What I wish I knew back then! The best blogging secrets: foundations and strategies that have made a BIG difference for my Christian encouragement blog

10 Game-changing lessons I’ve learned about blogging

What I wish I knew back then! The best blogging secrets: foundations and strategies that have made a BIG difference for my Christian encouragement blogIf only …

  • If only I had been connected with a group of other inspiring bloggers from the outset.
  • If only I had found someone who could tell me the MOST important things I needed to know when I started.
  • If only I had known in the beginning what I learned later down the road, I could have gotten off the racetrack and onto a highway headed somewhere.

If you’re on this blogging journey and would like a little traveling advice, here are: 5 foundational perspectives and 5 practical strategies.

(And you might also benefit from this post: 7 things you’ll never hear a SUCCESSFUL blogger say.)

{This post contains affiliate links for your convenience and to support this blog. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.}


 5 Foundational Perspectives

(delivered via a traveling analogy)

1-“Why” may be the GPS but “Who” is Siri

In the beginning, I heard “KNOW YOUR WHY” over and over. But the more I wrestled with that question, the more fearful and unsure I became that I should even have a “why.”

And so I changed the question.
I finally got clarity about my “why” when I started thinking about my “who.” I let the “who” be the Siri voice in my head even if the “why” still had rights to the GPS.

Here’s the crazy twist on this:

  • By focusing on why I was doing this, I kept my eyes on me.
  • When I began to think about the audience God was bringing my way, it took the focus off myself.
  • With the focus on others, my own “why” became clearer.

I changed my entire thought process, messaging, and now run everything I do through a filter that asks, “Will my God-given audience benefit from this?”
This has taken my blog from being a glorified online journal to a ministry with future plans that excite me beyond anything I’ve done in a long time.

I’m no longer in this to tell my stories
but to tell stories of mine
that impact others and
bring hope and life to their journey.

So what about you?
Are you wrestling with that question? Do you feel the pressure to define why you’re doing this? Maybe you need to stop thinking so much about yourself and your plans as well.

Knowing the WHY of WHY YOU do this is a game-changer. It gives you the roadmap and helps you stay the course. But you might find it by starting with WHO.

2-Action drives; Clarity rides shotgun

I envy those who “just know” what they’re supposed to be doing. Those people “just need” to get it on paper and then put it into practice.

For me, I had to put things into practice to figure out what went on the paper.

I eventually enrolled in a blogging course. It changed everything for me. And one of the first lessons offered help in deciphering that “why.” I loved the course, but I couldn’t do the lessons in order.

I had to “do” a little bit
before I could “plan” a little more.

Maybe that describes you? If so, you and I are in good company. I listened to a summit of successful leaders and many of them spoke this truth: Clarity comes with action.

So if you’re feeling stuck, then just do something. Take the next step. Try it and call it practice. In the going, we learn more about how we should go.

3-Consistency, Grit, and Patience form the pit crew

Those successful leaders I mentioned above also said things like:

  • “Consistency will give you a compounding that nothing else will.”
  • “Grit is the single biggest factor and predictor of success.”
  • “Be patient. You can’t measure results that you haven’t given time to show up.”

These three disciplines are the pit crew because they ensure proper maintenance of our efforts. They aren’t the glorious things. But they are the necessary things. Without them, we aren’t going anywhere.

So, dear friend, are you with me?

Let’s start somewhere,
serve someone,
and trust that success
will both be defined and delivered by God in His time.

4-This is a six-lane freeway, not a crowded side street

You might be tempted — like me — to look at all the online bloggers and people who are much further along and think all the good opportunities have passed. Not true.
The ones with the most success are the ones calling loudest, “Join us in helping others.”

This is especially true for Christian bloggers. Do you think the world has enough missionaries or people willing to do ministry? No? Well, the same goes for those with the mission and gifting to write about the hope that Jesus provides.

