If you are a Christian blogger or faith-based blogger and really struggling to get organic traffic to your site, you really need to read this! I am a member of several blogging groups, including a few exclusively for Christian bloggers. I have come across some amazing content that really defines what it means to be a Child of God and to live a life filled with the Blessings only He can provide. The problem is that, although the content is beautiful and powerful, the message isn't getting in front of the people that need it because Christian bloggers often don't fully understand the “mechanics” behind what makes blogs successful as far as organic traffic and being found by search engines. Here are 7 steps to making your Christian blogs more successful so more people around the globe can learn about Jesus.
And He said unto them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'
Mark 16:15 NKJV
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How to Make Your Christian Blogs More Successful
The internet has made it possible for you to share your love of God and the message of His love literally across the globe! Where once you could only impact those in your immediate area (like your small town), you can now change lives on the other side of the ocean. My church's mission is “To take as many people to Heaven before we die. Period.” This is made possible because of the internet. The reason your Christian mom blog or faith-based blog on poetic Scripture isn't reaching anyone is that:
- You aren't writing to solve a problem or help your reader
- You aren't researching your content topic and using correct SEO
- You aren't properly formatting your text
- You aren't using Pinterest-worthy images
Don't worry! I'm here to help! Once you understand the “mechanics” of it all, your content will be out there reaching more people and bring more people into the Kingdom!
Side Note: If you haven't already started your blog, you can start with my How to Start a Blog Tutorial which will walk you through the basic steps. Or you can sign up for my FREE 5-Day Start a Blog Email Course (below) which goes into a bit more detail on figuring out your niche and audience, as well as the mechanics of setting it up.
#1 How to Start a Christian Blog
You may or may not have already created your blog. If you haven't, be sure to use my tutorial mentioned above to walk you through the steps. Even if you have already launched your blog, you may have skipped over really narrowing down your niche and defining your Avatar. Yes, you CAN just start writing about whatever, but to be successful as a blogger you must define your target audience and decide how you are going to help them with your content.
- Defining your Avatar – I created this video to better explain this part. Just remember that the more defined your Avatar is, the easier it will be to create content directed to them!
- Solving a problem – A blog is meant to help people. Help them with solving a problem. For a Christian blog, the “problem” could be a simple as translating Scripture into every day living or overcoming temptation as a Christian woman. Either way, these are technical “problems.” Anything you search in Google is meant to find an answer to something. So what are you aiming to provide with your content?
#2 Who is Your Target Audience (Avatar)?
One of the biggest mistakes (next to SEO) that I see Christian bloggers making is that they haven't fully defined their target audience. When blogging about Christian or faith-based topics, you must decide WHO you are writing it for. Of course, content from the Bible is appropriate for any living being but in order for your blog to be successful, you need to focus your content to a particular person.
For example, Cheks over at This Mama and Her Kids is a Christian blogger who focuses on sharing God's message to help women going through or rebuilding after a divorce. Other Christian blogs might focus on things like living as a Proverbs 31 woman, Christian parenting, Bible studies, etc. Either way, you must decide on a particular area to focus on so you can start writing directly to them. This makes it much easier to come up with content, find affiliate products that will convert, and build a loyal following.
If you need help with this part, take the Who is My Avatar Challenge which takes you through actionable steps to clearly defining your target audience.
#3 SEO for Christian Blogs
Now that you know WHO your Christian blog content is speaking to, it's time to start doing SEO (search engine optimization) for your posts. This is the one area that I consistently see missing from the Christian blogs that I read and follow. Before the internet became a thing, writers could simply put pen to paper and craft beautiful stories, poems, personal testimonies, etc. These days, however, we have this thing called a “Google Algorithm” that requires you to put a little more research and effort into anything you write that is intended for the online community.
Christian Blog Post Ideas – How to Choose the Right Topic and Keyword
**This is the most crucial step in making your Christian blog successful! Without this, you will continue to struggle to get organic traffic to your site!
