5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress

The sequels to this post can be found here, here, here, and here.

Trying to draw more traffic to your WordPress blog, Christian? For those trying to build a larger audience (say, to snag a potential publisher), here are five things I’ve found helpful.

1. Go to them

So you start a blog. What then? Drop it in front of Facebook friends and sit back, counting on them to bring you newcomers? That might not work. Your friends are loyal, but not necessarily doctrinally compatible, voracious readers, or oozing spare time. To widen your base, you’ll need to find new “regulars” who are. And you won’t find them by waiting for them to stumble upon a blog they don’t know exists. You’ll have to go to them.

You know that colorful square a fellow blogger leaves when they like your post? That’s not just an attaboy; it’s their calling card, a link back to their blog (assuming they’ve set up their Gravatar profile correctly). It’s their way of saying “come check out ma ‘wares, too!”

This is what you should be doing. Find some post that matches your values or spirit, note who else liked it, and start clicking on squares. Follow other blogs you appreciate; leave likes and meaningful comments. If a post really knocks it out of the park, reblog it. My hit count more than doubled once I started doing this stuff.

If you think about it, this is quite Biblical. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Isn’t it just like God to make your success dependent on what you give away?

2. Actually read

Now I must hasten to add: don’t jump into your Reader and start spamming likes without reading. Your fellow bloggers know when you do that; their “likes” increase, but their hit count doesn’t. That’s poor taste, unless their post is just an image.

Another reason to finish an article before reacting to it: to ensure you don’t end up endorsing a piece of theology you disagree with. That happened to me a few weeks ago; I had to undo the reblog. Your likes reflect on you and on them. If you aren’t reading, how will they know their work was quality?

Leave edifying, non-perfunctory comments. Compliment a metaphor or turn of phrase you found apt. Specify why the post resonated with you. And while we’re on this track…

3. Be willing to criticize and be criticized

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov 27:17). But it won’t happen if we have thin skin. Be willing to state why you disagree with someone’s theology, and be willing to graciously entertain those who disagree. Doctrine and truth matter. The world is watching. Like, literally – it’s the internet.

That said…don’t be a jerk.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

We must be honest, but our long-simmering annoyance with all things Joel Osteen is not license to emotionally lambast every slightly misled blogger you just learned existed. If you can’t correct without being abrasive or petty…well, I’m not sure how much credibility a teacher of the Word has when violating one part of Scripture to uphold another, but I can’t imagine much. Win people over with your graciousness.

4. Write concise

Bloggers are “readers on the go”. Your blog is one of many they’re exploring. Their time is precious, and it should be to you. If you want to retain and serve your readers, pursue the art of writing concisely.

Studies have shown that most posts over 500 words do not get read. “List articles” (e.g., “5 ways to ___”) are somewhat of an exception because readers can get some sense of length, but still…be concise.

Once you’ve finished a post, put it down, run around with a frisbee, have a mineral water, then come back and trim the fat. Insert more efficient words. Erase sentences that could be folded into a careful word choice elsewhere. Avoid huge paragraphs; those tell the reader at first sight, “this will take more time than you have”.

Minimize unnecessary clicks between reader and content. Surveys, subscription requests, home pages that make readers dig for your actual posts – no bueno. Many visitors will take the route of least resistance and move on.

Insert the “Read More” tag a few paragraphs into each post. That way, readers see more post titles with less scrolling, get a quick taste of each, and give you more hits if they do click. Everyone wins.

If you’re the type to post or reblog numerous times in one day, consider how much space you’re occupying in others’ Readers. Quieter blogs are easily drowned out. Try “daily roundup” type posts instead.

5. Guard your heart

WordPress is a maelstrom of opinion and ideas. One moment you read a fluff piece about chasing your heart’s desires, and your heart swells; the next you read an aching lament over disappointment and toil, and your heart goes “My worst fears will come true.” That’s saying nothing of the barbs thrown around by other bloggers or just plain old, random, undisguised doubt. It’s a roller coaster.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23).

This verse isn’t just for dodging bad dates. Satan will try to spin what you read. Ask God to guard your heart and mind (and writing!). Other bloggers’ stories are not yours. You are loved; you are God’s; you are headed directly and inescapably for his country beyond this life.

181 thoughts on “5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress

  1. love it love it love it Brandon! 😀 You know, you are kinda making be think about the way I have blogged with your pointers here. I know I’ve had long posts and spread them into post 1 post 2 and post 3 just to make it readable. I doubt anyone has the time to read an essay unless the topic is titillating lol. I love your pointers and it makes me think of they way I’ve been blogging thus far. I do have a lot of traffic of followers and yes, I’ve actually done some of the things you have suggested here which has contributed to a increased readership of my blog. I think it’s also good practice like you said to visit blogs of some of your followers in order to build that connection with others as you have said. Sometimes a visit can bring about inspiration to write about something else.

    Stay blessed!
    Sherline 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “One moment you read a fluff piece about chasing your heart’s desires..”

    This made me laugh. Very funny! I just realized I have fluff piece coming out this afternoon about desires of the heart. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the advice. I’ve been blogging for three years and am so tech unsavvy. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes in setting up my blog. I admire my young Techy friends who know their way around cyberspace.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Great advice! …and then there are bloggers like me… I’m not looking for publishers or even (gasp!) readers, really. We all have our own reasons… Yet, I do agree that your advice is good, regardless. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Enjoyed reading your advice, Brandon. Thanks for the insights! I’m a newer blogger and appreciate both the practical tips along with their Biblical counterparts. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Great advice– I’ve been blogging now for a couple of months and am doing nearly everything you have suggested. I am trying to promote others too. That’s what I feel I need to do — I enjoy telling other people’s stories the most. Thanks for your tips. Del

    Liked by 6 people

    • I tried to comment on your blog, but it did not go through, so I will comment here. Del, what a blessing to find you on Brandon’s comment section. Not all of God’s children have the gift of writing. Sometimes we may wonder if what we do is accepted or useful, but the main thing is that what we do is by His blessing, calling, leading, working and for HIs glory. After writing for twenty-five years, and six years blogging, last year the Lord led me to publish six of our books; one this year. Profits are designated for missions and charity. Whether anyone buys our books or not is not the reason for publishing, but as a legacy for future generations of all of God’s family. Blogging is a gift for sharing moment-by-moment what He puts in our hearts. What we write will be here when we are gone. It will be here for those whom our Father leads to read in His timing. I relate to your spirit of writing what the Lord is doing in your life, and look forward to reading more. I will not follow you, but will walk with you, praying that the Lord will continue to work through you to leave an imprint of Christ and His kingdom here in this world. Blessings and much encouragement for your ministry for the kingdom. ~ Fran

      Liked by 3 people

  7. “come check out ma ‘wares!”” – I giggled and heard that in my head in a funny Ma and Pa Kettle kind of voice.

    I like the community and I support a wide variety of people who may or may not carry all of the same beliefs and ideals (to a point, of course). I don’t want to be too exclusive, I guess. I don’t know – hard to put that into words.

    I enjoy your blog and the ministry you’ve got going on over here. Keep shinin’ and showing off your ‘wares! 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Pingback: 5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress – christfollower85

  9. Thanks for sharing Brandon. The first idea you had of posting a blog on my Facebook page and sitting back twiddling my thumbs while I wait for the masses to find my post is a great idea. I’ve used this idea for weeks now and I have tens of readers!!! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am still learning how to use Facebook and Twitter. I do have some blogs, but it seems that many people use social media, so I’m trying to learn how to connect with people who have needs/problems that I can solve. People are praying for answers, other people know/have the answers.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Another important guideline Brandon is if you want to keep your followers, don’t show rudeness and disrespect by not responding to their comments, Love is an Action and so is Hate and if we Hate we can’t Love God and Others.

    Also it is not for us to restrict what the Holy Spirit leads us to write Long or short and we respect what others share Long or short too as they are lead by The Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus but if what they share is in error than we correct them with Scripture not just by what we Think is True and most important we don’t judge their Heart, only God knows their True Heart focus and their Eternal Destiny.

    Blessings – Anne.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A very good summary of valid and helpful points. It is a fact that we must be true to who we are – as well as WHOSE we are! The bending of truth in our culture, hastened by the lack of knowledge of the Word, has led to the apostasy in the Church. Our culture needs bloggers who will state what’s true, on a Biblical foundation, regardless of whether or not it is popular! Thanks!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hard to say how much time I spend writing. I would estimate averaging an hour per day surfing WordPress looking for new blogs to follow. I’d highly recommend the hobby – if you can guard your heart and filter Scripturally, you come away edified and encouraged from all the Christian material you read.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Good stuff. I wish I could have read something like this when I first starting blogging–I started blindly and jumped in with no idea what I was doing, but determined to figure it all out. Thanks for thinking of others who really do want to learn!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Wow! Brandon, these tips are spot on. I want to re-blog this on my blog, For His Glory. https://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/. I also post to a blogging community called https://bloggingmeetup.com. Although it’s not a Christian site, I have lots of likes and comments from Christian bloggers on the site. You may want to check it out as another place to share the Gospel. I want to publish this post there as well. I also post on a website called ChristianBlessings, https://ptl2010.com/ you may have heard of it. They have hundreds of posts and blogging authors. Your theology and walk-with-the-Lord blog posts would fit right in. I’ll be reading more of your posts in the days to come. I’m so grateful the Lord led me to this blog.. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I appreciate #3 a lot. As someone who finds great value in people’s words, blogging is a great way to learn how to gracefully disagree with other’s opinions as well as learning to accept criticism. My initial reaction to criticism/disagreement is avoidance, but it is definitely teaching me how to handle it, and that it’s not all bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great advice Brandon.

    You actually corrected me a week or so ago and it promoted me to pull a post down and completely redo it. It hurt for a minute but iron does sharpen iron and your words were exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

    Sadly, I don’t comment on the blog’s of others nearly as often as I probably should.