Not all are gifted to write. And of those who can write, not all have the ability or tenacity to stick with the technology and techniques blogging requires. If you are drawn to this field, there has never been a better time to jump in. The tools and training available are boundless.

And remember:
There is power in the story of God’s redemption and working in your life. If the enemy can convince you that you don’t matter, he can undercut your calling. Don’t listen to his lies.

The world needs what you have to offer:
your unique voice, your personal message, and your gifts and talents.

5-Stick Fear in the Trunk

Don’t wait for fear to disappear. It’s not going anywhere. However, you don’t have to let it inside — stick it in the trunk. If you wait to start the engine until fear has hitchhiked with someone else, you’re never going to do it.

Might you fail? Yes. Try it anyway.

Will it cost you time, energy, and money? Yes. It’s worth it.

Will there be people who don’t like what you do? Yes. Do it anyway.

Learn from criticism if there’s something worth changing
but don’t give the critics the microphone in your head.

Realize the ones you think are brave and self-assured are the ones who just learned to do it anyway. Their fear monster beats regularly from inside their trunk. You just can’t see it because it’s caged, but don’t misinterpret that for conquered.

And here’s the secret I’ve learned:

Knowing your why …
Focusing on your who …
Acting on something …
Serving someone …
Choosing to be faithful, patient, and consistent and …
Finding joy where you are now …
ALL join together in a booming chorus to sing louder in your head than the fear that’s shouting inside your heart.


5 Practical Strategies

Give these five things top priority

1-List building

Start immediately building the list of those who have given you permission to contact them. Social media doesn’t count!

Don’t wait to have it all in place before taking a step.

  • Choose an email service provider (ESP) other than the embedded Jetpack blog subscription option.
  • If you begin capturing the emails of those who are interested in your content within a GOOD system initially, it will save you a lot of time later. There is much free training out there for both ESPs mentioned.
  • Create a subscriber freebie (lead magnet).
  • Nurture your list and talk to them via email. Don’t just send out your blog post.
  • Develop a consistent email plan and PROVIDE VALUE in your emails every time. Don’t commit to a publishing plan that you can’t craft valuable content to support. Choose quality over quantity.

I have tried many of the email service providers on the market and the two I recommend are ConvertKit and Mailer Lite. I’m working on a follow-up post to explain why, so stay tuned.

{ConvertKit also has a free eBook about email marketing best practices.}

2-Pillar Post content

The days of using a blog as an online journal or rant platform are waning. Once you know your WHO and your WHY:

  • Write quality evergreen content that fulfills a bigger purpose and greater need.
  • Opt for quality over quantity, because these posts are going to be around for a while.
  • Write with your “Who” in mind and edit out anything that only serves your need to say it, not their need to hear it.
  • Repurpose and remarket that content, especially utilizing Pinterest.
  • Once your inventory is built up, you’ll be able to get on a rotating schedule, sometimes choosing to update an older post instead of creating brand new content.

This free blog structure blueprint offered by Elite Blog Academy will help you wrap your mind around the organizational aspect.

Don’t miss your chance to grab your copy!

Elite blog academy course and free resource for successful bloggers

3-Pinterest

Pinterest is becoming the top traffic-driving social media platform. Users scrolling through Pinterest are conditioned to click off the site to go explore content.

There is a strategy to pinning, creating repin-worthy pins, and leveraging group boards. You likely need a course to learn these, as they aren’t things you’d know just from being a Pinterest consumer.

I learned so much about Pinterest through Elite Blog Academy. I took the course when it was open and I returned to it as I began plotting a business for the future.

Enrollment is currently closed, but you can find great tips on Pinterest and more on the Elite Blog Academy BLOG.

4-Collaboration groups

Blogging is not easy and there are numerous questions. You can spend hours researching the answer or you can log on to a group and pose your question and get quick “Do this. Not that” input.

Whether it’s a private Facebook group or another type of mastermind group, find one that fits your niche and start learning from others!

