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A Note to the New Christian Blogger: 5 Key Lessons I Learned in 5 Years of Blogging

Yellow lined note pad



Five years ago I embarked on the journey of Christian blogging at which time I created Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.  In my desire to go deeper into God's Word, I wrote content for this blog to humbly share insights that I had gained for the purpose of bringing encouragement and hope to gracious readers that together we would grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  {You can read my first post, Beginnings - in the Lord's Time here where I describe my call to blogging.}

Although I did not share this in that very first post, I had set a timeframe for myself to blog for five years and then to see where the Lord would lead me and whether it was His desire for me to continue blogging.

Over these past five years, I experienced God's presence and power working through me as I wrote.  Time after time when I was finished writing a post, I would look at the words on the screen and think to myself, "Did I write that??".  When I respond all Glory to God when offered any praise for my writing, I mean it.  I personally don't feel that I am gifted in writing, but God...  His leading produced content that I was proud of, all for His Glory.

Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge has not been a popular blog by the world's standards, but it has been a humble blog which has afforded me opportunities to meet several amazing Christian women who although I have never seen them in person, have become great friends.  I wrote more about this in my post The Blessings of Blogger Fellowship which you can read about here.

As the title of my blog implies, this blog is about growth, and with growth, comes change, even for the writer of the content.  Four years into my blogging journey, I had an epiphany of sorts regarding my blog which you can read about here in my post Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge - REASSESSMENT where I share about some of the struggles I experienced in my blogging journey.

The fifth year of my blog, the year I purposed to set out to seek the Lord for His will concerning the blog's future, I spent learning everything I could about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with the desire to reach more people organically with the Word of God.  I learned how to plan out the blogging year, how to research for long-tail keywords and keywords in general, and to write for my niche.  Until  that point, I wasn't writing to a specific audience per se, but I was just writing what the Lord laid on my heart.  As I looked through my posts, I realized that indeed I was already being led to write to a niche by "providing Biblical insights encouraging people to grow in and through their struggles while equipping them to overcome." 

And although my organic reach multiplied from 30 to over 300 a month, I felt like I lost something along the way...


5 Key Lessons I Learned in 5 Years of Blogging 

LESSON #1 - Relationship with Fellow Bloggers

Just like Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus, first and foremost, your blog must be about relationships - relationships with your fellow bloggers, fellow Christians and your fellow man.   

When I first began blogging, link-up parties were a great way to meet other Christian bloggers.  And even though link-ups seem to be waning of late, I feel they are so important for building relationships with other Faith bloggers.  

You will hear differing opinions about this, that link-ups "hurt" your blog because people will just click on your page quickly, leave and not engage, negatively effecting your "bounce rate" OR that link-ups waste time that could be spent producing content.

I am here to tell you now that although I am a rule follower and always engaged with any post I visited at a link-up party, I wish I had been much more intentional in this area of blogging, to really seek out and build meaningful relationships through link-ups by visiting many faith bloggers, not just the "obligatory one".  

When you build relationships in the beginning of your blogging journey, you will build up a subscriber base, but more importantly, you will be part of a community of Christian bloggers that support and promote each other.  Through that mutual support and promotion, you will reach more people with your blog posts for the purpose of edifying, encouraging and bringing Glory to God.   Organic traffic via SEO implementation may bring you more visitors, but they will more than likely just be passing by.  Your subscribers are invested in you as you will be invested in them.  They will be faithful in their visits and engagement.

As a Christian blogger this might be THE most important lesson I learned from blogging and one that could have actually changed the decision about the future of the blog which I will share later in this post...

LESSON #2 - Relationship with Fellow Christians

People who know me will tell you I am an open book.  I will share my struggles and am very transparent about it.  This is a quality I like in other people as well.  Authenticity and realness.  

As Believers, we aren't supposed to have it "all together".  In fact, it is in our weakness and struggles that we are the most powerful witnesses for Christ.  By sharing, in full transparency, we are allowing opportunities for fellow Christians to come along side of us and pray; allowing opportunities for us to encourage another Believer in  their own struggle, iron sharpening iron; and allowing opportunities to show God's faithfulness by spurring on another's faith as ours had been increased in and through the struggle.

If we are not careful in how we write for SEO, a fellow Christian visiting our blog will not find another Believer who might struggle as they do or is writing from their own personal testimony of God's provision and faithfulness, but will come upon cold words written like a "how-to" article for Christians.   
We Believers are made for community and our blogs should reflect a citizen of Heaven ready to come alongside a fellow Believer in Christian fellowship through an authentic, personable blog.

LESSON #3 - Relationship with Fellow Man

Despite what SEO experts might say as far as writing mechanics,  Christian blogs are NOT the same as lifestyle or business blogs.   

When a person is searching for lifestyle information or business information, a search engine result will lead them to an article describing specifics for their need.   

When an unbeliever is searching for the deep things of God through Google, they are not looking for a wooden article, but are looking for a live, empathetic, feeling person who has either been where they are or has come through with Godly wisdom and is writing to bring hope and encouragement to their readers.  

