17 Tips For Christian Blogs And Bloggers
Posted by The Critic on February 7, 2007
To use Christian blogs for outreach, one must understand how they work best and the ways they differ from conventional websites. Spend lots of time reading different secular blogs: find them in directories such as BlogCatalog and Technorati or in the Weblog Awards.
Although there are thousands of Christian blogs, almost all of them are written for Christians, in Christian language and addressing Christian concerns. While non-Christians may accidentally find them, in most cases they are unlikely to stay to read, unless they happen to be seekers of the truth. A local community-based blog can and should include links and postings to appropriate local church activities.
Analyze which ones are actually readable, communicate well, and why this is. You’ll notice an incredible range of blog subjects. Some few people have the gift of being so perceptive and witty in writing, that they can write engagingly merely about their own lives and thoughts, and others will read the blog for these things alone. Such blogs can become wildly popular with web users – for example see the secular blog Petite Anglaise by an English-woman living in Paris.
Blog evangelism is about building online relationships with people within an area of shared interest. The offline equivalent is the way we relate face-to-face with people we work or study with, or meet socially. We make friends with them and enjoy their company, rather than preaching at them. Online relationships can be deep and used by God. As they get to know us, they sense that we have things in our lives that they do not yet possess and they effectively give us permission to share. It’s that fragrance spoken of in 2 Cor 2:15. Writing that is from a Christian worldview, and from a heart that has been transformed by the Holy Spirit, should sound different! One area you must carefully avoid: whining and complaining. Many secular blogs (like my own) take the opportunity to rant and unload a lot of negativity!
Here’s the blogging strategy
Build a blog around a secular topic or felt need that interests you. We should always ‘write what we know’. The subject could be sport, music (including pop music), your hobby, local community activities, a health issue you face, some project you are involved in – just about anything. The blog can even just be a diary of your life (like Petite Anglaise) if you really have the gift of writing compellingly about yourself. Women are more likely to do this well than men! Some people create a family-news blog primarily for the extended family.
Postings that contain your opinion on anything (Christian or secular) should be tentative, sensitive and open-ended, inviting the reader to comment online (or at least, to think).
The blog name should not sound Christian but be catchy and easy to remember.
A local community-based blog can and should include links and postings to appropriate local church activities.
Where you feel there is an appropriate faith angle to add within the context of your secular topic, express this in a non-preachy, sensitive, jargon-free manner. An explicit faith comment is almost certainly not appropriate in every posting. “Less is more.” To help you remember not to lapse back into ‘Christian-speak’, try to imagine that you are writing for a specific non-Christian that you know. Indeed, it will also help if you find a non-Christian who is prepared to critique your writing and give you his or her reactions to it.
You can also tell your personal story on the blog ‘about me’ link. This should not be an in-your-face preachy testimony, but an overall introduction to you as a person. Who are you? What do you like? Where do you live? Pets? Interests? But of course, you can go on to add that finding a relationship with Jesus has been the most significant element in your life, and how it happened.
Blog systems also enable you to add additional links, such as ‘books I am reading’ and ‘favorite sites’. Here’s a chance to include a book or two that would be truly accessible to non-Christians. But add some secular books too, showing you are not stuck in the Christian ghetto.
Likewise, in the ‘favorite links’, you can add appropriate sensitive outreach sites such as Power to Change, Women Today or others appropriate to your particular readership. Also include some best secular links for your chosen topic, including other blogs.
Fruit is most likely to result from a blog outreach as you slowly build relationships with individual site visitors, either through their feedback postings, or in private email/messaging to them. If most of your readers turn out to be Christian, you obviously need to reposition the style, content and language of your blog.
Examples of outreach by Christian blogs
1. Lois Turley is an experienced web evangelist who has produced several different outreach sites. When she was diagnosed with the eye problem ‘strabismus’, she started a blog on this health issue: Eyes Apart.
“Eyes Apart helps people with vision impairment and social acceptance issues relating to crossed eyes. This often provides opportunities to tie in how God has helped me through my own vision struggles and given me clearer spiritual vision too.”
