Why You Need To Install Google Analytics: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 7 of 10)

Once you decide to start a blog, have settled on which platform you are going to use and have begun to design it, then it's time to install Google Analytics. 

Google Analytics is a powerhouse of a tool which can provide you an abundance of information about your blog. You can then utilize that information to improve your blog or website. 

Best of all:  Google Analytics is FREE!!!

It is important to install Google Analytics right from the start. That way you can track and watch the growth of your blog over time to see what is working and what isn't. When you write and publish a blog post, Google Analytics will let you know which of those posts your readers are responding to the most. Then you can write more posts with similar or complementary content. 

Another reason you want to install Google Analytics immediately is so you have history. If down the road you want to sell advertising on your website, or need any statistical information for any reason, you'll have it. If you wait to install Google Analytics until the moment you need the statistical information, you will have no historical data and you'll regret not doing it right from the start. 

Installing Google Analytics on your website is not a difficult task.

It is a matter of logging into your Analytics account and finding your tracking code and installing it in the appropriate place on your website. This will be done differently depending upon which platform you are using for your blog. 

You will be able to see in your "real time" dashboard on Analytics if your tracking code has been installed correctly. If you are having any trouble with the installation of your tracking code, search in the Google Analytics help section for a step by step walk through. I hesitate you give you any directions because as soon as I hit publish, google will change where things are located on their Analytics site and my directions would be obsolete. 

If you have never logged into a Google Analytics account before, at first glance it can seem overwhelming.

There is a ton of information to be found once you log in.

My advice to you is, make a cup of tea, set aside a good chunk of time and just start clicking. The best way to really familiarize your self with what is in your Analytics account is to simply explore.

Keep in mind as you explore around in Google Analytics, there have been entire courses and books written on how to get the most out of Analytics. Take your time and don't expect to learn it all in one sitting. 

A couple of the things you should track over time are the number of Unique Visitors to your site as well as your Page Views but this is just scratching the surface.

As you familiarize yourself with Analytics, you'll be able to see where your readers are coming from geographically, what pages they are spending time on, what pages they go to from another page and so much more. You'll be able to find out which of your social media accounts is driving the most traffic to your website. This will let you know which social media platform you should be spending the most time on. 

You'll also be able to see how your readers have responded to something such as an Adwords campaign.

If you do not have Analytics installed on your website, go do it today. 

If you would like a form to help you keep track of the information which you gather from Google Analytics we have added a "Website Stats Tracking Form" to the resource library (for FREE). You can access the library with the password which will be emailed to you by filling out the form below. 

If you do have Google Analytics installed, what information do you find the most useful to track on your own website? 

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Gaming and God: Directory Participant Spotlight

Not being a fan of video games myself, I admit I was skeptical when the random number generator choose a gaming site for the next directory spotlight. However, I reached out to the owner of the site and found a man who not only loves the Lord but who could write on a topic which I am unable to write about.

Whether you are a "gamer" or not, I encourage you to read His spotlight post. You will be glad you did, especially if you have children or grandchildren who enjoy video games. 

It is my honor to introduce you to a man who is using his passion to honor the Lord....Michael Morejon. 

Read More

Organizing Your Blogging Business: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 6 of 10)


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click links we may receive some compensation at no additional cost to you.

Organizing your blog business

One of the most important things to consider before you start your blog is how you are going to keep your blog business organized. 

Some of you may not be blogging as a business, I understand, but it would still be helpful to you to get a good system of organization in place.  

If you set up a good organizational system right from the start you will save yourself a lot of headache later. 

Let's take a look at some of the basics of organizing your blog business.

1. Create a Plan

I am a firm believer in the process of planning. Planning has had a huge part to play in the success of our family businesses. Trust me on this, right from the start of your blogging journey, create a plan. You will not regret the time spent on planning. 

There are two types of plans I would suggest you write.

The first is an overall plan for your year. This would include your goals for your blog business but would also include your goals and plan for your family, other work, etc. This planning does not have to take place at the beginning of the year, you can put a plan in place no matter what month you are currently in. If you need a resource to help you with your yearly planning, take a look at our course called "The Year of Commitment", it's a faith based yearly planning course.

The second type of plan you should create is a blog plan. You can do your planning with a calendar or other type of planner but if you are looking for a great resource to assist you check out "Epic Blog", it's a one year blog planner. It's a very helpful resource. 

2.  Bookkeeping for Your Blog Business

It is super important to set up a system right from the start for keeping track of your blog business bookkeeping. I personally use Quickbooks and it works well for my needs. In addition, by using Quickbooks, I am ready with all the paperwork needed when tax time rolls around. Whatever you choose to keep track of your income and expenses, get it set up right away. 

3.  Passwords and Logins

Right from the start decide on a system to keep track of all your login and password information. Don't make the mistake of thinking you are going to remember them all and don't make the mistake of thinking you will use the same password for everything...it won't work!  Some password requirements are different than others and require symbols or different number of upper and lower case letters. Just choose a system and use it for every single place you have to log in to. You can use a word document, or open up a notepad. You could even use paper and pen....whatever you choose is fine. Just get it set up. There are also password apps available if you prefer to keep track of passwords electronically. 

