Jesus Blogger Day 10 – Counting Your Following

Blogging
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If you want to start from the beginning of my 31-day challenge click here.

Google Analytics, Klout Scores, Alexa and AddThis

I had a dream a while back. I was in a prison as someone who was supposed to deliver cake to the inmates. As I was slicing the cake and distributing it in the lunchroom, I got increasingly anxious.

Would there be any cake left for me?

The thing was — I wasn’t an inmate. I was a free person who could get cake any time I felt like it. My job there was to give pieces of cake, not to get a piece for myself!

After all the pieces were cut (and I did not get one), I looked around the empty cafeteria and saw two half-eaten pieces of cake. I seriously thought about eating someone’s leftovers!

The dream haunts me. Those pieces of cake represent something sweet — like a blessing. We all want to be blessed. But what happens when you’ve been called to bless others. At first you might feel happy to be serving, but eventually you start wondering, “Where is my piece of the pie?”

In Matthew 4, we see these two sentences about the following of Jesus:

  • His fame went throughout all Syria.
  • Great multitudes followed Him.

Wouldn’t you like that said about your blog? My blog’s fame went throughout all Facebook. The great multitudes followed my newsletter. I kinda like the sound of that.

Every day is a new chance for a blog to “go viral.” As bloggers, we can obsess over what our Google Analytics, Klout score, Alexa ranking or AddThis numbers say. But when we do, the focus gets off-centered. Off Jesus.

What I’m fixin’ to say (that’s Texas for “going to say”) is controversial in the marketing world. It goes against every single piece of advice that I have heard at every session I’ve been to about “growing your blog.”

Don’t look at your numbers unless you absolutely need to. (Like when a potential publisher/sponsor/brand asks you for it!)

Uncheck 9540368

Uncheck that Sucker! Don’t measure your blog (or yourself) by your numbers!

I’ve disabled the Google Analytics on my WordPress Dashboard. Too many days, I’ve logged into my dashboard and found my worth in that number.

Uncheck that Sucker! Don’t measure your blog (or yourself) by your numbers!

Just uncheck it. It’ll still be there counting for you. But you don’t need to see it every time you log in!

In order to convince you, I’m going to go wwwaaayyy back in time and tell you a little story about a king named David.

King David decided that he wanted to know how many men he had in his army. No real reason, just to know. Sound familiar?

When David told the commander of the army, Joab, to go and count, even he knew David shouldn’t take a census. But David did it anyway. In the end, David realized his error and repented. God gave David a series of choices — three years of famine for Israel, three months of the enemy chasing him, or three days of disease upon his land. David chose three days of disease and 70,000 Israelites died. (See 1 Chronicles 21 or 2 Samuel 24).

His need to know how many was met with some pretty serious consequences.

In previous chapters, we read that Israel had begun to put their trust in their own strength, instead of in God.

We can possess the same pride in our ability to blog and make followers. We create great content, a fancy “Pinterest-worthy” image, comment on a few blog posts, tweet it multiple times at optimal moments during the day and convince a few key people to share it on Facebook — suddenly, we feel like blog-superstars when we see our numbers rising. Oh, yeah. We know how to work this system, right?

But God calls us to be like the psalmist,

I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory. (Psalm 44:6)

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A good verse to remember when you find yourself counting your following!

A good verse to remember when you find yourself counting your following!

Does this mean you shouldn’t count your blog hits?

After reading a story like that, it can make you feel like you should not only “uncheck” your Google Analytics but delete that plugin altogether!

STOP!

I want to give you some encouragement that will make you feel better about keeping up with you web stats.

Counting isn’t the sin. It was the vanity and pride of Isreal that was the issue. Actually God commanded Moses to “take a census to count them” in order to collect atonement money. When they did this, God promised that he would not hold it against them (ie. no plague would harm them). (Exodus 30:12)

And somebody must have counted when Jesus was preaching. Multiple times in the New Testament we are told that 3,000 people came to faith or 5,000 people were fed.

There are good reasons to count your followers. If you are looking to find a publisher, your blog’s following holds some major weight for signing a book deal! These numbers will come in handy.

We are called to be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves. We may have to operate in a world driven by numbers, but we certainly don’t have be held captive by them!

It’s quite a balancing act, this #JesusBlogger thing!

So, how do we operate now? If we aren’t looking at numbers, how do we grow our blog?

I believe that we start small — just like Jesus did.

Previous to Jesus’ mass following, he recruited four washed-up fishermen. They realized who Jesus was and they “forsook everything” to follow him.

From this verse, I have derived an action item.

Find four friends who really believe in what you are doing as a blogger and ask them to be your cheerleaders.

Give them a “to do” list.

Ask them to:

  • Read your posts. (This is the most important one)
  • Share your posts on Facebook
  • Tweet your posts on Twitter
  • Pin your images on Pinterest
  • Mention your blog to people offline

But before you send them a text message…(we live in such a digital world)…stop!

Instead, invite them out for coffee or dinner. Do something OFFLINE. (Gasp!) Tell them your vision for your blog. Let them ask you the hard questions that you’ve only been asking in your own head but not outloud. Tell them your concerns and fears. Ask them to pray with you. Ask them to keep you accountable to your vision as a blogger. Tell them that you really need them not just to share your posts, but to read them so they can catch anything that seems “off” about what you are saying. This is especially vital to those who faith-blog. And maybe they can catch some grammatical errors, too!

Then, let God do the rest.

The multitudes may come, but let’s make sure we leave the numbers up to God.

Elaine Mingus

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