Alright…I think I might finally be out of ideas. I’ve enjoyed writing this series. I pray for and wish you all the best of luck in your God-glorifying blogging endeavors. (You can find the previous installments here, here, here, and here).
21. Don’t give up
It will take time to get a following. If someone told you to expect quick results, they tricked you. There’s a certain “critical mass” to be reached after a few months, at which a new visitors find enough content on your blog to spend a while clicking through and recommending your site, in turn boosting your metrics. You’ll need a good backdrop of solid content to get there, and that takes time. Keep it up!
22. Weigh visitors more than views
That said, eventually views start to level off. But I’ve found that my visitor count is still slowly growing. Those and comments are probably the best metrics to judge whether you’re doing well. Viewcount might be the worst. It’s distorted by all kinds of things.
23. Copyright yourself
Find a generic copyright statement somewhere on the internet and put it on your blog. You don’t want other bloggers, random sites, or most embareassingly, some actual online publication coming along and unscrupulously claiming your words as theirs. It can be surprisingly hard to prove otherwise.
24. Use a variety of platforms
This should probably have come earlier in the series, but…
Don’t rely solely on your WordPress audience to bring you attention. Spread out to Facebook and Twitter. Join Christian blogging groups on those platforms. There are auto-posting options (or third-party software, like Hootsuite or Sprout) that you can use to automatically post your links there (though you’ll have to do it manually in groups).
And don’t count out picture-oriented platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. I haven’t updated it in a while, but Pinterest provides a GREAT way to use images as blog links AND lets you categorize them.
25. Write good, unique content
One of the first criticisms I received on my blog went something like, “You express yourself well, but your content is common.”
It was a benign comment, but it still felt unfair. It’s hard enough just to get a blog post up. You’re saying I have to make it stand out, too?
You probably already know that there are no clever shortcuts, SEO tricks, marketing strategies, or magic bullets that will get you around the need to write solid content. The blog has to be relevant and well-written or people won’t come back. That’s all there is to it.
But uniqueness is another level of challenge. And it’s a special challenge for Christian bloggers because, as believers in timeless truths, there’s only so much room for change and novelty. The truths of Scripture bear repeating, over and over, until they are firmly rooted in the bedrock of our souls. The Christian life. How do you get fresh and unique with something that isn’t supposed to be new?
There is some good news here. First of all, Scripture tends to stay fresh all on its own. Scholars down through the ages have commented on how the perennial pep and immediacy of the Bible make it stand out from other literature (a hint as to who wrote it).
Second, our own daily apostasy and falling away from God, or our need for daily guidance, creates a constant need for even the most “boring” Scriptural truth. This week, God unexpectedly used one of my blog posts, something I thought would be old hat to its audience, to guide a viewer into his will (or so she claims). God is really the one at the controls here, so post! You never know what he’ll use.
Thirdly, plenty of God’s truth gets lost over time. Ever written one of those posts that countered a distortion or half-truth that Christians use? Those posts are fun and exciting to write, especially for us against-the-grainers and envelope-pushers. Look for those opportunities.
In the end, though, do try to make things fresh. Write from your own life. That’s always unique, because you’re unique. Use examples from daily life as metaphors for some Scriptural truth (if they lend themselves well…don’t strain it). Come up with new turns of phrase. Read a lot, both Scripture and otherwise – it adds to your vocabulary. Write a first draft, walk away, and come back to it – you might find new ways to express what you’ve already written.