it makes it all the more interesting when you reach out to readers who are usually hesitant to leave a comment. haha

  7. Tomas

    Useful article Callum. I’ve noticed that you and your articles are everywhere, you’re very active. Good luck and don’t stop writing good articles/tutorials.

  8. Manu

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. And your tipps are also precious for those of us who are not designers. Because these are the rules of success in www. I am working with my webservice and also as photographer and these rules are working very well.

    Great work and profound knowledge as all of your content and post which I am knowing from other blogs.

  9. Pingback: Promoting Your Creative Blog: 8 Great Tips to Success | Design Newz

  10. Azterik Media

    Very well written article. As far as getting involved with the community a great tool that most bloggers don’t take advantage of is the commentor acknowledgement. ( you do however which is nice) Part of the appeal of blogs is the feeling of conversation. If people know their feedback is being read they are more likely to return.

  11. Callum Chapman Post author

    Azterik, That’s a very good point! I always like to discuss things with people through comments, after all that is pretty much there main purpose! I do struggle keeping up sometimes when writing for other blogs, though!

    Ted, Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying CB Blog! :)

  12. Sneh Roy

    Great read Callum! I especially so believe in getting personal on your blog, bringing a very unique flavor that is you and your personality to the blog. That alone makes your blog stand out from so many more. I think a lot of the big blogs/websites stay shrouded under a cloak of anonymity so as to gain a bigger wider audience, because showing your personality might not always appeal to everybody. But that is what the web needs, a myriad of colors and perspective that keep things more interesting and personable!

  13. Vadim K

    great job pal
    like many here i own my own blog which i work on getting developed and i agree 100% on everything you said, especially about the content part because without updating frequently and without getting a large archive which will brig you a big search engine traffic you will have not chance

  14. sriganesh

    this is true, @ first i was afraid to tell me opinion in my other site, after many post and read some user bold comments, i started to share my real opinion. and this post really helpful and anyhow the opinion we say in other blogs may turned of the reputation of you or your blog. we must see and say the comments which makes the admin to accept in elegant manner

  15. Alessandra

    I just knew your blog today and I’m very happy I did. I don’t remember what was the blog that I saw your name on it, because I started reading your blog instead.I have already wrote some articles to and I’m starting my blog, but I don’t know if I start to write it in english or in my country language, brazilian portuguese. What do you think?

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  17. rod rodriguez

    we’ll first of all congrats on your great year and here’s wishing more great things for this one. I have been contemplating on going solo for sometime and your article is such a huge inspiration. great work man, keep it up!

  18. Krishna

    Excellent article! Just what I needed to read as I plan to launch my own blog soon.

    I’ve seen a few of your posts on other design blogs and I must say, brilliant stuff!
    keep it up…

  19. Christoph

    All good points. Would almost be great to have each point discussed in separate posts with detailed examples, etc.

    One thing I’d add is to come up with a clear identity for the blog and content – the one thing you want to be known for. There are a lot of design blogs so identity is important to be memorable. This can be based on your content (“trends in ui design”, “best adobe tutorials”, “daily inspiration”, etc. It can also be based on the blog design, think blogazines, your personality or writing style or other things. Just make sure you’re memorable and stand for something.

  20. Alan

    Excellent article Callum, great read for me as im just a few days away from launching my own personal design blog.

    I have never thought about submitting tutorials to the likes of Good-Tutorials, so thats agreat tip I have picked up straight away.

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