There is an issue which is huge problem in the world of blogging. That issue is: how to ask to guest post. I suspected that Faithful Bloggers was not the only website frustrated by this issue so I sent out a survey to some of the Faithful Bloggers community who I knew participated in guest posting either on the giving or receiving end. This post contains their responses and some helpful words of wisdom.Read More
When you are just starting your blog you need to consider if you are going to start an email list and which email server you are going to use. Not everyone who starts a blog has to have an email list. But for the vast majority of people who blog, the question of whether or not you are going to collect email addresses should be answered with a “yes”.Read More
In show #18 of the Faithful Bloggers Podcast I make a very exciting announcement!
Not only is the podcast back with a new weekly schedule but I now have a co-host! Help me welcome Andy McClung from ChristianCampPro.com by leaving him some encouraging comments on his website.
In today's show Andy and I discuss our most successful blog posts and what made them successful. Some key points we talk about are:
- How we discovered which post was our most successful
- How we can improve the post
- How to leverage leverage the traffic we receive from those posts
Links mentioned in episode #18:
Make sure to join us next week as Andy and I talk about bringing life back to old posts!
If you have any question about what we talked about leave us a message here!
AFter you have listened to the podcast, go check your analytics program and find out what is your most successful blog post and leave us a link in the comments!
Most people start a blog in order to be part of some sort of community. The types of communities vary from person to person depending on the blogger's goals. Many mom bloggers just want to connect with other moms so have some sort of adult connection. Other mom bloggers want to review products and host giveaways. Bloggers want to connect with other bloggers of a similar mind. Collaborating with other bloggers help build that community. Just by participating in the group writing projects here at Faithful Bloggers is a form of collaborating with other bloggers. By joining the group writing project you help grow your blog, Faithful Bloggers, and the Christian blogging community. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
Here are some ways you can collaborate with other bloggers in your online community:
- Guest Posts
- Cross promote blogs or products
- Host a radio show or podcast together
- Create a video together
- Write a special report together
- Start a group writing project
- Plan and host a Twitter party
Working with other bloggers will only help your blog. Just make sure that you don't neglect your in blog while helping others. Keep in mind, in order to get the most out of collaborating you need to collaborate with bloggers in your same niche and community.
Have you collaborated with other bloggers? How so? Did you see a benefit from it?
If you are looking to find new readers and increase traffic to your blog, you should try article marketing. I know a lot of people claim article marketing is dead, but I have great results with it. What is Article Marketing?
Article marketing is when you write an article and then submit it to various article directories on the Internet.
Article directories are depository for publishers to find free articles for use on their websites, blogs, newsletter, e-zines, etc. The catch is that they have to use the article as is and they must include the author bio and links. Once you submit your article to directories, publishers find it and publish it on their sites while linking to you. Not only do you get the link back to your blog, but hopefully traffic from it too.
I have been using article marketing as my primary method of marketing for Christian Mom PLR. While my numbers don"t double or triple, I do see a study rise in traffic and sales.
Article marketing can also be used to brand yourself as an expert on a topic. The more you write and publish on a certain topic, the more people will see you as an expert.
Here are a few article directories I'm familiar with:
There are tons of them out there. A quick Google search for Article Directories and the first resource mentioned is a site that lists the top 50 article directory sites. (If you choose to use any of them, be sure to check them out first and make sure you follow their rules.)
Have you ever tired article marketing? If not, what"s stopping you?
Last week I asked you to take a short one question survey telling me what you want to learn more about. So far the number one thing Christian bloggers want to learn more about are the different types of blogging tools available. In my personal opinion if you are going to blog, especially if you are going to blog for a profit, you need to use WordPress for your blogging platform. While WordPress is free you do have to have a web hosting account. A web host is a company that stores all your files and content to be shown on the Internet. Depending on the company you go with you can get a web host account for as low as $5 a month. You also have to purchase a domain name, which is your url, and that cost is usually around $10 a year.
For me, reliable web hosting is a must have blogging tool. I need a web host that I can count on to be up and running on a consistent basis, that has excellent support, and is affordable. While their are many excellent web hosting companies available such as Host Gator, my web host of choice is MomWebs and here's why.
