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Last week, on TSDN – 035, we defined what a blog is and we briefly discussed what you would need to start a blog and I gave you tips for publishing your blog.

Today, I will talk to you about publishing your first blog post.

When you have answered the basic questions about your blog, you should have a good idea what sort of things you should write about. For example if you are writing a sports blog, the question I would ask is, what sort of sport are you focusing on? Do you report on everything or you are reporting on a specific sporting activity? You could be writing about football (soccer) or rugby. It could be cycling or running. Maybe you’d prefer to follow and write about golf or tennis. Maybe you’d rather to swing towards baseball (pun intended).

Someone may not be so keen as to write about sports. You may perhaps be interested in gardening or fashion designing. Some people prefer to write about politics, religion, science, movies and the list goes on. Whatever one chooses to write about, it then opens doors to further choices.

Let’s say I choose to write about Gardening. This subject alone is rich and broad. There is always something to write with regards to gardening. You can write about vegetable gardening and a few months later, you switch to flower gardening. You can write about grass and its variants. You can write about the problems and solutions of gardening. What about pests and solutions to that problem? What sort of tools a gardener may need to own? Various type of soils and so on and so forth. There is so much to learn and write about with regards to gardening.

Some people would prefer to just write spontaneously, as ideas come to mind. These sort of bloggers are free spirited. They write about anything and provoke readers to take a second look at life. Some prefer to post in the form of an open diary. I mean to say, they write about stuff that is taking place in their personal lives. If this confuses you, think of it as a text version of the Kardashians. Only without the Kardashian drama.

Once you make your choice and have decided on the name of your blog, domain name and a hosting service. It is time to publish your first post.

CHOOSE A THEME FOR YOUR BLOG

Most hosting services will guide you through the process of setting up your blog. I personally recommend WordPress.com. All the processes which were described in the last episode, will be easier to setup because WordPress.com provides a setup wizard for you. Also during the setup process you will be given a chance to choose a theme for your blog and then customize it to your liking. There are hundreds of themes to choose from.

If you are working on a budget, there are free themes which are perfect for getting started. There are also paid themes which allow your blog to look a little bit more professional and attractive. There are also themes which are designed for businesses and online shops. Some themes are suitable for news blogs, photographers, podcasters and much more. Choose the one that works for you. Don’t worry if you end up not liking it in the future. You can totally switch to another theme at any time, without losing your content.

Having chosen and customized your theme, you are now ready to publish your first post.

CHOOSE AN ATTENTION GRABBING HEADLINE

The first thing your potential readers will see on your post is the headline. It is critical to choose a headline that will make your target audience to stop what they are doing, and pay attention to your post. If your headline is dull and unattractive, your post will be treated as something that never existed. You need to pull the readers to your post by provoking their curiosity.

This means you must have a good idea as to what would interest your potential readers. What are your readers searching for? What is it they want to know? What problems they wish to solve? Are you able to meet their expectation?

Let’s say, your potential audience wishes to get out of debt and begin a journey to financial freedom. If you have ideas on how to help them improve their financial standing, you could draw their attention with these headlines: “How to Get out of Debt and Reclaim Your Life?”, “How to Shame Your Creditors and Live a Debt Free Life.”, “How to Pay Cash for Everything and Never Borrow Money Again.” There are also other headlines which are related to money and can be used to draw the attention of your readers. You can put up a line that says: “3 Reasons Why You Are Still Poor?”, “4 Ways You Can Buy the Bank and Never Owe It Again.” Try something along those lines.

What about cooking. Some people may want to write about food and cooking. There are scores of people who are looking for easy recipes for easy and quick meals. Equally so, there are hundreds of blogs offering these recipes. One out of a number of things that could make a new culinary blog to stand out, is to use an outstanding headline. Pull the eyes of potential readers to your blog post. You can put up something like: “4 Quick Recipes for Instant weight loss.” Or “Common Colds Hate These Foods” You can even go as wild as saying, “If You Eat This You Will Keep the Doctor Away.” Make your posts believable even before they are actually read.

