The Reason Christian Blogs Fail So Miserably

You’ve decided to jump into the arena of Christian blogging to make a positive impact on the internet. You don’t want to enter the war zone unarmed so you run off to the local book store to get the latest Christian computing magazine for a few tecnical tips. You search and search only to find that the magazine lives on the aisle labled ‘Does Not Exist’. Never fear, I’m going to give you the hard truth you wouldn’t find in that imaginary magazine anway.

Christian blogs are synonymous with the wedding parable: many are called, few are chosen. What starts out thou shalt not blog horriblyfor many as an enthusiastic adventure into the online world of communication ends up in such a mangled mess that even Google doesn’t bother to archive it. This is not with out reason. Most Christian bloggers cripple themselves from the beginning without even knowing it. Even worse, they don’t recognize it when the webpage is staring at their face. Here’s a few tips (or should I say mandatory suggestions?) if you want a successful blog that is aimed at the Christian sector. For that matter, these tips are good for every one.

Tip #1 – Know your audience. Christendom has become a huge arena. It shouldn’t be but it is. Writing for “everybody” in the kingdom is just not a realistic goal. You need to be more focused. You can tailor each article for a different segment if needed but when you write, know who you are writing for. The more your blog focuses on a defined audience, the more you’ll attact that audience (and eventually others).

Tip #2 – Learn how to write. So you’ve narrowed down your audience and you want to write. That is afterall what blogging is. You write, they read. Hopefully they come back and read some more. Really, most blogs fail miserably on this point because so many writers people who use a keyboard can’t write intelligently. This isn’t about being right or wrong in your viewpoints. This is about being able to express a complete thought process so that it engages your readers to the degree that they understand you. Critique yourself and have others crititque you. When in doubt, don’t post it.

Tip #3 – Learn how to read. If you’re not reading a lot of material, the uniqueness of your writing is going to suffer. Reading gives you a better vocabulary, a more tempered perspective and extra content to talk about with your blog readers. If you want to write great, you should read great as well. Your blogging will reflect it. That Sunday comic you found in the church bulletin doesn’t count for quality reading material.

Tip #4 – Write good content. That awesome motivational moment you had seeing sunflowers sway in the wind may have given you feelings of angels dancing in heaven but blogging about it is comparable to soul vomit. Inspirational quips are ‘ok’ if they’re infrequent or if they’re placed in an appropriately labled category. If those quips are the primary content of your website then you’re destined to have a readership of zero. Even the spam bots will avoid you.

Tip #5 – Write more often. That was an AMAZING post you wrote…….last year. A blog without current content is nothing more than an archive. Your readers will not come back if there’s nothing new to see. Additionally, most major search engines will penalize you for stale content. If you going to stay in the blogging game, it takes work (success demands as much). The least you should write is once a week. Three times a week is more ideal. If you’re using your blog to supplement your income, at least three weekly updates isn’t an option, it’s mandatory.

Tip #6 – Clean up your web page. Your favorite calvary cross wallpaper may be the most wonderful thing since the monitor was invented but trying to read text on it gives me a headache. Clean up your website so that it’s easy AND comfortable to read. Most new bloggers don’t have much content to start with so they overcompensate with images. It’s extremely difficult to make a beautiful webpage out of a single post so forget about it and focus on your CONTENT. You can adjust the cosmetics as you go.

Tip #7 – Brand yourself. Branding is just marketing 101. If you want your blog to stand out, branding helps. Even a simple brand title like “Fish in the Sea” stands out better than “just another no name magazine blog”. It’ll help you even more if you go the extra mile and buy your own domain name (not critical but it helps). You can always rebrand later but remember, people are attracted to consistency.

My favorite Christian blogs to read are the ones that follow the above steps (with #7 being optional). Some of you are probably demotivated now that you see all the effort involved. If that’s the case, good. The internet needs less blogs. For those of you who are encouraged, excellent! The internet needs better blogs.

There now, you can have all that advice for free and start your own Christian computing magazine (or weblog). I wish I had found such tips early on when I started blogging. Of course, when I started, I started for me and no one else but a few close friends while I was traveling. Eventually the website grew and I changed things up more for my audience. I’m by no means in the ranks of the top 100, but the tidbits of wisdom I listed above have helped me a lot. It’s my joy to pass them on to you. Best wishes in your blogging.

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