This post is part two of three consisting of notes from my presentation at Tulsa Workshop on the subject of using Blogging as Christian outreach.
No blogger enjoys making the effort to write and publish if there are no readers. Many new bloggers have given up writing because there was no traffic on their site. This is not a difficult problem to overcome. Whether you have had a blog for a long time or you’re a beginner, here are a dozen simple steps you can do that will create a buzz about your blog.
1. Leave genuine comments on similar blogs. Every blogger writes to be read. Leaving comments not only encourages writers to keep writing, but it also allows you to leave your link for follow-backs. Make an intelligent and pertinent comment and you will reap some new readers. Do not simply cut and paste a generic saying into a lot of blogs. Other blog readers notice it, it does not relate to the post, it makes you look bad, it is not polite, and it is actually SPAM!
2. Post new content several times a week. Don’t feel the pressure to compose literature every time you sit down at the computer. Blogs are best read quickly. Your posts do not have to be exhaustive, that’s exhausting! Short is great – better! You can always divide long posts into two or three posts. I believe people will read more frequently if they know it’s going to be quick – and with new content often.
3. Show your love for others by posting links! Everyone loves to be linked! It is always a good thing to discover a new blog that is enjoyable to read. Links encourage readership – of other blogs and yours.
4. Share updates about new posts over multiple platforms. The surge of social networks may be cluttering up the web, but they are also growing in their number of users. If you use Twitter, Flickr, FaceBook, and email – then you have four different audiences where you can share your message. Yes, some of your contacts may get multiple notices of your new post, but I think they’ll forgive you if you have quality content.
5. Pictures, Videos, and interesting sidebar widgets make your site more interesting. WordPress widgets and sidebars have endless potential to add interesting things to your blog as associated content. YouTube and other video services make adding videos to your blog a breeze. Your blog can be a greater sensory experience today more than ever before. This creates interest.
6. Write about current topics of interest … trending topics. I usually miss the trends, but if you pay attention to what is catching the attention of bloggers you can take advantage.
7. Ignore trolls and arguments. There are some people who just enjoy stirring the pot. If you get a troll filling your comments with argumentation, do not participate in the wrangling. This is a big turnoff to most readers – particularly those who are seeking religious information.
8. Tell about God’s great moves in your life. If we are interested in outreach, the testimony of Christians who are sharing what God has done is very powerful. On the other hand, do not complain about your church. It’s kind of hard to harp on your preacher, leaders, worship time, and then invite someone to attend worship with you.
9. Always respond to comments. Not only does each blogger long to be read and understood, so do those who comment. Love your commenters with a response, and they will enjoy coming back and leaving more comments! This simple step simply keeps the stream of communication flowing.
10. Ask for help when you need it. As we all know, the tech world is expanding faster than our waistlines. So if you run into a snag, find someone who can help. One of the great discoveries I have made is THEOBLOGGERS. This Christian company offers low-cost domain name service and web hosting. Not only that, but they use the wonderful WordPress (see #11!) software. The tech support is amazingly swift. If you are not a technofile, I encourage you to sign on with Theobloggers so that you will have all the help you need. They have been a lifesaver for me.
11. Use WordPress; turn off the annoying verification step. I know this has potential to ruffle feathers, but I really believe WordPress sets the bar for free blogging. Their spam catcher is awesome, the lack of word verification is a relief, and the multiple themes from which to choose makes the creation of a unique blog within your grasp. Sorry Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal, Xanga, and all the rest. WordPress has my seal of approval!
12. Stay aware of the changing face of blogging. Blogging has changed since I came aboard several years ago. And it is not going to remain static in the future. In fact, tomorrow I plan to share a few concluding thoughts on the subject of staying aware. One of the fastest growing websites on the net is actually all about blogging, but most people who use it do not consider themselves bloggers! More on that tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!