4.  Blog Post Ideas

Create a place to capture your blog post ideas. I use a combination of post it notes on a board in my office and I also use a binder. I jot down ideas onto post it notes and put them on the board. Once they become more than a single thought I transfer them to a blog post planner sheet and put them in a binder. Here is a link to read about and access for free the exact blog post planner which I use. If you prefer to keep track of things digitally you can use something like Evernote or even just use your notepad in your smartphone. Even if you use a paper version system for keeping track of ideas it is good to have a plan in place for capturing these ideas when you are out and about and don't have your paper system on hand. When I am out and have ideas I add them to the notepad in my phone. 

5. Files

Set up a system for your paper files. Get yourself a file cabinet and some hanging as well as manilla folders. Set up your system and use it daily.

Then set up a system for your online files and documents. Set up online storage using something such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Organize your online files using folders and create a system which makes sense to you so you'll be able to find things when you need them. 

6. Miscellaneous Stuff

Set up a way to keep track of anything which you would need to find later. For example you may want to create a document in Excel to keep track of important things. I find using an Excel spreadsheet works well because I can add a sheet to it for each group of information I want to keep track of. Then I have all my important things together in one document but separated and organized by sheet (page). You can use your Excel spreadsheet to track things such as:

  • Links to websites which have mentioned your blog
  • Affiliate links
  • People whom you've developed relationships with
  • Websites where you'd like to guest post
  • Anything else you want to be able to keep track of

These are just some of the things which you will want to have a system for. Think through all aspects of your blog business and put systems in place for everything. Setting up systems for keeping your blogging business organized right from the start will save you much frustration and headaches later. 

What are some other things you have found important to organize for your blog business? 


If you'd like to read the other posts in this series they can be found at the following links:

To access our members area and the free resources fill out this form. A password for the members area will be emailed to you.

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Lose Weight and Gain Faith, Five17 Fitness: Directory Participant Spotlight

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click links, we may receive compensation. 

I am excited to write this Directory Spotlight because I am writing it out of my personal experience with the individual/business which is being spotlighted.

Have you have ever stood on the scale and stared in discouragement at the number?

I can relate.

I’ve known for quite some time that I needed to make some changes in my life. I knew this because my health, as well as my scale, told me so.  

I have always been skeptical of many weight loss “programs” and “diet fads”. I knew when it came time to make changes in my life it was going to have to be in a way that was not “fad” like in nature, it had to be in a way I could feel good about.

Scripture says:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In all honesty, I was not treating my body like it was the temple of the Holy Spirit, I was not taking the time to take care of me and I certainly was not honoring God with my body.

At the same time as I was considering the changes I needed to make, and asking the Lord for guidance, He connected me to a biblically based health and fitness program I could feel good about participating in. It was a program right within the Faithful Bloggers Directory.

Let me introduce you to Five17 Fitness and Tyler Inloes, my personal coach.

I am currently 12 days into a 40 day fitness challenge withFive17 Fitness. When I set the date I was going to begin the challenge, I was so excited to start.

Then just a couple days before the date I chose to begin, I injured my foot, like seriously injured it.

I have been told to keep my foot up as much as possible for the next couple months. (Yes, months!)

Believe me when I tell you, I was tempted to say, “I have to wait to start this.” 

I was tempted to say, “I can’t right now because…”

But I made the decision that healthy is healthy, foot injury or not. So, I told Tyler about my injury and he too encouraged me to begin anyway. And so I did.

I have had to make adjustments to accommodate my injury. I cannot do any exercise which bends my foot at the ankle. I also can do almost no cardiovascular types of exercise (walking, running, jumping motions, etc.). Talk about needing to get creative.

If I can do this with my injury, so can you!

Because of my limitations with my foot, I do believe my progress may not be as swift as other people may experience, but I’m good with that. Healthwise I feel great.

When I started this, I had expected it to help me begin a path towards better health. Yes, it has done that. I feel great and yes, I’ve lost weight and inches. But this program has been so much more than I expected:

  • I’ve received daily spiritual encouragement right from scripture.
  • I’ve learned so much about God’s plan for my health.
  • There’s been someone behind the program who really cares about me, my family and my health.

All of these have strengthened my faith, just like the Five17 Fitness tag line says (lose weight & gain faith).

Tyler’s program teaches about and includes fasting, detoxing, healthy recipes, scripture, and daily emails which include encouragement, and health and exercise tips. All of which is written from a Christian, biblical basis. From the Five17 Fitness website:

In our opinion, the best way to lose weight isn’t by just eating kale and spending hours on a treadmill, but to follow the groundwork God lays out in the Bible”

Tyler is hosting a live webinar this Thursday, June 15th at 1:00p.m.

This webinar is called:

The Holy Detox: How to Lose 10 Pounds in 5 Days using the Bible. The link to register for the webinar is below.

I encourage you to register for the webinar, (I’ll be there!). If you are feeling run down, and haven’t been taking care of you, then maybe that one hour could be the kickstart you need (just like I needed) to get your healthy journey started.

Or you could jump right into the 40 day challenge and join me on the journey (this link to the 40 day challenge shows you everything that is covered during the challenge). It would be so exciting to have others on this journey with me, maybe we could encourage each other! If you begin, email me and let me know. 

Either way, check out the Five17 Fitness website and tell them Shelley sent you.

I want to say thank you to Tyler Inloes for using his passions to bring honor and glory to the Lord!

Here’s the info about the webinar in his own words:

I am on a mission.

My mission is to transform as many lives as possible through faith and nutrition.

