Are blogs bad for web designers?

“Neglecting this blog” is an understatement—I haven’t been blogging at all in this blog. Sorry about that. I guess I’ve just been so busy with work that I felt talking about anything that directly pertains to my profession won’t do any good to my stress levels. Anyway, on to the topic!

I have to admit that I was never really active in the local design scene here in the Philippines—I’ve been more active in the blogosphere. Anyway, I stumbled upon this discussion about Personal Site Versus Blogs, a few months back (I think that was sometime in February). It basically asked what the difference between blogs and personal sites is, and which of those two are gaining leverage.

Sadly, most say that the two are one and the same—which I totally disagree with. The topic poster was referring to “personal sites” as those personal sites that was so “in fashion” back in the 1990’s, where the owner would put in his autobiography, favorite things, links, and of course, ever-popular guestbook.

It’s easy to confuse blogs with plain old personal sites, especially if you only consider blogs as an online diary of telling whoever cares what you did and ate that day. Blogs have already evolved into so much more. It can be a recipe center, a wedding guide, a tech news and reviews journal, or a sports reportage—all written with a personal touch. Considering blogs as simply a “Dear-Diary-this-is-what-I-did-today” aspect of a personal site is just so… outdated.

But then again, if you still think that Macromedia Flash is the new black… It isn’t really surprising that this mentality exists, doesn’t it?

Now, back to the main question, are blogs bad for web designers?

If you know how active I am in the Philippine blogosphere and that my primary line of work is web design, you’d what I’d say to this: NO. So why ask? Well, there’s this answer in the very same thread I mentioned that made me consider that question merits its own blog entry other than a reply to the post:

Conversely, the losers are the website developers and designers, like in the Philippines where potential clients are starting to choose a blog for an online presence over official websites, mainly because of the ‘free’ aspect. It is not even the knowledge that they have full control over a blog; they are starting to look at blogs as an option just because of the ‘free’ aspect, which I think is sad.

It’s not just about being “free,” dude. It’s about getting seen through a new and effective form of media.

Website developers and designers are so not losers in this innovation—that is such a bad generalization. Our business took off primarily because of blogging. Blogging is a new opportunity for designers and developers, and shouldn’t be considered as a threat. Thinking that your business will fail because of something you aren’t familiar with is just so negative. A good business man should think of ways on how to profit from a new innovation, and not think of himself on the losing end just because things change.

There are a lot of new things on the Web that could “threaten” the web developer/designer’s business, but it’s up to you how to mold it into something that would benefit you.

So this poster’s clients prefer a free blog as opposed to a Flash brochure site. Who knows? Maybe his proposal did get turned down in favor of blogging. BUT, if this client’s main purpose is to use blogging in order to make his business known, there will come a time that he will hire a designer/developer. Sure, you can get free themes. But that won’t reflect your business’ branding and identity—it’s just very generic. Unless your branding is generic, it’s very difficult to find a pre-designed theme that will truly showcase your business’ branding.

And no, that instance isn’t just a hypothetical example—we actually had a client like that. He initially wanted a plain brochure site for his product, and then asked us for advice on what’s the best way to advertise his new site. We could have suggested SEO and actually earned from it at that very moment, but we didn’t. We only “earned” from hosting his blog, which we installed for free in return for a link on his site. Bad business? Well, maybe if you don’t see the advantage in the long run, you’d say it is.

Guess what happened? We didn’t only benefit from his link, earned from the hosting, but also had another custom blog design client. He enjoyed blogging so much that he decided to forgo the brochure site idea, and just focus on improving his current blog. He eventually saw the need to “brand” himself, especially since his traffic is picking up.

See? Blogging isn’t bad for web designers. You just need to see it as an opportunity instead of a threat.

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