I started blogging in June 2006. When you read my first post Finishing Well, you’ll understand that I started blogging as I began the transition from serving as pastor of Lake Hills Community Church which we planted in 1990 to serve as missionaries with OC International. Over these five years, blogging’s been an outlet to share my thoughts and musings on missional church, church planting, coaching, disciplemaking, leadership, and SOAP journaling.
In reflecting on my experience as a blogger, I have enjoyed the opportunity to connect with people whom I’ve never met that have read my blog and been challenged in some way toward greater alignment with Jesus’ mission. I’m always surprised when I meet someone and they tell me, “I’ve been reading your blog.” Maybe all the hours spent writing new posts is having an impact. Just today I got a message on facebook from someone I’ve not yet met who told me he had “discovered it and added it to my blog feed about a week ago.” This made me smile. I decided for my 500th Blog Post that I’d like to share:
5 8 Lessons I’ve Learned Blogging
1. Daily blogging requires discipline. Several times I’ve committed myself to write and post daily. For me, this has been very rewarding. I realize that I can now write in advance and schedule when to post, but I still like trying to write what is fresh to me at the time.
2. It’s healthy to take a break from blogging. In my efforts to blog consistently, at times I’ve felt pressure to keep posting. After writing 500 posts, I realize that I’ve been fairly consistent and I’ve given myself permission to take a break. (In fact, the second half of 2011 I rarely posted and this break has renewed my focus on blogging in 2012.) Frankly, if you don’t have something to say, don’t post anything.
3. Paying too close attention to blog stats is a distraction. There are a lot of ways to track what interest people have in what you are posting: comments, unique visitors, repeat visits, subscribers, etc. For me, I’ve found that focusing on writing good content is more important than focusing on your stats.
4. The posts I like the most aren’t necessarily the most read. When I write something I believe will help people, it’s disappointing at times when it’s not read by many people. However, you can never know what the life of a post might be. Some things I’ve written several years ago have found new life and been tweeted or posted by others. Just focus on good writing and allow yourself to be surprised at who discovers it.
5. Keep you blog simple and uncluttered. When I first started I added all kinds of widgets and links and had three columns so I could include more stuff that I thought was interesting. I realized that all the extra stuff made it difficult for people to actually see the content. Simple is better.
6. Learn from other bloggers. I’ve discovered a lot about blogging by reading blogs and observing what I like about them. Then I’ve tried to apply these observations to my blog. I’ve also enjoyed reading ProBlogger – I don’t have time to implement all the ideas I’ve read, but I’ve benefited much from how my thinking has been expanded.
7. Use social media to share your posts. I’ve linked my blog posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. This has introduced others to my blog and allowed them the opportunity to interact with my content.
[8. Always proofread before you hit post. Even today I missed something before posting – makes me laugh! I had written 5 Lessons but actually posted with 7. Proofreading helps.]
I’m not a professional blogger. I’m not ready to quit my job to invest myself full-time in blogging. I enjoy coaching and training church planters too much! However, I have found blogging to be a great way to share what I’ve been learning with others. I hope you find Missional Challenge to benefit you.
If you haven’t taken the 31 Day Missional Challenge – I hope you’ll take the time to discover it.
I’d also invite you to subscribe to The Missional Challenge Newsletter.
Finally, I want to thank those who are subscribed or follow Missional Challenge!