I’m Haydn Symons and I’m an Illustrator, Business Owner, and Blogger over at and www.infoartblog.com. I’ve been illustrating for a number of years, and have built up a portfolio of work on my website www.haydnsymons.com, from editorial, publishing to advertising illustration. I also publish blog posts on Graphic Tide, a t-shirt design company at www.graphictide.com, and INFOart, where I share business tips and tricks every week.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
After building my audience for the last few years on several blogs, I consider blogging as a profession, even though I didn’t have definite intentions it was going to end up this way.
It’s something which I’ve consistently updated week after week, month after month, which has helped me reach more and more people as time has gone on.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
After graduating from University back in 2013, I went straight into freelance illustration, and focused on this entirely. As I was also building my other business, Graphic Tide, I thought it would be fantastic to showcase my lessons, mistakes, and tips from these two business adventures, and help other people too. From here, I started my business blog, which has gone from strength to strength!
I think it’s really important to be online, as this is a great way to reach people on social media, showcase my work on my website, and receive even more business this way. Online marketing is so important within any business, but it’s also really important to be ‘offline’ as well; to network, to send direct mail samples, and to show your face outside your studio or office. Combining these two are really important to me and my business.
Did you have someone help you make the blog or did you do it by yourself?
Fortunately for me, my brother is an experienced web developer, who helped me a ton (and still does) to set up my websites, make it all SEO friendly, coded well, so they all function. My role was to design the websites themselves, and make them look appealing.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
For Graphic Tide, it took us a long time to think of an attractive, appropriate and ‘unique’ name, which we all liked. We had many brainstorming and ‘meetings’ as such to discuss the domain name, so we can get it right, and not regret our decision.
For my illustration website of www.haydnsymons.com, this was quite straight forward, as this is was just my name. However for INFOart, this was also a case of sitting down, and working out what I wanted to convey.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I would highly recommend every blogger gets Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin, which is a fantastic WordPress plugin that lets you construct your meta and alt tags appropriately for SEO, that encourages even more clicks through to your website!
Before using this plugin, I would often construct my meta descriptions far too long, which wasn’t good for SEO at all.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
I use WordPress as my CMS, as it’s extremely easy for me to add new blog posts, add imagery, and add different sorts of content.
I highly recommend using WordPress for anyone that is new to blogging and don’t know where to start, as their platforms are user friendly, offer fantastic plugins, and feature many themes to get your blog up and running!
With my commenting systems, I use Disqus, which is equally as powerful and useful as WordPress. Disqus gives me the power to build relationships with my audience, sends me notifications whenever someone leaves a comment, and is super easy to use.
How much time do you spend blogging?
As time has gone on, I’ve spend more and more time blogging throughout my week. On average of writing, editing, adding pictures and researching for my three websites that I moderate, I would say it’s around 5-10 hours a week. This gives me the time to create action packed blog posts, which my audience can learn from.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I mainly use social media and word of mouth to promote my blog posts. Social media has been a great resource to attract new forms of traffic to my website, which has increased my brand awareness, interactions with my audience, and promotion of my blog posts. My most successful social media channels is Twitter in particular, which I’ve been able to build a good audience from.
Away from Twitter, I promote my blog posts through Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, paying special attention to Groups on these platforms. I highly recommend social media groups, as you can build a trusted audience from these sources, and refer your websites from them too.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Certainly, I know many bloggers that make great money through blogging. A lot of bloggers place Google Adsense or private advertisements onto their blogs, which is a great way to monetize a blog. This is all dependant on clicks of the adverts however, which can sometimes be hard to maintain.
Affiliate marketing is a main income provider for many bloggers, which I highly recommend every blogger out there giving a go. If a user buys a product from one of your affiliate links, then you get a commission on the sale price (which differs from company to company). This is a great way to build your money through blogging.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Definitely, I can’t encourage other people to blog enough, as it’s helped me in so many ways. Not only has it helped my writing and language skills, it’s also helped me see what progress I’ve made, get my thoughts and ideas onto paper, and helped me build an audience too.
If you want to be an authority and leader within your niche or industry, then blogging is the way forward. After you’re consistently publishing blog posts, others will refer back to you, and you’ll gain an audience – meaning your becoming an authority, something very valuable within any industry.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
- I would recommend you purchase your own domain name, hosting, and get a website of your own. Even though having a blog through WordPress is good, it leaves you with limited control over the way it looks and communicates to your audience.
- If you’re thinking about starting your own business, having a blog within your website is an ideal way to bring extra traffic through to your website, all for free.
- Blogging gives you the chance to build an audience, and be known as an authority within your industry. If you want this, then blogging is definitely for you.
- Pick a topic that you’re passionate about, that you won’t become bored by. As you’ll be writing about it every week!
- Have fun with blogging, and concentrate on providing your audience with highly valuable content, week after week! 🙂
Photos ©: Haydn Symons