This is hard. Don’t try to do it alone.

5-Good training and great teachers

I’m a do-it-myself, big-girl-panties girl. I thought google and I could figure it out. Maybe we could have, but I would likely still be researching.

I finally realized the time I could save by paying to learn from someone who had implemented successful practices was worth the money.

I spent hours upon hours of research vetting the ones I would allow to get inside my head and influence my perspective and strategies. You don’t want to learn from just anyone.

 

If you haven’t heard of Ruth Soukup (founder of Living Well Spending Less), she is one to learn from. After her success building a 7-figure business on the back of her blog, she turned her attention to teaching others what works. I took her paid course Elite Blog Academy when it was open and I returned to it as I began plotting a business for the future.

Enrollment is currently closed. In fact, it only opens once a year.

BUT!

You can get a weekly dose of valuable blogging advice, instant access to the Blog Structure Blueprint, and other insider tips if you simply get on the VIP Waiting list.

There’s nothing to lose. Click below and start listening in on the experts today!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!


P.S. Would you like a little more help?

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Encouraging You as You Inspire others,

Christi
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Christi10 Game-changing lessons I’ve learned about blogging

Comments 43

  1. Mrs. G

    This is most definitely the most selfless and helpful blogging advice I have read! I am feeling more confident and clear about moving forward with starting my blog after reading this post. So thank you! I have been feeling led to do something that involves writing that glorifies the Lord and it has been years that I have just been sitting on the idea. I am finally jumping into doing the research and I am honestly terrified! Especially after reading a lot of the blogs out there about how to get started. It’s intimidating! Your post however, has really helped me feel inspired and so sure of the power of what the holy spirit can do in and though my life and through my up and coming blog. Looking forward to reading more of your content! Blessings!

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      Christi

      Wow! Thank you for such kind words to me. How exciting that you are following a call to bring glory to our great God.

      It is a big undertaking, but we serve a big God. Stay in touch about how it all progresses!

      Christi

      1. ANG

        Hi there Christi! I am happy to say that my blog site is officially up and running. I am still learning how to make it look nice and clean as well as all the traffic building and whatnot. I know that you’re a super busy lady but I was hoping that you could find some time to check out my blog and give me some tips and/or critique my work. Or if not, would you be able to point me in the direction of individuals that I can connect with and build relationships with. I feel all alone in all of this and it gets intimidating! Anyway, I look forward to hearing back from you.

        ANG

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          Christi

          How beautiful are your words! It looks like you are off to a great start. Two of my favorite ladies who train and support Christian bloggers are listed below. They both have free mini-courses that introduce you to some of the things they think are the most important as a blogger.

          Many of the mastermind groups are private and for members who have paid for courses. However, I’ve listed one below that is free to join. I think you’ll find great wisdom in that group.

          Keep it up! The world needs your voice.

          http://alisontiemeyer.com/blogging/
          http://arabahjoy.com/resources-for-bloggers/

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspiredbloggersnetwork/

  2. Sue @ mamaofthreeboys

    Hello! This has to be hands down the best post I have read in a while. The top half really encouraged me. Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable to the Lord! That’s what I thought of as I read it, and may His words not be hidden but revealed to those who need to hear or read it!
    Thanks for the encouragement sister!

    Sue

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  3. Anonymous

    Thanks Christi, I am just looking at the prospect of a blog and am thinking about how to best use it to serve Christ. Your tips were very helpful!

  4. BJ Dillard

    Hi Christi!!!

