This blog started about seven years ago, but it’s genesis was actually as a church newsletter that we started way back in September, 1998. From an initial four-page issue, Coram Deo would grow to a thirty-page paper and online newsletter by 2013. The focus of the newsletter (and the blog) was to look at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview. As a church newsletter, we included book, music and movie reviews, along with articles from our pastors and information about church events. In 2013, we transitioned from a church newsletter to the current blog format. During the past seven years, we’ve seen slow, steady growth.
Blogging itself is not difficult. However, consistently doing it with excellence will take discipline and perseverance. Here are 5 thoughts I have for you if you are interested in starting your own blog:
- Focus. What is the focus of your blog going to be? You may be a leader, and thus the focus of your blog will be sharing what you know about leadership with your readers. You may be a stay at home Mom, and parenting will be your focus. You could be a pastor and your focus will be more theological. Or your focus may be on food, fashion, movies or books. Regardless of the subject matter, choose a focus that will interest, motivate and inspire you as you sit down to write. My focus remains looking at culture (music, books, movies, work, etc.) from a Christian worldview. It could be that my focus is too diverse however. Perhaps I could be more effective it I just wrote book or movie reviews or focused on integrating faith and work. Whatever your focus is, aim to do it better than anyone else out there.
- Excellence. Once you determine the focus of your blog, aim to do it (writing, graphics, etc.) with excellence. I do my work for the glory of God, so 1 Corinthians 10:31 is a good verse for me here: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. My wife Tammy has served as my editor since we started the church newsletter in September, 1998. When I send her a draft article for the blog, I want her to be critical and give me feedback. She reads everything with the mindset of a potential reader of the blog, and asks herself as she is reviewing the content “Why would anyone want to read this”?
- Graphics. We use a Word Press template for the blog. It has limitations, but the cost is low. Tammy chooses appealing artwork and arranges the material in a logical manner.
- Spelling, punctuation, etc. Having typos and grammatical errors on your blog will not leave the reader with a very good impression.
- Content. The most important thing you can do on your blog is to provide consistent content that readers will find interesting. Give them content that they can’t get elsewhere. If you do so, you’re likely to get readers to subscribe to your blog so that they don’t miss any posts.
- Frequency. Determine how often you plan to post on your blog and then stick to it. We usually have three posts a week and then a movie review on the weekend. Perhaps you will post just once a week. Posting only once a month is probably not enough to attract and sustain an audience.
- Marketing. One of the biggest challenges to blogging is how to build a following. Consistently producing excellent quality is the most important factor, but there are other things you can do.
- Compelling article titles. People will determine quickly whether they want to read your articles. Develop article titles that will attract readers.
- Use of social media. Using social media can be helpful in getting the word out about your blog I share the blog on my Twitter, Facebook and Linked In sites. A friend uses Instagram for her food and fashion blogs.
- Word of mouth. Tell people about your blog and share it with them. We had business cards made up a few years ago, and I hand them out at speaking engagements.
These are 5 simple thoughts about starting and maintaining your own blog. Like I said, blogging isn’t difficult, but it can be very rewarding. If you already have a blog, what other thoughts would you add?