Today I’m excited to share a guest post with you about the benefits of blogging and some fantastic tips for bloggers. Frank Viola and I connected on Twitter several weeks ago (see, Twitter IS awesome) and I’ve been following his blog since. Check out his blog for more helpful posts for bloggers (like this one).
By Frank Viola
I began blogging in 2008. My blog Beyond Evangelical does fairly well. It’s rated in the top 20 Christian blogs on the Web today. While my audience is primarily Christian, I write a lot about contemporary issues, social media, writing (as I’m an author), and blogging.
So I have readers who have no vested interested in Christianity.
In this post, I’ve distilled the top 7 chief benefits (or lessons) I’ve discovered in blogging as well as my top 5 tips for bloggers. I hope that what I’ve written here will encourage and inspire you in your blogging journey:
7 Chief Reasons Why I Blog
- Blogging clarifies my thinking. For me, writing is a way of sorting through my thoughts and clarifying them. I blog 5 days a week, so blogging helps me almost daily to crystallize my thinking on a given topic.
- Blogging gives me a venue to test my ideas. Since I’m an author, I like to test my ideas out before I commit them to print. My blog is also a sounding board to test future ideas. The instant feedback that blogging affords helps a great deal with this.
- Blogging gives me an opportunity to learn from others. I happen to believe that some of the sharpest people in the world comment on my blog. And I’ve been sharpened a great deal by them. Anytime I’ve had a question about an issue or have asked for feedback on an idea, I’ve been impressed with the responses.
- Blogging gives me a venue to push the limits by experimenting with new innovations. I think of my blog as sort of a studio where creativity knows no bounds. Some examples are: the one word monologue – the two word monologue - and the now famous (or infamous) $25,000 give-away to every person who commented or “read” someone else’s comment. (You have to read the post to believe it!)
- Blogging provides a means for connecting with others. People who have similar interests find and interact with one another on the blog. In addition, it gives my readers a way to connect with me personally. Many authors are inaccessible and unreachable. And some who blog don’t allow comments. I love meeting new people and those who read my books.
- Blogging gives me a venue to answer questions about my books. This is a great resource for my readers and a great exercise for me. I even created a special FAQ page for those who wish to ask questions about my work. Personally, I wish every author would do the same.
- Blogging has helped me answer my critics in a gracious manner. I hope this is true. One way to react to unjust criticism is to get angry, reject it out of hand, defend, or attack back (this seems to be the norm today). The other way is to view criticism as an opportunity to reveal God’s love in one’s response. Blogging gives me such an opportunity.
My Top 5 Tips for Bloggers
- The Chief Way to Gain Traffic: If you are looking for more traffic, the best way is to blog 4 – 6 days a week and make most of your posts less than 850 words. It goes without saying that your content needs to be interesting.
- The Chief Way to Get People to View a Post. Your headlines need to be catchy and compelling. People will ignore a post if the headline doesn’t grab them. Use Twitter and Facebook to let folks know you’ve created a new post. But remember: the headline is going to provoke them to click the link or ignore it.
- The Chief Way to Encourage Civil Conversation: Ask a question at the end of your posts, don’t make them jump through hoops to make a comment, and be sure to moderate comments. Unfortunately, there are people in this world who act like jerks online. They don’t know how to disagree without becoming verbally abusive. (I wrote an entire post underscoring this called, The Art of Being a Jerk Online: 10 Sure Ways.)
- The Chief Way to Have Your Blog Posts Found in the Search Engines: Locate your keyword (the word or phrase you want people to search for in Google, Bing, etc.). Use the word in your title, use it in the first sentence, use it in the last sentence, and use it 3x for every 100 words in your post. I also recommend you download the plug-in called “All in One SEO Pack.” It’s free and does a good job.
- The Chief Way to Build a Readership: Give people an easy way to subscribe to your blog. Put your subscribe buttons in highly visible places on your blog (mine is a big banner located on the top right-hand corner), at the end of every post you write, and in your About page. And (of course), write quality posts to keep people coming back.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post entitled Advice for Bloggers: 25 Practical Tips. So if you want more practical advice, you can check that post out.
FRANK VIOLA is a best-selling author of numerous inspirational books including, “Revise Us Again,” “From Eternity to Here,” “Pagan Christianity?” (co-authored with George Barna), and “Jesus Manifesto” (co-authored with Leonard Sweet). His blog, “Beyond Evangelical,” is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today: frankviola.org