Christian bloggers are missing out on opportunities to truly minister to unbelievers if their posts are written as articles to inform rather than Words of life, written with feeling, by a servant of the Lord, translating through the computer screen as a genuine person who cares for them.

LESSON #4 - Stay True to Yourself and God

As I mentioned earlier, with growth comes change, but sometimes that change can remove the joy you once had for blogging.  

In a world where there are probably literally millions of blogs out there, you might wonder, what's the point of blogging?  The answer to that question is different for every Christian blogger.   We all have different reasons for blogging and all manner of Christian subject matter that we are either passionate about or gifted in to write content about.

To ensure that you remain joyful in your service to the Lord through the ministry of Christian blogging, check in with yourself as you begin writing content for your blog - weekly at first, then monthly, then semi-annually and so  on.   See if there are areas that you are happy with, areas that need improvement and areas where you could stretch yourself further, all the while remaining true to yourself and your vision for the blog. 

It's so easy to get caught up in numbers, reach and engagement, but it could be that the Lord has set up your blog for such a time as this to reach just a few people, yet in profound ways.  Ministering to just one person for the Kingdom of God brings Glory to God.  Glorifying God is not predicated on a large  following.  No, He is glorified by the call of your heart to even reach just one person with hope, encouragement, wisdom and the love of God.

Even though SEO training will tell you that blogs are not supposed to be personal diaries or personal stories about your own experiences and instead should be impersonal articles that people can find via search engines, as a Christian blogger, you are called to be personal by sharing a personal God with your readers - a God who wants to be in relationship with His children.   Your blogs reach is not dependent upon Google, but on the Lord who leads those He has chosen to read your content for His specific purposes and for His Glory.

LESSON #5 - Know When It's Time to Stop Blogging

You might be wondering why a note to a new Christian Blogger would talk about knowing when to stop blogging, but as in all ministry work, it is always important to continually seek the Lord for His direction.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, at the start of my blog, I had said I would see where the Lord would lead me after five years of blogging and whether to continue.  In this last year, the fifth year, I implemented SEO throughout all of my posts to see if I could expand my reach for the Kingdom of God.  (As you can see, I had not fully learned the points from Lesson  #4 above...).  In the process, I found that I was selling myself out, not being true to myself and not at all being authentic.  I was writing to the long-tail keywords that Google suggested rather than creating content that the Lord placed on my heart to share - the whole beginning purpose of my blog!  It's not that the SEO blog content was bad.  It's not that the Lord didn't lead me as I wrote.  In fact, it read like a Bible study which again isn't bad, but I was losing sight of myself and God in the process and simply writing for reach.  {Just to clarify, I am not judging those who use SEO. It definitely has usefulness.  But I personally feel that for a Christian blog, if you choose to employ SEO, make sure to keep a part of yourself in the content which will make a genuine article that reads like talking to a friend.}

Although my reach grew (hardly at all by popular blog standards), but grew none-the-less, their was no engagement and people were just "bouncing" off the site as the post's content was probably not what they thought it would be from Google's search suggestions.

I began praying a couple of months ago about whether to continue writing for Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.  I put 120% into my blog posts and spend a lot of time on them.  And although I mentioned that blogging for one still brings glory to God and might be how the Lord wants to use you in that season, in the season I am in now, I was beginning to wonder if I was not being a good steward of my time for the Lord.  This was driven home to me by the following passage:

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.…
Galations 6:9-10

I was growing weary of writing for the blog and I wasn't finding the same joy in it that I once did.  You see, in the last year, my life and ministry plate has been filled to overflowing.  And although the first half of the verse might say that I should not give up blogging, it is the second half of the verse that confirmed God's will for me at this time of my life.  "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith."

The front and center opportunities that are in my life right now are helpmate to my Associate Pastor husband, the needs of my children and grandchildren, and ministering to the women at my church.  I was finding that the many opportunities God had placed right in front of me, I ended up resenting or feeling depleted in because I was also working on the blog.  This became a tipping point for me.

I say all of this to point out that even if my experiment with SEO yielded thousands and thousands of daily visitors and my engagement for the blog quadrupled, the Lord had other plans for me...  Whether my blog was wildly successful by the world's standards or as it stands now, a humble blog with a small reach, God is saying it is time to stop writing new content for this ministry and to instead focus on the work of the ministries that are right in front of me where I have opportunity to make the most of the time...

Your blog may go on for 30 years!  God's plans for the work He prepared for us to do before the worlds began are, of course, unique to everyone.  This is my story.  But I wanted to share as an example for how the Lord can work when He redirects our ministry efforts, whether it be with a shift within ourselves, a life that happens or new ministry opportunities.  

I can tell you that these past five years of blogging have been such a blessing to me, and I praise God for the content that would not be on this blog if it were not for Him.   Indeed it has been a blessing to grow together in grace and knowledge with all those who took their precious time to read my blog posts.  I will certainly miss them and blogging, but I am excited for this next chapter of ministry.

