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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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LAZY MEN

It is absolutely annoying to have a man who have a fully functioning body, with all the limbs and organs being intact, coming over to you, and ask you to give him money. I am not referring to a homeless man. I am talking about a man who has a home and family members. What makes it worse is that the same man will come to you as if he is borrowing the money and he will have it back to you on some day, as if you don’t know that he is lying about you having it back. How would you I possibly know that he is lying, you may ask.  The man is not working, so he couldn’t have a guaranteed check at the end of the week or at the end of the month. What is more infuriating is that, the story that will be told in this fake loan request, describing the purpose of the loan, would be 100% nonsense. So a good 35seconds would be wasted listening to a false story, in a fake attempt to solicit a loan, which would never be paid back.

Forget that the whole exercise is fake. Pay more attention to the real purpose for the exercise. This miserable man wants to use your hard earned cash in order to fulfill his filthy desires. He will take your money and spend it in some dodgy drug dealer’s corner for a single fix of weed. This is the case in many South African townships today. There are miserable men who lounge around the whole day, waiting for those who actually go out to do some hustling, and they wait with a single purpose in mind and that is to try and manipulate the hustlers into giving them money so that they would be high on weed. How pathetic is that? This is the story of the lazy man

POLITICAL MAN

The lazy man is a product of the political man. Unlike the false story of the lazy man, the political man tells a very convincing story, which is backed up by statistical facts, which at sometimes cannot be verified but doesn’t care because not many people will check them out anyway. So he goes on to describe the negative feelings which the general public have concerning the current state of affairs. He states how he relates with the feeling of the public and how he is concerned with their wellbeing. He goes on to remind us of how great the struggle we are facing is, and how wonderful the future would be, if we hand him our votes.

Despite the fact that everyone knows that this pitiable bastard is lying through his teeth, he still gets enough votes to gain access to the coffers. You see, the political man knows how to lie. He gives a lot of empty promises, just like the lazy man. The difference between these two men is that, the lazy man gives transparent empty promises, whereas the political man gives decorated empty promises. The lazy man aims for a few coins and notes in your wallet but the political man aims for the Reserve Bank. For perspective’s sake, let me put it this way. The lazy man strains himself for a few drops of water from a tap, the political man seeks to own and control the dam. Such is the case in South Africa.

While political men and women spray the droplets of social grants upon the poor and the old, they have mega pipes pulling galloons of stolen money from the public coffers into their well-established personal reserves.

I feel pity for those who put their trust in politicians. Politicians repeat the same lie every five years and the people believe it over and over again. What is astonishing about politicians is, they are not lazy. They simply put more time and energy into visiting people, giving houses to two or three old ladies, giving a few groceries to a selected few, picking up and kissing a few dirty bacteria infested kids. These acts my dear friends communicate directly into the heart of the people. When they have managed to touch the heart of the people they have won the votes of those people.  

THE MEN OF GOLD

Of all the people in the world, nothing resembles a spit on the face more accurately than the man who claims to be a prophet of the Lord in 2019. These clowns are worse than both, the lazy man and the political man. The men of gold are experts in the field of manipulation and deception.  Unlike the political man whose authority is derived from the votes of the people, the man of gold, derives his from ‘heaven, ’ so he says. The man of gold comes to the people carrying a bible on which he doesn’t believe and proclaims a message for which he bears no conviction. He draws crowds with fantastic words and then pulls out a trick he borrowed from Houdini the magician. The only difference from Houdini’s approach is that the man of gold would give all the credit to Jesus, who has nothing to do with Houdini, except judgment and hellfire.

The ultimate goal that the man of gold has in mind is not to glorify God, but it is to use God’s name in order to enrich himself. He does this by tricking the simple-minded into thinking that he is somebody important. He performs these magic acts which the magician performers would do on TV. We all know that TV magicians are not really magicians, they use tricks and sleight of hand to fool the eye. These man of gold have stooped that low to loot their stupid followers.

One who has made the biggest leap in the art of deception and self-promotion, is one Alph Lukau. The man has claimed to have emptied a hospital ward when he allegedly healed every sick person there. The strange thing is that the footage of that incident shows no doctors and no nurses present in that ward. There was no monitoring equipment and no curtains between the beds. I find that strange in a South African Hospital.

What tops it all in the bag of his schemes, is the recent claim of raising a man from the dead. That incident has gotten South Africans talking. One of the strange things about that man is that he had a phone in his jacket. What raises more suspicion from skeptics like myself is that the man was brought to him already alive. We have therefore no evidence to confirm that the man was already dead.

The woman who informed the pastor that there was a dead man, ‘there is a family outside who is about to take a corpse to Zimbabwe’ my question is, why take the corpse to church on a Sunday Service, when you intend to get it to Zimbabwe? She clearly said that the body began to move the fingers as soon as the hearse got inside the gate of the church. Why was the corpse brought to the church when it was not even the man’s funeral service? That is just abnormal for any African family. I wonder how much Lukau paid these people to lie like this. The funeral parlor which was implicated in this scheme distanced itself by miles and began to file a law suit against the church for having its name involved in this scam. According to the parlor, there was no body brought to them, neither was a coffin bought from them. Only their hearse was hired. What these people don’t know is that the police will get involved and will investigate the case of faking own death, which is a criminal offense in this country.

COMMON DENOMINATOR

What the Lazy man, the political man and the man of gold have in common is their desire for money and their devices to avoid honest ways of earning it. All three of them use tactics in order to have people voluntarily give them access to their money. The lazy man aims for your wallet, the political man aims for that national reserves and the man of gold aim for the world’s reserves. While the lazy man keeps the scam in his local area, the political man keeps the scam within the borders of his country and if it happens to spread out, his scam is confined within the political context. The man of gold works internationally and in every corner of financial potential. His scam runs in politics, in religious affairs, in business, in health and wherever he can set foot or stick his rotten fingers. The end goal is money. They all look for money.

Beware, if any healthy and well capable man doesn’t want to work let him starve.

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To be an expect in any thing requires commitment, and daily practice. A top sportsman or sportswoman becomes the best not by chance but by that they keep on training daily and avoiding certain habits in order to improve their perfomance. The same principle applies to us as Christians, especially to leaders.

For anyone to be a successful preacher or pastor, it is necessary that they give themselves to prayer and studying of the Bible. This should be their daily practice. These two things are none negotiable. They are critical in the life of any church leader. For us to be able to teach well and shepherd the flocks of God faithfuly we must always meet our Master in prayer, to report our concerns and our progress in the work we do and also to request more grace to help us carry on with serving Him. We must soak ourselves in the word of God and be instructed of the Lord by means of his written word. We should learn from the example of the apostles, in that, when matters of food and waiting of tables arose in the church, the apostles set themselves apart by refusing to get involved in such matters and suggested that deacons be appointed for the purpose of waiting tables and managing distribution of food. The apostles said, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables… but we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:2,4). There are certain things, though they be good, which are to be abandoned or avoided in order to excel in the most important duty into which one is called.

Paul affirms that the written word of God is critical for our lives. After showing in 2 Timothy 3:16, that all scripture is inspired by God. He then shows us that the same is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. This is all necessary, so that, “the man of God may be perfect, and throughly furnished for all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17) This means that the Bible is enough, for our perfection and to have us totally equiped to do every good thing required by the Lord from us. We cannot raise healthy churches if we ignore the word of God. To ensure that the church members are growing, pastors must be committed in prayer and be full of the Bible and then train their members to do the same.

If we as pastors commit ourselves to do thus, there won’t be a need to fake miracles or even to resolve to magic and manipulation in order to woo the crowds for the purposes of gaining a large following.