Ed. Note: This post first appeared on previous blog, Throw Away Everything. I’ve also updated it here and there for today’s blogging audiences.
Blogging in General
Blogging has its challenges. Maintaining a blog is hard work. It takes time to carefully develop ideas into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into posts. Then we wonder if anyone is reading what we offer as our carefully crafted work. We wonder if our little voice matters when there are so many other, more notable, voices out.
There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on as well. There’s selecting the image to go with the post, and making sure you are legally allowed to use it. Adding the right keywords so that it will make Google happy enough to recommend the article when someone does a Google search (more on that below). Promoting it on social media. And when it’s all said and done, do it all again.
Writing a Christian blog presents its own unique challenges.
As someone who believes the only Reader who ultimately matters is the Lord, I’m not supposed to care if anyone finds my corner of the Internet. But, humanly speaking, I do.
Do I only write “positive, up-lifting” fluff, like a written version of so many Contemporary Christian radio stations?
Do I rail against the many problems I see in the visible Church today, like an angry pundit or guy holding a sign on a street corner?
Or I do the biblical, God-honoring thing of writing my best, for his glory, to edify my readers?
The answer, of course, is obvious. The temptation comes because the first two options actually draw more readers.
And how much marketing is too much? How much promotion become sinful self-promotion? At what point does Jesus go from being King to keyword, and the people of God become the “target market consumers” of God-related products I can profit from? The worker is worth his wages, but God forbid this blog ever goes that awful direction!
And Then There’s Google
Google is the all-seeing Eye of the Internet. The digital god all of us bloggers are supposed to tailor our content to, appeasing it’s ever-changing and capricious SEO appetites in hopes of a higher search result ranking, and always without success.
That may all be a bit of an exaggeration, but some days it doesn’t feel like one. We Christians ought not to write solely for Google. While anyone can write anything they want, the cold digital truth is that unless it is properly formatted to comply with Google’s search algorithms (which do change), one might as well write a post, print it, and put it in an envelope in a drawer because it will get the same number of readers.
A Second-Second Wind
All of these aspects, and more, caused me to give up bloggin in the past. I wanted to write and offer quality posts that respect your time, your mind, your attention. It seemed wrong to work one or two hours on a post, and then another hour retooling it for the Google bots.
What started as joy became drudgery. After several cycles of trying to breath new life into it (and me), it was time to put it to rest.
Thankfully, lately, I’ve had the desire to write again. I enjoy the process. I enjoy writing and editing. And I’m learning to resign myself that there is a certain give-and-take logic to dealing with Google. If one blogs well and makes Google happy, Google rewards by showing you in a person’s search results. It is what it is.
I may never get more than a few hundred readers here, but I know I’ll always have at least One reader. (Well, two, if I count Google). I’m more OK with that now. The only one who matters is the one who saved me when he bought me with his own blood, taking my sin and its punishment on himself, and who I hope to hear say one day, Well done thou good and faithful servant!
So, the journey begins…again. And again, To God be the Glory!