- Affordability - MomWebs smallest package starts at $15/quarter which comes out to $5 a month. Super affordable. I am on the Mult-Plan, only $10 a month, which allows me to host multiple domain names/websites under the same account. This is important to me because it helps to make managing multiple sites simple and I don't have to have multiple web hosting accounts which can add up money wise.
- Support - I have never had support as great as the support offered by MomWebs. Scott, their tech guy, knows his stuff and is very quick to reply and happy to help. I have never not had my email replied to or issued acknowledge and taken care of in less than 24 hours. MomWebs will even move your site over from another host for you. I have tried many different web hosts before and MomWebs has the best support, hands down.
- Uptime - I use a service called Service Uptime to notify me whenever my websites go down. Service Uptime monitors your website 24/7/365 and alerts you immediately by email if your website is unavailability or is having performance problems. The entire time I have been with MomWebs, about 9 months now, I have gotten one email from Service Uptime telling me my site was down. Then less then a minute later I got another email telling me the site was back up. MomWebs has excellent uptime!
- Owners- MomWebs is owned is by 2 ladies well known in the work at home mom world, Kelly McCausey and Nicole Dean. Not only do I admire both of these ladies and the online businesses they built for themselves, but Kelly is also a believer. I want to support fellow Christians in their business endeavors. I know I can trust Kelly and know that she has the work at home mom community in her heart.
For me MomWebs is the only web hosting company I would recommend to my fellow Christian bloggers. I know there are a lot of choices to choose from, but you have to take into account reliability, support, and affordability. MomWebs excels in all these areas.
This post is part of a contest happening at MomWebs. Links above also contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of those links, I may make a little bit of money from that sale, which goes to support Faithful Bloggers.
I have always been a firm believer in prayer. I have seen prayers answered. I've experienced answered prayers. Praying to the Lord works. James 5:16 tells us, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words the word avail as used in James 5:16 means "to be of force, to be effective, capable of producing results". Prayer is effective and produces results!
If we want our blogs to be effective and to produce results, then we need to pray for it! I don't know about you, but I always forget about what I need to pray about. I remember the big stuff, but not always the little things. So I have a prayer journal to keep track of all of my prayer requests. I have even recently started a business prayer journal to keep track of all my business prayer requests. So why not have one for your blog?
Here are some benefits of having a blogging Prayer Journal:
- If you are praying for content ideas, list your ideas in your blogging prayer journal to pray about. Not only will it help you to remember to pray, but it will also help you to remember what those ideas are and to listen for God's answer.
- Makes it easier to see how God is working in your blog. When a prayer get’s answered, I cross it off the list.
- It will help you to focus on your blog.
- If you are praying for God's will in your blog, then that is a sign that you are giving your blog over to the Lord for His use.
Can you think of any other benefits? Do you have a blogging prayer journal? If so, what kind of things to you pray about?
How will you celebrate Easter this year on your blog?
Yesterday, we discussed using your blog to creatively inform and educate your readers about the Biblical events of Christ's last week.
Today, consider using your blog to discuss Easter arts and crafts.
Easter is a perfect holiday for arts and crafts—either to do with the kids or to decorate your home.
Discuss Easter Arts and Crafts on Your Blog
- Post your favorite ideas for fun projects to do with the kids: things to make, egg-dying activities, and so on. Think easy and inexpensive. These can be tried-and-true activities from your family or links to favorite posts you've discovered online.
- Find good deals on arts and crafts supplies—either online or in retail stores—and post these for your readers.
- Create themed project posts, assigning a different theme to each day: egg activities, baskets, outside decorations, and so on.
- Choose several of the Christian symbols of Easter (cross, crown of thorns, palm branches, and so on). Post about projects involving these specific symbols. Encourage your readers to use their arts and crafts projects to tell the story of Easter (whether to children or visitors to their homes or church).
What kinds of Easter arts and crafts posts will you include in your blog this year?
