7 Tips for Starting a Successful Christian Blog
You’re a Christian, and you want to help others. That’s only natural for a Christ-follower.
You can do that in many ways. You can serve in a shelter that feeds the homeless. You can teach children or youth in your local church. You can help your elderly next-door neighbor. You can work at being a better spouse or parent. There are an abundance of ways that Christians can put their faith into action.
But what if you have a vision to reach a large number of for Christ? Should you become a social activist that espouses Christian values? Build a big evangelistic association and fill stadiums? Should you become an international missionary?
The fact is, you can do all these things with a Christian blog. You can reach the world in ways that change lives right from the keyboard of your computer.
Unfortunately, many new bloggers make rookie mistakes and they fail rapidly. They miss an astounding opportunity to reach people for Christ because they follow their own intuition, or follow bad blogging advice they read at places like Facebook, rather than using best blogging practices.
These 7 tips for starting a successful Christian blog can put you on the fast track to reaching and helping others in the name of Jesus.
Pick the Right Topic for Your Gifts and Abilities
Do you have a hot idea for blog? Write it down, but don’t dare start a blog based on a brainstorm. You may think your niche idea is from God, but you may be wrong.
The reality is, God also created market research. For Christians, that is a tool to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-17).
The topic you select does not need to be a typical Christian topic. You do not need to teach the Bible, theology, or be overtly evangelistic.
You can write about ANY topic and add the salt and light of Christian values to it.
It’s probably better to not write on patently Christian topics. If you want to reach others, they don’t care about what the Bible says (1 Corinthians 2:14), so you’re not going to be effective. You want to write about things that interest a wide audience and then apply your Christian values and experience to that topic.
Effective Christian blog content writing requires a snakes and doves attitude (Matthew 10:16).
Before you decide on a topic, follow these steps:
■ Write down all your hot blog ideas. These should be topics that you have knowledge about, or at the very least have a great curiosity.
■ Research all your ideas on Google and Amazon. Are there already books and blogs that deal with your list of hot topics? If so, that bodes well for you. You don’t want to try to invent the wheel. You want to improve on the wheel that already exists by writing better blog posts on a popular topic.
■ Talk to as many people as possible, especially non-Christians. What problems stand out that fall within the realm of your knowledge or experience?
Only after you fill your mind with this information do you pray and ask God’s guidance for the right topic for you.
Create a Platform that Advances Your Goals
What is the worse blogging mistake that rookie Christian bloggers make? They choose a free blogging service, “just to get started.”
That is a horrible idea. Why?
When you pay for hosting and create a WordPress (org) blog you become a professional. When you create a free blog on Blogger.com, WordPress (com), or page builder sites like Wix, then you are just a hobby blogger. If you are serious about serving Christ as a blogger, don’t let your work fall to the level of a mere hobbyist.
It is very difficult to switch from a free blog to a professionally hosted blog. You will lose a large segment of your traffic, and you may never see those hard-won visitors again.
When you create your blog with a paid host, you control your content. Today, big media corporations monitor what you say and many of them want you to only express their approved “politically correct” ideas. Christians are marginalized when that happens. You need to pay for your own hosting service to retain your independence.
Here are some trustworthy hosts that I recommend.
You need your own domain name for your blog. It is your brand. It is how people find you. You MUST control it. You never want to use a free domain name. Be careful where you buy your domain name.
Discover How to Write Engaging Blog Posts
Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to be an expert writer to start a blog. The discipline of writing a blog post once or twice a week is an excellent way to build your writing skills.
All engaging blog posts have four basic parts:
■ An engaging title. Never use a “clickbait” (misleading) title to attract readers.
■ A first sentence (and short first paragraph) that hooks readers and keeps them reading. I have done a short video to demonstrate this.
■ The body. This is usually three or more points that explain your title and opening paragraph. In the case of the blog post you reading right now, I’m making seven points about how to start a Christian blog.
■ Headings that identify the main points you are making. Readers demand the kind of clarity of structure that headings provide. You may also provide sub-heading in a different style under main points.
■ A “Call to Action.” You do not want to end with a summary. You want to ask your readers to take some sort of appropriate action based on the content of your blog.
You can blog about any topic as I said, but you infuse that topic with Christian values. Also, permeate your writing with your personality, knowledge, and experiences. I’m not suggesting that you be narcissistic, but I am saying that your blog posts become unique when you pour your God-given personality and the information you have gained in life into them.
Learn How to Get Blog Traffic
Many Christian writers have what I call the “Field of Dreams” approach to their work. Whether book or blog they automatically think, “If I build, they will come.”
That doesn’t work except in the movies.
You need blog traffic (visitors) in order to share your ideas with the maximum number of people and to make the money you deserve to support your writing ministry. I talk about the money aspect later.
How do you get blog visitors? It requires a determined effort on your part. You may think you are above promoting your blog, and that your blog writing is enough to wow readers, but that simply is not true.
Promoting your blog is the feet-washing part of your writing ministry (John 13:5-7).
What are the keys to getting blog traffic?
■ Write blog posts that meet real needs.
