The “Enter” Key: How to Instantly Get Readers to Finish Your Post

If you’re wondering why you’re getting so few likes and comments on your blog posts, there’s one suspect you can immediately investigate.

Your readers’ attention is fragile. They have limited spare time and mental bandwidth, and most will decide whether they’ll stay and finish your post upon first glance. This creates a number of “traps” your post can fall into, which may cause readers take the path of least resistance and move on.

One is unnecessary clicks. Surveys, subscription requests, content-less home pages that require people to dig for your actual posts – this stuff will dislodge many readers at first sight. Be careful with these.

Another is sheer length. If visitors skim the post and see that it’ll take more than a couple minutes, you’ve probably lost them, no matter how good your content. 500 words is a good maximum.

But the subject of this post is the size of your paragraphs.

Paragraphs exist for a reason. They break down your ideas into manageable chunks, lend flow to your work. This is Writing 101.

People struggle to follow paragraphs that ramble on. It signals “massive investment required”. If the first thing that greets visitors is a paragraph running off the page, many will just click “X”. They’re not book readers. They’re surfers, read-on-the-go types.

On the other hand, a post that’s split into manageable paragraphs tells them “I’m going to do the hard work of building and supporting my ideas for you, reader!” This is a good thing.

I personally don’t like going over four or five lines in any single paragraph (my column width is about 90 characters long).

I also don’t make EVERYTHING a paragraph. Some ideas can stand on their own as a single sentence.

Then again, making EVERYTHING a single sentence is just wonky. It strikes readers as a pretension, draws attention to itself. It also doesn’t do much to reveal your ideas’ structure and interplay.

Vary the lengths of your paragraphs (using the “size” of each idea as a guide). Shake things up. I’ve tried to make this post a good example.

I’m rooting for you, Christian blogger, to hold onto those slippery readers when they come by. I know it’s frustrating that your valuable ideas alone won’t hold onto people, but that’s just life. Let’s embrace the art – be good at everything, as Christians should be.


Appreciating My Top Likers, Part II

This post exists to appreciate those who like my blog posts consistently, by pointing back to their blogs as a “thanks”. With all the endless content out there, blogging is an ocean. I figure the least I can do is foghorn people towards others’ content. As always, folks, I am honored and confused to have your followership.

I did a post like this about ten months ago. While reviewing that post in order to smithy this little sequel, I noticed how many of the bloggers mentioned in that first post have dropped off the face of the planet in the intervening time. Probably about 60% remain active. Kind of a sobering note of how life grabs at us and shuffles our priorities. Blogging is one tough mistress. Hope to see them back soon.

Below (in no particular order) are the Top 25 likers of this year’s original posts on I cannot promise that they’ll match your spiritual tastes, only that they are active and that you won’t be blasted with X-rated hijinks upon linking to them. Enjoy, and leave a comment in order to encourage them!

Following Him Beside Still Waters
Sarah J. Callen
Makayla Nielson
Marques Jeffries
Robert Hansen
Mike Polinske
Those Who Sin Differently
Adewumi Peter Blog
Lynn Abbott Studios
Sherline’s Whatchu Thinkin’ Blog 
Elihu’s Corner
Dorissa Vanover
Michael E. Lynch
Jesus and Green Tea
Debra Pedrow
Beholding Him Ministries
The Lost Coin Blog
Fractured Faith Blog
Sue Cass
Smiley Riley

Honorable mentions:

maranatha2018 10–

I wanted to show these three folks, too, but…they didn’t have a blog that I could find! If do, and you’d like to drop a comment specifying where it can be found, I’d be happy to link to it.

In fact, I wanted to show everyone. But I had to make a cutoff somewhere or I’d be here all year. Sorry! If you stick around, you might make the next batch… 😉

I’m also happy to note that many of these bloggers are millennials! It’s nice to know that I’m reaching my target audience, though, of course, I’m more than happy to have the older ones as well.

Enjoy Easter week and try not to gorge on Cadbury eggs too much.

Get a Blogging Small Group

A story for the benefit of the new bloggers…

One of the strengths of my church (membership in the upper three digits) is that it doesn’t just put on Sunday service and then leave people to carve out their own connections. It actively encourages small groups. It recognizes that these bands of brothers/sisters, who walk with you and support you and fight for you, are everything to the believer as they navigate the narrow road.

I feel that it works the same for bloggers.