I’ve seen first hand how eating biblically can transform people’s lives. And I know that if I can help take your nutrition to the next level, more lives will be changed.

Join me, Tyler Inloes, a Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist, for a 1-hour webinar where I’ll cover:

  • How to find purpose through fasting
  • What scripture says regarding what we eat
  • How to get on the right path to building your body, His temple
  • And much, much more!

Claim your FREE spot now!

https://five17fitness.webinarninja.co/my/wnwebinarlist/index?webinar_id=78924

 

Join our Collaborative Board on Pinterest

In the interest of fostering a community where we lift each other up Faithful Bloggers has started a collaborative board on Pinterest. 

This is a place for you to promote your own stuff but to also gives you a chance to give back to the Christian community, a win/win for everyone. 

Our Collaborative Pinterest board is meant for you to share anything which would resonate with Christians or bloggers. Your pins do not have to be related to the topic of blogging. 

So, come join us and start pinning!

Faithful Bloggers Collaborative Board on Pinterest

 

Are You Listening to Your Blog?

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" James 1:19 Having the ability to listen is a characteristic everyone should have as shown in James 1:19.  Not only do we need to be able to listen to what God is telling us, but we need to be able to listen to what others are telling us also.  Listening does not occur naturally but is a result of a conscious choice.  You may hear what is being said but do you listen to what is being said?

Do you listen to what being said on your blog?  I know this might sound like a stupid question.  Of course bloggers read the comments left on their blogs but do you take the time to really listen and connect with that person? Listening and connecting builds community.

So how can you listen to your blog?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Respond to comments.  Either by email or on your post, respond to the reader.  Let them know that you are indeed listening to what your readers have to say.
  2. Make yourself available to answer to questions any reader may have whether it be by a contact form, email, Twitter, or Skype.
  3. Find out what your readers want and need and then provide it.  If you readers are asking for a series of blog posts on certain subject, pray about it, and if you feel God is leading you to write it, write it.
  4. Pay attention to your stats.  Just because a post doesn’t get a lot of comments doesn’t mean it wasn’t popular or enjoyed by your readers.  Check your stats and see how the numbers compare with other posts that get a lot more comments.

By showing your readers that you are actually listening to them, they will become loyal readers and you will eventually begin to build a great community.  Of course this is something I still need to work on I am adding it to my blogging prayer list.

Blog Branding: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (part 5 of 10)

This post contains affiliate links which means we may be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of the links.

What is your blog brand? What is your blog going to look and feel like?

When someone arrives to your blog the look of your blog should match the content of your blog.

For example, when someone walks into a hardware store, if that hardware store had the look inside of a doctor’s office waiting room, the “feel” would be wrong. The same applies for your website.

If you are a blogger who blogs about gardening and the look and feel of your website is sterile and sleek with minimal color, the feel would be off similar to walking into the above mentioned hardware store.

How do you create the look and feel for your blog brand?

Good question. There are a few things you should consider when branding your blog. Your blog should have its own signature style. When people arrive at your site, they should immediately know where they are. For example, if someone blindfolded you and walked you into a Lowe’s store and uncovered your eyes and asked you where you were, you would not say you were in Home Depot because even though they are both home improvement stores they each have their own signature style, very different from the other’s.

Things you should consider when branding your blog include:

  • The Name of Your Blog
  • Colors
  • Logo
  • Fonts
  • Decorative Elements

Things to consider when naming your blog.

Naming your blog comes easy for some people and difficult for others. Sometimes the difficulty arises simply because the name someone chooses for their blog is already taken as a domain name. But other times it comes about because of just finding it difficult to come up with a name. To help with this a bit there are a couple things you may want to take into consideration as you name your blog

  1. Does the name you are considering reflect the goals and purpose of your blog?
  2. Will the name cause any confusion for your readers?
  3. Will you choose to name your blog a generic name or after yourself?

If you are considering naming your blog after yourself, here’s one more thing to take into consideration.

Many people believe naming a blog after yourself is the best option. I believe this to be true for some people but not for others. For example, if you are a writer and will be blogging to promote your written works, etc. then yes, name your blog after yourself and purchase the matching domain if it is available.

If you are blogging simply for your own enjoyment or for journaling/diary purposes then naming it after yourself would be fine. And if you are growing your blog for a business to earn some income then using your own name may or may not be a good decision.

When is it not a good idea to name your blog after yourself?

If you have as a goal for your blog to grow a business which has equity and you can one day sell it, then I believe it is best to NOT name it after yourself.

As an example, I will use this website (faithfulbloggers.com). I purchased Faithful Bloggers from the prior owner back in January. I am actually the third owner of Faithful Bloggers. If this site had been named “Suzie loves Jesus and Blogging.com” it would not have been worth as much to me because my name is not Suzie. Does that make sense?

If you grow a blog to a point where it is earning income and making profit, then you have created something of value (an asset), at that point you could at any time choose to sell it. You could still sell it if it is named after yourself, I just believe it will be more difficult and may not have as much value. This is an aspect of naming your blog or website which I have rarely seen discussed. 

How do you choose colors for your blog?

Colors:  Thinking back to the audience you are writing for (we discussed choosing your niche in part three of this series "Who is Your Audience"). When you are considering colors, consider if the colors you are choosing are a good match for your chosen niche. Think of other businesses or websites which cater to your chosen audience. Are they using similar colors?  Don’t copy them but you can use them for inspiration, remember your style should be your own, not theirs.