    WOW! You were right! Thank you for pointing me to this post! I absolutely LOVED your suggestion to flip flop the WHY & WHO! That was super smart! And helpful! Your “Try it anyway”, “It’s worth it” and “Do it anyway” statements were powerful! I am totally sticking my fear in the trunk. TODAY! I love that you suggested Arabah’s CBB and Pinterest in 21 courses! Since I learned about you from Arabah Joy, I was already eyeballing those. So, thanks for sealing that deal! #HelloCouponCode And hopefully, when her course comes back around, I will already have my blog up and running and ready to go. It’s coming along slowly but surely. Finding your blog has been nothing short of God’s grace and guidance through much prayer. What a sweet sigh of relief and breath of fresh air you are! Thank you for inspiring me so that I can go and inspire others. :-) xoxo ~BJ

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      Christi

      Glad you liked it! I’ll be excited to see what you come up with along the way. You have a passion and a way with words that will be a fantastic combination for an online ministry.

      Yes, Arabah is a master and I really don’t think there’s anyone else out there better for Christian bloggers to line up with and learn from. I’ll be excited to see you in that group when you make it there.

      P.S. — Although Pin 21 has a start/end date, CBB is now evergreen and you can join any time.

  5. Natalie @ Milk & Honey Faith

    Hello there Christi! I am a brand new Christian blogger and this post helped me tons! I’m kind of tip-toeing my way into this virtual fellowship but so far God is taking me to all the right places. I really feel the need to join a Facebook group now and dive into Pinterest a bit more. Thanks for all the tips!

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  6. Christa Sterken (@Csterken)

    Ahhh, this post was an encouraging relief. There has been so much “noise” of the how to’s and the every advancing technology for bloggers, I’ve been a bit discouraged. This made me remember WHY I want to do this, and that the efforts thus far have been fruitful. Because its not about me…

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  7. Horace Williams Jr

    Oh wow! I love the post Christi! What a beautiful extension of the “Know your why” I may use that at the next blogging conference I attend!(Giving you the credit of course;) No seriously thank you for writing this from a Christian bloggers perspective. It is so encouraging and I want to share so that other Christian bloggers I know will read your words of wisdom. I love the freeway reference and “stick fear in the trunk” I have been known to suffer at times from paralysis from analysis. The analytical side of me sometimes critiques the creativity that God puts on my heart. I’m getting better the more time I spend in His word and prayer. I have the Christian Bloggers Boot Camp from Ms. Joy in my email feed. I believe it’s time to get started. Thanks again for sharing these wonderful thoughts that God has laid on your heart! Blessings to you and yours.

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      Christi

      You have been such a joy to get to “know” through the bits and bytes. What an encourager you are with so much deep, thoughtful, affirmation here. I am so excited to know you have joined CBB. You MUST get in that Facebook group so I can meet you!

  8. Ifeoma Samuel

    Well Summed up! I read your article and really enjoyed it!
    Thank you for sharing your personal lessons. I also learnt from it..
    God Bless

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  9. Cheryl @The Long Way to Go

    Hi Christi! I went through that course with you (I believe); my family bought it for me for Mother’s Day! I wasn’t on the FB group much, but I was encouraged there and really have benefited from the course. Sounds like you have too! Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I’m glad to have found you today and I’m now following you. :)

  10. Tega

    Hi Christi!,

    I found your post from a G&T link up and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been thinking about taking CBB and this post was the encouragement I needed to get on it. I’m excited now, so thank you!

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  11. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    Christi, this was absolutely wonderful! So much for me to learn yet! I must be honest … I registered for Arabah’s class in the summer and only got part way through it. I stopped to do some of the doing like you mentioned, then I let illness and other life “stuff” take over, never finishing. :-( This just was a kick in the bum to tell me to get back up and going! Thank you!

