wordpress blogging site

Blogging Tips and Tools: Theotek Podcast #094

Do you want to start a blog? Do you have something to say? Blogging offers a great outlet for ministers who want to share their ministry with the world or communicate directly with their church members outside of regular worship services or church meetings. No matter why you want to write on the Internet, we’ll share what we’ve learned after decades of combined blogging experience between our four co-hosts in this week’s episode of the Theotek Podcast. Watch it below or listen using the player at the bottom of this post.

In this week’s episode we mentioned a few tools. Here’s the list of places to put your blog online:

wordpress blogging site

Some of the tools we’ve used to post to our blogs include:

  • Mars Edit for Mac
  • Windows Live Writer – now defunct but an open source version called Open Live Writer now exists for Windows.
  • WordPress app on iOS and Android
  • Your browser

The following tips will help you to stay successful as a blogger.

Be Specific in Subject and Stay With It

Even if that topic is you and your ministry, stay with it. If you choose to blog about Bible verses you’re studying and build an audience of people who want to read your posts about Bible passages, then throwing in a post about your favorite football team or politics might turn people off.

Some bloggers start making it clear that they will post about all sorts of topics. Then the subject is their opinions. If that’s what you want, great! Make it clear from the start.

Blog consistently

painfullyhopeful
Wes Allen’s site PainfullyHopeful.me

On Theotek we put out about one post a week. Wes Allen posts almost every day on his blog PainfullyHopeful.me. Don’t go weeks or months without a post. People will lose interest and start ignoring when you finally do post.

Include Images

blogging
Photo credit: Unsplash on Pixabay.

Not everyone agrees with this, but most successful blogs include images or even embedded videos. Most of the blogging software we mentioned above works fine with these media forms including JPG, YouTube Videos, Vimeo Videos, GIF and animated GIF and more.

Don’t just throw up a picture. Give it an ALT tag. A post from Yoast Search Engine Optimization explains what an ALT image tag is and why it’s important.

Posts with images and videos show up better in searches. So try to include them.

raw material ebook

How to Create and Publish an eBook: Theotek Podcast #093

Pastors and ministers can make use of their sermon series’ and bible studies by turning those into an eBook. They might have a devotional book they want to use to disciple their congregation or a small group. Whatever you want to put out there in digital written format you can do with an eBook. We discussed how to make an eBook in this podcast with special guest Kathy Mansfield, wife of our co-host Rick Mansfield and a talented children’s eBook publisher and author.

In the podcast we referred to Kathy Mansfield’s author page on Amazon. Be sure to check it out and get some of her books, especially if you work with young kids or have some in the home. You can also find Kathy at her website And a Poem, which she explained in the podcast, so be sure to listen below or watch it above. That’s also her official Twitter author account.

Kathy was a school librarian for 26 years and now serves as the state library consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education.

Tools for Making an eBook

We discussed a bunch of tools that help people make eBooks. Here’s the list…

pixabay.com photos for your ebooks

  • Pixabay – a great site for free, public creative commons photos you can use in your projects.
  • Create Space – the site used by handling eBook publishing via Amazon’s website and eBook store.
  • DIY Book Formats – a great site to help you learn how to create eBooks and how to format them for publishing.
  • APE by Guy Kawasaki – I mentioned this book by former Apple Computer evangelist Guy Kawasaki who has published a bunch of eBooks.
  • Sigil – a tool for creating eBooks.
  • Creative Book Builder – another tool for creating eBooks mentioned by Wes Allen
  • Press Books – yet another site dedicated to helping you create your eBooks mentioned by Wes.
  • Smashwords – a place to distribute your eBook instead of using Amazon
  • Creative Penn – another site dedicated to helping you create your eBook.

If you use any of these or any of our suggestions to publish your book, please be sure to let us know and we’ll publicize it on our show.

raw material ebook

Get LaRosa Johnson’s book RAW Material to help in your own discipleship or someone else’s as a gift.

wes allen painfullyhopeful

Theotek Extra: Wes Allen Pastor and Tech Consultant

Wes Allen is one of our regulars on the Theotek Podcast. In this Theotek Extra I go one on one with Wes. We talked about his entry into tech, his church ministry and his work with the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey as their Communications Consultant.

