Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
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Start your New Year out with some blogging tips!
In just a few months, I will have been blogging with this website for ten years. Kinda crazy! But that isn’t when I started blogging. I was blogging before there were blogs. I used to create webpages from scratch before any of the blogging platforms existed and would email friends a link to my post, like when I went to Alaska or flying with my dad. So when I started blogging, the Internet was a bit of a lonely place for blogs… but now there are well over 100 kidmin blogs worthy of reading! Over the years my blog has gone from in the Top 5 to now down in the mid-thirties on the “Top 100″ list – and I celebrate this decline! It means that there are many people contributing weekly to what has always been my driving passion - to equip and encourage those in children’s ministry. While much of my kidmin writing ends up on Kidology.org instead of my blog, I have enjoyed seeing the amount of help for kids ministers growing steadily every year, even if that means my blogs “ranking” goes down some. It’s a team effort!
But with ten years of blogging, I think I know a thing or two about how to do this. I’ve blogged some advice in the past on how to blog:
But as we head into 2014 and many folks are making New Year’s Resolutions regarding their blogs, I thought I’d share some TOP TIPS on how to make your blog successful and read.
Here are my “Ten Commandments of Blogging.” (Google that for many others out there on the web.)
- Blog often – if you neglect your blog, you will lose readers.
- Blog well – provide something helpful, insightful or enjoyable to read.
- Blog original content – don’t copy from others. If you are inspired by someone else, give credit. No one likes a content thief.
- Blog with a personal touch – share stories, pictures, videos and insights that are yours alone. A blog post that no one else could have written is the best. If it is just generic advice or “10 steps of this or that” the web has enough of that already. Be original!
- Promote your Posts – put a link to your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, it will gain you readership.
- Blog concisely – if you are too wordy, you’ll lose readers. Keep posts short. If you have a lot to say, do a series of posts.
- Invite interaction and feedback – ask questions, invite comments, and be relational. Respond to comments you get!
- Blog wisely – don’t get obsessed with tracking and SEO, but learn to use it to learn the impact and reach of your blog so you can improve.
- Edit Your Blog! Typos and awkward sentence turn away readers who won’t take you seriously. Ask for help if this is a weak area, often we can not see our own “misteaks.”
- Read Blogs – one of the best ways to improve as a blogger is to be reading others. Don’t be an island on the Internet, interact with others.
I look forward to more blogging in 2014, and if you have a blog, post it below in comments so I can be sure to read yours too!
By friend Glen Woods asked this question over in the Kidology forums recently. And I think its a great question.
Here was my answer:
I think facebook has hurt blogs as I think people have gotten Internet-lazy. They just stay on facebook and don’t move around the web as much, however, I think a blog can still get traffic if done well. I read blogs, but focus on ones that are consistent (like yours, Glen) and solid content (also like yours).
If you want to get FB readers, you MUST install a Facebook “like” button and ‘like’ your own posts so they will appear on your wall so people who follow you on Facebook will see you blogged and hop over and read your blog.
RSS Readers (Like Bloglines/Google Reader) are less used today (I think) by the general public, as they were once how blogs were read.
Tablet readers are now stronger, like Flipboard, and I read a lot of blogs that way, and through Twitter feeds, so be sure to Tweet your blog posts through hashtags like #kidmin #leadership etc. as that will drive traffic.
Bottom line: Do people visit blogs directly today? No. Do they read them? Yes, but mostly because they are driven there by other means, so you need to drive people to your blog, and then try to get them to like it enough to create a way to get your content more regularly.
If you want to be read, you need to work at it. You can no longer just post and assume it will be read.
What do you think?
(Hey, prove to me you read MY blog by commenting!) LOL
If you are a Kidmin Blogger, jump over the KidminAndy’s site and give a few minutes and provide some feedback on how you blog for the betterment of the Kidmin Blogger Community. Your input could help others when he shares the results… maybe even you!