■ Never miss an opportunity to promote your blog posts in person, on Facebook, on Twitter, or any other place imaginable. NEVER use your blog to drive traffic to social media. ALWAYS use social media to drive traffic to your blog.
■ Learn the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you use SEO principles, you rise in the Google search rankings. That means you will perhaps receive huge amounts of free traffic from searches. Here is an excellent primer to learn about SEO.
If you intend to succeed as a Christian blogger, you must realize that promoting your blog is of equal importance to writing blog posts. You are really not in accomplishing anything if you are not influencing an ever-increasing number of people for Christ.
Keep Readers Coming Back for More
How do you keep your blog visitors coming back to read your blog posts week after week?
First, you have to write blog posts that are interesting and helpful.
You hope that people will bookmark your blog and remember to come back regularly. Sadly, that method does not work very well. Visitors will only return when they think about you, and quite honestly you will probably not be at the forefront of their mind.
Therefore, you want a system to remind people when you post a new blog. You want them to sign up for an email newsletter that you provide. You offer them some incentive, like a document with the information that will be valuable to them, and then they will give you their email address to get it.
These people will be happy to get a notification when you post a new blog article. You don’t want to spam them, you just want to let them know that you have something new that they will find valuable. You don’t send your entire post — you simply send a tease and a link back to your site.
There are many newsletter services, but professional quality ones, such as AWeber.com or ConvertKit.com are the best. You want to offer a newsletter if you intend to keep readers coming back for more.
Get the Income You Deserve
If you are going to become a Christian blogger, I urge you not to do it as a hobby. Do it with intentionality. Have a very specific purpose and goals that you intend to achieve by God’s grace.
When you do gospel work, Jesus says that you are entitled to payment to support yourself and your family (Luke 10:7, Matthew 10:10. See also 1 Timothy 5:18).
Volunteerism has its place, but you can’t support yourself with it. For example, you may wish to volunteer to teaches Sunday school class and spend an hour or two in preparation and an hour in teaching. You have plenty of time for a regular job to earn money to live. But Christian blogging can be your full-time ministry.
In my view, blogging should never be a hobby. It is like saying, “Yes, I will dedicate my life to go to Russia as a missionary… as a hobby.”
There are four major ways that you can monetize your blog and pay your bills with the income you receive from it. The more blog traffic you have, the higher your income is likely to be.
■ Display ads. Google AdSense is very popular. However, be aware that they will take your money away from you and ban you if you discuss topics that deviate from their “political correctness” agenda in your posts. Yes, this is true even if you have your site on paid hosting. If you are banned, you’ll need to explore other ad options, and there are many.
■ Use affiliate marketing. Companies will pay you a commission if you refer someone from your site and they buy a product or service. You use a special link so they know to credit your account. The most well-known affiliate program, but not necessarily the best, is the Amazon program. However, thousands of companies will pay you a commission, so you need to research them and pick products and services that appeal to your blog visitors.
■ Sell your own products or services. If you have written a book, for example, then you can monetize your Christian blog by selling it to your visitors. If you offer a service and are looking for clients, then you can use your blog to procure them.
■ You can ask for donations. This works best if you already have a large following who already have an interest in your work. You do not have to be a nonprofit organization to receive donations, but you cannot tell others it is tax-deductible. One of the most popular ways to collect donations is via Patreon.com.
Do not be afraid to monetize your Christian blog. Not doing so is misplaced altruism, and there is nothing spiritual about it. Receiving income validates your writing ministry. If you don’t need income, make it anyway and donate it to your church or another Christian organization.
Keep Your Focus on Jesus
Blogging can and should be an exercise in Christian spirituality. You go to God for inspiration about what to write, and you write to meet the needs of people.
As a Christian blogger, you become aware of the needs around you. You gain greater sensitivity about how you can meet those needs.
Christian blogging enables you to enlarge your sphere of Christian influence. You can meet other influential Christians and interview them or your blog. You can also offer insight to your readers in ways that may change their lives eternally. Both are Godly influence.
These are just some of the reasons why I believe that Christian blogging should never be considered as a hobby. Regardless of the topic of your blog, from cake decorating to dealing with death, you are introducing people to Jesus Christ and explaining, in and wise and subtle ways, how they can live for him.
Regardless of your blog topic, your goal is to keep your focus on Jesus.
Start a Christian Blog Now
You can serve the Lord around the world from the blog you create and maintain in your own home.
■ Choose your blog topic and point of emphasis carefully, then dedicate your time to providing Christ-honoring information on that topic.
■ Meet genuine needs, not needs you imagine may exist. Be in contact with people to find their point of pain and offer healing.
■ Count the cost before you start blogging (Luke 14:28). Blogging requires tenacity and perseverance.
■ Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts, like starting on a free hosting service. There is a way that seems right to an inexperienced person, but it never ends well. (Proverbs 14:12).
■ No matter what your topic may be, Keep your focus on Jesus. There are many ways to share Christian values without pushing pet doctrines or being preachy.
If you already have a Christian blog, you may want to evaluate in the context of these 7 tips. Also, consider these three blog tune-up ideas.
Learn more about Christian blogging by reading my book, Blogging for Jesus.
Also, visit my website aimed at a general audience. It offers 8 free, in-depth steps to blogging success.