That is the number one question to ask your self before you set up a blog.
Be sure you can answer that question and answer it well. When we surveyed the Faithful Bloggers readers we found that a large percentage of our readers were blogging for the purpose of ministry, but not all of them were. Some were blogging simply to keep a journal of the things they were doing in their life, maybe with their children and homeschooling. Others were blogging in hopes of supplementing their household income just a bit, still others had hopes of eventually making a full time income. There are a great number of reasons for why people blog. But it is important to know your reasons before you start.
Why is it important to know the reason before you start?
It is important to know the reason because, depending upon the your reason, how and where you set your blog up at the start could be different. If you are blogging for a hobby or for journal keeping, you may be fine setting up your blog on one of the free platforms such as Blogger or on a free Wordpress site. But if you are hoping to eventually earn a money from your blog, I'd recommend setting up right from the start on a more advanced platform which can grow with you as your business grows. If you choose to set up on a free platform you always have the option to one day move your blog to a more advanced platform. It would however be much easier to just begin on the chosen platform from the start, take it from someone who recently went through the process of moving to another platform, it's no fun. If you are looking at more advanced platforms I would recommend either Squarespace or a self hosted Wordpress site. If you want to read more on this subject read our post titled "Why We Moved from Squarespace to Wordpress".
Here are some things to consider when trying to decide on your reasons for blogging.
1) If you want to blog for hobby or for keeping a journal
- This can be done for free through Blogger.com or through Wordpress.com.
- If you choose Blogger.com or Wordpress.com for your blog, your site will have an extension after whatever name you choose. For example if you choose the name "Jane Doe's Site" for your blog, your web address if you choose Blogger will be "www.janedoessite.blogger.com". If you choose WordPress it will be "www.janedoessite.wordpress.com".
- The only way to get a site without the extension at the end of the site name is to buy a domain name and point it to your site. Domain names can be purchased for anywhere around $8.00 and up (way up depending upon the domain you are looking for).
2) If you want to blog to earn supplementary or full time income
- Blogging costs money, it just does. The old saying "It takes money to make money" holds true in the world of blogging.
- You should choose a platform other than a free one. A website with a .blogger.com or a .wordpress.com, or any other extension at the end is simply not looked at as professional.
- Here are some things you will more than likely eventually spend money on
- domain name
- your platform
- email service
- web design if you are not comfortable tackling this yourself
- Here are some additional expenses you may have depending upon how you plan to make money on your blog
- photo editing software (or online service) if you don't already have some
- payment processing service or fees
- online classroom membership or place to host your downloads
- ads (social media, on websites, etc.)
- content creation if you do not plan to write all of your content your self
- and more
How do these things apply if you just want to blog for the purpose of ministry?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, when we surveyed our readers we found that a large number of people were blogging for the purpose of ministry. It is great that so many people are utilizing the power of the internet to spread the good news of Jesus. However, even when blogging for ministry purposes you still need to consider your long term goals. For example, if you are simply writing to share your love of Jesus to whoever happens across your site, or for a place to just share some devotions you wrote, then a free platform may be fine for your needs.
However, If you desire to do more than that with your ministry, you may need to consider another platform, in which case there are going to be some expenses. For example, if you desire to collect email addresses to stay in touch with your readers, you'll need a service which can do that for you. If you want your website to appear more professional and polished, you'll need to pay for a domain name and maybe for someone to design your site for you. We will cover some of these topics in greater detail in other posts in this series.
It's a lot to think about but knowing your reasons before starting your blog will help you set it up in the best way possible right from the start.
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