ministry blog

Best of 2012

2012 was a great year and I wanted to reshare my most popular posts of the year: NYC Under Construction

3 Questions with Becky Kiser

3 Questions with Mike Sharrow

Signing my First Book Deal 

Working in a church that you would not Attend

 

One of the biggest lessons that I learned this year was the importance of writing consistently.  You can see that traffic that has grown throughout 2012 and I hope that as I continue to grow and share that this trend only continues.  Thanks for being a part of the journey!

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3 Questions with Becky Kiser

Screen Shot 2012-09-07 at 10.53.24 PM Becky Kiser is a wife, mom, speaker, blogger, event planner, my sister, and passionate follower of Christ.  She has one of the most effective Online Ministries that I know through her regular posts on her blog.  Becky has been committed to her blog community for several years and today has hundreds of women who read her posts ever day.  You can find her on Twitter @beckykiser, on her blog, and as a regular bogger with Sozo Women.  I'm honored to have her as the first in a series of posts asking ministry leaders 3 questions:

 

1)  After blogging for several years what are some of the key things you have learned about blogging effectively?

The most effective thing I’ve learned is be myself and be genuine. I’ve stopped following many blogs because I felt like I couldn’t relate to them at all or felt like they were only putting their best foot forward. I get that you shouldn’t share every part of your life online (some should use more filters when pressing publish). I love learning from women who don’t love being a mom every single day, who don’t feel butterflies for the hubby every second, who have dirty dishes in the sink and so on. The most consistent thing I hear from my readers is that they love that I’ll share it all: my struggles, my ridiculousness, my laughter, my tears and the lessons I’m learning. Be confident in whatever your unique voice is and share it!

Some other general tips that are common sense (but so hard to do for some reason):

-Blog consistently. When I blog consistently my readership grows consistently.

-Blog with variety. Don’t say the same thing over and over again. Challenge yourself.

-Share about your personal life. Be vulnerable in sharing about your life, people will connect better with you.

-Re-read your blog post before you publish. My background is in marketing yet I am the worst proof reader, especially for my own work. But simply re-reading a post (preferably out loud) will always help me clean up little mistakes and make thoughts more concise.

-Consider your audience. Who are they? What are they dealing with? Is reading this worth their time?

-Ask for them to comment and reply when they do. Simply asking them to comment will prompt them more to do so. Engage your audience into the conversation. But know that most still won’t comment. It can be so frustrating when I’ll have 1-2 comments and see that 100s of people have read a post. But engage with those that engage.

-Don’t stress about the stats. I remember when I first started blogging consistently I was discouraged to only have on average 300 viewers each day. My brother (Nils) reminded me that the average church in the US has less that 300 people in it. That was a good reminder that there is a huge influence regardless of the numbers. Also, if you become too consumed with the stats, stop looking at them. Write because you should write, because you have to write.

 

2)  Your "tribe" is primarily young women, what are the primary Social Media tools/methods that you use to engage these ladies?

Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Any time I write a blog post on my personal blog or as a guest blogger, I always link it on Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Since I’ve done this I’ve seen my viewership go up significantly (which as I’ve said before matters and doesn’t matter at the same time). I’ve gained readers who are friends of a friend of friend because someone shared it on Facebook or saw it on Pintrest.

I use these 3 outlets to connect. My current life simply doesn’t allow me to meet with every person over a hot cup of coffee. So I try to log on during my daughters naps and engage with women then. I try not to be an aimless social media user. If I’ve read something, I try to like or comment. It’s been a great way for me to be tapped into what’s going on in other’s lives, encourage them, laugh with them and pray for them.

 

3)  You recently made the move from a 100+ year old megachurch to being a part of a brand new church plant, what have you experienced to be the big differences between the two?  

First, I need to say that we loved where we were, Houston’s First Baptist Church (http://houstonsfirst.org/). It had been my church home since I was 16 and a place I was on staff for many years. My husband and I were both actively involved in serving in various ministries at the church. We left to go to Bayou City Fellowship (http://bayoucityfellowship.com/) not because we wanted to or even felt like it made sense, but felt like it was best for our family. It was a calling (and a push) to go to this new church and it’s becoming home and the people our family.

