These are all links to blogging resources that I highly recommend are linked below.
***Below are some affiliate links throughout this article. This means that when you click on some of the pink links, it will take you to the affiliate’s website where you can read about the product, and if you make a purchase using any of the links, I will make a little bit of money. However your price remains the same and I only promote products that I highly recommend.
So you want to create a faith blog, huh?
Or maybe you already have one but you are new to blogging and looking for help, or maybe you just don’t have the money to invest right away so you’re just trying to figure out if creating a faith blog is really what you want to do. I know that feeling… unfortunately, ALL TOO WELL. That’s okay. Maybe you are kind of like I was, before I got my start. Maybe you are feeling the Lord prompting you and you’re just exploring the idea. That’s okay, too!
There are lots of bloggers out there creating tons of trainings, and guess what… making tons of money doing it. But, one thing I realized when I started my faith blog, SincerelyChristi.com was that I had a really hard time finding bloggers that I could identify with, that were running faith blog businesses. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are a ton of valuable resources out there, created by all kinds of bloggers, and believe me, I have taken advantage of lots of those resources. One of my favorites, for it’s simplicity is Suzi Whitman’s Blog By Number course for only $47, which is one of the most economical purchases just starting out that I made, compared to many other blogger’s products. Suzi makes well over $38,000 per month from her blog business. Love her and her resources. And I have stumbled across a very small community of Christian women running wonderful faith blogs out there, but I wanted to learn how to create my faith blog as a Christian, with the encouragement of the Word of God, as well as the heart of ministry, wrapped up in the teaching. Does that make sense?
At one point, I got this notion that the primary purpose of many “start a blog” business blogs are just that, “start-a-blog in 15 minutes and replace your full-time income” as a means for the owner to make money off of me. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY FINE! Why else do you go in business? Right? Well, for me, it’s a little different.
My reasons for starting my journey blog were three-fold.
- My genuine passion is to help people in all facets of life, just starting out, relationships and marriage, parenting, life transitions, career transitions, goal-setting, looking for purpose or accountability, coping with grief and loss, as well as, finding hope and faith. Yeah. It’s a long list. Haha! And I’m pretty passionate about all of it! Bottom line? I love helping people. (I have a background as a marriage therapist, and I’m now in the coaching world)
- My desire is to earn a full-time income while working at home so that I could be there for my family… that’s another story though. 🙂 I know, everybody’s dream. Right? Well, it truly doesn’t have to be a dream. God orders our steps and if yours and mine are being ordered home, then guess what, the Word says He gives us what we need to carry out His will for our lives.
- My story, my journey, is my second ministry. My first is of course, my family. The fact is that our life experience is meant to be shared. It’s how we connect with others. Our personal experience, struggles, and growth are meant to bring encouragement and edification to others through the testimony of what God has done for us. The word says that what He has done for me, He will do for you too! How awesome is that?? But blogging isn’t for everyone. It’s not everyone’s gifting, just like preaching isn’t everyone’s gifting. For me though, it feels perfect…even with the challenges it brings.
What can you do while you are trying to decide if creating a faith blog is for you, BEFORE you invest your hard-earned money?
And also, what do you actually need to do before you launch your faith blog??
THIS. ALL OF IT.
If you put the time and effort into getting all of these things done, you will be a few steps ahead of most brand new bloggers, who start out without any idea who their audience is, or what their plan is.
Establish what your niche is and who your reader is.
Your niche is your focus area, such as DIY crafts for the home, fashion for moms, bullet journaling, and so on. Soooo many different opportunities for creating. How do you do this? Well, here are a few questions to help guide you a bit. What are you naturally passionate about? What do you like to talk about a lot? What do you like to do with your spare time? Here’s one… What do you spend so much time pinning on Pinterest? Haha! What are your gifts? What skills do you have to offer? Who are the people you want to help? What are their problems about? You get it? The point is you want to solve a problem or answer a question… to some extent. My journey blog is about providing people with encouragement and hope to grow their faith, but it’s also about providing people with faith-grounded resources to help them with life and relationships. This blog is solely about providing resources for people wanting to create a faith blog. It’s meant for people just starting out on their journey, as well as those who are already on their blogging journey, but are still fairly new bloggers.
Pick out Your Domain Name and Purchase it.
