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Frank Viola: 25 Tips for Better Blogging

I started blogging in 2008. Almost a decade before that, some of my friends tried to persuade me to start blogging. But I resisted.

My reason: I didn’t have enough time.

Well, I still don’t have enough time, yet I’ve managed to blog for over three years now. And looking back, I wish I had heeded my friends’ advice and started earlier. My bad.

You see, I love blogging. In fact, I enjoy it more than writing books. It’s far less tedious, takes less time, and affords instant feedback.

I also view it as a major way of influencing people with my message on the deeper Christian life. It’s not quite as powerful a tool of influence as a book or a spoken message, but it’s close.

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While I’m still learning the craft, I’ve discovered some valuable tips about the art of blogging that I’d like to share with you. They are… 

1. Buy a Blog Theme That Allows You to Use Plug-Ins. 

While Blogspot.com, Typepad.com, and WordPress.com are free blogging platforms, they don’t allow you to use plugins. So they are profoundly limiting. They are fine for the beginner (I used WordPress.com for my first two years as a blogger). But if you are serious about blogging, you’ll want to get a different theme and your own domain name. The difference it makes is enormous.

I use the Standard Theme for my blog, and I recommend it highly. It not only allows you to use a vast array of free plug-ins to increase your efficiency and traffic, but I love the look, feel, and speed of the theme.

Standard Theme runs on WordPress.org (not WordPress.com). Like WordPress.com, WordPress.org is also free, and it’s virtually identical to use. You can purchase the Standard Theme for less than $100. I suggest all bloggers get it.

Also: Buy a domain name that uses your own name (e.g., JoeyBudafooko.com) or use the name of your blog. This will make your blog easier to find and spread. (JoeyBudafooko.com is easier to share and remember than JoeyBudafooko.wordpress.com.)

If you don’t already own a domain name, I recommend HostGator to buy one. I also suggest HostGator to be your blog-site hosting service. It’s excellent in service and stability.

Again, using the Standard Theme will allow you to choose from hundreds of free plug-ins. Some of them will increase your blog’s readership and visibility. My favorite plug-in right now is nRelate. This plug-in automatically creates small colorful boxes featuring previous related posts below your new posts. I love the screen candy that these boxes add to the blog.

If you need help installing the blog or moving your old blog posts to a new blog platform, such as Standard Theme, I recommend my friend Jeremy Myers. Jeremy is great to work with, and he’ll set up your blog for only $50.

2. Create an Appealing Design & Name. 

Cosmetic appeal means a lot on the Internet. So use colors and graphics that you (and others) find appealing. Make sure the name of your blog reflects what you write about mostly. My blog is called “Beyond Evangelical.” I write on seven themes that relate to Christians who are moving beyond evangelical. My blog matches my Web site and Twitter page. So they are all easy to recognize. Go for consistency in your blog look and name. First impressions are important.

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FRANK VIOLA has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive. Viola has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.