Choose colors which resonate with you but which also match what you are blogging about. Look in the home goods aisles of your favorite store, do you see a comforter set with colors which speak to you? Do you see a mug with a pretty pattern in colors you like? What do you have around your house which has a set of colors on it which you are drawn to?

Another good place to go to explore possible color palettes is www.colourlovers.com. If you visit that website and click on “browse”, you’ll be able to explore color combinations to your hearts content. If you would like to play around with some color combinations visit PicMonkey.com and check out their templates. Spend some time exploring the options and playing around with the tools.

How do you choose fonts for your blog?

Fonts, like colors, suggest a particular style. For example, some fonts are rounded and playful, some are sleek and crisp. Some fonts are serif fonts and some are sans serif. If you have no idea what a serif is, I will tell you. A serif is that little line that is at the bottom or the top of some letters.

These are examples of Serif fonts:

Picture1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

“Sans” means “without”, therefore, sans-serif fonts do not have those little lines.

These are examples of Sans-serif fonts:

 

 

Choose fonts which match the style you are aiming for. Look at other websites in your niche and see what types of fonts they use.

 

Some good rules of thumb are:

  • You should stick to at most 3-4 fonts on any page or website.
  • Don’t constantly change fonts.
  • Don’t use fonts which may be difficult to read.

One of the most important things to do with your branding is to be consistent. Whatever you choose, do it all the time. If you choose one font, stick with it, once you choose your colors, always use them and if you choose to brand your images, do it all the time. Consistency is key.

If any of the blog branding aspects seem overwhelming to you, you have options other than doing it yourself.

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

You could hire a designer to set up the visual aspects of your blog. If you are looking for a designer you may be able to find one on Fiverr.com. On Fiverr.com you can browse through the portfolios of designers and find someone who's work resonates with you. Or, alternatively you could visit Picmonkey and play around with templates and logos. Picmonkey is what I use to create almost all the images here on Faithful Bloggers. They have a free version which has tons of tools for you to use. The paid version is very reasonably priced.

 Alternatively try out www.canva.com and play around with some of their templates. The templates at those two websites have prechosen fonts and colors to make some of these decisions easier for you. By looking at the templates you can see examples of fonts which will look good together as well as color combinations.

I know this is a lot to think about if you are just starting out your blog. Just take it one step at a time and remember, nothing is permanent. You can change the colors or fonts on your blog any time you choose. Just choose something to start and take it from there.

Happy Blogging.

To see the other posts in this series: 

Blog Posting Schedule: 10 Things to Consider Before You Start a Blog (part 4 of 10)

With you answers to the questions from the first three posts in this series, you can now answer a new question:  What is your posting schedule going to be?

It is a good idea to establish what your blog posting schedule is going to be, right from the start of your blog. Posting schedules for bloggers range from posting every day or even a couple times a day to posting once a week or even once per month. None of those schedules are wrong.

Your blog posting schedule should be just that, YOUR posting schedule, not someone else’s.

If you do online research on what is the best posting schedule for blogging, you will find a wide variety of answers. But the truth is, what may be right for one blogger may not be right for another. There is no “one-size fits all” answer.  What is important is that you be comfortable with whatever you choose for a blog posting schedule.

When you are choosing how frequently you are going to post new blog content here are some things you should take into consideration:

  • Can you come up with new content at that frequency?
  • Can you do that long term?
  • Is the schedule you are considering a good fit for your family?
  • Is the schedule you are considering a good fit for other work/social/etc. things in your life?
  • What frequency would your readers want to hear from you?
  • What frequency would be a bother to your readers?

I have read writing by many people who recommend posting daily. I do not necessarily agree with this. A daily posting schedule works well for some blogs and for some niches but not for all.  

Although I understand why they find this important, I know for me personally that schedule would not work for a number of reasons. First, I think it’s unnecessary, second, it would be just too overwhelming for me and the other things in my life, and third, I don’t think my readers want to hear from me that often. However, I do know there are bloggers who do post according to a daily schedule and it works for them and their blog. Remember, what works for one does not necessarily work for another when it comes to blog posting schedules.

One of the keys when it comes to choosing your blog posting schedule is consistency. You should choose a schedule which you believe you can maintain consistently. You are going to be writing and posting at this frequency for a very long time so choose wisely and then be consistent.

Why is consistency so important?

Consistency with your blog posting schedule is important because you are basically training your readers in what to expect from you. If you post at a regular schedule, they grow to expect that schedule. In addition, when you post on a consistent schedule, you will see the traffic to your website will also be consistent. However, if you post at one schedule and then change it on your readers, you will see that the traffic to your website also changes.

There are two types of changes with posting to your blog which could occur. The first is, you begin with a heavy posting schedule, maybe posting every day. Then you change it and just publish a post once a week. Your readers will see this sudden drop and wonder what is going on.

The other change is the opposite where you are posting once a week and then suddenly you are posting constantly. Your readers will notice this as well and if the thought “Why on earth is she sending out so much information?” crosses their mind, they may unsubscribe to your mailing list. Consistency is key, choose a schedule and stick to it.

Once you choose a blog posting schedule you will have to decide how you are going to fill those posts.

If you think you will have any trouble coming up with content by just sitting down to a blank page or computer screen, here are some ideas for content.