As much as you'd like to just start writing, you must do a little research on the topic you plan to write about! In order for someone to find your blog post, you have to make it findable in search engines. This is accomplished by researching the most common keyword phrases that people are typing into Google to search for the type of content you are writing. For example, if you were planning to write a post related to Christian parenting, you would do research on that phrase (Christian parenting). Here is a video that shows some basic research using a free SEO tool. Here is another one using Google Keyword Planner. I do recommend using more than one tool to ensure you are choosing the best keyword. To rank higher in searches, always try to look for long-tail keywords (phrases containing 3 or more words) because there will be less competition for them. Here are a few examples of a planned topic with long-tail keyword options for them:
- Blogs for Christian Women
- Top Christian Blogs for College Students
- Blogs about God and Life
- What is Christian Parenting
- Christian Quotes about Parenting
- How to Raise a Christian Child
- Biblical Advice on Parenting
Once you have chosen your primary long-tail keyword, you will need to ensure you place it in very specific places throughout your blog post. You can do this by installing the Yoast SEO plugin (free version) and watching this video to help you understand how to use it. The places that need to have the long-tail keyword are the Title, Headings, Content, image file names, and Alt Text.
#4 Formatting Your Blog Post
Just like when you had to write papers back in high school, blog posts also need to be formatted. You may not know this but the Google “bots” actually look at your formatting when deciding how to rank your page for the content topic. I've seen a few blogs that improperly use the Heading tags to make a line of text larger to stand out. Do not do this!! The Heading tags (also called “H-tags”) are only to be used for actual headings. Headings are used for separating topics or thoughts within your post (just like on those old research papers!). Your title that is automatically populated on the post will be set to H1. For the remainder of your headings, they should go in order. Most blogs only go as far as H3 and maybe H4. At least one of each should have your chosen SEO keyword and/or other related keywords. You can see how this post (that you are currently reading) is formatted. I use pink for my H2/H3 headings and the dark orange identifies H4.
The other thing to keep in mind concerning formatting is paragraph length. A paragraph with many sentences can be very hard on the eyes. Short paragraphs with less than 3-4 sentences are best. This simply breaks up the text, making it easier to read. Be sure to also use standard font and avoid using cute “decorative” fonts for both your headers and your paragraphs. While you think they are cute and adds to the flow of your site, it may be difficult for some visitors to read it. (You can use decorative fonts on your Pinterest pins).
One more thing in regard to formatting – make sure you have the correct settings for your post permalinks! I see many posts with a format that has the date in the URL for the post. This can actually hurt your SEO ranking! It should be set to only have your domain/post-slug. You can change this in SETTINGS: PERMALINK and shown in the image below. Just be sure that you install a redirect plugin (plenty of free ones to choose from) so that any Pinterest pins you may have created that are circulating will redirect to the new URL!!!
#5 You must have Pinterest-worthy images
Speaking of Pinterest pins – of all the Christian blogs and faith-based blogs that I come across, I would say at least 75% of them do not have a Pinterest worthy image! Here's the deal – Pinterest is the #1 source of traffic for most blogs because it is a search engine (similar to Google). It does work off an algorithm, but, unlike Google which lists results in a way that only those listed on the first page will be seen, Pinterest also works based on visual appeal. It is ok to have simple, small images with no text on your blog but you MUST provide at least one Pinnable image that is worthy of being pinned. This means having a vertical image with text overlay of the post title. If you came across a random image on Pinterest and it had no text, how would you know that it led to a blog post? You wouldn't!
Even if you don't want the image to physically take up space on your post (you should because this will increase the chance of it being pinned), you can “hide” an image to where it only shows up when the reader clicks the sharing button for Pinterest. Not sure how to do that? Here is a video.
More posts on making your blog more productive:
- How to Start a Christian Blog
- Pinterest for Christian Bloggers
- 22 Essential Blogging Tips for Beginners
- How to Increase Blog Traffic – The Three Mistakes That are Costing You
- Benefits of Hiding Pinterest Images in Your Blog Post (and How to Hide Them)
- 4 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Increasing Blog Traffic, Subscribers, and Income
- 7 Proven Strategies for Writing Catchy Blog Post Titles That Stand Out
#6 Social Sharing & Social Follow Buttons
You may be asking what social buttons have to do with getting traffic! Simple, the more your post is shared by current readers, the more people will see it beyond your own reach! The problem is that you aren't using your social sharing buttons properly. Social Buttons (both sharing and following) need to be as easy to find as possible. Don't make your readers search for them! You can either use the buttons that come with your blog (I recommend against this) or use a sharing plugin such as SumoMe, Social Warfare, or Shareaholic.