I’m currently in two Facebook groups for believing bloggers. The first is over 10,000 bloggers (not all active, of course) and is managed decently. Some good content there.

But the smaller one, with less than 200 bloggers, has blessed me far more.

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Small Christian Blogs Worth Your Time: New Girls on the Block Edition

You’ve seen the first two posts. You’ve heard the rumors. Now get ready for…new girls on the block!

This is a collection of lady bloggers whom I’ve been privileged to meet and read. But not just any bloggers – new ones. We all need help getting noticed in the earsplitting deluge that is the internet, so these compilations are built in the hopes of bringing them some attention.


To qualify for these posts, you must:

  • Have less than 100 WordPress followers
  • Post semi-frequently
  • Show Biblical maturity and substance
  • Be a better writer than me. Wait, never mind, that’s everyone.


Kathleen Raygoza @ Huckleberry Coffee – A real-life friend. Heartfelt, drowned in Scripture, and also knowledgeable about the military wife life.

Adventures of a Single Pretzel – She’s not really new (she’s been blogging longer than I, actually), but she was one of my first followers…like, literally, one of the first five…so she gets a shout-out. Did I mention her writing is profound?

Ashleigh Rich – This one’s going all in. Fan page, series of posts, the whole nine yards. She seems to think she has a message, and I agree!

Joey @ Training for Eternity – Terrific insight. No punches pulled. Tune into Joey’s blog for life as it really is.

Get Real With D – Quite honest about the inner life and especially relationships. I recommend.

Lena Cavitt – Lena just followed me this week. Socially relevant, funny, and plenty of Scripture to sink your teeth into.

Lady in Waiting – She loves to put new spins on things, and it’ll make you think. Try her out!

Made Piece by Piece – This one has a way with words and mental pictures. “Growth” is a frequent tag with her.

AdriannaJ @ Your Godly Words – Come here for your weekly dose of the “boom words” of Christianity (if that’s even a phrase…is that a phrase?) – power, freedom, boldness, etc.


Megan Reedy @ Teaching in the Philippines – If that tag doesn’t interest you, her thoughts about total surrender to and intimacy with God should.


I’m out of town until Monday, but feel free to comment and I’ll reply then!


Good Grief! 5 MORE tips for Christian WordPress bloggers?!

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.




Bloggers As a Church; Are We A Welcoming One?

church3As you know, some Christian blogs contain a “Community” section where other bloggers who follow them can be seen in their “face-tile” form. This human kaleidoscope provides a wonderful portal for surfing WordPress and discovering new blogs.

But it can also throw you for a loop. Some of the blogs you visit are distinctly un-Christian in their content. Sometimes it’s flat-out erotica (flee, men! Not even a hint!). Other times it’s coarse language and brazenly worldly talk. Other blogs are very gracious and gentle in tone, so much so that you feel guilty criticizing, but they do promote pantheistic “many ways to God” and “positive energy” ideas, or simple “inspiration” that’s ultimately empty and powerless to save.

Whatever the case, not all of WordPress clings to the stark, dirty beauty of the cross of Christ – or the glory of his empty tomb. Yet these unbelieving bloggers follow, and consistently like posts from, Christian bloggers whose Bible-derived beliefs leave virtually no room for theirs.

I’ve often wondered what’s going through their minds. Some of them are just hoping for a follow back. But not all of them.

For the past season, I’ve had an unwritten post draft directed towards those unbelieving bloggers. It was a challenge. “Why do you stick around? Do you understand how directly and entirely these Christian precepts contradict your own?” it was going to say, basically. “What are you going to do about these ideas? Why do you keep following and liking when you don’t seem interested in believing?”

And then – and I can only credit the Holy Spirit for breaching my foolishness so eloquently – a question surfaced in my mind in response.

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Still 5 More Tips for Christian WordPress Bloggers

Don’t mind me – just trying to share tips for successful blogging on the cornucopia of content that is WordPress! Not that I’m a guru or anything – I’m just sharing what I’ve found by experience. Read my previous 15 tips on the subject here, here, and here (and my last five here).


16. Use a Call to Action

If you’re frustrated that people don’t share your posts on social media, try asking them to. It may sound mind-bogglingly simplistic, but research has shown that people tend to do what you’re hoping them to do (in this case, share your post on social media) when you explicitly ask them, rather than hoping they’ll read your mind. I’ve got a sample Call to Action at the end of this post.


17. Get that first post up!

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