I say pick it out like you’re getting something off of a shelf at the store, but actually, if you are a Christian who is attempting to walk on the path that God is leading you on, I really recommend praying about it, and listening for a still small voice, and following through with whatever the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. Many people will tell you to name your blog something that people will be searching for. Put keywords in the title. Your domain name needs to be descriptive, as to what your blog business is about. All of this is in fact, very true. BUT. There are lots of successful blogs out there with catchy titles that have nothing to do with keywords, or search criteria, or even defining what their blog is all about. So, I would prefer to listen to what the Lord is telling me to do and go with that. Afterall, He pretty much knows everything. Haha! Trust His plan. He gave me SincerelyChristi.com because it was sincerely my journey and all that I have learned along the way, but it’s also genuinely and authentically my growth-process and faith journey that I’m STILL going on! So, it fits me and my blog, perfectly. Bottom line is, listen. You can get a domain name from just about anywhere, Siteground, Bluehost, Wix, and Weebly all sell them. These are the hosting sites that I have the most experience with. I actually purchased mine from Go Daddy. No reason why, other than it was super cheap and it was my very first step on this path. Many hosts, like Siteground, will give you your domain name for free with certain hosting package purchases. When I started out, I didn’t know that.
Decide on a color scheme, logo, and branding.
I struggled with this at first. Many seasoned bloggers will tell you to look at your Pinterest boards and see what colors you are most often drawn to. What have you pinned most of? What colors are in your closet, your home, or make you feel happy? I followed some of these rules at first. What I ended up doing was creating a secret Pinterest board and searching color schemes with hex codes. There are some great ones out there explaining color combinations but I’m going to give you 2 of the most valuable pieces of information that really helped me make my vision concrete. This post from Elegantthemes.com about applying a color scheme to the Divi theme (which is more about choosing a scheme… and by the way, the Divi theme is a drag and drop theme I use on both of my websites and love because it saves my sanity, due to its ease of use), and then this website called HTML-Color, which allows you to look up any color by name, hex code, or gradient, and then gives you all kinds of suggestions for color combinations, including the hex codes. I found the colors I wanted and wrote down the hex codes and names on a blog sheet that I have, then I bookmarked the page in my Bookmarks Bar for easy reference. For logos and branding, just begin researching ideas, making some sketches, and figure out the overall feel you want visitors to experience when they come to your site. It all fits together. On a side note, I actually got my logo for SincerelyChristi on Etsy and my logo for this site, I created on Canva. I love them both!
Write 8-10 great blog posts that add value to your reader, solves a problem they have, or connects with a struggle.
Its sounds like a lot of work. Maybe it is, but in the scheme of things, cranking out quality faith blog posts is what you want to do. Did you get that? Quality is always over quantity. Eight quality posts are way better than ten so-so posts any day. But 8 to 10 posts in the beginning is a great start. Maybe you already have ideas about what you want to write about. Well, then… Get to writing! Times a-wasting! Haha! I’m kidding. It’s okay, if you don’t really know yet. You can start with writing your “Why you want to create a blog” post, and your “About Me” post because your readers will likely want to know those things. You can also go ahead start writing about a recent experience you had where your faith was an important value to you, or something along those lines. Or maybe you have a meaningful scripture that you want to write about how it applies to a recent struggle, or the subject you are passionate about. You know the one that you could talk about forever? Yeah. That one. Start brainstorming some blog ideas, some key points, and then fill it in from there.
Create at least 2 Images for each of your posts.
You’ll want to create one image that is more square to share on Facebook and/or Instagram, and then one vertical long pin for Pinterest. My most favorite website for creating awesome professional-looking images is hands-down, Canva.com. They have a free plan, but also have paid plans as well. It just depends on your needs. I’m actually content with the free, but there is a value in what you can do with a paid plan too. Another website I absolutely love for pics is Pexels.com. They have a huge supply of free photos with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License. This license is important because they are free usage. However, it is important to understand, you are trusting Pexels for providing you with photos without true knowledge of where they came from. Do you sense my hesitation? As you should. The real goal here is to get to a place where you can do your own photos or purchase the rights of photos that you know who the photographer is. That’s always the safest route when putting photos on your site. With that being said, I have many photos that come from Pexels, so I guess I’m taking the risk. My goal is to work on replacing them here and there as I create my own. I would encourage you to do the same.
Make your Opt-in.
