Warning: I am not a professional or an expert. The advice contained herein should not be considered a prescription for success or a buffer from failure. Exercise caution, prayer and discernment as you proceed in the ministry of blogging.
1) Jesus First. Always. If you let that relationship suffer everything else in your life will, too. Including blogging. You can’t preach a Jesus you don’t know. You can’t share a Jesus you don’t have. In the shuffle of life He must always land on top when you split the deck.
2) Family Second. We are called to serve first in our homes. If that isn’t in order we have little or nothing to offer the world beyond our walls. It’s a false gospel we’re spreading when we neglect that which lies nearest for that which appeals to us more. The investment in your family is the training ground for any successful ministry. Again, including blogging.
3) Real Life Trumps. An online presence can be a powerful tool…but it’s a secondary one. It’s a ridiculous notion to ignore the flesh and blood people around you and then perform from a keyboard. Just like with the bread and the fishes, if you meet the need before you He’ll replenish your supply so you can continue ministering to the needs reachable online.
4) Establish Your Mission. Why do you blog? Determine that before you tap out another post. Write up a mission statement and proceed accordingly.
5) Have a Plan. If you don’t, your blog will either die or take over your life.
6) Remain Humble. We’re all capable of pumping out content that gets snatched up and redistributed by the masses. It doesn’t make us special or successful. If we’re allowing God to lead in our blogging experience we have Him to thank for every coherent word that makes it into a post. Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and unto God what is God’s…in this case all glory, honor and credit goes to God. Oh wait, that’s with everything and not just the occasional post that goes semi-viral.
7) Use Social Media Wisely. There is all manner of strategy that goes into the various SM platforms. The bottom line, however, is to speak up only when you have something real to say. There is no need to be a constant presence. Your readers won’t forget you if you disappear from their feeds for a few hours. In fact, they will likely thank you. Your words become more powerful when they are used sparingly.
8) Don’t Beg for Followers. Oh, we’ve all been there. We write and we want people to read it. That doesn’t make us selfish, it makes us human. But humanity gets in the way of humility far too often and we need to be vigilant to keep ourselves in check. The reality of blogging is that you win some (followers) and you lose some and some couldn’t care less. Again, if you’re a Christian blogger you are putting the Good Word out there so more people might follow Him, not you.
9) Help Others Succeed. The best way to snuff out the ugliness of a competitive spirit is to purposefully become about helping another along the same path you’re struggling through. Share the posts of other bloggers. Leave an encouraging comment on their blog. Our fellow writers should be part of our mission field, too. Together we can be a force for the Kingdom that we could never be on our own.
10) Create or Join a Support Group. Networking with other bloggers is a huge source of strength. You can keep each other grounded and fueled with inspiration. Putting yourself out there as fodder for the online world can be tough. Having people you know have your back provides you with a critical source of staying power.
11) Utilize link-ups. I started out with a personal blog and pretty much nobody read it. I didn’t know one person in the vast sea of bloggers so I had nowhere to get a foothold. Until I discovered the link-up, that is. By just linking at a few places each week I found people were actually visiting. And reading. And commenting. It was beautiful. Establishing the habit of clicking on a few of the other links found there afforded me the opportunity to meet new bloggers, many of whom have become wonderful friends.
12) Use Your Voice Wisely. It is your blog. You have the right to use it as you wish. I simply caution you to exercise that right with careful discernment.
13) Live Before You Write. Have you ever sat at your desk and strained and struggled to put together a post? I have. Many, many times. The lesson I always take from that experience is that I’ve gotten too caught up in the concept of writing. I find that I’ve lost focus and have forgotten to get in there and really live. When I step away in silence and get back to the business of living, I always return with something worth writing about.
14) Be Teachable. Our fellow bloggers and beloved readers have something to teach us. The reality is, we’re only able to learn from them if we’re willing. Be willing.
15) Be Reachable. Early in my blog reading days, I was incredibly inspired by one site in particular. She was speaking in a language I understood and her offerings resonated within me. But any time I commented (or anyone else did, for that matter) it went unnoticed. Her Facebook page seemed to be on auto-pilot. I knew she was there but I felt like she didn’t want me to know she was there. I truly understand busy so I offered her grace and chose to assume the best. But the blogs I read faithfully are the ones where the writer comes out of hiding on occasion and engages with the readers.
16) Be Real. Need I say more?
17) Don’t be a Sales Pitch. Eek. I totally get the online small business world. It is hard to get the ball rolling and using your blog as an impetus for that is perfectly reasonable. But if all you ever post is sales-y stuff, you will very quickly turn off the majority of your audience. Start a site/page for your business and give yourself some shout-outs but don’t overwhelm your readers with non-reading material.
18) Build up Rather Than Tear Down. Pretty simple, right. It’s easy to focus on the negative and go off on a rampage. Just keep in mind it’s Good that eradicates evil.
19) Write What You Know. Plain and simple.
20) Do not copy the work of others. Period.
21) Expect Criticism. Unless you live your blogging life snuggled safely inside the box you WILL attract criticism at some point. And some of it hurts. But so did those nails and angry words they hurled at Him, yet He still chose to cling to that cross. If you are speaking from what He’s put in your heart, He will sustain you when the barbs come your way.
Note: The original plan was to offer 25 tips. Clearly I ran out of “wisdom”. What can you add?