I’m in touch with people every day who want to have custom websites of their own. Part of my job is to find out more about a client’s proposed website project and then make recommendations. The conversation often goes like this:
Me: “So now that we know you’re interested in reaching out to the community through your website, how do you feel about adding a blog?”
Joe Client: “A blog? What’s a blog?”
Me: “Blog is short for ‘web log.’ Basically it’s an online journal but it can be much more than that. You post your thoughts, news, ideas and more. Then you give people a chance to comment on what you write; you know, give feedback. Having current, relevant content on your site is a great way to bring people back, and–”
Joe Client (interrupting): “No, I don’t want that. I don’t want people to be able to comment on my site.”
And so it goes, with me trying my best to explain the benefits of having a blog while the customer, who has never seen a blog before, wonders why I’m making such a big deal about it.
A better question might be, “Why not?” Take a look at some of these examples and you’ll immediately see just a few of the varied reasons behind them.
- Pastor’s blog. Pastor Ben Arment is able to incorporate news about his church along with family photos and his own personal reflections. Makes him seem very “for real,” doesn’t it? I’m sure he appreciates the feedback he receives from his readers, too.
- Hurricane Katrina Relief. My church, Cypress Meadows Community Church, used this blog to share news from the field during hurricane relief efforts. The folks back home felt included and were able to cheer the team on. Paul Steinbrueck of OCC took part in this outreach. See if you can spot him in the photos, and read some of his input.
- Spiritual accountability. This blog was designed by its author for “a challenge and accountability … during the season of Lent.” He invites people to join him in the challenge.
- Evangelism. Here, an evangelical team reports on their work in the community. Perhaps you would want to create a blog that actually engages spiritual seekers in thought and conversation.
- Hobbies. This lady likes to cook, so she shares recipes online. She hopes people will try her ideas and comment on them. For her, cooking — and blogging — are a lot of fun!
Now look at your own life, your own relational world, and the things that are important to you. You’re sure to discover something worth blogging about. Are you up to the challenge? Read on…
In the blog house.
So let’s make a case for blogging. Try our short quiz to see if it’s right for you:
- Do you enjoy writing?
- Do you have something unique to say?
- Are you committed to writing regularly?
- Is there a specific audience that you would like to help educate, inform or enlighten?
- Are you about to embark on a trip, mission, or project for which people may want regular updates?
- Do you have an interest in common with others, such as a hobby, occupation, or spiritual study?
- Do you read the editorials in the newspaper and think, “Well somebody should have said…” or “That’s right, tell that senator what you think!” or “Right on, that’s how I feel about it!”
Scoring. If you said yes to:
1-2 questions – You should definitely consider blogging!
3-4 questions – What? You’re not blogging already?
5-6 questions – It’s an emergency! Get a blog NOW!
All 7 questions – Shouldn’t you be writing this article??
Going to the blogs.
The best way to learn more about blogs is to take the plunge. That’s right, just jump right in. Got a computer with an Internet connection? Good. You’ve already paid all the expenses required for having a blog.
The most popular site offering free blogs is http://blogger.com/. A great Christian site that offers free blogs is http://e-church.com/. If you already have a website, you may be able to install a blog in your hosting account. For example, OurChurch.Com members with a Bronze package or better can install the very same blog program we use, WordPress, with just a few clicks in the Fantastico section of the cPanel control panel. WordPress has wonderful community support where you can ask questions and meet other bloggers.
Leaving blog prints.
Once you have a blog up and running and you’ve explored all of its many possibilities, you can start networking with your fellow bloggers and share information among each other. Visit other people’s blogs and comment on them. To find them, use Google’s blog search or Technorati.com. Go to message boards and tell people about your blog.
Every time you leave information, be sure and provide a link back to your blog. But be a nice blogger. Don’t just put links on other people’s sites, and don’t use them for advertising products. Provide some useful information that will be a blessing to others.
Keep your blog updated with relevant, useful information and before long, people will start showing an interest and add comments. Then they will tell others about you in their blogs!
Puttin’ on the blog!
You can start blogging right now. That’s right. Simply leave a comment here. Read what others have written, too. See? It’s easy to be a blogger!
In His Service,