Later this week, we'll discuss sharing Easter recipes and family traditions with your readers.
The Christian calendar presents a wonderful opportunity to share your faith with your readers.
I have found that—even though some of my readers may not be Christians—most of them celebrate Christian holidays in a "secular" manner. What a great opportunity to tell them more about the true meaning behind the holidays (while encouraging your Christian readers, too).
A highlight of the Christian calendar, Easter is April 4 this year. Make plans now to include special Easter-related posts during the days leading up to the observation of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
Scripture is so rich with details of the events surrounding Easter. Simply focusing on the Biblical account is a great way to inform and educate your readers.
Celebrate Easter on Your Blog by Re-telling the Bible Story
Use your blog to re-tell the events of Christ's last week by:
- Planning posts for each day of the week, using Scripture references to outline Jesus' final days.
- Using the different gospel accounts to compare/contrast details about Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
- Having a movie marathon. Post clips from the various accounts on your blog and tell the story through film.
- Asking your pastor or Bible study teacher or another guest to write a post on the events of Holy Week.
- Posting a Bible study, outlining the Old Testament Scriptures that foreshadow Christ's death and resurrection.
- Researching and writing about the medical account of how Christ would have died by crucifixion (a terribly painful thing to read but also important at understanding the sacrifice of our Lord).
How will you incorporate Easter into your blog this year?
Tomorrow, we'll look at celebrating Easter on your blog with arts and crafts ideas. Later in the week, we'll discuss sharing Easter recipes and family traditions with your readers.
Today, let's look at the purpose of education.
Maybe you've never thought yourself much of a teacher, but don't sell your blog short. Your readers can learn a lot from your insights and experiences. You can also create an atmosphere at your blog where your readers learn from each other.
Has God called you and your blog to a ministry of education?
Some ways that your blog can educate others:
- Host Bible studies by making "assignments" from a Scripture selection. Discuss your thoughts and insights on the Scripture, then invite comments from your readers. Continue until you've studied an entire book of the Bible.
- Host book studies and discussions. Choose a favorite book (either Christian or non-Christian) and post discussion questions. Engage in conversation about the book's objectives and themes. If the book is not a Christian book, ask your readers to make contrasts and comparisons to Christianity, find Christian symbolism, and so on.
- Explore church history with your readers.
- Write about today's culture from a Christian worldview. Tackle tough topics (politics, entertainment, money, etc.), offering ways to navigate today's world while living biblically.
- Offer your readers a steady stream of your favorite Christian websites. These can be in your particular area of interest (sermons, homeschooling, devotions, etc.) or from multiple topics. Do some research and give your readers suggested sites that will teach them something new.
How does your blog educate others?
Maybe you've been blogging for a few months now and are bored.
Or stuck. Or distracted.
You'd like your blog to be something more, except you can't quite put your finger on exactly what that is.
I want to challenge you to intentionally seek to define your blog's purpose.
As a Christian who blogs, your primary purpose should be to glorify God (as is our primary purpose for all that we do).
But exactly how can your blog glorify God?
This week, we'll highlight three specific missions for your writing that are unique to blogs by Christians.
You may want to devote a specific day each week for each "purpose" with targeted posts or simply keep them as an underlying standard for everything you write.
Writing with a purpose in mind keeps your writing focused and effective.
Today we'll look at the gift of encouragement.
Has God called you and your blog to a ministry of encouragement?
Some ways that your blog can encourage others:
- Sharing your trials and triumphs of experiences that are common to your readers
- Writing about ways God has blessed you, revealed an answer to you, and/or answered your prayers
- Emphasizing the significance of otherwise "mundane" tasks and events
- Posting your favorite Scripture verses and what they mean to you
- Highlighting experiences of women from Christian and church history
How does your blog encourage others? What types of posts encourage those who need to be lifted up? In what areas do you see today's Christian woman needing the most encouragement? How can your writing help?
I coach my daughter's Upward cheerleading squad (Upward is a Christian-based sports program). At each practice we have a devotion, recite Scripture memory verses, and pray.
