30 Tips on Christian Blogging, Part 3

21. Tell us who you are!

It’s surprising how many blogs fail to include an easy way to find out who the author is. Blogs often assume that I’ve read the very first post from years ago and so know. Not so!

Put something at the top or on the side so I can know who you are. If you feel obliged to be anonymous, tell me why! Are you a professor or student at a school that disapproves of your views? A preacher whose congregation won’t approve? I just need some context. Please!

22. Use a distinctive banner

I have the good fortune of having a nephew who is a very talented graphics artist. He did mine for free! If you’re not so lucky, take a picture and turn it into a banner. Human eyes like pictures. Here’s a site my oldest son designed. Here’s a professional site from Christianity Today. Simple but effective.

Now, it doesn’t have to be all that much. One of the most popular Christian blogs is Jesus Creed, and it’s pretty basic. Or you can stick a picture next to the caption or behind it. Just avoid plain text.

23. Be sure you offer an RSS feed

Many folk now read blogs via Google Reader or similar feed aggregators. They can’t read your articles without an RSS feed.

Ironically, if you go the cheap route, with WordPress or other free services, that’s likely automatically available. It’s the custom sites — especially those that have been around for a while — that often fail to offer the service. It’s essential nowadays.

24. Offer an email subscription service

I use FeedBurner. I have a bunch of readers who subscribe this way. I subscribe to several services by email myself. And once it’s set up, it’s all automatic. (Plus you get the warm feeling that comes whenever someone new subscribes!)

25. Don’t leave your sense of humor behind

Don’t try to be a Christian comedian — unless you’re really gifted (in which case, send me a link!). Written humor is very hard. But a little irony, whimsy, irreverence, wit, snarkiness, and even sarcasm can keep boring old theological stuff from being boring old theological stuff.

Some people just can’t seem to write about God with a smile on their faces. Which means they don’t know much about God. God is hilarious! Be in his image.

26. Be honest

This is Christian blogging we’re talking about! Do not bear false witness. Admit your ignorance. Tell the truth. Don’t exaggerate. Never, ever attribute an opinion to someone who hasn’t expressed that opinion. It’s a lie to say: “You must mean X because you said Y.” No, they meant Y. You can ask whether they mean X. You can’t accuse them of meaning X.

27. Be humble

I don’t mean false modesty — which I detest. Just be willing to be wrong. Yes, the whole world will know if you make a mistake, but no one made you get on the internet! When someone proves you wrong, admit it. An occasional dose of crow is good for us all — and means we’ll be more careful next time.

28. Don’t be too quick to post

This is another of my failings. My writing tastes better when it’s been allowed to simmer before serving. A couple of days helps. Two or three weeks is better.

In a perfect world, I’d have to wait two months to post, as it often takes me that long to see how stupid or ungrammatical I’ve been. This is not a perfect world, but I do try to write a few days ahead. It helps me to cut out some of my mistakes.

29. Do your homework

This is a corollary to number 27. Check your facts. Check your exegesis. Be suspicious of other people’s assertions. Fact check, fact check, fact check. And don’t ever pass along an urban rumor. If someone tells you that NASA has proven that Joshua made the sun stand still, please have enough sense to Google the story before you post it!

30. Be kind

(2 Tim 2:24-26) And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

(Gal 6:1) Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

(Rom 12:17-18) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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11 Responses to 30 Tips on Christian Blogging, Part 3

  1. Adam G. says:

    On number 28, I used to leave posts in "drafts" for a while, planning to publish on a future date. Now blogger offers future posting, so you can program a post to go live on a data and at a time you choose. That gives you time to reconsider or revise the post if you need to, but also lets it go ahead and publish without further effort if you're okay with it.

  2. Trey says:

    Amen to #25 and #30

  3. Jay Guin says:

    Adam G — WordPress also allows you to schedule posts well into the future, which I find very helpful. I'll set the next few days worth of posts and then check and re-check them (most of the time)

  4. Those are really great tips, Jay! Although I must admit I wrestle with #25 – I'm always trying to be a Christian comedian.

  5. Sukhbat Doyod says:

    Hello dear friend,
    Thank you for your cool tips how to blog. It is very useful. God bless you.

  6. I learned lot. It is very helpful. Thank you again.

  7. Paden says:

    How do you post videos

  8. Mika says:

    Old but good post! Thanks for these blogging tips. God bless you all!

  9. Jay Guin says:

    Mika,

    Thanks for the kind note. I do believe this is first comment I’ve ever received from Finland!

    I’d nearly forgotten I’d written this series. It’s good to know it’s still doing some good.

  10. Grizz says:

    Jay,

    You set the bar at a good height. There are great gems here if one is serious about being teachable. Just one question: do you find yourself following ALL of these ALL the time or is there a hierarchy to these suggestions?

    Grizz

  11. Jay Guin says:

    Grizz,

    Sometimes I mess up and break a rule I shouldn’t by mistake. Sometimes I break a rule on purpose. It’s like writing and jazz– the art is in knowing when to break the rules.

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