Through the years, I’ve realized how comfortable it is for me to work behind the scenes than to speak or perform in front of a crowd. If I were to choose between preparing the materials for a show and hosting a show, I would certainly pick the first option. Hello, introverted me! However, every now and then, God gives me the strength to step out of my comfort zone and He graciously uses me in spite of my weaknesses for His glory.
Recently, I was invited by UP KKB to speak at one of the classes in the University of the Philippines (Diliman) during their Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE). After weeks of praying and surrendering my fears and doubts to God, I accepted the invitation and spent the afternoon of October 23, 2014 with a classroom of college students and with my older brother (Thank you, kuya!).
I’ll be sharing some of the topics discussed during the event. If you’re planning on blogging soon, I hope that this post will somehow encourage you to take the plunge! :)
TIPS ON STARTING A BLOG
PURPOSE: Identify the purpose of the blog.
Brainstorm ideas. What do you enjoy doing or talking about the most? What are your hobbies, daily activites, talents and skills? What are you passionate about? If you have all the resources in the world, what is it that you imagine yourself doing for the rest of your life? Your answer to the last question will most probably reveal what you’re passionate about. Making your passion the theme of your blog will help you express your ideas and skills more since you are very interested in it.
Another question that you can ask yourself is: “What do you want the readers to take home after reading your blog?” Do you want them to know more about your experiences or skills? Certain products? Photography? Origami? Gardening? Your own business? Latest trends in fashion? New restaurants in town? Lessons you’ve been learning? Blogging is not only a way of expressing oneself, it’s also an opportunity for people to interact and inspire others.
BRAND: Take time to think about your blog’s name, logo, and tagline (optional).
When the readers hear about or read you blog name and see the logo, they need to have a glimpse of what your blog is all about. The blog name must be clear, creative, easy to remember, and of course, unique.
Also, take into consideration the colors that you will use in the blog’s logo and theme. The colors need to match what your blog is all about. For food blogs, using royal blue as the website’s background or font might not be as appealing as compared to using colors like yellow, orange, or red. (Notice how most of the logos of the food establishments use the latter colors too?) Feel free to observe and take notes on the different logos displayed at the malls and those featured on the internet.
RESOURCES: Identify your resources and maximize them.
Before I started Encouraging Treats, this was one of the major factors that I struggled with. I remember feeling discouraged because I didn’t have a DSLR camera and I thought that without it, I wouldn’t be able to produce good photos for the blog. A lot of other discouragements hindered me from starting the blog last 2012, such as our slightly broken (but still usable) convection oven and my lack of experience in writing.
But, God encouraged me to look at the resources that I had at that time and helped me maximize them. I had the ff. resources:
*A simple digital camera that didn’t take good photos in the dark. Haha.
*Internet connection and a laptop that I could use at home.
*An oven that struggled in producing the exact temperatures — which is very crucial in baking.
*Extra money for ingredients and extra ingredients from mom’s groceries.
*Quiet times with God and His Word.
Two years later, by God’s grace, He continues to use the blog to encourage others. And even though I still do not have a DSLR camera, God has been faithful in helping me improve on my photography skills.
Sooner or later, we will get discouraged when we focus on the material things and resources that we have because these things don’t last and they will never fill the desires of our hearts. But, when we focus on who God is and surrender these resources to Him, He is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory… ” [Ephesians 3:20]
PLATFORM: Choose your blogging platform
You can have the option of creating a free website or creating your own domain.
For platforms with free accounts, you may try any of the ff: WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. But personally, I would recommend WordPress since it is very user-friendly, it has a lot of ready-made themes, it can categorize your posts, and it transitions smoothly when converting your free account to your own domain/website.
NETWORK: Share your blog and posts.
One of the advantages that we have in today’s technology is that we can easily communicate with others through our various gadgets. Sharing thoughts, promoting businesses, and interacting with other people from around the world are only a few clicks away!
In blogging, you may share your posts through the different blogger-friendly websites such as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, FoodSpotting, Pinterest, Vine, etc. Also, taking time to interact with your readers and fellow bloggers by replying and leaving comments in your website and in their blogs help in expanding your network.
Lastly, using links in your posts (whether they are from your previous posts or from other websites) also help in sharing your blog to more readers.
WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
I ended the talk by sharing the first encouraging treat that I posted HERE. I talked about how God used the resources and even the weaknesses of Mrs. Wakefield to bless millions of people by allowing her to create the first batch of chocolate chip cookies!
Afterwards, I gave the participants an opportunity to think about and document their PASSION, PURPOSE, and RESOURCES on a golden paper plate. Then, I asked them to fold the plate into a cookie bowl/container. We all held the bowls as I encouraged them to pray and seriously think about starting a blog. Just like how God used Mrs. Wakefield, I shared to them that He can also work in and through us, the passions, purpose, and resources that He has given to us so that we can honor Him by being a blessing to others as well.
I really praise God for the wonderful time that I had with the participants of OFF THE PLATE. It was encouraging to see them have the desire to learn more and share their hearts and lives through blogging. Hopefully, I will see them online soon! Thank You, Lord, for this amazing privilege. Thank you also, to UP KKB, for having me. :)
Encourage yourself one treat at a time.