I know some of these are fictional headlines but I believe you get the idea. A great headline is the draw card for searchers to notice your blog post. You may have to do a research on what people are mostly searching for online. Knowing the questions most people ask in Google search, may be another way to figure out what sort of headlines to put up, in order to reach your target audience and perhaps draw their attention to your post.

STRUCTURE YOUR POST WELL

You may have a compelling headline but this is not a guarantee that your reader will stay, except when you have written a well-structured post. What may turn many readers on or off, is the readability of your blog post. For someone getting started with blogging, you don’t need to worry much about the rules of grammar and other things that pertain to writing a politically correct English text document. What you need to focus on is that your ideas are easily understood by your readers. Your ideas should be well connected and they must be flowing to a certain direction. They must take the reader from the position of doubt to the place of confidence that they have found the solution to their problem.

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Writing a post is like building a house. A well-structured post would have:

  • An Introduction

An introduction is like the front porch of a house. This is where the front door into the house is found. In the introduction you tell the reader what you are going to write about. If you flunk your introduction your reader will leave. You must have a way to hook the reader. Many bloggers use rhetorical questions to get the reader hooked and make them stay to read on some more.

A sales person who is selling a weight loss formula would open his post in this manner:

Have you been made fun of due to the size of your body? Have you been trying to lose weight to no avail? Do you want to wear what you want without being judged? If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, I have a solution for you.” These questions do not require an answer, instead they are used as a platform get the reader’s attention and also to invoke the reader’s emotional investment into the post. Once a person is emotionally invested to something, they linger a bit longer to find satisfaction.

So, write a compelling introduction, giving a reader a clear idea of what your post is about. So you tell the reader about what you are going to tell them.

  • The Body

The body of your post is like the inside of the house. The house has bedrooms, a dining room, a lounge, a kitchen, a bathroom and a study area.  Each of these rooms have detailed and relevant furniture. As the house have different rooms, for different purposes, your post should have paragraphs that would communicate different ideas. Each paragraph should carry a certain idea and then flows to another paragraph to explain another connecting idea.

You must use shorter paragraphs to drive your point home. Shorter paragraphs will encourage the reader to stay and will help them to comprehend your main idea.

It is good practice to use text breakers, like related images. Many readers get bored when reading a long body of text without any other form of visual arts in sight. You may use images or quoted text for emphasis and to give the reader a small break.

In the body of your post, it is where you explain your ideas in details. This where you tell the reader what you have promised to tell them. You define problems. You explain why they have not been solved before and how are you planning to solve them. You explain how your solution is different from others and why it will work. You allow the reader to see the value of what you have to offer. This where you tell stories to which your audience can relate. You use graphs, bullet points and whatever means available to help you get your main idea across.

You have hooked the reader in the introduction and in the body you are reeling them in.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion is the final structure of your post. This is where you summarize everything you have said. Basically, you tell the reader what you have told them. This is where you compress all the ideas you have unpacked in the body, so that the reader can have something to take home.

Also in the conclusion you tell the reader what to do with the information you have just given them. Some people would have no idea what to do with what you have said and so they need a call to action.

GIVE A CALL-TO-ACTION

A call-to-action is not a mysterious thing, really. This is where you tell your readers what to do. I know, some people will not feel comfortable with telling people what to do, but in the case where you need readers to share your posts if they find it helpful, you need to tell them to do so. If you have links that may help your readers, you need to tell them so that they will click on them.

Sometimes you may want to give freebies like free eBooks to your readers. You will need to tell them what to do in order to get the freebie. Some people use call-to-action in order to build a mailing list and to gain more subscribers.

Always give a call-to-action so that your reader can engage and do something with your content.

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At about 17:50, today, the 11th of December 2012, I went to my garden just to look at how it is doing. While I was observing that beauty and the growth of the vegetables that I have planted there, I realized that they were growing according to my will and to my satisfaction. My joy was disturbed by the sight of tares that I have not planted, they grow among my vegetables and they were corrupting their beauty and cleanliness. I started plucking them out. While I was busy, plucking the tares out, I noticed one of my plants that was diseased. The sight of it was disgusting. Without any further hesitation I plucked it up by root and threw it away from my goodly vegetables, it broke my heart to throw it away but I had to do it for the sake of the healthy plants.

