You may be considering having a church blog on your website, or maybe you already do. How do you know if a blog is for you or not? Here's some things to consider.
To Blog or Not to Blog?
Church Blogs Take Time
If you have a blog on your church website, you want to make sure it's being updated on a regular basis. What constitutes a "regular basis?" It could be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. We wouldn't advise doing less than that because then it seems inactive and doesn't serve the purpose a blog should. The important thing is to be consistent with the timing of when you post so that your readers know when to expect an update and can visit your blog to see what you have written.
So before getting involved with a blog, consider the time investment. Will you be able to keep it up? Do you have others who could contribute posts from time to time? The pastor need not be the only writer of a blog, but he does need to choose people to help write who will uphold the values of the church.
Blogs Add Life to a Church Website
A blog has the potential to bring life to a rather static website. It's a place where the content changes consistently and allows your readers to get more acquainted with you. It's a place where you can be a little more relaxed and personal with your congregation and new visitors. A church blog is a good place to share your thoughts and ideas.
Other ways to add life to your website are by adding pictures from events you have at your church or in your community, adding weekly sermons, and keeping your upcoming event up-to-date.
Why is this all important - to have your church's website be alive and fresh? Because people want to know that your church is alive and that there are things going on. Usually today, someone will look at your website before they come to your church. It's essential that they find value and life there. A blog is a great way
Aside from these advantages, adding fresh content makes your website more attractive to the search engines. They favor websites that update their content, and a blog is a very natural way to do this. This is important to your church's website being ranked higher so that people find you when they do an internet search. In other words, if you want someone to be able to find you if they search for "evangelical church" (for example), you want your church website to come up in the first few position in Google.
Do You Like to Write?
Some people are writers, others are not. If you are going to write a church blog, you want to enjoy it. Otherwise, you will most likely not keep it up. Be honest about whether blogging is something you would enjoy. As I mentioned previously, the pastor doesn't need to do all the writing himself. If the pastor doesn't like to write or is too busy, is there a staff member who would like to take this responsibility on? You can also form a "church blog team" and get multiple people involved in writing posts. If you have four people willing to do this, they could each write a post once a month. There are many ways to accomplish having a great blog, just be sure to involve those who will be reliable and represent the church as you want.
What Can You Blog About?
So, if you decide on having a blog, it may be a little intimidating. What can you write about on a regular basis? Here's some ideas.
- National news - there are many things going on today that people would like to hear your opinion on. Talking about the events going on in the country/world can also be a lead in to share of God's love and hope for a better world.
- Local happenings - what is going on in your community? Is a new food cupboard opening? Is there a charity event coming up?
- Church events - is your church offering any upcoming events that the community would be interested in? A community dinner or new support group? Your blog is good place to highlight it. Eric Dye, proprietor of Church Mag, in his post, "Should Your Church Have a Blog?" says your blog should not just be a duplicate of your bulletin. In other words, mention special events that might be of interest to your community and don't just rehash all of your weekly events.
- Movies - any new Christian movies out that you feel would be a benefit to see? We advise you to see it first before recommending it!
- Sermon preview/overview - people like to know what's coming - what will you be talking about the next week, or are you planning a certain series in the future? Giving people a preview of it can encourage them to come to your church to hear what you have to say.
- Devotionals - is there a short message God has put on your heart during the week? A blog gives you an opportunity to share it in between Sundays.
Church Relevance has a post giving 300 of the top Chrisitan blogs. We have not checked them all out (so we cannot vouch for them) but they may give you some ideas of the kinds of topics you can write about.
People today are looking for church to be relevant to their lives. A church blog is a great place to write about topics that they can relate to and that impact their daily lives.
Interactive or Not?
Blogs, by nature are interactive, however, you can choose to not have that feature. If you want to invite people to make comments or ask questions, you can do so easily by enabling the comments button. If you do this, you need to be prepared to read the comments and respond to them. It's always been frustrating to us when we read blogs and notice that the author of the post never responds to the comments written.
It's also possible (and recommended) to set the blog up in a way so that you have to approve comments before they show up on your blog. Today, there are a lot of spam comments going around, and you want to keep your blog pleasing to God and your readers.
The other option is to disable the comments and use the blog of more of an article writing tool.
Include Social Share Buttons
Make it easy for your readers to share your blog post on Facebook and other social platforms. That will bring more people to your blog, your website, and the goal, ultimately to know God and visit your church.
How to Let Others Know About Your Church Blog
If you go to the trouble of writing a blog, the next step is to let others know about it. How do you do that? First of all, mention it on Sunday mornings. You can mention something in your sermon or announcements about "on the blog this past week" or "in my most recent blog post." You can send out an email to your congregation letting them know a new post has been uploaded and give them a short snippet on the topic.
You can let your pastor friends know about it if it's a topic they may be interested in and they may choose to share it with others.
As we mentioned above, include your social share buttons on each blog post to make it easy for your readers to share your posts with their friends and followers.
You can also "seo it" and try to get it ranked in Google. The steps to do that go beyond the scope of this post, but Google loves fresh content and they are favorable toward good seo'd blog posts.
One of the great things about a blog is that it can reach the world. Your website is more directed toward your local community and your congregation, but your blog posts have the potential to have a much more far-reaching audience.
Having a blog on your church website can be a great tool, but as always, "count the cost." Think through it beforehand and determine if it's something you'd like to invest time in. Many of us can relate starting a church blog to an intention of getting in shape. We may go out and buy a treadmill and some weights, and we might use them for the first month (or week!) Then they sit, doing no good. You don't want your blog to grow stale and become an "unused gym."
If you decide to go with one, make it a good one. Fresh regular content is a must.
When we design our church websites, we offer a blog option at no additional cost. It will be easy to use and update, so no worries there. We provide training to you and your staff who will be using he blog/website.