  •    Consider scheduling guest posts
  •    Do some product reviews
  •    Write a blog post series (like this one)
  •    Post a video post.
  •    Post images with brief captions
  •    Record an interview of someone in your niche

These are just a few of the methods you can use to come up with creative content for your blog. If you add some of these ideas from time to time between regular blog posts, the variety will help to keep your readers engaged and it will help you keep your posting schedule commitment.

If you would like some more ideas for how to fill you blog posts, you can download our free tool: 25 Blog Post Ideas for Christian Bloggers, it can be found in our Freebie area along with other helpful resources. Click Here:  Take me to the FREEBIES

How to Write Your Testimony - and a Giveaway

WOO HOO!!! We have a new resource available which we think you are going to LOVE!!!

And it's FREE!  We all love free right? It can be found in the members area.  To access the members area fill out the form below. 

To launch this exciting new resource we have a giveaway going on. Details on how to enter are down below

HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY is our latest resource to help you share your God story.

HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY will walk you step by step through the process of writing your testimony.

It comes with worksheets and ideas for what to do with your testimony once you have it written. 

We're so excited to hear about your testimony getting written and your plans for sharing it with the world. 

If you just want to access this resource and are not interested in joining the giveaway, simply fill out the form below, you will be emailed the current password to our member area where you can access HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY as well as other resources.

Now for the giveaway:  

Watch this video to see the giveaway items: 

This giveaway includes a box of beautiful cards to color One is Psalms to color, the Other is Proverbs to color. Two winners will be chosen, each will get one box plus a variety of items perfect for art or mixed media journaling. 

Giveaway
It's Leave the Office Early Day!.png
giveaway 2.jpg

To Enter the Giveaway: 

  • 1) Fill out the form below. 

Email is how we will be contacting the winner so you will need to be on our mailing list. Also, once you join our mailing list you will be emailed the current password to our members area where you can access HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY for free. If you are already on our mailing list you will not have to do this step..but keep reading so you can get credit for the giveaway. 

  • 2) Do at least one of the following.

Do all of them if you wish. You will receive one entry to the giveaway for each one that you do.

3 ) After you do them, leave a separate comment for each thing you do. For example, leave one comment for filling out the form, leave another comment for sharing on facebook, etc. 

You MUST do this step in order to enter. 2 winners will be chosen at random from the comments. Each comment will count as ONE entry to the contest so you must post one comment for EACH thing you did. If you do all of them you'll enter 5 times. Don't forget to leave a comment that you filled out the form. If you are already on our mailing list you can comment "already on list" and it will be counted as an entry. (Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately).

Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, June 7th. Entries close at 10 a.m. 

Thanks to everyone who helps us get the word out about our new resource HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY. We are very excited about it being used to help people tell their God story. 

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Find Your Niche : 10 Things To Consider Before Starting A Blog (part 3 of 10)

This post contains affiliate links, for more information see our affiliate statement.

Who are you writing for? 

This is an important question to ask yourself before you even set up your blog. Finding your niche first can provide you direction when it comes to naming your website or blog a name which will resonate with your readers. It can also help guide you in your decision regarding the colors and branding look which you choose for your blog. In addition, when you brainstorm a list of potential writing topics for blog posts, knowing your niche will help the ideas flow more freely. 

If you are a Christian blogger, you have tremendous opportunity online to share regarding your faith. 

When people arrive at your blog or website you want them to stay awhile.

The best way to do that is for your site to have a clear purpose. There must be something there which resonates with them in order for them to stay. If you are a gardener who also loves fashion and cooking, these three things may be too disconnected in the mind of your reader for you to write on all three topics. for example, if someone who is seeking gardening tips arrives at your website but the page they land on has an article on the new dress you purchased and how stylish it is, you will probably lose the reader.  

However, if you choose to write about your gardening adventures and you also include cooking and recipes using things you've grown in your garden, now you have an attentive audience.

You could even throw in an article or two on the latest gardening hat to protect gardeners from the sun while gardening. This way you are adding in your love of fashion but still keeping it focused on gardeners.  

How to find your niche audience.

When choosing your topic, one very important thing is that you be interested in it. You will be writing about the topic for a very long time and it will get boring quickly if you don't like the topic. Narrow down your audience. By this I mean, don't just write to computer geeks, write to computer geeks who play games or computer geeks who build websites. Don't just write to moms, write to Christian homeschooling moms. Don't just write to those who have lost a loved one, write to those who have lost a child, or who are single after the loss of a spouse. Narrow it down and then write to that audience.

Make sure when you narrow it down, you don't narrow so much that there isn't enough to write about. 

If you are not sure who you want to write for begin by making a list of the things which you love. What are the things which resonate with you or which you enjoy doing in your spare time? Your hobbies and interests are topics which you would probably enjoy writing about. They are also the topics for which you would probably have the greatest ease coming up with content. 

If you need ideas for possible niches there are many places to go for ideas.

Take a trip to your local library and browse the books. Go to the non-fiction section and notice how the books are broken down into categories on the shelves. All the computer books are together, all the business books are together. They are even further broken down into business start up, business funding, business marketing, etc. As you browse through the books, notice the topics you are drawn to, those are good potential niches.