When I was done with the tares I realized that I love my garden and I love all the plants that I put there which do my will, while I hate every diseased plant and tares which are rebellious and corrupt. Then it hit me, my garden was no different from the world and the church. The bible has no place where it says, “God loves sinners but hate sin.” On the contrary, it does mention that “God hates all the workers of iniquity” and that “He is angry with the wicked every day.”

Let us look at these verses;

“The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.” (Psalm 5:5-6)

“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” (Psalm 7:11-12)

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” (Psalm 11:5-6)

Now, the bible shows us how God feels about the wicked. It says that He is angry with the wicked every day. God is Holy, He hates sin and sinners. To say that God hate sinners is not well received in the modern day churches. The reason for this is that the teachings of the bible are ignored by the general Christian community. The bible is not like all the cowardly pastors who don’t want to offend anyone with the truth. It tells thing as they are meant to be told and it is to be taken seriously or else people will pay the price that comes with either ignorance or disobedience, which is destruction.

The verses I have shown above, tell us that God will not rain favour and blessings upon the wicked but He will let snare, fire, brimstone and horrible tempest to fall upon them. These words must be taken seriously. We must consider these words and comprehend the message they are communicating to us. God will destroy the wicked, just like He did away with the wicked in the days of Noah and wasted the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, so will He do it yet again. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ will not prevent the end of the wicked because only those who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. The rest of the people who do not believe on the Son of God will perish.

Those who disagree with the statement that God hate sinners often pull their defence from John 3:16. Let us look at John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

As we can see, this verse does not say that God loved the sinners but it says that God loved the world. The Greek word that is used in the verse for world is κόσμος (kosmos) which does not in any way refer to sinner(s) but instead it refers to a heavenly body (star or planet) and the inhabitants thereof. The word for sinners is ἁμαρτωλός (amartolos) and it is not found in John 3:16.

Remember the story of my garden, when I said that I love my garden it did not mean that I love everything that is in it. I don’t love the tares and those little animals that eat my vegetables. The fact that the tares get watered doesn’t mean that I want them in my garden. They only benefit for the sake of my vegetables. There is a day appointed where I will get rid of the tares and gather my harvest into the kitchen. God hate sinners and all the workers of iniquity. The wicked are alive today and they get to be successful, that doesn’t mean that God loves them, they are only around because of the righteous. Abraham asked God if He would destroy the wicked if there were a number of righteous people in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah and God said that He will not destroy them for the sake of the those righteous people.

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” (Gen 18:23-32)

As we can see that God would spare the whole wicked community for the sake of the few righteous people who are found among them. Unfortunately for the world of Noah, God told Noah to prepare an ark. He brought the flood and destroyed the world while saving the Noah, his family and the rest of the animals that were in the ark. The same went for Sodom and Gomorrah where God drew Lot and his family out and did away with his enemies. Also in Jericho, God delivered Rahab and her family and condemned the rest to death. God loved the world in the days of Noah and so to save it, he got rid of the wicked with the flood and the righteous were safe in the ark. God still promises yet again that He would destroy the wicked and that he will do away with the destroyers of the earth.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18

The Lord will get rid of false believers

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn…” “…He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.(Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43)

The text above shows that God allows the tares to grow to gather with the good seed. He then explains that the good seed are the children of the kingdom while the tares are the children of the wicked one (the devil). He commands that the tares and the good seed must be allowed to grow together for the sake of the good seed. He said that it might happen that when they should deal with the tares, they would also uproot the wheat (good seed). The day is coming where the tares will be burnt with fire and the wheat be gathered into the barn. Rest assured my dear reader that God hates sinners and He will get rid of them unless they repent and believe in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who turn to Him will be given the righteousness of the Son of God but those who refuse Him will be destroyed, irrespective of who they are.