- Add sharing buttons in multiple locations on your page (before the post, end of post, and along the side).
- Make them Bold (they should stand out and not be colored to match your theme
- Provide options to share across ALL platforms, not just the ones you are on
Follow buttons can help you grow your audience and provides the opportunity for new followers to share your content. Your Follow Buttons should, at a minimum, be towards the top of your sidebar (just under your About Me widget). You should also place them at the top and in the footer. If your theme doesn't already provide that ability, there are plenty of plugins to enable you to do this. Make sure you test your Follow Buttons to ensure they lead to your social platform. It is quite frustrating to want to follow someone and their links don't work!
** Here is another great video tutorial on improving your blog traffic.
#7 Building Your Email List and Following as a Christian Blogger
Many newer bloggers tend to only have the Subscribe Widget that comes with their blog. This is fine for sending new blog posts when they are published, but not good for building an email list. You must set up an email system using programs like MailerLite or ConverKit (or others). These enable you to build a list and stay connected to them with regular emails. This helps you to really connect with your readers and build a loyal following (who will totally share your content with their friends). When setting up your email system, ensure you create a welcome email sequence that is automated to go out as soon as they subscribe.
To increase your subscribers, you can also create some sort of “freebie” to offer in exchange for getting on your list. This is called an “optin” and is a great way to build your list. As a Christian blogger, your freebie could be as simple as access to password protected content such as a resource library, OR, you can create digital products like daily devotionals, challenges, E-books, etc., that can be downloaded once they sign up. Just think of what types of things your Avatar would need or want in relation to your blog topic. You can create multiple optins depending on the different topics you may blog about.
BONUS: Monetizing Your Christian Blogs
It seems that Christian bloggers struggle more than most with monetizing their blogs. For some, it is an internal struggle of not wanting to financially benefit from sharing God's message. To this person, I want to remind you that even Pastors receive a paycheck for their service! For others, it is simply not knowing what types of products to promote and how to promote them without turning the blog into a sales advertisement. Either way, the struggle is real!
Know Your Target Audience!
When planning your monetization strategy, you simply need to refer back to your Avatar and knowing what he/she needs, what type of “problem” or “issue” you are solving, and then using that to determine ways to generate income. Even if your content is only reflections of Scripture, the people coming to your page will enjoy just about anything related to faith, right? Christian books are an easy start for monetizing. You can create a reading list (on a page template) and link it in your navigation menu and/or sidebar, then refer to it in your posts. You can also simply recommend a specific book that relates to the content (then refer them to your complete library of Christian reading).
Beyond books, you can add banners to places that sell Christian products. Etsy has beautiful T-shirts and wall decor. There are also other Christian bloggers who create and sell products and may offer an affiliate program that you can join. Here is a list I put together of 40+ Resources for Christian Women. Many of these have affiliate programs!
Consider creating your own digital products! Many Christian bloggers create E-books, courses, Devotionals, and other digital products and sell them as an additional source of income. (Check out My Sermon Keeper, created by Christian blogger (and friend) Caroline Bellemare.) Once you create them, set up an affiliate program so others can promote them and earn a small commission!
So there you have it! Now you understand some of the things holding you back as far as growing your Christian blogs and can begin working on them so you can share God's message with the world! The funny thing for me is that I'm a fairly new Christian. I came to know Jesus only a few years ago and often wondered how I could ever contribute to bringing more people to know Him. I've since realized that the gift he's given me was not just meant for me to have a platform. While my blog has a Christian base, I don't necessarily write content that shares his message (except for the one verse on each post). I've felt for a while now that my other calling is to use my knowledge to teach others who are Christian writers how to get the world to see their content.
I'm in the process of writing a short course specifically for Christian bloggers that will go into more detail on SEO, creating optin forms that convert and building a loyal following. The course will include video tutorials where I brainstorm ideas for Christian blogs post, do the keyword research, and draft the post into the proper format. If you would like to get on my email list to be notified when the course is live, just fill out the form below!
Be sure to also join me over in my private group Girl Bosses Rock Blogging Boot Camp – where we have daily training threads. You can also join the Membership Tribe – which provides complete access to all courses in the GBR Academy plus weekly live Q&A sessions and a free blog audit!