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      Christi

      I am so glad to hear that! I’ll meet you in the private Facebook group soon, I hope! That group is amazing and you will LOVE all the encouragement and info-gatherering that is behind that door :) What fun to know you already have the best tools at your fingertips. Yes, please start back somewhere. Your sisters need you on the field, so get off the bench :)

  12. Ruthie Gray

    Oh ME!!! Sign me up, please!!! Oh wait…girl, you are earning your marketing keep there. I’m just sayin’.
    So many things here I could applaud. The “who”. Yes. Here’s the thing. Even if I don’t grow as big as Michael Hyatt or Arabah Joy or Christi Gee, God has put me right here, right now for a purpose and it proved clear to me again this week. I shared a post on my fb page from one of our CBB buddies and one of my readers was so touched she made sure she commented on the blog and messaged me. Her mom is dying of cancer, she just lost her dad a few months back, her sister has MS, and she herself is in constant pain, daily. She works with child abuse cases daily, and the rage is springing forth from deep down inside. But my last two posts made their way to her heart (well one was just a picture with a Corrie Ten Boom quote, and the other one wasn’t even my post) and she said she felt God did that.
    And I know He did lead me to that.
    There is such joy in this journey! As you said – more exciting that anything you’ve ever done – I’ll second that motion! I’m getting there. I’m moving. I’m doing the work, master. And it is coming – or something is coming, but more importantly, the WHO are being ministered to. And that is what matters most.
    Oh, how I wish I could write something this good about CBB but I’m just gonna go ahead and do what you subliminally mentioned and repurpose my old one!!! ;) Love ya, girl.

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      Christi

      Those are amazing stories to hear of how your efforts are being used to minister. You have such a way with words and a real message of hope and I’m so glad you keep putting it out there for me and everyone else. You are part of MY joy in this journey. My #11 on that list would have been “be prepared for GREAT online friendships.” I just never knew you could learn to love someone so much you haven’t actually met.

      Can’t wait to read your affirmations about CBB. It really is a difference-making experience, isn’t it?

  13. Kristina

    Glorified online journal…that one kinda stung. I know I have a lot to learn about and probably need to sign up for a class. I guess there is a difference between wanting to make an impact on people’s lives vs just stating my opinion hoping someone can relate to it and be challenged. This has really got me thinking. Thank you

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      Christi

      Oh, dear sister. I never intend to sting anyone ;) But if this challenged you in a good way, I’m honored you let any uncomfortable words of mine stick around in your mind. Thank you for your honest comment. I look forward to knowing you more around these circles and see where you go with your blog!

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      Christi

      Thanks, Erin! The teacher in me is so blessed to hear it helped someone. This was a biggie for me when the lightbulb finally went off in my head. Thanks for being here!

  14. amandaecriss

    This sentence really helped me today as I’m trying to clarify my why and my who… “Edit out anything that only serves your need to say it, not their need to hear it.” Thank you, Christi! <3

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  15. Lauren

    Such a helpful post! I started my blog 2 years ago and took nearly 2 years off too! I’ve been back at it since August, but I’ve still been floundering. This post is so great. Hoping to put these ideas into practice!

    Visiting from the #SHINEbloghop.

    -Lauren

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  16. stultsmamaof4

    Christi, I find myself nodding to so much of what you have written here,but I especially love the freeway analogy. Because if I’m honest, I have struggled from time to time with wondering what I’m doing in such a seemingly saturated venue. :) And of course, I love Arabah Joy’s bootcamp – and I’ve only done part of it so far! I’m stopping by today from Tell His Story.
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

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      Christi

      It’s so good to hear we aren’t alone in those thoughts, isn’t it? Which is exactly why we need you sharing the struggles and the provision and sustaining grace God has given you and your family. So glad you are hanging in there, sweet sister!

  17. helloredds

    What a great post, Christi!

    It sounds like you have taken the challenges you have walked through and turned them into practical life lessons you can share with others!

    Thank you for being a constant voice of hope, help, and encouragement to others!

    Sure am blessed by you~
    Melanie

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  18. Ana (@ANAWINSblog)

    Loving the highway analogy! It is so true. Although sometimes I feel like the bigger bloggers don’t seem to agree, maybe that’s just my perspective and experience! This course looks like a win for many reasons! I currently am a member in the Platform University, I’m new to that. I’m so thankful for the mentors out there willing to take the time to help others. :)

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You have something worth saying!