Now to answer your question, here are the main differences:

1. Access to others- both staff and the people. Because I’d been at HFBC for so long, I would say we were more connected to staff and the people than most. But that simply couldn’t be true for everyone when your church averages 8,000+ on a Sunday. So to go to a church that where the children’s pastor knows your kids name, the Pastor doesn’t  have a security team, the people are accessible and not herded, well, it’s been a nice change. However, we don’t anticipate this experience forever because BCF already has doubled in size since we first started going!

2. I miss white hair. BCF has all kinds of generations, but currently it is primarily 20-50s. There can be a lot of strain for a 100+ year old church having to make all those generations happy, but it is so sweet when it works, and even sweet when it doesn’t.

3. The church mission can start fresh. I love that BCF doesn’t have to fight the, “Well we’ve always done it this way before...” battle. They started the church mission and vision with a blank sheet of paper. They never do something just because they should or have, but because Jesus has lead them there. We love this!

4. Less busy and bubble is broken. At a large church you can become so busy serving and participating at your church and being around your church friends that you never serve or connect with other’s outside of your church. We have loved the freedom in our calendar to not be as busy with church. Clearly, this can be done at a big church, but it can be hard to be connected if you aren’t super plugged in.

5. The coffee is significantly better. I’m half joking. We can all agree that church coffee is close to watered down tar. I love that I can count on my church to make a good cup of coffee because there are just less of us to provide for and they set time for fellowship on Sundays.

You can read a little bit about our decision in these blog posts: “Something is about to change- Part 1,” (http://www.thekisers.blogspot.com/2012/03/something-is-about-to-change-part-1.html) “A Hard Goodbye - Part 2” (http://www.thekisers.blogspot.com/2012/03/hard-goodbye-part-2.html) and “An Expectant Hello - Part 3.” (http://thekisers.blogspot.com/2012/03/expectant-hello-part-3.html)

 

Here are some other posts in this series:

3 Questions with Peter McGowan

3 Questions with Tim Peters

3 Questions with Greg Smith

 

1 More Reason to Love Standard Theme: SEO!

So I've talked about this recently, but the more I dig into the Standard Theme the more I love it!  I'm in no way an expert when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but I do know how important it is. Take a look at traffic that comes to this blog:

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Curious what color represents what traffic source?

Here's the answer:

Blue- Direct (people that type in http://nilssmith.com)

Green- Google

Orange- Facebook

Yellow- Facebook mobile

Honestly, I'm surprised to see how little traffic comes from Twitter, but that's not what this post is about.  22% of the traffic would not be visiting this site if it weren't for the Search Engine Optimization that Standard Theme built into this Wordpress theme.  My guess would be that many of the direct links likely found NilsSmith.com via Google as well.

Check out this feature below the Standard Theme built into the template allowing writers to add a Meta Description to each post:

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This seems like a small thing, but I'm telling you this meta description is key to people finding you online.  If you want a blog just for friends and family, SEO isn't important.  If you're looking for a platform to grow and reach people all over the world, SEO features such as this are critical!

I promise that I don't work for Standard Theme (although I'd love to), but I will admit that I do get a commission if you buy the Standard Theme linking from this site.

I really don't share this info though to make a buck.  I honestly love the Standard Theme and think you would too!

Learning to Post Consistently

The past two weeks have provided a great learning curve for me when it comes to posting consistently.  I have had this platform for a couple of years, but never fully committed to it.  I was confused about the purpose of this platform and how to effectively use it to encourage others. Two things recently have inspired me to begin investing more time on this blog:

1) Reading Michael Hyatt's book, Platform, and how he has built his platform through his blog

2) Encouragement from others interested in learning from my experiences in Online Ministry

 

Through this inspiration I have quickly learned a great lesson: POST CONSISTENTLY!

 

In the past I generally posted 2-3 times/month.  In the past 2 weeks I have posted 6 times and take a look below at how that has affected my analytics:

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My new system is to complete 2-3 scheduled posts each weekend with 5-6 Drafts in process at a time.  This also leaves flexibility to add time relevant posts that I can draft and post sporadically if I would like to.

Becoming consistent is new to me, so I would love any tips/tricks you might have when it comes to blogging?  How much is too much/too little to blog?