You could also visit a store which has a large magazine selection. You'll notice magazines are written to niche audiences. Home magazines are written to southern home owners, or owners of barn homes, or to those who like DIY projects at their home. They are also written to those who like the cottage look, or those who like victorian style, or those who prefer contemporary style. Magazine niches also make good blog niches.

Another thing to think about as you are finding your niche is that a niche is solving a problem.

For example, for the above magazine readers the problems might include "How do I decorate with cottage decor?", or "How do I do that DIY project?". The problem a person might need solved could be as simple as "What is the next knitting project I'm going to knit?" (and you'll provide the answer), or "What can I cook with all this zucchini from my garden?" (and you, the expert gardener, will provide the recipes). 

Another way to explore possible niches is to visit www.amazon.com and browse through the categories. Read book reviews. If a book topic resonates with you, explore what other subjects that author has written on, maybe they have a niche they write for. 

Take a look at article websites such as ezinearticles.com. You will see that their categories are further broken down into subcategories. These subcategories are all possible niches for your website or blog. 

Things to consider as you choose your niche

There are a few things you should consider as you choose your niche audience for your blog. One thing you must take into consideration is the answer to the question which we asked you in the first post in this series "Why Do You Want To Blog?" If your answer to this question was that you are blogging for a hobby or for personal enjoyment then your niche won't matter a whole lot. However, if you are blogging for profit, or to grow a business or ministry, or even if you are blogging for a hobby but would very much like to grow a following then choosing a niche is important. 

  • If you are blogging in hopes of making any money from your blog, you will need to choose a niche which can be profitable and for which you can produce ongoing content. Explore how much demand there is for your topic, then explore how much competition you'll have.
  • Can you produce amazing content on the subject? As of 2013 there were 152 million blogs on the internet. If you want to be noticed you are going to have to put out some pretty amazing content. Competition can be fierce, but it can also be a good thing if we allow it to push us on to excellence.
  • Are you giving yourself enough flexibility? As I mentioned before, don't narrow down the topic to the point of not being flexible or not providing enough possible content. 
  • Am I going to love this topic forever? Or, is this hobby I'm currently enjoying just a passing phase?

I hope your gears are turning with thoughts of possible niche audiences you can write for. Go visit your library or book store and write down possible ideas. Then once you have chosen a possible niche spend some time brainstorming a list of potential topics you could write on which fall under that niche. If you can brainstorm a decent list of topics, then you may have found your audience. 

To read the other posts in this series:

(part 1 of 10) Why do you want to blog?

(part 2 of 10) Which Platform Should You Choose? 

Happy Blogging!

To receive regular tips and downloads to help you in your blogging journey, sign up below. 

In addition, when you submit the form below, you will be emailed a password to access our member area where you will find helpful resources. 

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50 Devotion Topics and Ideas

As bloggers and writers we all face it eventually, the blank computer screen or paper.

Devotion topics can sometime be difficult to come up with when we're in a dry spell and the words just won't flow. 

We have heard from many of our readers that having some resources to help with overcoming writing block would be helpful. 

As part of our ongoing quest to encourage bloggers, writers, and anyone else who is passionate about sharing their Christian message, we have a brand new resource available, and it's FREE!

50 Devotion Topics and Ideas

This resource will help you brainstorm devotion topics in those times when you just seem to be coming up dry. We hope you enjoy it and it is a blessing to you. Please let us know in the comments what you think and if you would like more resources like this. 

For the next four days this resource will be available here for download. After that time, the first page will be available in our "freebies" area and the entire resource will be available for free (along with other free resources) in our members area which you can access by signing up using the form below. A password will be emailed to you.

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Christian Haiku Group Writing Project - with Downloadable PDF

Haiku Group Writing.jpg

Today is Haiku Poetry Day. In honor of Haiku Poetry Day, Faithful Bloggers issued a group writing project challenge to write Christian Haiku, 22 people accepted that challenge. (You can read about the challenge here)

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry which originated in the 16th century. It is a pattern of 3 lines of poetry. The three lines contain specific numbers of syllables, the first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third line has 5 syllables. 

I'm sure you will agree as you read the submissions, they are all beautiful, each in it's own way.

It was enjoyable for me to read them because they were so varied in the emotions which they conveyed. They ranged from one author using big words which expressed the unfathomableness of God, words like; indispensable and inexplicable all the way to another author using Batman in hers, I love that.

I love that our Christian faith can be expressed in that variety of ways because, that's just what living a life of Christian faith is actually like, deep and serious at times, lighthearted and friendly at others.

One day God is my sustainer, my strength when my heart is breaking, another day He's providing fresh joy in the morning and laughter on the wind. 

Thank you to all those who contributed, your submissions were beautiful. You all seriously rocked the Haiku. 

If you would like to download a copy of the Christian Haiku there is a link at the bottom of this post. After you read through them, we'd love if you would share your thoughts in the comments, it would be a blessing to those who contributed.

Here is the link if you would like to download a copy of the PDF of the Christian Haiku.

 

 

 

Directory Participant Spotlight - Damsels Digress

Christian Directory Spotlight

Faithful Bloggers exists to help Christian blog and website owners get the word out regarding their ministry or business. We have a directory to help with that purpose, we recently announced a new benefit to those who are listed in the directory; the Directory Participant Spotlight. Those who are in the directory are welcome to submit a request to be spotlighted. We have had many submissions and chose the first spotlight randomly from the submissions using the random number generator.

