Want to launch a blog but don’t know where to start? Have a blog but haven’t seen much progress? I’d like to help.
A few weeks ago, Tim Challies wrote an article encouraging bloggers to press on — or better yet, plod on. His article inspired this one, in which I’d like to encourage your plodding with practical tips.
See, I went through a short season of life, say, 6 months, where I read every article and e-book and post on blogging that I could possibly find.
As a result, and by God’s grace, my blog has grown exponentially in every category.
Today, I’d like to give you everything I learned in those six months.
Ready to get started?
(Heads up: I explain my blogging process here).
The Christian Blogger’s Resource Guide
Starting Your Blog
Never started a blog? No problem.
- WordPress.org as a self-hosted site.
- Blue Host for your hosting.
- And be sure to buy your own domain name.
To launch your blog in less than 20 minutes, watch this video.
And here’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (and why this matters).
Also See: 16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
I’ve seen some blogs that write about Christian living and coffee and exercise and nutrition and planets and business and babysitting and a million other things.
If you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one.
Maybe you should write to reach Reformed Christians. Maybe you should write to reach pastors. Or maybe you should write to reach Christian women. Whatever it is, be sure your niche is specific.
Grow As A Writer
You don’t have to be C.S. Lewis, but you do have to be competent.
Read a lot. Write a lot. And re-write a lot. That’s how you can grow as a writer. From there, it takes time and practice and (wait … what do I know? I’ve never written a book).
Anyway, here’s some books on writing that’ll help:
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lammot
- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Also see: 5 Pieces of Writing Advice from Some of The Most Influential Christian Writers Alive
Nothing ruins a blog post like a terrible, cheesy photo.
Here’s a few sites with free photos:
Also See: The Busy Blogger’s Guide to Creative, Compelling Images
Your website design matters, yes. But too many bloggers get distracted here. Don’t spend forever trying to find the perfect theme. What really matters is the content you create on the theme.
Pick one, and write away.
Here’s a few theme options:
Also see: Resources for bloggers
Reach out to other bloggers and make relationships. This is important. But be careful how you do this. Your desire should be to serve, not receive. At least not yet.
Here’s some ways to network:
- Go to major conferences regularly and chat with your favorite bloggers.
- Send an email to your favorite bloggers, introduce yourself, and ask, “How can I serve?”
- Be generous. Share the work of bloggers you admire on social media.
- Buy the book of your favorite blogger. If you like the book, give the book a generous review on Amazon and let them know you did it.
There’s a thousand other things you can do. The goal should be a servant’s mindset, one in which you first seek to serve before you receive.
Also see: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?
Focus on E-Mail Subscribers
Few things are more important than email subscribers. They are more important than RSS and Social Media stats combined.
Your email subscribers are your true fans, the people who really love your work, the ones who will buy your books when (or if) you write them.
Here’s a quick formula for growing your list:
1) Write content worth reading and sharing.
2) Have opt-in forms on your site.
3) Give away something for free in exchange for an email address.
It could be an e-book, a video series, or a PDF Cheat Sheet or whatever.
Either way, make e-mail subscribers a major priority. Use Mailchimp or Aweber for starters as your email service provider. And consider using MailMunch for your opt-in forms.
Also see: Get 10K Subscribers
In the blogging world, consistency matters more than frequency.
Should you blog daily or bi-weekly or weekly?
Who cares. Just pick what works best for you, and stick to it. Frequency creates trust, and people like to follow others they can trust.
Also see: Do You Make These 10 Blogging Mistakes?
How do I come up with ideas?
Here’s how to come up with blog ideas:
- Use Buzzo.com to see what’s popular in your niche.
- Answer questions your readers are asking.
- Answer questions the culture is asking.
- Glean ideas from books and blogs that you read.
Also see: 180 Blog Ideas
Follow Other Bloggers
It sounds obvious, but reading about blogging can be quite helpful. This will keep you fresh, inspired, and give you ideas.
In God’s common grace, you can learn from anyone. Don’t be afraid to learn from others outside the tribe.
Here’s a few sites that I enjoy:
- Michael Hyatt
- Social Triggers
- Amy Porterfield
- Social Media Examiner
- Smart Blogger
- Bryan Harris
- Syed Balkhi
- Blogging Wizard
If you’re going to get good at blogging, you have to read a lot of blog posts.
It’s inconvenient to give your email address away to hundreds of sites and visit them daily. Don’t do it. Instead, use RSS. Don’t know what that is? Read this article.
That way, you can follow hundreds of bloggers with no problem, and learn from what others are writing.
Also see: Become a Better Blogger in 12 Days
Tools and Plugins
Every blogger needs their tools.
There’s so many tools to mention, so here’s a few links that you can search for what works for you.
- Recommended Tools from ProBlogger
- 11 Awesome Free Tools to Grow Your Blog 3x Faster
- 39 Blogging Tools to Help Your Work Faster, Write Better, and Land More Readers
Watch Your Life and Your Doctrine
You don’t want to go pro in blogging, and then fail in your character.
Be sure to pursue holiness on a macro and micro level, and live out what you write about. Do your devotions. Stay in community. And watch your life and your doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16).
Also, don’t be afraid to pray for your blogging impact.
Here’s some things to pray about:
- Pray that you would glorify God with your words.
- Pray that lives would be changed through your work.
- Pray for wisdom on what to say.
- Pray for increased influence.
Also see: Success That Exceeds Sanctification
You don’t want to get too crazy about this. But you should know a few stats.
- Use Google Analytics for general stats..
- And check your Alexa score and domain authority monthly.
Find a Mentor
This is perhaps the most helpful thing I’ve ever done.
My blogging mentor is Darrel Girardier. Once a month (Okay, twice a month!) I connect with Darrell and ask him a few questions about blogging. His insights and suggestions are invaluable.
Find a more experienced blogger than you and ask them to mentor you.
Also see: 31 Days To Build a Better Blog
Don’t Give Up
Finally, don’t give up. I blogged for three years straight, and no one read a thing I wrote.
Last year, my blog started to see some traction.
And last month, I had over 35,000+ views to my site.
It takes time, friend. Keep plodding away. And never stop writing.
Also see: Michael Hyatt Shares How He Grew to 350,000 Readers A Month
Well, there’s lots more I can say. I’m no expert — this is just everything I’ve learned in the past six months, and what has helped me go from 1,000 views a month to well over 20,000+ a month. I think we need more Christian blogs, more writers, more content. And if you are one who desires to start a blog, or grow the one you already have, I pray that you’ll find this information helpful, and that God will use your site to bless many.
You may also like:
1. An Interview on Blogging
2. 5 Things Christians Should Stop Doing on Social Media
3. 35 Random and Tips and Thoughts on The Reading of Books