I boarded the Cruise Blog Lines and headed out to sea: Someone throw me a life jacket...Please!
Call me Ishmael. Some (months) ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world (web).
I don't recommend diving in uncharted seas, especially when you don't know how to swim.
I started this blog with the intent that I would share my faith in the spirit of the new evangelization. I am not doing this blog to make money. I have no plans to begin placing advertising or sponsors on this blog. I do not have a book that I am selling or promoting. I do not say those things to judge or to criticize those who want to make money or have a book they want to promote. A blog and a web page on the internet are certainly a viable means of doing both. So, if you are someone seeking to earn an income from a blog, you are free to disembark the boat at this port of call.
My goal, truly, is to reach out and to share my faith, but more important than that to try to empower and help others to do the same. I do want to make this disclaimer upfront: I am not a web design guru or a social media expert. I am just someone willing to share what I learn as I learn it. And being the stubborn gal I am - I always learn it the hard way!
So, here is the advice I wish I had told myself before I boarded the Cruise Blog Lines and headed out to sea of web blogging:
Ask yourself the old standby of the 5 W's and 1 H. The, Why, Who, What, Where, When and How. And for my purposes I am going to make one slight change, to think of Where also as Which.
Why are you going to blog?
This should be the first thing you ask yourself. And then the next thing you should do is pray about it and make sure that this is something you are being called to do. There can be no grandiose illusions. People expressing their opinion on the web are not in short supply. By some estimates, there are upwards of 150 MILLION blogs out there. You can't enter into this wanting large numbers of followers or subscribers. You simply cannot judge the impact of what you say or do by the number or the comments (or lack there of). Don't let any of that stop you from focusing on what it is you feel called to do.
Who is your blog audience?
Try to envision them as if they were someone sitting right in front of you. What does this person need or dream about? What is it they do? What is their life story? What is it they want and how are you (with God as your captain) going to help them?
What are you writing/blogging about?
If you do any research at all, it won't take long before you realize that there is probably already more than one blog or blog post out there that is very similar, if not the same as, the subject or "niche" you plan to write. You can't let that deter you. You don't need to be the first. You just need to be different. You have a voice. It is a unique voice. Rarely, if ever, will you have an idea that is 100% original. But it can be your unique interpretation and vision. Everything we are is a fusion of our past experiences, beliefs, relationships and so much more. All of these things make up the lens through which each of us sees the world. The topic may not be original but the lens through which you interpret it is one of a kind. Don't be afraid to share what you see
Which blog platform and web hosting will you use?
This is huge. And this subject alone had me floundering at sea....begging to be rescued. These are going to be your two toughest decisions (and they can be two separate decisions, depending on the route you take) . I have no easy answers for you. Only more questions: How computer savvy are you? What is the learning curve for the platform you are using? How much time can or will you be able to devote to learning about how to use your platform? Do you know your skill levels well enough to know when you are in over your head? Do you want to spend money? Are you willing to have advertising placed on your site? Advice on the web is plentiful. And it is all different. After much research and after actually trying out some blog platforms. I chooseWeebly for both ( please note I do not receive any financial benefit by stating this). In my next blog post (Why Use a Lot Where a Little Will Do) I will elaborate and share more on my reasons for this decision and why I went against the grain. You do remember I am pretty stubborn, right?
When are you going to do your blog?
If you are like me and you already have a full-time job, then you are going to need to plan when you are going to be able to devote time to your blog. Have no illusions with this as well. It will take time. Do you have it to offer?
How will you make your blog happen?
If you have opted for a platform or web hosting that involves a purchase, how do you plan to pay for this? The second "how" you need to think about is how will others (outside of friends/family) find your blog ? This is where you will need the knowledge of others who know the inner workings of social media and marketing. Spend some time reading blogs and following those in the know. How do you know who knows? I'm working on that myself ....it takes a lens of discernment to be able to wade through all the info and find those that are knowledgeable and share information that is relevant to your needs.
I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it (blogging). There is much to learn about this raging sea. Someone throw me a life jacket. Please!
P.S. I have a confession to make. I have never read Moby DIck.
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Evangelizing the digital continent!
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