    James

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thanks. Well thought through and good advice. I particularly liked your comments about writing concise for “readers on the go”. I find that I need to do exactly what you recommended: write and then go back after a break and trim the fat. (Few words are often enough.)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Brandon,
    Hey, Brandon. You’re one of the first blogs I started following on WordPress. I really appreciate these posts that give me tips on this stuff. I’m still a bit new at things. I got my blog up and running now and I’m posting regularly, but I kind of don’t really know what to do now to progress. So this post helps a lot. I do have a homepage. You think I should not have one? Is it better to just have your blog page as the main page? I wasn’t really sure on that. Also, I haven’t re-blogged any articles yet. I wasn’t really sure of the proper etiquette on that. Do you have to ask permission or anything? Or do you just hit the re-blog button and that’s it? Haha. I’m kind of a noob at this, Anyway, thanks again for the advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as a homepage…you’ll get varying advice on that, and everything else, but I know that if I have to hunt for a blogger’s actual posts, I’m very likely to just shrug and move on. I personally do use my blog page as my front, and my “About” page as a secondary one.

      As far as reblogging…it’s always classy to ask permission, but my experience is that other bloggers are delighted for extra exposure and hardly need to be asked. WordPress makes sure that the link to the original blog is displayed, so there’s no accreditation worries.

      Other than that, I’d say just be patient; it takes time to build up a following. Be sure to write good content – that’s Rule #0, under Goes Without Saying. And we must all be sure our content is TRUTHFUL. We can get more followers by telling them what we want to hear, but it’s God we’ll eventually be accountable to. Know what I mean?

      Best of luck. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  19. I love this post! I actually learned 80% of it the hard way and the other 20% just now. 😉 I have to say I’m particularly a fan of the heart swelling with Biblically debatable hope bit. Seriously, though, fantastic advice with an excellent dose of Truth. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Thank you for Liking my “Leading With Purpose”. Because of some thoughts I’ve had regarding Christian material being ‘segregated’ so to speak, I was intrigued by the title of this post as it appeared in the notification email. Although I’m aware of some Christian books and writings getting into the hands of either the irreligious or unchurched Christians, since becoming a firefighter/EMT and broadening my contact with the ‘outside world’, I’ve come to realize how many resources the unchurched are missing out on because it is either labeled Christian or targets Christians. I appreciate your tips, so I am wondering, do you have a post about that?

    Like

  21. I struggle to keep up with my Reader feed! Christian blogs can’t get pretty heavy, and take time to digest – especially family blogs, oddly enough. So, I follow a few people, but I struggle to keep up, and usually only spend a couple evenings a month going through the Reader Feed to catch up. But, then I kind of binge on all those blogs!

    Also, in regard to the last point about guarding your heart – I also say a prayer when I sit down to blog. Nothing specific, but just asking the Holy Spirit to guide my words so that points are conveyed judiciously, and received by readers in the same manner.

    Great points!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Brandon, I’m so glad you stumbled (maybe not just a stumble) on my site so I could read your blog, 5 tips for Christian bloggers. It has great insights for me as I’m just getting into blogging. My desire is to share with pastors, and those who eavesdrop on them, the mistakes I’ve made in my 50+ years of pastoring, and the lessons learned ,etc. One should never be too old to learn, and I want to finish well, not just finish.
    Dick G.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really liked the comment “I want to finish well, not just finish.” It is a timely comment to me as my birthday was yesterday and I have one year to go before the 7th decade hits. Time is really on my mind and I do want to finish well for my Lord. Thanks for leaving this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very new to this, so I was very happy to find your blog for Christian bloggers. It’s great to see The Body working together, helping each other in a world where it’s so competitive.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Seriously. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how supportive and gracious much of the Christian community on WordPress is. You’ve got your tart-tongues to be sure, and we all need a thick skin if we’re going to be sharpened. But it’s been nice overall.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. “Be willing to criticise and be criticised”. Critiquing is easy, receiving the criticism not so easy. Yet we all need it to grow!

    Thanks for the information Brandon, it has brought some new perspectives for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Reblogged this on quotes and notes and opinions and commented:
    A reminder for me FTA: We must be honest, but your long-simmering annoyance over all things Joel Osteen (and no, I’m not a fan) is not a license to emotionally lambast every slightly misled blogger you just learned existed. If you can’t correct without being abrasive or petty…well, I’m not sure how much credibility a teacher of the Word has when violating one part of Scripture to uphold another, but I can’t imagine much. Win people over with the graciousness of your words.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Incredibly good points, Brandon. Thanks for posting this. I don’t necessarily want to have big numbers for numbers’ sake alone — I do want to send forth the message that the Lord gives and to witness to those who read the blog. So, that being said, I am anxious to increase the readership so that the witness can spread better. Blessings to you today, and thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too am always on guard against getting a larger followership just to boost my ego. That’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because a strong followership is a good way to demonstrate to publishers that you have a good channel to market a future book. 🙂

      Like

  26. Thank you so much for these suggestions! I’m a stating blogger, don’t really have an “identity” or audience at this point. So all of this, and definitely keeping my faith in Christ in mind, is great to keep in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Brandon, I enjoyed this post. I’m new to blogging and whilst my blog is not set up as a Christian blog, obviously as a Christian there will be issues or matters of faith that pop up in my blog from time to time. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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