One of my buddies from “over the mountain” wrote a very interesting and well-written post about being a witness. Before you read any more here, you really ought to take a few minutes and read his post. Won’t take long. I’ll wait…
There. And on we go…
Really, the main idea in my friend’s article is that there are three types of witnesses for Christ:
Type I: The Martyr
Type II: The Leader
Type III: The faithful “rank and file” of the Church. The saints…
If you’ve read my friend’s post, you know that you and I are Type III witnesses in most cases. We’re not called to die for our testimonies, nor to lead large groups of people in out-of-the-ordinary ways. We’re called to share our witnesses in daily, ordinary, faithful, consistent ways. Blogging is just one way to do that. Since my last post, a number of people have contacted me for a little help on blogging. So I want to share a few “best practices” for the LDS blogger.
True, this list is incomplete. Plus, it is just what I’ve found to work for me, currently, and the list will probably grow or change or shrink… Anyhow, here are a few basics that may be helpful if you’re working on sharing the gospel through blogging. Some of these are just things I do, and some are things that I think would work for a lot of people:
- I use WordPress for all of my blogs. It is free, easy to use, and easy to customize.
- Write regularly, but don’t overwhelm yourself. I find myself writing about two to three times a week. I’ll write more some weeks, depending on time and the ideas that come to me.
- I use other forms of social media to help spread the blog. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Personally, I avoid being controversial. I do a lot of research on religious topics, and I’m not afraid to share thoughts on topics that may be controversial, but I’m not here trying to stir up some argument. In fact, I won’t argue with people. I’ve never found that to be helpful.
- Write about things you know and love. What parts of the gospel are currently blessing you? Why?
- Spell things correctly. Use appropriate grammar. Don’t use all caps (that is like shouting…no one likes shouting). I know this part of blogging turns a lot of would-be bloggers off, but often we lose a little credibility when we don’t proofread and edit (but don’t look too closely at my blog…there are bound to be errors hiding all over the place).
- Comment on other people’s blogs. They’ll check yours out. Feel free to tell your friends, especially those curious about the Church, about your blog.
- Picture yourself reading the blog. If you weren’t very familiar with Mormonism, would your post be confusing or clarifying? Remember who your audience is and write to them.
- Tag your posts. What would people search for on Google to find your particular post? On my post about Elder Holland’s talk on depression, I used the following tags: anxiety, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, depression, general conference, Jeffrey R. Holland, LDS, LDS Family Services, Like a Broken Vessel, mental health, and Mormon. When people are searching for Elder Holland’s talk, Google brings my blog up as the fourth hit (as of today). Be careful to be honest. We’re not trying to trick people into the Church. Some people will add a million unrelated tags to their posts, hoping to lure some unsuspecting person to their blog. I don’t want to force my religion on anyone. If they’re interested, they’ll come looking…
- Pray about what you write about. 2 Nephi 33:1 talks about the Holy Ghost carrying the inspired written word to the heart of readers. Is there a story you think Heavenly Father wants you to share?
- Lastly, not all aspects of your religious life should be shared on a blog. Some things are just sacred enough that they should be protected and only shared under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Be careful. Be normal. If you wouldn’t share a certain personal story with some stranger you were sitting by on a bus, don’t share it on your blog.
Ok, well, there’s a list. Some of the ideas may be lame. Feel free to ignore anything you like! 🙂 Also, remember that you are under no obligation to be a blogger. There are other ways to share the gospel using social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Good luck. Please feel free to shoot me any questions you have. I’ll try to answer them as soon as possible!