Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. (Ephesians 4:1 KJV)
Well, I’m six months in with this space I call New Day! I’m so proud of the words that have been posted and shared here, and grateful for being part of the faith writing and blogging community.
Though I’m no stranger to words, I’m a brand new blogger! I started blogging not really knowing a lot about it, but I’ve learned so much since New Day was launched on January 1. July will be dedicated to my blogging journey so far, and this week I’m sharing a few tips and what I’ve learned these first six months, with hopes that you will find some inspiration for your own path, blogger or otherwise.
1) Write who you are and what you know. Obviously, it’s about faith for me. God is the center of my life, He’s the path I’ve chosen. While I can’t claim to have memorized the entire Bible, I do know what’s in my heart and spirit. And I’ve chosen to express that through the gift of words and writing. I can’t do what others do, nor can I be someone other than myself.
2) Stay organized. I’ve found that it’s so important to use a system to stay organized. It reflects in your work as professional and purposeful. I use my iCloud calendar to keep track of my blog schedule and other work. I map my blog posts as far in advance as I can and prepare them a week before post time (each Friday morning at 8:00 EST). I use the Notes app on my iPad and phone to record blog post ideas and themes. So far, this is the system that works for me.
3)Learn what you need for when you need it. In other words, pace yourself. There are so many articles and tips out there on branding and SEO and learning graphic design and this and that. It can be overwhelming! I spent the first couple of months of this year reading a LOT. It has been useful, but honestly, I don’t need it all right now. So I’ve narrowed my needs list to a few focus areas, then narrowed those to a few resources that I’ve found to be most helpful and beneficial. My current focus areas are: quality blog content, social media management, graphic design for blog posts, and faith writing. My main resource as of late is COMPEL Training via Proverbs 31 Ministries. This program provides weekly lessons and is an excellent support vehicle for faith writers.
I’m not ready for SEO, analytics (though I do track and review my site stats through WordPress), and the such. I know these are important and valuable, and I WILL get there!
4) Get feedback. And I don’t mean the replies you get from the comments section of your blog! Ask readers and friends you trust for their honest feedback on what you’re posting. It’s good to have fresh perspective.
5) Read! It helps your writing. Write! It helps your writing! You learn how to read and write by reading and writing. This is so important. Though I have a journalism degree and have previously self-published, I still sharpen my skill set by immersing myself in words. I study other blog posts, I write in my journal, and even listen to how speakers express their thoughts. Recognize styles you like, then develop your own voice.
For other new bloggers, what were your lessons learned in your first few months of blogging?