This season's theme has been light. I'm sure you can guess what we've discussed: God is light, live in the light, walk in the light, moving from darkness to light, and so on.
This week's devotion was centered around Christian fellowship. Our memory verse this week was
If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other (1 John 1:7b).
The verse in its entirety and from the ESV is this:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
But I got to wondering: How do these interactions contribute to authentic Christian fellowship? Or should it even matter?
I'll answer the second one first: Yes. I think it does matter.
Created for Community
We know that God created us for community. According to the verse above, walking in the light with others who are walking in the light brings fellowship. We need each other for encouragement, especially in the Blogosphere.
I have actually seen my activity on Facebook and Twitter contribute to authentic Christian fellowship. I wrote about the opportunities for prayer and worship as I engaged in a few communities on Facebook.
And who would have thought that only 140 characters (typed in the form of a meaningful Bible verse or quotation) would be just the word I needed for encouragement on a difficult day?
Finding Courtney and Kelly here at Faithful Bloggers has been the beginning of wonderful Christian fellowship that only God could have orchestrated.
So I would say, YES! Authentic Christian fellowship is not only possible through social media; it's inevitable when you approach your participation with that as your goal.
Use these and other social media platforms to invite your followers to walk with you in the light. When you do, you'll find authentic Christian fellowship.
How has your participation in social media brought you into authentic Christian fellowship?
Most Twitter users I know fall into one of two camps: completely overwhelmed or hopelessly addicted. I've been in both spots myself. But I think I've finally found a happy medium. I enjoy tweeting, and I've had some blog visits, solely from my links posted to Twitter.
Once you're up and running on Twitter:
- Use Tweetdeck or HootSuite or a similar application to keep all your contacts organized. Sorting your contacts into groups will allow you to closely follow those conversations of most interest to you. The Lists function on Twitter performs a similar function and is also useful when using Twitter through the web.
- Search for keywords and/or hashtag (#) terms to find conversations about topics of interest to you. This is particularly helpful to "introduce" you to potential readers for your blog.
- Monitor hot topics, issues, and questions for possible blog post ideas.
- Ask a question to get people interested in your topic so they'll click to your blog to read more. Resist the temptation to just tweet the ordinary, "New Blog Post" tweet. (Read more ideas like these in this article* by Chris Brogan.)
- As I said above, I think Twitter can be quite addictive. My best tactic for this is limiting myself to short bursts of tweeting. If possible, set aside twenty minutes morning, noon, and night to tweet. Engage in conversation, re-tweet interesting posts, and follow people who follow you. I don't get to do this consistently, but when I do, I usually always add at least ten followers.
What are your favorite aspects of Twitter? How has Twitter helped your blog?
And don't forget to follow @faithfulbloggrs ;-)
*This article is featured on a website that does not necessarily contain Christian content.
Conversation about having a media kit began at lunch on the first day of the conference with Faithful Bloggers co-founder Kelly from Wisdom Begun. She gave me a great list of media kit must-haves. Simple Mom, Tsh Oxenreider, also spoke in one of the sessions about the importance of a good media kit.
Create a Media Kit for Your Blog
One of the best ways to create your own media kit is to study others. Simple Mom's media kit was touted at Blissdom as a great example of what to do. I would agree; the media kit is attractive, easy-to-read, interesting, and thorough.
As you work on your media kit, consider these suggestions:
- Think of your "social media footprint." Make sure to include all numbers of followers/subscribers/contacts on your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and similar accounts.
- Think of your contacts in real life. How connected are you in your community? Many Christian women bloggers, especially, have many opportunities for relationships in the Church and in para-church organizations.
- Regard your media kit as a "digital resume." Just as you wrote every activity and honor on your college application, do the same for your blog's media kit.
- Note any previous campaigns in which you've been involved and how you achieved your goals with your blog. Record all conferences attended.
- Statistics are important, of course, and Google Analytics is the recommended tool for gathering them. Do find out who your audience is. Advertisers are more concerned about who is receiving your message (and ultimately their ads) than they are concerned with you.
- Even if your blog is small, create a media kit! It gives you a professional profile and it's important to have on-hand.