It is my hope and prayer that as you embark on your journey as a new Christian blogger that you will remember these lessons I learned along the way by building meaningful relationships, staying true to yourself and God, and continually assessing your blogging ministry aligning it with God's will. 

May the Lord bless the work of your blog.


Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3



You might find me on these link-ups:

Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart Kingdom Bloggers Outdoorsy Mommy Anchored Truth Tuesdays IHeart Verse InstaEncouragements Remember Me Mondays

Comments

  1. Karen,
    These are such heartfelt lessons. They will benefit the new blogger, as well as the seasoned. Thank you for the light and love you have shared through your blog. You and your words will be missed. Wishing you all the best as you step into your new focus for your personal ministry.
    Marielle

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    1. Hi Marielle, Your sweet and kind words blessed me so much! Thank you!

      May the Lord bless you and your family with a Happy and Healthy Christmas.

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  2. Lesson 2 deeply resonates with me. Authenticity and realness are who I am at my core. It's freeing and it creates space for others to be authentic and real. None of us has it all together. Great post.

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    1. Hi Yvonne, Amen!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. And thanks so much for visiting! :-)

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  3. Thank you so much for your insight and honesty. I just started blogging one year ago and have learned so much. I am not sure what my next steps will be, but will continue to be obedient to God's call. Your post gave me a lot to reflect on and pray about. May you be blessed in 2021!

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    1. Hi Mary, You are very welcome!

      Praising God that this post was a benefit to you and your blogging journey.

      May the Lord bless you as you write content for His glory and as you continually seek Him.

      Wishing you a happy and healthy Christmas.

      Thank you so much for visiting. :-)

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  4. Thank you for sharing your insight and highlighting several key points within the blog. My two take-aways were: 1. The importance of building relationships with other Christian bloggers, and 2. Listening to the timing of God and His will. I never thought I would be writing a blog, assisting others with their spiritual maturity through retreats/life groups, and launching my first published book in January 2021! And, it is all from the results of the deepest, darkest pit lasting half a decade. The Lord is the ultimate life changer!

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    1. Hi Genna, Thank you so much for such an intentional comment. I appreciate it very much!

      Indeed! It is amazing what God can do through us. Congratulations on launching your first published book soon. Very exciting!

      May the Lord bless the work of your hands in all the ministries He has called you to.

      Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks so much for taking time to stop by. I enjoyed your visit!

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  5. I'm literally fighting tears, Karen. I struggled to find balance and re-claim my purpose, calling, and focus after SEO training as well. I reached out to my blogging friends in frustration and they helped me zoom in again. Everyone's journey is different of course. Your blog has been an amazing source of inspiration and encouragement to me on countless days, both as a reader and as a blogger. I'd read your content and think "I wish I could write like her." If you may ever want to guest post (or be a contributor every other month or something) please remember Candidly Christian. I am seriously going to miss you so much. Your new ministry is beyond blessed to have you and I wish you all the best

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    1. Valerie, Your words to me here in this comment touched me so deeply, at so many levels, but most especially your incredibly encouraging and supportive words about my writing. I am so completely humbled and blessed by your visit here today.

      Thank you so very much for your past faithful visits and for sharing all of this with me. All Glory to God in using me through this platform.

      I will keep that in mind. I'm already finding that I'll read something or feel the Lord speaking to my heart and then I'll think, "oh that will be a beneficial blog post and then remember, oh wait, the Lord has redirected me." So maybe one of those urges, I will contact you. :-)

      May the Lord bless your blogging ministry abundantly. Praying you have a Happy Christmas and a healthy new year.

      Blessings,

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  6. These are such good and valuable lessons. Thank you for sharing them. I will probably come back to look at them again and again in days to come, as I'm considering what I might want or need to change about my blog(s). I started out writing a homeschool blog, added a second blog that focused more on books and Scripture/Snapshot, and now that I'm a couple years out after graduating my youngest from our homeschool, I've been trying to figure out what to do with the blogs. No one tells homeschool moms how weird it will be when they reach the end of their homeschool journey!

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    1. Hi Kym, You are very welcome!

      Oh my! I certainly know that! When I finished homeschooling my youngest, I went through a grieving process, literally!

      I think I even wrote a blog post about that. lol. But I can promise you, the Lord will have wonderful things in store for you even after the homeschooling journey as He certainly did for me!

      Thank you so much for your visit and for your kind words.

      May the Lord bless you as you seek Him for your future ministry endeavors.

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  7. While I'm sad for us, I'm happy for your in-person ministries that you will have more time for, Karen. Thank you for the wisdom and faith you've shared here at your blog for these 5 years. You will be missed! I hope you'll pop in occasionally and update us on new things you're learning and doing.

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa!

      You are so welcome! It has been such an honor to be a part of this amazing blogging community!

      And thank you so much for your very kind words.

      Blessings,

      Delete

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