As we discussed in previous posts, blogging isn’t all PJs and coffee. To be good at it, you must be willing to invest time into improving your blog. Growing your blog requires time and effort. You may need to post even if you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to; it’s your blog. You’re free to do whatever you want how often you want. But nothing grows if you don’t feed and water it. You need to tend to your blog like a newly planted garden or that favorite dish you’re cooking for dinner for that special someone in your life. It’s up to you. These are the hazards of blogging.
Blogging is a constant evolution because technology is continually changing allowing us to do things we couldn’t do before and in ways we never imagined would be possible. Nearly every day, someone releases a new blogging app or content creation tool to make your blogging efforts easier. Not to mention, your blogging skills are growing with every post.
I have learned a bunch since my first effort at blogging, “Joshua’s Hope,” crashed and burned after the blogging platform I was using was invaded by a massive virus that contaminated all my content, as well as that of other bloggers using the same host. It wasn’t a huge loss, other than content, because I really had no idea what I was doing. By keeping after it and not giving up (although I can tell you that I felt like throwing in the towel numerous times) I know a little more now than I did. You can’t let yourself get discouraged. Again, this is part of the hazards of blogging.
Since launching my current niche blog, The Devotional Guy™, in late 2013, I have culled a couple of pointers that I hope will encourage you along your blogging journey.
- Begin by becoming a student of other bloggers. Studying other blogs is as vital as reading the works of other authors is to aspiring writers. Identify blogs that a) post content in the same niche that your blog focuses on, b) are wildly successful, and/or c) peak your curiosity. Read other people’s posts and content. Someone’s blog may not be your cup of java beans, but if they’ve got more followers than you do, they can probably teach you something. You can learn a ton about blogging from fellow bloggers.
- As you begin reading other people’s blogs, engage. Blogging is all about community and interaction. While it can be a solo project that is only released in your own, private echo chamber, blogging is at it’s best when it invites and intertwines with other people. Blogging is a community conversation about whatever topic you are passionate about discussing. Part of engaging effectively is a) commenting on other blogs, and b)replying promptly to comments you get on your blog. Too much trouble? Too bad. Engagement is a critical hazard of blogging.
- Community, community, community. Blogging takes place on the big WWW. If you want to do something more private that you can keep to yourself, I suggest journaling or keeping a diary. While blogging shares many of the same aspects of a daily journal or personal diary, blog posts are meant to be part of a larger conversation that includes other people. Blogs share ideas. Some we agree with, others we don’t. But that’s part of belonging to a community and another one of the hazards of blogging.
What is a blog?
Blogs are discussion or informational websites that are published on the World Wide Web featuring several discrete posts, typically written informally, and often containing a mixture of text and media.
- The best blogs use mixed media to communicate their messages effectively and to reach a broader audience. These means there is more involved than just writing a solid article. Over time, you will learn how to use photos, images, art, and video to brighten up your content and make it more compelling. With some half-a-billion blogs populating the digital universe, you need to stand out among the crowd by creating compelling content. A mix of words and images make for more intriguing content. This too is a hazard of blogging.
- Finally, at least for the purposes of our discussion today, people must find your content useful or helpful. It must mean or do something to them. A great blog post will evoke a connection with your reader. My best posts have helped people grieve, celebrate, mourn, and rally through the myriad of life’s trials and tribulations.
What is a follower?
A person who signs up to get updates from your website when you post so that they can keep up with the content you create.
My blog, The Devotional Guy™, is a chronicle of my spiritual journey and an exploration of what it looks like to be a person of faith in the 21st century. I’ve shared my heart with readers as I’ve experienced a personal loss or the erosion of a sweet memory. I’ve also tried to address problems we can all relate to at some point in our lives, like anxiety, addiction, depression, stress, human-trafficking, and a host of other issues that plague us amid the opulence of our 21st century First World lives. Being transparent and open may seem foreboding initially, but like the other things we discussed in this Saturday evening post, it is one of the hazards of blogging.
Blogging is work. It’s not for everybody, yet everybody can blog. You just have to set your mind to it and do it. Be consistent, be compelling, and be part of the community.
The Devotional Guy™
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ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Chaplain Rainer Bantau, a Swiss-born, German kid who grew up in East Texas and today ministers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.