There are a lot of things you can do to follow the counsel of prophets and share the gospel online. Some of our favorite (and some of the easiest) ways include using Facebook and Twitter, but if you're ready to take the next step in personal online member missionary work try this: start a blog.
The LDS blogging world is actually already quite well-established, and has been nicknamed by the online community "the Bloggernacle." Joining is as easy as typing out your testimony. Follow these six steps to get started on your own LDS blog:
1. Select a website to host your blog.
There are several great (and free) blog sites that will let you set up your blog in a matter of minutes. Some great ones we like include Blogger, Blog.com, Weebly, and Live Journal. If you've got a little more tech expertise, making a Word Press site is also a great option.
For the purposes of our how-to, we're going to use Blogger as an example.
2. Create an account with your hosting site.
On the main page of the hosting website, there should be an option to either "log in" or create a new account. Since this is your first time here, you'll need to create a new account. (Sometimes, this can be done with your Facebook so you won't have to remember your login information when you want to blog.)
Blogger uses Google accounts to keep track of your blogs. If you already have a Gmail, YouTube, or Android smart phone account, you can log in using that information. Otherwise, click "create an account" and follow the step-by-step directions to make a free Google (and Blogger) account.
Importance note: If at any time your hosting site asks for your credit card information, do not give it to them. Some services charge a monthly fee to host your blog--but many places will do it for free.
3. Make your blog's page.
Now that you have an account and are logged in, it's time to make your blog! If the site you've chosen to use doesn't automatically take you through a step-by-step tutorial at this point, look for a button or link that says either "start," "create," or "new." Click on it, and follow the instructions. Be prepared to name your blog, pick our a URL, and select a color scheme.
For Blogger, there's a button in the upper left corner that says "New Blog." Click that, and a window will pop up allowing you to make the selections to create your blog.
4. Start your first post!
Now that your blog has a name and web address, it's time to start blogging! Look for a button or link that says "new post" or "new entry." Click it, and it should bring up a new page with a large blank text area. This is where you type your post! Use the formatting options (like bold, italic, underline, and alignment) to organize your post as you like.
Some blog sites (like Blogger) will also ask that you title your post, and there will be a specific text field for you to do that. Leaving this field blank can prevent your post from saving, so make sure you write something in here.
Important note: Make sure you save your work often. If you accidentally hit refresh, you can lose what you've already written. To prevent this, most blogs have two buttons: "Save" and "Publish." Hitting "save" saves your current work, but doesn't post it to your blog yet. This way you can come back later and work on the post more before you "publish" it to your blog. Some sites (like Blogger) will also have a button to let you "preview" your post to see what it will look like before publication as well.
5. Share your new blog!
After you hit publish, you can start sharing your new blog! Post a link on your Facebook, email it to your friends, and do whatever you can to get it out there! And congratulations on being the newest member of the LDS Bloggernacle!
6. Keep the magic rolling.
Come back to your blog often to write new posts. A lot of bloggers have a set schedule (whether that's 1 post a month or 3 a week), and many think of their blog as a method of journal keeping. If you think you've run out of things to say, here are a few ideas to get you rolling again:
- Tell your conversion story.
- Write about your (or your child's) baptism.
- Share your testimony.
- Write about a time the Lord helped you through a trial.
- Explain an instance where you saw the Lord's hand at work in your life.
- Give ideas--for service, for FHE lessons, for youth activities, for whatever you have ideas for!
- Share personal insights into your favorite quote or conference talk .
- Share your favorite scripture story and explain why you like it.
- Talk about what happened today in your life and focus on things you're thankful for.
- Share a story from your family history.
- Write about your perspective on a current event. (Check out our Mormon Report to see what's going on in the LDS world.)
- Make a list of everything you're thankful for--count those blessings!
- Write about what you learned at Church on Sunday.
- Share a gospel video and write about its message.
There are lots of great resources available to LDS bloggers. Here are just a few great places to start if you're looking for a little more help: