All posts in “Internet”

Introducing Faith + Testimony!

I’m excited to announce a brand new website, Faith + Testimony, which officially launched today!

Faith + Testimony is a place for followers of Christ to share their testimony, in order to glorify God and impact others… and to read other people’s true stories that are powerful and inspiring.

Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story…
Psalm 107:2

I’m really excited about this project, because I feel that this is one of the things God has been leading me to do, and I absolutely love reading the stories and sharing them!

So I invite you visit Faith + Testimony (You can click on the image below). If you feel led to share your story, please register, log in, and you will then be able to submit it.

Faith + Testimony

Thanks, friends!

For Bloggers: 10 Things To Do When You Feel Uninspired

f you’re a blogger or content creator of any kind, then you would probably agree that few things are worse than feeling uninspired or creatively stuck.

Many bloggers keep a running list of blog post ideas, that they can draw from on those days when the ideas just aren’t flowing. I have a list like that, but there are some days when I’m so creatively stuck that even looking at that list doesn’t help, because there’s still something blocking me. And that can be extremely frustrating, especially if we’ve committed to a particular schedule or we’re trying to meet a deadline.

So what can we do when we’re in a creative slump but we don’t want to waste time waiting around for inspiration to strike?

Here are 10 things you can do during those creatively stuck moments. Some of these “to do’s” might spark creative ideas, and others are things that should be done anyway, if you’re trying to grow your blog, get more traffic and improve as a blogger.

1) Read and comment on popular blogs

Instead of staring at that blank screen, take this time to go visit other blogs. This is a great way to network with other bloggers in your niche, build friendships, and get visits to your blog. That is, if you leave thoughtful and interesting comments. Whatever you do, don’t leave a half-hearted comment for the sole purpose of getting a link back to your site. Comment on posts you truly enjoyed or have something to say about.

2) Find out what the “topics du jour” are

Go to Google Trends, Buzzfeed, discussion forums (where people discuss politics, current events, etc.) or other places where you can find out what people are talking about.

I post on a couple discussion forums, and the lively debates going on there often give me ideas for blog posts or videos.

3) Repromote older content

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have a few great blog posts in your archives that a lot of people haven’t read yet. Find a good one, dust it off, (you might need to make a few modifications) maybe even come up with a new title, and just promote it. Promote it on social media and linkups (especially “throwback” linkups specifically for sharing older blog posts) and any other places you normally share your posts.

4) Find a guest poster

Instead of wallowing in that “stuck” feeling and doing nothing, use this time to contact bloggers in your niche that you respect and admire, to invite them to guest post on your blog.

Some internet experts say that guest blogging is passé, because it has gotten spammy. But if you specifically ask quality bloggers who will undoubtedly add value to your blog, then it’s still a great blogging strategy for a number of reasons. It brings variety to your blog, it attracts new readers, it will give you more social media exposure (as they promote the post to their followers)… and of course it gives you fresh, high quality content to post when you’re feeling uninspired or you need time to work on other things.

5) Read the bible and pray

This one might be a no-brainer for Christian bloggers. Nevertheless, it should be included on this list. Quiet time with God and reading His Word is always a good thing. Maybe there’s something that you need to resolve – that might be the reason you’re feeling uninspired or unable to focus on creative work.

It could be that God wants you to rest, or take a break. Or it could be that there’s some lesson to be learned.

Even if that’s not the case, spend time in God’s Word and you can prayerfully share some thoughts about a particular passage, or a short devotional style post based on an inspiring scripture. You can also do a “list post.” For example, a list of your 10 favorite verses, or the verses you find intriguing, or something along those lines.

6) Be a storyteller

lightbulb-momentThink about an important life lesson that you’ve learned, or an interesting story, or a funny story, and just put it down on paper. Well, maybe not actual paper, but you know what I mean.

People love stories. This is something I want to do more often. I have so many stories from my past and important lessons that I’ve learned. Most of them I haven’t even shared yet. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I think I need to get over that and just write!

Even if “storytelling” isn’t your usual writing style, you don’t get better at something without practice, right? And that leads to the next one…

7) Try something completely different

Many of us are camera shy, but if you’re feeling creatively stuck, try filming a Youtube vlog, or just try something that’s completely different for you. Maybe put together a tutorial, record a podcast, or try writing about something that you don’t ordinarily write about.

You never know, experimenting might break you out of that uninspired slump and lead to something amazing!

8) Beautify your website

If all else fails, this might be a good time to beautify and organize your blog. Remove any clutter, add some beautiful photos, change the color scheme or even try out a new theme. You can also go through your media library and delete unused files, give your about page a makeover, or do anything else that you haven’t had time to do.

