Being a blogger used to be cool. When people first started blogging back in the early 2000’s, it was very fashionable for someone to say: “Well, I blog in my spare time.” Blogging has changed a lot since then. Nowadays, blogging can be a full time business. And that is generally what most bloggers ultimately want.
However, being a Muslim blogger adds an extra dynamic. A Muslim blogger can’t just blog about anything, and has the akhirah in mind. It is very important that a Muslim blogger make good use of their time. We’re all busy and have a limited amount of time to work on our blogs.
I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to become a productive Muslim blogger. I’ve put together this list of tips you can use to improve your blogging efficiency. These tips are useful for many areas of life, not just blogging. Even if you’re not a Muslim blogger you’re sure to find something here you can use insha’Allah.
1. Clarify Your Intentions
The very first hadith in Sahih Bukhari states:
“Verily actions are judged by intentions.”
You must make sure you’re blogging for the right reason (and not just fame!) .
If you don’t have a clear purpose for your blog, you’ll find yourself blogging about everything from Palestine to pocketbooks. This will confuse and isolate your audience, and not really provide benefit to anyone. And without a clear direction, chances are you’ll eventually abandon your blog.
2. Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
Without good planning and work habits, your blog will disappear into cyber limbo.
Here’s what I do: Every week I go through my emails and comments. I look for trends that would probably interest my audience and that I feel comfortable writing about. I like to post two articles a week; one on Monday and one on Thursday. Therefore I keep a deep well of article ideas. In addition to having these ideas written down (on Evernote!) I also type out a quick outline for each idea.
There are too many things a Muslim blogger has to deal with in the average week, and having a well-planned blogging process makes everything a lot easier.
3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If you listen to all the internet marketing gurus out there, you’ll see that there are a million tweaks you can do that are supposed to make your blog irresistible. But if you try to implement all of them, you’ll never get around to actually blogging. It’s best to leave most of that stuff alone. Too many bloggers worry too much about design, SEO, and social media.
My advice: stick with the basics, especially in the beginning.
If you’re considering becoming a Muslim blogger, I wouldn’t suggest you design your blog. Just get a decent theme (they start around $30) and go from there. There are even lots of free themes you can use that will get the job done.
As for SEO, you only need to worry about three things:
Making sure you choose a good topic.
Making sure your keyword is in the title, headline and description.
Making sure you write good stuff.
Marketing your website is another topic and can take some time. But if you post articles regularly, have a decent blog design, and do a little SEO, a lot of your marketing efforts are taken care of insha’Allah.
4. Don’t Be a Muslim Troll
Nobody likes trolls, be they Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. Don’t be a troll. You’re going to run into people who disagree with you. It is inevitable. Just accept it.
When someone blasts your post or trashes your beliefs, you have three options:
You can load up your verbal arsenal and come at them with uninhibited fury.
You can ignore them and delete their comments.
You can engage them in polite, intelligent discourse, respond to their criticism, but limit the extent of their abuse.
If someone has a genuine disagreement, it would be best to involve them in the conversation. There are three benefits to this:
They might be right and you might be wrong. It’s possible you may need some correction.
Your audience will benefit from seeing a different side of the story. And then they’ll want to chime in with their opinions.
All of this activity is great for SEO. The more comments you have, the more love Google will show your blog.
5. Be Persistent
This happens to bloggers, Muslim or otherwise:
You’re blogging on a regular basis.
You’re responding to comments.
You’re doing all the SEO and marketing tricks available.
But only six people are visiting your blog everyday and you know two of them are your parents.
It might be time to reassess your strategy. Maybe you need to choose a different blog topic. Or maybe you need to reassess how you’re tackling your chosen topic. But don’t give up. If you enjoy blogging, and this is something you want to do on a regular basis, I encourage you to be persistent.
You should make an honest assessment of your goals and where you are thus far. See if there are some changes you can make.
Check your analytics software to see which topics attracted the most people.
Leverage Facebook and Twitter to reach a wider audience.
Don’t be afraid to pay for marketing advice.
The point is, don’t give up on your blogging dreams. Anything worthwhile is going to take patience, persistence, skill, and time. Evaluate your intentions, your content, and its benefit.
If you look through these five tips, you’ll see that they can be applied to many other aspects of your life. Take the time to see which one you need to work on the most and how you can use them to lead a more productive lifestyle insha’Allah.
About the author:
Abu Ibrahim Ismail is a Muslim speaker, writer, and da’ee. He has studied Islam in West Africa and the Caribbean. He founded the websiteIslamicLearningMaterials.com where he teaches and preaches about Islamic principles. He tweets about Islam and Muslims @IslamicLearning.