As for me:
I’ve been blogging since March 2005, but that’s only if you count when I’ve been using blogging software. I used to blog before there was blog software! I like to say I was blogging before there were blogs because I used to just make pages when I went places in pure HTML, like this: kidologist.com/alaska or Air Dad (If you look carefully, you’ll find a link to my first “web company” that is still live, even though the host company, Flash.net, has long since gone out of business. LOL)
Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend WordPress because it is easy to use, themes abound and are easy to install (though I had a custom one made for me by a friend) hosting yourself on either One and One or GoDaddy.com (even though I hate their advertising, they are the easiest to use and have the best prices and remind you when you are up for renewal, etc.) and as for what I blog about – because I have another main site for Kid’s Ministry, (that you may have heard of) my blog is more personal in nature – though I do blog about kids ministry.
So my blog is meant to be the from the “man behind Kidology.” As the description says,
Welcome to Kidologist.com, the personal site of Karl Bastian. Sometimes fun, sometimes serious, always what’s on my mind.
So it touches on kids ministry, what’s new on Kidology, but it’s also my personal family journal, things I’m thinking about etc. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn to steer away from politics because people didn’t seem to get that this was my personal site and would say they were dropping their Kidology membership if they disagreed with me politically. They couldn’t separate the man from the ministry. So I’ve been censored a little in that area on my blog. (I have an alias Twitter account and blog that is VERY political and some people have discovered it… if you do, contact me there, but don’t mention it here. I’ll admit I am Karl on that site, if you ask me there! That has been my solution that dilemma.)
I have some other posts on my blog about blogging linked below, but jump over and Fill out Andy’s Survey.
I stumbled upon a blog post this week by a guy named Derek Miller, who died on May 3rd.
He had his family put his last blog post live after he died:
The last post
It’s a nice final post that has received millions of visitors since last week. He declares pretty confidently what he thinks will happen (or rather NOT happen) after he dies, which stimulates a lot of conversation in the comments on his site, and as usual, the Christians make fools of themselves doing more to hurt the cause of Christ than to help it. I usually find myself wishing Christians would just SHUT UP or stay off secular sites because they never seem to remember that Jesus said we are to known by our LOVE not our mean-spirited holier-than-tho argumentedtiveness. Sigh. How do these “Christians” ever think the lost will come to Christ if we are yelling at non-believers on websites comments and in forums?
Anyway – here was my comment on the site:
I very much enjoyed his post – since I’m also 41, it was very sobering. I found it sad he didn’t have any eternal hope of any kind, but find the mean spirited posts by Christians even sadder. (Jesus said we should be known by our love) I enjoyed his expressions of peace and love for his family, and as a techie myself, especially his wondering what technology he’ll miss out on – that will be my longing too should I get to see death coming slowly. (Also what movies I’ll miss! LOL) A good post that should get ALL of us to consider life after death regardless of the conclusions Derek made.
Just wanted to share it with you. It gives us all pause the thank God for our families and every day that we have here to enjoy our family and the gifts we have.
I posted about another Last Lecture a few years ago and my thoughts on that.
Every day is a Gift. It’s why its called the Present.
Next entries »
I’m excited to announce I came in in Next to Next to Last on the Church Leaders Top 200 Church Blogs on Two Websites! (Actually, it’s the same list in two places)
Yup, I was Number 198 on a list of 200! Barely made it! Whew! But what an honor to be noticed and because they did the ranking based on Google ranking and subscribers to Google Reader and RSS feeds, I must say:
to those you YOU who read my blog, because it must mean you find my posts interesting, helpful, encouraging or something in order to keep coming back. I often say “I’ve been blogging since before there were blogs” and so it’s nice to know there are people reading!
I don’t often post (or concern myself) with awards or recognition (my dad raised me to not give much thought to such things) but as long as I am here to say “Thanks”, I should mention Tony Kummer’s Blog List – not because I’m on it – but because so MUCH WORK goes into creating these lists, and he has 99 OTHER great Kidmin Bloggers on it, all worthy of checking out, in addition to my blog:
So thanks again for reading my blog. Again, it’s nice to know folks appreciate it – it’s just another part of my Life Mission: To Reach and Teach as many children as possible with the Good News of God’s Love and in the process to Enlist, Equip and Encourage Others to do the same.