9) Join blogging networks and groups

If you haven’t done this already, you could use this time to go join some blogging networks and groups. Blogging networks are another way to bring traffic to your site, meet other bloggers in your niche, find out about monetizing opportunities and improve your SEO. There are tons of blogging networks out there, just look for the good ones and sign up!

There are also blogging groups that are worth joining. For example, Facebook blogging groups. I joined one a few months ago that has been super helpful, for a number of reasons. They’re a great resource for tips, ideas, finding linkups and pinterest group boards and more. And it’s a great way to meet other bloggers who are very encouraging and helpful. You can get new followers on social media and promote other blogger’s posts, while they promote yours.

10) Research topics that interest you

Finally, sometimes we need to take a break from giving and just receive. During creative slumps, use that time to read and research interesting topics that you’ve been wanting to learn more about.

The more we learn, the more we can pass along what we’ve learned with others. There’s always something to learn, so there’s no excuse for not doing just that!

So there you have it!

I’m sure there are tons of other things you can do during those “creatively uninspired” days, but I hope this list of 10 things will be helpful!

I have to admit, I really hate it when I feel uninspired. But I no longer want to let it stop me from being productive, or cause me to wallow in self-pity. Many blogging experts say that when you’re feeling uninspired, you have to just do it anyway. While it might be true that pushing through and simply taking those first steps can sometimes snap us out of a slump… when we’re feeling stuck, I think it’s important to try to figure out what the problem is.

Right before writing this blog post, I was in a creative slump for days. Then I realized that part of the problem was that for weeks, I wasn’t exercising or eating healthy. I’m not an athletic person, I’m very indoorsy (OK, I guess I’m a nerd!) so sometimes I can spend hours on the computer, with very little physical activity, which of course is unhealthy.

So I think that God has been showing me that in order to be productive and creative, I need to be healthy, well rested and just have a more balanced life. God cares not only about our soul and spirit, but our physical health too.

Putting together this list and sharing my thoughts on this topic has actually been really helpful for me! In fact, I might print off this list, and hang it on the wall or something. Because the reality is, we’re not going to be overflowing with creativity every day. But it’s important to not allow that lack of inspiration to paraylyze us. And it’s definitely important to get recharged and refilled whenever necessary, so we can then get back to creating and giving to others.

If you’re a blogger or creative person, how do you deal with those uninspired moments? If you have any ideas you want to share, please do so!

Thanks and God bless!

How to start a blog

How to Start a Blog – (Self-Hosted WordPress Tutorial)

f you’re thinking of starting your first self-hosted WordPress blog, but you’re not sure where to begin, this video is for you. It’s an easy, step by step video tutorial on how to start a blog…in minutes!

Continue Reading…

What is your favorite blog commenting system?

With all the competing blog commenting systems out there, it can difficult for a new blogger to decide which one to use. So I’d like to hear from bloggers and people who post on blogs. What is your favorite blog commenting system and why? Vote in the poll, and leave your explanation below. Thanks!

photo credit: Kristina B via photopin cc

Website Design Pet Peeves – 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid

I love the internet. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I could spend hours just visiting different personal websites and blogs. I’ve been looking at a ton of sites recently, some well thought out and beautifully designed, and others? Not so much. I kept running into a few of the same design mistakes, so I decided to put together a “What to avoid” list. This is certainly not a complete list, there are lots more, but these are my pet peeves, and most of them are generally agreed upon to be design mistakes.

  1. Annoying Pop-ups the second you click on the page. I just got to the site. Please. Can I have at least 2 seconds before you ask me to do something? I forgive you, but re-think the pop-ups, alright?
  2. Too much scrolling. Blogs with what seems like 2000 posts per page, that require you to scroll for days. I have 3 posts on each page of my blog… maybe that’s not enough, but I think depending on the length of the posts, around 5 per page is a good amount. If they’re short posts, you can get away with a lot more.
  3. Way too much text and long paragraphs. Break it up to make it easier to read and more inviting. Add photos, headings, bold text, bulleted lists. If you don’t, I think lots of people will take one look at all that text and decide to click the back button. Make the text scannable and easy to read.
  4. No search box. This one annoys me! How am I supposed to find what I’m looking for? Please, don’t forget the search box!
  5. Hard to find contact info. Or none at all. I don’t like having to search for how to contact someone, especially if it’s a business. Make the contact info clear to your visitor.
  6. Poor legibility, especially text that’s too small. I’ve always had very good vision, so maybe I’m starting to get old, but if I go to a blog and the font size is tiny, I’m much more likely to say, “forget it.” and move on to the next one. Keep that in mind when designing your site.
  7. Clutter. It’s great that you have a lot of content, but you don’t have to pack it all into one page. Sites that are too cluttered just look bad. Use more whitespace, keep things clean and simple. Simplicity is elegant and easier on the eyes.

If you disagree, or have your own pet peeves you want to add, feel free to add to the list.