How To Start a Blog in 14 Steps for Congregations

The blockbuster conference for the Union of Reform Judaism was a somber affair, the JTA reported. Namely because synagogues are suffering attrition, budget cuts and shakier unions (the URJ was recently restructured).

Now is time for congregations – no matter the faith – to take a lesson from the conference, delivered by URJ President Rabbi Eric Yoffie. Set up a blog:

A big aspect of the URJ restructuring involves greater reliance on the Internet. In his Saturday sermon, Yoffie asked Reform congregations to set up their own synagogue blogs, which he said should be used to stimulate real conversations between members “and not be just an electronic version of your temple newsletter.”

I’m so glad to hear this directive come from the top, because if you were to devote yourself to only one social media tool, make it a blog. This is true for just about any nonprofit looking to build a wealth of knowledge and resources for its community, but it’s especially true for any congregations.

They’re useful because they give you a forum for writing articles. Each article gives you the chance to expand on your synagogue or church’s mission while soliciting comments from your community.

But knowing you’re going to do it and doing it are two different things. Here’s a quick overview of how to start.

  1. Define your audience.
  2. Decide what you’re going to write to your audience. What makes you unique?
  3. Decide who will write blog postings. It doesn’t need to be a single person. Share the load across your organization.
  4. Review other successful blogs to see what you like.
  5. Choose a good blog name.
  6. Choose a good domain name.
  7. Choose a reliable web host (like Talance!).
  8. Decide if you’ll be hosted on a service like WordPress or through your website.
  9. Work with a designer for a professional design, or integrate into your existing website
  10. Place an RSS icon at the end of single posts
  11. Organize your categories
  12. Offer email subscriptions
  13. Add Google Analytics or Clicky and track your stats
  14. Stick with it! Blogs take time, but they become more valuable with the more dedication you give them.
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