2. A Filipino Christian immigrant in Switzerland blogs her expatriate experiences here without using Christian jargon words, although she does cite her Christian faith in her ‘About Me’ page, and occasionally blogs about her Sunday School ministry and cell group activities in a non-preachy way.
“Despite the fact that most of the readers do not share my Christian belief and convictions, we do get along in this blog. There is mutual respect and understanding. There is online friendship. There is wholesome fun. It’s friendship evangelism   at work. Indeed, you can redeem the blogosphere for Christ!”
3. Kelsey writes about her family experiences, in a blog enticingly and self-deprecatingly called ‘Holy Mama! – True confessions from the everyday life of a sorta shallow Christian mom’. Her writing is witty, winsome and lacking in Christian jargon or insider stuff, so it works well for anyone.
“I write from a Christian worldview, but my site isn’t one of those geared for other Christians. Christ is in me, and is a large part of my life, and so there’s plenty of ‘God stuff’ mentioned and implied in my writing – but it’s not preachy, devotional, or inspiring in nature. It’s really sort of silly, fun, and honest. It’s just life as a Christian mom. It’s a small, new blog, without a lot of traffic. And yet, people are finding it, reading it, and deciding they ‘know me’ well enough to start an email conversation about salvation. I’m astounded at the honor that is!”
4. Geraint Lloyd in UK has launched ‘Lloyd on life’. The purpose is to post discussion on issues in the news, or more personal thoughts, from a Christian worldview: Lloyd on life.
5. Vic Grace lives in remote British Colombia, Canada, and blogs about wildlife, and her own experiences, from a Christian viewpoint: Cariboo Ponderer.
6. Scot has a computer technology-related blog in which his Christian faith emerges naturally at appropriate points: Scot Yang’s Playground.
Anyone can do it!
I must emphasize again: you do not need technical expertise (or money) to operate a blog. Just enthusiasm, an understanding of how blogs communicate best, and the ability to write in a brief, enticing style. It should be informal but clear and structured, using humor.
Edit, revise and shorten your entries before posting: It may be better to write entries in a word-processor, and even print them out for proof-reading and revision, and only copy them across into the blog interface after checking (though most blogging systems allow you to correct and change entries after you have posted). Poor grammar/spelling or jumbled thoughts will reduce your writing’s credibility.
Many blog entries are far too long and self-indulgent. Some, indeed, are virtually unreadable. Unless, of course, you produce something so intentionally banal it is popular, as Dave Walker has with his The Dullest Blog in the World and gets 85,000 visits a month!
Use frequent line-breaks to split longer postings into separate paragraphs – this is much more readable, but not often done.
Links on starting blogs
Check Beginner’s Guide to Blogging for a short introduction.
Tools which you download and then install on your server include: Movable Type (Review) | WordPress (Review) | ExpressionEngine and many more.
Search online for more discussion about their features, advantages and disadvantages.
- Choosing a blogging tool
- How to start a blog
- Learn how to keep an online journal
- Wikipedia guide to blogging
How to promote your blog
Research and implement the many different ways to promote your blog online, thereby making it easier to draw in and retain readers. Here are some other great examples: 1 | 2 | 3 . Locate and link to other blogs where appropriate, and they may link back to you.
- If you have enabled readers to post feedback on your site, be prepared to check frequently and remove any abusive comments.
- Although most blogs are written by a single person, some operate well with two or more people working together in a team.
- Remember, all your personal thoughts are there for the world to see. Do not break the confidences of others. Do not post your home address or phone number. A contact form is better than posting your email address online, where it can be harvested by spammers. An easy alternative which many people use is to spell the ‘@’ and ‘dot’ characters in words, and leave users to translate them.
- If you start a blog with one of the ready-made services such as Wordpress, your blog URL will be in the form http://yourchosenname.wordpress.com. If you change blog providers, all incoming links to the old blog will cease to be valid. However, if you register your own domain name for your blog (eg. http://www.tomsfootballblog.com) then you can use it to point to the actual URL wherever your blog is currently located. So, for example, if you have started with a free online service, and then decided to upgrade to using your own installed software, your URL remains the same.
I love input: If you found this information to be useful or have any other tips feel free to share them with a reply.
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