This blog post has been a while in the making. I have followed this designer and popular blogger for many years and surface to say her work has been an inspiration. Shauna Haider is a graphic designer working from her studio Branch based out of Portland. Shauna is the co-founder of The Blogacademy (online guides and in person lessons in blogging as a business) and she speaks from experience, running the successful blog with over at NubbyTwiglet.com. A blog that tracks her adventures, allows a peak into her studio, offers advice for those within the industry as well as documenting the life and times of an adorable pet squirrel named ‘Chubby’! A few months I had the opportunity to correspond with Shauna over email.
+ What do you think goes towards creating a successful design blog/website?
First of all, consistency. Post when you say you’re going to post. Consistency builds a level of trust with your readers. Also, regular columns help with keeping an audience engaged because they have a better idea of what to expect. FInally, solid content is king. It’s better to post better quality content less often versus overwhelming your audience with a flood of content that isn’t your best work.
When it comes to the design of your blog, that can be upgraded at any time but your content? That lives on. Focus on building quality content and a unique voice. The design will follow.
+ What were there most important elements when you were first starting out?
1. Staying inspired: I carried a camera everywhere I went and was genuinely inspired to share the world around me with my audience. That energy came through in my early posts.
2. Consistency: Even when I had full-time agency jobs, I’d wake up at 6 am to get a post live on my blog before going to work. Building a relationship with my audience was really important.
3. Making genuine connections: I went out of my way to link the content of other bloggers who I admired and did my best to support them. In return, they supported me. Blogging is just like anything else — there’s a give and take.
+ How do you find and advertise to new clients? Who to contact and why?
I’m lucky in that I’ve never had to seek out clients but I’v also been freelancing since 2006. When I started my personal blog,Nubby Twiglet in 2007, I posted all of my school projects and that slowly got me new freelance clients. I kept building relationships with clients throughout school and agency jobs, often working late nights and weekends to keep up and build my portfolio. The tipping point for me was in September 2013 when I launched a boutique design studio, Branch. At that point, I hired a project manager and brought on more help and started taking on larger projects.
I’ve always held onto the belief that each project you do has the ability to gain you more work if you do a good job.
+ What is your daily routine? How does it influence your work?
My goal is to plan out all my posts for the upcoming week each weekend and shoot any photos I need ahead of time but that doesn’t always happen. I’m an early riser and am usually up between 6:30 and 7 am. I try to engage with my blog and social media every day before I get started on client work. I feel that the energy I’ve been putting in over the years has slowly but surely paid off.
I usually work on client work for the rest of the day, until between 6 and 8 pm. My days are long but I travel a lot so when I have open days to work, I have to take full advantage of them!
Thank You to Shauna for taking time out of her day to reply and allow me to share this with you. I hope her work and her words are as useful and inspiring to you are they are to me.
All Images sourced from Branch and Nubbytwiglet.com