Check out these articles* about creating a media kit for your blog:
Do you have a media kit? What's in it? What's your best piece of advice for a blogger creating a new media kit for her blog?
*The articles listed here are from websites that do not necessarily contain Christian content.
Blissdom "10 is over, and I"ve come home with some great tips and ideas for my blog. One of those is discovering my niche.
I"m sure you"re familiar with what a niche is: a special area of passionate interest where your particular voice is effective.
I"d like to think that the Apostle Paul would have loved niche blogging! He tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that God gives everyone separate and distinct callings and gifts. Why should blog topics be any different? The Bible outlines the beneficial necessity of the diversity of gifts among the Church body.
Defining your niche not only allows you to "stand out from the crowd;" it increases your effectiveness as a communicator. Blogging in an online casino area of a God-given strength glorifies God.
The Nester offered a helpful set of self-searching questions to discover your niche. Thought-provoking and relevant, they should help you hone in on where your God may be directing your blog. (I"ve edited them a bit, but most are from the Nester and the Blissdom "10 session, "Niche Blogging: Experts Talk About Blogging Your Passions and Expertise.")
Find Your Blog"s Niche
- Which posts make you nervous when you hit the publish button? (this may be your niche)
- Which posts feel like work or drudgery? (this is not your niche)
- Which posts have received the most comments?
- Which posts have received the most comments that are meaningful to you?
- What are your top favorite posts?
- What are your readers" favorite posts?
- If you could write anything, what would it be?
- If you chose a certain niche, could you commit to it long-term? (you don"t want to get bored a few months in)
- What do you search for online?
- What do you talk about when you"re not writing?
Does your blog have a niche? What do you think of these questions? How can niche blogging make you a more effective blogger for the Kingdom of God?
"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands." -Psalm 90:17
Recently this verse especially spoke to me while I was reading God's word. You see, I have a problem called tryingtodoitonmyownitis. Perhaps you can relate? I see something that looks interesting and I start making plans and lists and goals. I set my sights on achieving my goal and away I go. As I am going on my merry way I usually stumble and fall. Picking my bruised self up I attempt to try again. As always I fall again and soon I am complaining about why everything is going wrong.
When this happens it is usually because I have forgotten something: my attempts and goals and dreams must be established by God. Going at it on my own will never be a successful venture. He created my life, and He ordains it and sustains it. Everything is guided through His hands and I can either willingly follow or muddle up my journey with human attempts.
Now since this is a web site dedicated to blogging I will speak specifically about that. However this is a godly concept that needs to be applied to all of life so keep that in mind. And just for a little background we'll go ahead and look up in Noah Webster's handy-dandy 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language just what "establish" means.
"Set; fixed firmly; founded; ordained; enacted; ratified; confirmed."
Do you remember the podcast with Sarah Mae? She touched upon in an eloquent way how our blogs need to be given over to Him. And what she said was plain truth. If you have not dedicated your blog, your words, your posts and pictures to Him what are you truly trying to accomplish?
We must give our everything, including our blogs, over to Him. He will direct you where to go with your blog. Read His word daily and make sure you are writing according to how He would have you write. Pray about it. Pray about it some more. Ask our heavenly Father if your blog is accomplishing what He wants it to accomplish. Talk to Him. Give your blog over and say "Here it is, Father! You can have it! Show me what to do."
I would go so far as to say that each and every time you write a post you need to pray that God will give order and foundation to what you are about to write. (And yes, I am doing that with this post. Promise!)
In the end, this is all for His glory.
Photo credits: djweitzner
Blogging is an exciting, challenging world. One can learn much from those who write about experiences. You are also able to share and encourage and shine for Jesus in a way that has the capacity to reach people all over the world. I don't know about you but I find that pretty exciting!
Something that might quickly come to your attention is the fact that there are bloggers who are more popular and those who are, well, not popular. This is an unfortunate consequence of living in a sinful world. The good news is that you do not have to be popular in order to spread the Good News!