We are proud to announce our first spotlight and ask that you stop by their website and support their work, tell them we sent you. Here's a bit about them, in their own words. 


It’s no secret that most women like to talk. And what’s wrong with that? Life as a Christian can get complicated, and sometimes, you just have to talk stuff out. Or digress, as we call it. Whether it’s mulling over the church’s aversion to a healthy discussion of sex, detailing how culture has corrupted the biblical meaning of judgment, giving advice on how to talk to a grieving friend, or just listing our favorite fictional couples, Damsels Digress has been an online forum where young Christian women express themselves since 2014. We strive for honesty, because if we’re never honest about where we are then we’ll never understand what we must do to grow. We hope our digressions will challenge both you and us to live a life dedicated to becoming more like Christ in our speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. 

In addition to reading our blog, you can watch us digress on: 

to stay updated with our latest content.


If you are listed in our directory and would like an opportunity to be spotlighted, you can fill out the form for the Directory Participant Spotlight.  

 

 

Christian Haiku Group Writing Project

It has been a while since Faithful Bloggers hosted a group writing project so we thought it was about time for one. 

Christian Haiku

Announcing the Christian Haiku Group Writing Project


Why Christian Haiku? Well, Monday April 17th is Haiku Poetry Day. In honor of that, we are seeking writing submission which are Haiku but are also Christian in content. 

We will be compiling all the submission of Christian Haiku into a downloadable book (PDF) which you can share with your readers. 
This PDF will be hosted on Faithful Bloggers for download but if you are a contributing writer, you are also welcome to make this available on your own site (for free only,  this can not be charged for). The purpose of this book is to share the Word of God in a manner which is a bit different than you may have done in the past. Having something on your site for your readers to download creates increased engagement. This is a good opportunity for you to have something for them to download at minimal work on your end. It's also a good opportunity to stretch yourself and your writing. 

If you are asking, "What exactly is Haiku?" well, we're glad you asked. 

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry which originated in the 16th century. It is a pattern of 3 lines of poetry (that's all, not so hard right?). The three lines contain specific numbers of syllables, the first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third line has 5 syllables. Here is an example from
Tom DiFrancesca III of http://www.4u-lord.com

Immeasurable
Like snowflakes falling quickly
God's grace pouring down


There are many examples of Haiku available online if you need more examples. If you would like more Christian examples, there are some links at the bottom of this post.

How to submit for the Christian Haiku Group Writing Project:

  • Send an email to admin(at)faithfulbloggers.com.

  • The subject line must read: "Haiku Submission".

  • You are welcome to submit up to 10 Haiku.

  • If you want us to include a link to your website in the PDF, you must include it in the email submission. If it is not in the email, it will not be in the PDF. 

  • All submissions will include the name of the author unless it is specified in the email that you wish to remain anonymous.

  • The deadline for submission is Wednesday April 12th at 10:00a.m.

  • If you want us to include a link to your website in the PDF, you must include it in the email submission. If it is not in the email, it will not be in the PDF. 

  • We reserve the right to refuse any submission we feel are innappropriate for our readers. 

  • By submitting to the Group Writing Project you are giving permission for your submission to be distributed free of charge here on Faithful Bloggers as well as on other contributors websites. 

We will turn all submissions into a PDF and will send an email on Friday April 14th for you to access the PDF so you can promote it on International Haiku Poetry Day (April 17th). 

So get busy writing those Haiku, we can't wait to read them. 

UPDATE:  The Haiku PDF Download can be found here

LINKS TO CHRISTIAN HAIKU:

Consider Christianity Week

Consider Christianity Week

This week is Consider Christianity Week. It's a perfect time to write a post for your blog discussing your testimony, or the powerful impact a relationship with Christ can have in the life of a Christian. Why not share about the freedom and forgiveness which can only be found in Christ.

I created this graphic (image) for Consider Christianity Week. You are welcome to take it and use it if you are writing about Consider Christianity Week (not sell it). I intentionally left off the www.faithfulbloggers.com text which I normally add across the bottom so you can use it for your own blog post if you desire and you are even welcome to add your website text at the bottom.
If you do write about Consider Christianity Week, please leave a link to the post in the comments.

Do You Want to Increase Your Online Exposure? We Can Help.

Christian Blog Directory Spotlight

We are excited to announce a new feature to help you increase your online exposure.

"Directory Participant Spotlight"

We will be spotlighting in a post here on the site, people (and their websites) who are listed in the Faithful Bloggers directory. 

This will be an added benefit to you if you are listed in our directory. Now, not only will you have the benefit of links to your site from your directory listing but you will have the opportunity to also have a post about you and your site with additional links. 

We have been busy going through the directory and making sure all the links are working and that everything is current. 

If you would like to be chosen to be spotlighted, you will have to apply using the form below. We will choose who to spotlight at random from those who apply to be spotlighted. There will be no regular set schedule for the frequency of the "Directory Participant Spotlights", they will be posted when we feel it's time for another one. 

Your spotlight post can be either written by you or by us. In your spotlight post you will have opportunity to tell us about yourself and your website. If you have a product you would like featured, we can do that as well. 

