Write a Better Blog with These 21 Checkpoints

Are there elements that should pretty much always be included in every blog post? Yep. But it’s rare to find them all together in one, awesome post.

You don’t have to do all of these things every single time, but my own mental checklist that I run through as I’m writing, and before I hit “Publish” looks like this:

  1. Write a compelling title. Run it through CoSchedule’s headline analyzer?
  2. Use the first paragraph to motivate the reader to keep reading.
  3. Research some keywords to find out if anyone is actually searching for what I’m writing about.
  4. Include those keywords an appropriate number of times, especially in titles and headings.
  5. Include some bullet points.
  6. Include at least one image that looks good. Find them at Pexels.
  7. Assign a featured image and make sure it pops up in social posts. Debug if necessary.
  8. Include an average of two internal links to other posts within your blog.
  9. Include an average of two links to other relevant resources.
  10. Among those links, make one or two affiliate links.
  11. Pick an appropriate category or two.
  12. Add some relevant tags for cross-referencing purposes later on.
  13. Check the spelling.
  14. Evaluate the emotional impact of the post.
  15. Answer a question or solve a problem with the post.
  16. Be personal – use conversational language.
  17. Call the reader to act on what they’re reading in some small way.
  18. Post it to social media profiles, pages, groups, etc.
  19. Invite readers to connect and subscribe (not always within the post, but in the site design).
  20. Email your mailing list inviting them to check it out.
  21. Go back and re-evaluate the title one more time. After writing, is it still the best it can be?

As I said, this isn’t exhaustive. It’s just the list I run through as I write a post.

Read more from Brandon.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator about how your personal blogging can increase your church’s ministry influence.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Secret to Meaningful Blogging

I never intended to become active on social media. My boss intended it for me and I am glad he did. It has helped me formulate thoughts more clearly, has pushed me to keep learning, and has broadened the types of people I can connect with.

At first, I did not have a social media or a blog strategy. As I started hearing feedback from people about things I wrote, I thought, “I really need to take this more seriously.” So Chris Martin helped me form a blog strategy. We sit down once a month and he brings me a list of potential topics, shows me data on what seems to be helping and resonating, and makes suggestions on tweaks I should make.

Culture might eat strategy for breakfast, but that doesn’t meant we abandon strategy. If you are a leader who uses social media, here are three reasons you should have a strategy:

1. Strategy saves time.

I don’t feel like I have any extra time, so when Chris nudged me to get on the Five Leadership Questions Podcast and to start Facebook Live videos, I was like “Dude, are you crazy.” He showed me we could simply plan to tweak and adjust existing content to move into different mediums. So Facebook Live videos are simply me explaining and articulating something I have already written. The podcast takes zero prep time, but then becomes prep time for future blogs.

2. Strategy simplifies processes.

Without a strategy incredible amounts of time are wasted having the same conversations over and over. Because we know the plan for what content will go where and when, we are not daily rehashing the same conversations. I write, send for editing, it gets posted, which later becomes a video, etc.

3. Strategy serves your audience.

Having a strategy allows you to think more intentionally. Having a strategy and being strategic are not the same things. But having a strategy can help you be strategic. Having a blog or content strategy provides a framework for you to think about how to best serve those in your audience.

Read more from Eric.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Big Benefits of Blogging

I’ve been a sporadic blogger for the past few years. However, my weekly post at ThomRainer.com has created a routine for blogging for which I am grateful. As 2017 begins, I want to encourage you to consider starting (or continuing) a blog next year.

There are several reasons many people begin blogging—many of which can be quite selfish. Fame, prestige, money, or job freedom is not necessarily a bad reason to begin blogging. But if one of those reasons is your driving motivation for blogging, your journey into blogging will be likely short-lived and frustrating. Most bloggers never become famous, most never make money from their site, and most can’t stick with the schedule blogging demands.

All that being said, I do have five positive reasons you really should consider blogging in 2017. If done correctly—and with the proper motivation—maybe a modest amount of prestige and a little side income might come your way as a bonus.

  1. Discipline carries over into other aspects of life. Most new bloggers don’t realize the demands a blog can place on time and creativity. However, once the discipline of blogging is developed, it can benefit you in other aspects of life. Maintaining a blog practically forces you to develop routines and content plans. These routines can be mimicked in your dietary planning, workout regimens, personal discipleship, and relationships. A successful blog may not always mean more page views. Personal growth through the discipline of blogging can be success in and of itself.
  2. Blogging forces you to think more about a subject. We live in a hot take society. There are far too many commentators online and on television who speak before they think. Blogging can help you avoid a hot take mindset if you let it. Yes, some bloggers write before they really think about the words. But many of the most well-known bloggers online put a great amount of thought into their words. To them, every word matters. And the more you think about what you write, the more you grow and develop as a blogger and as a person.
  3. A personal website adds credibility in your professional life. Regardless of your profession, having a professional-looking website helps add credibility. When it comes to dining, we eat with our eyes first. A meal that looks appetizing will psychologically taste better than one that doesn’t—even if it’s the same dish. The same goes with a personal website or blog. If you have an eye-catching site, you will be taken more seriously than if you don’t. This is one of the many reasons I’m a fan of the websites Mere Agency builds. If you’re intimidated about the technical or design work it takes to get a blog running or upgraded, they can help you out.
  4. You network with people you might never have met otherwise. Along with your credibility, your network of friends and acquaintances is likely to grow as you blog. In any given month at ThomRainer.com, we have readers from every country in the world and commenters from many of them as well. There is no way we will ever meet all of our readers or visit every country our readers live in. But the number of people we have met through this site is incalculably greater than it would be if ThomRainer.com did not exist. The same will be the case when you start consistently blogging.
  5. Blogging can accentuate discipleship of the readers. This might be the most important aspect of blogging if you are a pastor. Pastors, you have the opportunity to speak into the lives of your congregation on a more regular basis when you blog. I encourage you to capitalize on the opportunity you have through blogging and use it to further the discipleship of your congregation.

Have any of you who blog realized these benefits? What other benefits might you add? If you don’t blog, what are some benefits you would hope to realize if you did?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.