December 12, 2013

Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire): Lisa Butler of Elembee, web design studio by way of a blog

Elembee consists of a web design studio and a blog. It was through the latter that I discovered Lisa Butler, who blogs about business, design, and side projects. Her blog also consists of her initials spelled out—thus, Elembee. She can be found on Twitter: @elembee_.

Why did you create a Website of regular entries?
My blog actually came before my business—it’s because of my blog that my business exists. I needed a creative outlet, an online playground. I knew I wanted to learn WordPress, and having my own self-hosted WordPress blog seemed the best way to do that. I redesigned my site so many times in the first year, and eventually, I started getting enough inquiries to launch my business. Now my blog is such an important part of my business—it helps me share my knowledge so that potential clients can see what it would be like to work with me, and so that readers can recommend me to their friends who are looking for a web designer.

What Web-based solution did you select and why?
I’m on self-hosted WordPress and have been from the beginning. I knew I wanted to learn how to design for WordPress so it made sense. But now that I’ve moved so many bloggers from other platforms to self-hosted WordPress, I just can’t recommend anything else. I think it’s really important to own and have easy access to all of your content and files, and self-hosted WordPress is the only platform that allows you to do that.

What is your definition of a good blog
and what are three good blogs that you frequently visit?
It’s all about content. The best blogs are the ones that make you want to stop everything you’re doing when you notice a new post is up. To be honest, I haven’t been reading blogs regularly as much lately, but a good post title will always get my attention on Twitter.

How do you create content for your blog?
I live by my editorial calendar. Most of my post ideas come from questions and situations that come up in my work, or from previous experiences. Whenever I have an idea for a post, I create a post draft in WordPress, then I spend some time at the beginning of each month to put those ideas into the calendar. Sometimes I stick to the plan, other times I have a new idea that I’m really inspired to write about. But I’ve found the key for me is to have an idea in place as a starting point—it’s really hard to get started from a blank screen.

How do you stay organized and motivated
to contribute to your blog?
My editorial calendar is what keeps me organized—having specific days that I typically post on certain topics sets that expectation for both my readers and me. The comments I get on the blog and through Twitter keep me motivated—I love hearing that my posts have helped people in some way, and I love when my posts inspire discussion. I’ve received so many good tips, tricks, and ideas from my readers, and I hope they’ve gotten the same from me.

For those aspiring to make a Website composed
of regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?
Just get started. Create a schedule, and commit to it. There’s a quote from Ira Glass that I love—it basically says your work will not be good to begin with, and only by producing more work will you get better at it. My blog was a jumbled mess of random thoughts for the first year at least. My blog content is completely different today than it was even just a year ago. But I wouldn’t be able to write the posts I write now without the experience of all three-years worth of posts.

What is your quest in blogging?
My goal is to make the internet a pretty and more functional place. I can’t work with everyone individually to do this, so I hope that my blog helps others improve their own home on the internet.

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Images courtesy of Lisa Butler.

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Typeface of quote is Bodoni, originally designed by Giambattista Bodoni in 1798.

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Read more of the Design Feast series Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).

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