What is a blog?
In technical terms, blog is a combination of the words web and log. Great… so what does that mean?
Well, a blog is pretty much whatever you want it to be: a personal diary, a place to share your thoughts, a collaborative space on the Internet, memos, a place to inform people of breaking news or recent events…
OK… so what is the difference between articles and blogs?
In most cases, none; however, on the New Zealand Christian Network website, we are looking at having both so, we need to define what makes them different. We are currently trying to sort this out these ourselves, but this is how we believe it will eventually work.
NZCN has a structure of networks or taskforces. These are areas of ministry or life in New Zealand in which we desire to influence in society in a way that honours God.
Articles on the website strongly fall under these network categories and are written by either the networks themselves or as a collaboration of discussions by members of NZCN (papers for example). They are not necessarily updated or added to frequently, but they are a collection of articles to inform people about a particular issue or ministry. They are often deep or rich in content and require time for the reader to process.
Blogs can be thought of as quick and often lighter reading when compared to articles – even though they may contain deep thoughts. Oftentimes, they would fall under the notorious category of ‘uncategorized’.
Let me illustrate:
An article is a bowl of fruit salad, some muesli, yogurt, a drink to help you wash it down… whereas a blog is a smoothie.
Same ingredients – different presentation.
Are there any guidelines for writing blogs?
We want our blogs to be short, quick, easy reads that don’t require a degree in theology to understand. The target audience for blogs is the general, wider body of Christ – which can include people in leadership. It is not intended as a place to preach online, rather it is a place to share thoughts and experiences about faith related issues and to inform the body of Christ of various events going on in our country.
As a guide… we’re looking for less than 1000 words. You may find this a challenge, but we encourage you to give it a shot. Somewhere around 500 words is brilliant!
If your blog is on the longer side, we recommend breaking it up into shorter chucks to make it easier for your readers to take in.
- This can be done with headings, pull-quotes, pictures etc.
- Make use of other formatting tools such as text colour for headings or bold text for the odd word or phrase you want to draw attentions to but without the fuss.
- Use italics for titles of articles, books etc. as well as in a closing statement that the reader who you are. This may also include a thumbnail image and links to your church, ministry, personal website etc.
- Remember to enter your name and any topical keywords into the Tags box in the right sidebar. This will make it easier for readers to find other things you have written as well as related content.
An image at the start of the article (between 200-300 pixels) will help draw people in. It actually makes the reading seem faster because the text width is cut in half, so they are already scrolling down the page and are more likely to continue reading – especially if they see indicators that they are quickly progressing through sections.
Try to close your actual blog with a call to action. Ask the readers to respond in the comment section, do something, or challenge them in some way.
Enough said. Please use the comment section below to share some of your pointers with us!
Gayann and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN.