How To Navigate The Church Blogosphere
By The Elexio Team - July 15, 2014
With millions of blogs now online and hundreds of new ones popping up each day, many churches are jumping on the blog bandwagon. And this trend is here to stay—at least for a while. If you haven’t started blogging for your church already, should you? And how can you use a blog to effectively complement your ministry?
Should your church have a blog?
- Consider your church community. Look at the demographics. Are they online and tech-savvy? Will they read your blog? If most of your members don’t even have internet access, a blog may not be the most effective tool for your church.
- Do you have the time and resources to effectively manage a blog? If you’re going to tackle blogging, you should be able to post on a regular basis and closely monitor any comments it triggers.
- Do you—or the person who will spearhead this project—possess the writing abilities and knowledge to manage a blog? Writing a conversational blog requires a style that is very different from a theological dissertation.
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, then a blog is probably a great option for your church!
The benefits of a church blog
- A church blog that produces relevant information will create community, engagement, and conversation. You’ll get people to think and interact with each other as they sort through the details. People across the country or globe might even discover your blog—people who would never enter your physical church but can still become a part of your online community.
- Great content will reinforce the reputation and reliability of your church. Consistently writing about specific topics could eventually make you a ministry expert or at least build credibility.
- A blog can drive traffic to your website and result in better Google search rankings. New content—especially when written with SEO in mind—can improve the visibility of your website to people looking for a church.
- It is an affordable and relatively simple way of reaching people. Whether you use WordPress or a blogging tool within your CMS, the time investment of a blog is usually the greatest expense.
Blogging best practices
- Keep in mind that a church blog is not an online bulletin board or event calendar. Use it to delve deeper into the Sunday morning topic. Highlight the impact of a specific ministry orvolunteer. Share what God’s been teaching you through a Bible study. But don’t let your blog turn into a boring announcement page.
- Come up with an attention-grabbing headline. You can ask a question, offer a how-to, or explore the 10 tips to XYZ—list posts and bullet points are easiest to read! Convince people that the post will be worth their time so they click. But don’t be clever at the expense of clarity. Tell them what the post will be about in an interesting—and keyword-friendly—way.
- Write for the average person in your church. Don’t try to impress people with big words or overly deep theological concepts. Keep a conversational tone and loosely follow spelling and grammar rules—it’s ok to end a sentence with a preposition if it sounds natural! While you should consider SEO, don’t write keyword-heavy posts for robots. If you’re producing well-written, useful content, Google should be happy.
- Dedicate adequate time to your blog. Monitor and respond to comments quickly—you don’t want your blog to look like a ghost town! Determine how often you will blog and stick to it. Consistency in posting is more important than frequency. You could start off with one post per month and gradually work your way to a weekly post.
- Include a photo with a keyword-rich description in each post. Like an intriguing headline, an eye-catching image can increase the interest in your blog post and improve SEO. But be mindful of licensing issues when using images you find online. Consider taking your own photos—you don’t need to be a professional photographer—or purchasing them from a site like Lightstock to avoid any legal problems.
- Make it simple for people to subscribe to your blog and share the posts via social media. While you should promote your own posts through these channels as well, you can only reach a limited number of people. But when others can easily share your content, your audience immediately grows.
- Try out some of these ideas when your blog is stuck in a rut or just getting started:
- Embed a video that relates to your topic within the post
- Ask someone from within the church, another ministry leader, or an expert on a specific topic to guest post on your blog
- End the post with a question to spark a conversation in the comments
- Share links to other sites and further study materials
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see much traffic on your blog right away. Be patient until it catches on—it can take up to a year or longer to establish your online community. Continue to regularly post good content, and the people will come.
Check out these other resources for some more insight on blogging for your church:
Image Credits: istockphoto