We are called to be different. As Christians we must reject worldliness and change our sinful desires to holy ones.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2
This should be reflected in blogging. Our faith should be evident whether or not we are writing specifically about God's word or are just sharing stories of our lives. Our blogs will be different because of this.
So what does this have to do with being popular? (Yes, there really is a correlation!) Simply this: strive not to be in the popular crowd. It may feel good to be a blogger who everyone wants to meet. A blogger in which companies are scrambling to get your attention. A blogger in which a crowd follows whenever you are at a blogging conference.
But in the end, that is not what matters. Being a Christian blogger will probably put you in the category that will not get all of the attention. And that is okay. God says that we belong to Him. Wow! I don't know about you but that is all the reward I want.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." -1 Peter 2:9
Photo credit: lusi
For today's podcast we have the second installment of our interview with Debbie Pendell from DebbiePendell.com. Today Debbie talks to us about managing our blog as a business and gives us some great tips.
Kelly and I are ecstatic to announce the start of a new weekly feature here at Faithful Bloggers - a podcast! We have great things in store for the podcast including some great interviews with other Christian bloggers and online entrepreneurs. This first podcast is just Kelly and I letting you all know a little more about ourselves, why we started Faithful Bloggers, and what we have in store for the site. This is Kelly and mine's first time to ever do a podcast and it is evident in our first try but it was lot of fun to do and we are looking forward to doing more.
Do you have a podcast on your site? We would love a link and any suggestions and/or tips you my have.
Reasons for blogging are varied depending on who you ask. Some blog to help build their businesses, some for monetary gain, while still others blog just because they like to write. As Christians we are called to do good in all things – “Trust in the LORD and do good. . .” –Psalm 37:3a - however I will specifically be talking about how we can benefit others through blogging. I will be covering for areas however there are many more ideas that are included in this scope. Do not limit yourselves but be creative on how your blog could be used to shine for Him. I encourage you to seek out His guidance through prayer and to discuss with your husband before you jump into anything. I bring this up because some avenues of serving through our blogs may be very involved. Do not over commit.
Speak out on a certain subject
Whether it be on food allergies, addictions, personal struggles, share with your readers and guests what you have learned. There are times when I have personally benefited from those who have taken the time to research and share on their blogs on certain topics. Two of my children have issues with food allergies. I do not personally have the time to weed through every bit of information out there yet I am able to pick up knowledge from those who have “been there, done that.”
This extends beyond health issues. If you are great at recovering a couch or chair why not make up a blog post tutorial replete with photos? Do you homeschool a child who has problems learning to read? Share in a blog series what has worked and has not worked for that child. What about cooking? Share recipes!
Other ideas might be:
Crafts (with fall and Christmas coming up, now is a good time to share those “how to” tutorials!) Baking Gardening Blogging tips For older women I cannot stress enough how much being a Titus 2 woman and sharing your wisdom with younger wives and mothers is a must. Blogging is a perfect avenue for this.
There are many lovely ministries set up today. One way you could help them out is by writing about them. You could become a Compassion blogger, or write a post about ministries that seek to serve. This must be done with careful and prayerful consideration. Search out the ministry fully before you advocate it on your blog.
Many of us remember what it was like to start up our blogs. There are many new bloggers out there who just do not know how to start. Showcasing them in a blog post would be a way to bless them and introduce them to new friends.
If you see a blog post that has touched your life be sure and share it in a link. I often see links to posts by “popular” bloggers but it would be wise to search out those who may not be considered “A-list” but still have words of wisdom that are just as beneficial. Cliques are rampant in blogland just as they are in real life. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find if you take the time to look outside the box.
Speak in Love
Lastly, always write in love. I know I seem to write this often on my posts for Faithful Bloggers but I feel it needs to be stressed. There are rampant instances of petty quarreling and hateful words thrown about by women bloggers. Remember who you are and to Whom you belong! We are called to shine, to be different. Doing good to others may be as simple as just being quiet and meek when others are yelling and shouting. People will notice and it will bring glory to Him.
Have any ideas on other ways to use your blog for His glory? Please share!
Photo credit: sraburton