The "Directory Participant Spotlights" will be shared on our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Requirements to be spotlighted:

  • You must be listed in the directory. If you are not already listed in the directory you MUST do that FIRST. Here is the link to JOIN THE DIRECTORY
  • Your website must contain the link back to Faithful Bloggers and it must remain on your site as long as you are listed in the directory
  • If you have a blog we ask that you share on your blog regarding your spotlight at Faithful Bloggers and include a link to your spotlight post. 
  • all other requirements listed on the directory sign up page must be met
  • We reserve the right to refuse any entries for Directory Participant Spotlights.

If you are listed in the directory and would like to be "spotlighted" fill out this form to apply. Once the form is received, we will add you to the pool of those who are wanting to be spotlighted. If chosen, you will be notified via email and we can then begin the process of getting your post put together for publication. If you are not chosen, your name will remain in the pool for future spotlights.

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http://

The Year of Commitment is available!

You Don't Have to Feel Overwhelmed or Stuck - Find Out How You Can Have An Amazing Year

With the end of March comes the end of the first quarter of 2017. The end of a quarter is the perfect time to evaluate how the year is going so far.

Have you ever wondered how some people can accomplish so much in life? How would you feel if I told you it wasn’t all in their abilities?  If you could have similar results, would you want to learn the techniques?

Imagine having a healthy work / life balance and not feeling overwhelmed by all you have to accomplish in life.

I, like you, wanted those things too, that’s why I created The Year of Commitment.

The Year of Commitment will help you

  • put a plan in place for a great year
  • take steps to put action to your dreams
  • create a work/life balance
  • get unstuck
  • set aside time for the important things in life (relationships, time with the Lord, etc.)
  • set and obtain goals which are honoring to the Lord but also are in alignment with your priorities

The Year of Commitment is a workbook, along with other materials which will walk you through the process of planning out your year and setting goals. Many successful people the world over regularly go through the process of planning. This is what one well known author has to say about planning.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

— Alan Lakein

What’s included you ask?

The Year of Commitment comes with:

  • The 21 page Year of Commitment Workbook
  • Video: For the Workbook
  • BONUS ITEM: Weekly Planning Worksheet
  • BONUS ITEM: Bible Study 'What Scripture Says About Planning' by: Shelley Howland

Who am I and why did I develop The Year of Commitment?

I once felt stuck too. I used to feel overwhelmed by all I had to accomplish. I use to wish I knew how to find time in my busy schedule to do the fun things, the little things like have lunch with one of my kids, or to write for my blog, or even to pursue dreams.

At one point, I said, "enough is enough" and then, over a ten year period of trial and error, I developed The Year of Commitment. This is the exact same planning process which my husband, myself, and now many other people use to put their ideas, thoughts, and dreams into action. This is the exact same planning process I have used every year for the last ten years to grow a company into having over $1,000,000 in revenue.

I know you may be thinking, “But, I’m not starting a business” or “I’m not after big, huge dreams and goals.” 

That’s ok! Up until this past September I was a homeschooling mom (for 20+ years). I used this same planning process for

  • setting goals for our homeschooling
  • my household projects
  • and any ministry projects in my life

I also used it to set goals for how many times a month I wanted to take one of the kids out for lunch and other small, but important things like that. The Year of Commitment will meet you wherever you are in life and guide you to set plans in those areas.

When you have completed The Year of Commitment workbook, you will have set goals in each area of your life, and you will have a plan in place to make those goals happen…that’s a good feeling, trust me.  

It doesn’t matter if what you want to do with your life involves starting a business, blogging, working in a ministry, homeschooling your kids, or anything else, you’ll have a plan. You will also have committed your year to the Lord. I have used many different versions of yearly planning material and I have yet to see one which approaches planning from that starting place. I believe this is of utmost importance in the life of a believer. This is how you create a healthy work/life balance.

To access 'The Year of Commitment' go here:   https://faithful-bloggers.teachable.com/p/the-year-of-commitment-yearly-planning

Don't Forget Your End of Quarter Review

With the end of March comes the end of the first quarter of 2017. It's time to evaluate how your first quarter has been. Are you happy with the direction your year is taking?

As my husband and I sit down to do our quarterly review as we do each and every quarter of the year we ask ourselves the above question as well as: Are we on track for the plan we set? If we are, what adjustments might be necessary? If we're not, do we need to adjust the plan or adjust the actions in order to get back on track? 

Planning and reviewing are excellent practices to put into place in your life. Planning and reviewing help you to:

  • get unstuck 
  • make time for important things in life
  • move things forward with purpose
  • and so much more

If you've ever wondered how some people can accomplish so much in their life and yet you seem to remain stuck, they are probably using the practice of planning. Planning is purposeful. It is purposefully putting a plan on paper and creating steps to help you accomplish your goals. 

With the end of this quarter I want to encourage you to consider how your year is going and if you haven't written a plan for the year, go ahead and write one. The end of the quarter is the perfect time. Writing a yearly plan can taken place any time during a year, not only at the beginning. Next Tuesday we will be launching a new product called "The Year of Commitment", it is a faith based yearly planning tool. It will only be available for a limited time. This is the exact planning tool my husband and I use to write our yearly plan. 

In addition, if you'd like to join us, we will be talking about planning and our individual progress both on the Facebook page and in the Facebook group. Here's the link to the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/faithfulbloggers/

So, I encourage you to get busy either conducting your review or writing your plan. If you need a resource to help you accomplish that, watch for the release of "The Year of Commitment" on Tuesday. If you would like to read more about it you can visit this page: "The Year of Commitment"