What’s that? The reality is that it’s your hook to get people to sign up for your email list. It’s your offer. It can be an email course, or a PDF print-out of something, something pretty you created to print, a planner, whatever you think “your” readers would want when they come to your website. The hope is that they will want it, sign up to get it, and you will be able to keep in touch to help them remember you had something they liked and might want to continue to check you out on occasion. The other value is that if you decide to create something to sell (which if you want to make money from your site… you need to do just that), you already have the beginning of a customer list. Your opt-in needs to be something special though, not just “sign up for my next post.” That might be just me though.
Learn email automation and create your welcome series.
What in the world am I talking about? This concept alone took me some time to figure out. So, take some time and learn it. Decide on your email service, get registered and start watching some tutorials and writing some emails. Believe me when I say, you’ll think me later for getting you started on this before you launch. I started with Mailchimp, but another big one that people often use is Convertkit. I’ve heard so many great things about Convertkit and they give you so many great options to manage your email marketing. While I haven’t had any mishaps with Mailchimp, personally, I have heard others having difficulties with subscribers not receiving emails, or sent emails going to the promotional tab in GMAIL. Just a thought
Create your top 2 social media accounts and begin populating them with posts.
I personally suggest Pinterest and Facebook just because they are my favorite to begin with. However there are lots who would say Pinterest and Instagram. It’s really up to you, but I would consider choosing the 2 platforms that I am most familiar with, or are already possibly part of your routine to some extent.
You may be wondering why you would go ahead and creat your social media platforms for a website that doesn’t exist. Well.. are you wondering why? I knew it! My rationale is because it usually takes some time building a following… well … anywhere. So, you can go ahead and start engaging people with quotes, memes, and even sharing other blogger’s work that would be meaningful to your audience. Create momentum with a countdown. But stick to it! Don’t build it and then fizzle out on your deadlines. Get it done!
Research and Decide on Website Hosting and Theme Options.
This is another concept I didn’t completely understand when I first started. I got the point of a domain name and web-hosting, but theme? And then you will read some bloggers promoting a child theme or a genesis theme, or free themes, or framework themes, and the terminology goes on. It’s best to figure all of that out now. In a nutshell, web-hosting is like your land, and a domain name is like your address. The regular free themes you see out in internet land are typically all-inclusive, so it holds all the coding it needs to function and look pretty. It’s kind of like a home, being resold. It’s already there, looking pretty, and functions the way it’s supposed to. A framework theme is just like it sounds. It is the structure of the house (with all the main coding), and then you would add another child theme to it, which provides the pretty little details and finishing touches. The framework theme with child theme typically are easier to upgrade, from what I understand. The all-in-one themes though, (from what I understand) will overwrite anything you have done when you go to upgrade it, so it’s not so easily upgraded.
After struggling along with a free theme for a bit, I decided my sanity was more important than money and splurged on Elegantthemes.com, Divi theme. It’s drag and drop feature gave me the ability to make my site look anyway I wanted it to. There is a down side though to Divi that you need to be aware of. Apparently, once you go with Divi, it’s difficult to change to another theme. I’m not worried about that because I love the Divi theme so much that I’m not concerned about changing. Also, there is so much design flexibility, I could change my website every season if I wanted to (within the Divi theme). But, I think I have other things to invest my time in. Haha! Did I say I love Elegant Themes?? Okay, I think you get the picture, but if you’re the least bit curious, watch their video showing how powerful and flexible it is.
It’s finally time to purchase your web-hosting and start setting up your web-site.
I think I just heard you yell “FINALLY!” Haha! Yes! If you have accomplished the majority of the things on this list and you’re still focused in on your blogging goals, then you just might be committed enough to get it going for real! I’m so excited for this journey you are considering. Don’t be fooled when you read posts like, Start a blog in under 15 minutes! because the reality is, YES! You can get your blog up in about 15 minutes, but it’s going to take you hours to tweak. I took me 2 weeks to get it the way I wanted on my first blog! It’s going to take hours to write all of your initial pages and posting to populate the site.
Yes, blogging will take time, lots of effort, and lots of work. BUT… when you get in a rhythm and get past the overwhelming feeling like you have to learn ALL the things RIGHT NOW, blogging, especially doing a faith blog, is an incredibly rewarding ministry.
Just remember, if you are being called to blogging, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Just stop for a few minutes and trust in the One who is leading you to this place. He sees the big picture. If He calls you there, He will give you everything you need to sustain you and equip you. Trust Him in the process.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13