Wes blogs at Painfullyhopeful.me where he posts frequently.

wes allen painfullyhopeful

Wes talked about his Smugmug portfolio of photos.

yeti-desktop-large

How to Start a Podcast: Theotek Podcast #092

This week we talk about how to start a podcast with tips for getting started, where to host it and how to handle the workflow. We used LaRosa Johnson’s Devos.hiphop podcast as our case study. Make sure you check it out.

devos.hiphop podcast

Would you like to post your sermons online or maybe create a weekly show to tell members of your church about upcoming news. Maybe you’ve got something you want to say the Christian world or just want to give tips for how to make mac and cheese. An audio podcast can bring your message to the greater world in a fun and interesting way. Watch the video below to learn more about how LaRosa creates and Devos.hiphop podcast. And make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel as well.

Podcast Recording Hardware

In the video we talked first about the tools needed for recording a podcast. You can record on your computer with a mic hooked up to it. That’s how LaRosa records his podcast. He and Rick Mansfield both use the Blue Yeti microphone.

yeti-desktop-large

The mic will plug into your computer’s USB port. It’s got a number of modes great for using solo, with 2 people on either side of the mic, or with a group of users. It’s noise cancelling too, so you get a pretty good recording.

zoom recorder

Some people record their podcast using their iPhone or Android phone. Others use a tablet like an iPad or Android tablet. We also talked about using the Zoom Recorder, which records to flash storage. Then you can copy it over to a computer or mobile device.

The computer used doesn’t need to break the bank. Most basic machines work great. Any Mac or Windows computer made in the last five years will work. It’s the same for phones or tablets.

Podcast Recording Software

Audacity

A great piece of software called Audacity records audio and makes for easy editing. It’s free and open source, has a great community of users supporting it and is both easy to learn and powerful enough for complex multi-track recording.

Other recording options include the high-end tools like Pro Tools or Adobe Audition. On a Mac, use Garage Band. Most phones or tablets have an audio recording app either pre-installed or available in the app stores. We talked about Ferrite Recording Studio, a great iOS app.

Hosting Your Podcast

Lybsyn is a great service for hosting your podcast. It costs $5/month to upload up to 50mb/month. If that’s not enough, you can pay $15/month for 250mb. Our podcast runs about an hour and takes up about 20-25mb each file. Since we do more than 2/month we’d need the 250mb/month tier.

seriously simple podcasting

Theotek uses a host and WordPress to run our site. I upload the file to our host and link to it in WordPress using a plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting. It puts a section at the bottom of your WordPress screen where you can either upload the MP3 file or past the link, if you use something like Lybsin. Then add other information. Notice in the screenshot above you can add the following info:

  • Episode Type – click audio or video.
  • Podcast file – either paste the link here or click on Upload File and choose the MP3 file on your hard drive and it uploads it for you.
  • Duration – this will fill in automatically when you save the page or publish it.
  • File size – this also will fill in automatically like the duration.
  • Date recorded – click the box and a calendar pop lets you choose the date you recorded the podcast.
  • Explicit – hopefully churches or ministers won’t need to check this.
  • Block – if you don’t want this one to show up in iTunes for some reason check this.

You could upload the files to the Internet Archive or to YouTube. The first will host your files. LaRosa used to use that for his Blaizin’ Faith podcast. With YouTube, you’re really creating a video, but the focus will be on audio. Just use your album cover art as the image.

Tips for Podcasting

Finally, we’ve got a few tips for a successful podcast.

  • Pick a topic that’s interesting and that you’re passionate about so you can keep going.
  • Edit your ID3 Tags, so your podcast has the details embedded in the MP3 files (title, artist, description, copyright, etc).
  • Share your podcast on iTunes and Google Play Store podcasts (follow Libsyn’s How To).
  • Make an attractive cover art, which shows up in your podcast app or the podcast service like iTunes.
  • Use Google’s Feedburner to make a good RSS feed that will work with iTunes and the other services.

Favorite Things

Rick Mansfield shared his Favorite Things – the KDLinks Dash Cam. Find out more about it at their website.┬áHere’s a couple of samples of the video you get from the camera.

Antoine Wright joined us at the tail end of the podcast because he was travelling. His favorite thing was more of a tip. He suggested using something like Impact Hub, a coworking space. This is an office for those who don’t have one. It provides a workspace with Internet, a mailbox and address for deliveries, and camaraderie of being with others even if you work alone. This might offer a nice option for solo pastors or those who are planting a church and don’t own property yet.