Three Lessons I Learned About Blog Traffic This Past Month

I think everyone who has a blog goes through stages in his or her blogging. Inevitably a blogger hits a wall. The inspiration to write disappears and you feel like you don’t really have anything valuable to offer the blogosphere. I hit that wall this past year big time, but over the past couple weeks I’ve been blogging more regularly. Over the past few weeks I’ve learned a few lessons about how blog traffic fluctuates right along with how frequently you write. Here they are.

More posts = More traffic

Take a look at the above graphic. It’s a chart from Google Analytics of the visits to my blog over the past 30 days. See the peak right in the middle? That’s the day I decided to get back into regular blogging and posted three new posts that day. I linked to the posts from my twitter and facebook accounts and traffic jumped. It jumped quite a bit, in fact.

New traffic doesn’t come automatically

You can also see over the week or so that followed there was a drop off again. It lines up perfectly with a fall off of blogging again. For some reason I had thought that my bump in traffic would keep up. It didn’t If you want more readers you have to write more.

Writing about popular topics will generate new traffic

One of the posts I did this past month was about Ed Young, pastor at Fellowship Church, and the news story that the local ABC affiliate ran about his salary. That post generated a comment from a person I’m pretty sure I don’t personally know. Also, my blog is the number seven Google search result for Ed Young salary and number eight for mega churches in Dallas. Those stats won’t really general much long term traffic, I think, but it does show that hot topics, either nationally or locally, will bump your traffic.ProBlogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Those are just a few things I’ve learned over the past month in blogging. What are some tips you have about generating traffic to your blog? Share in the comments.

You can also find a lot tips in Darren Rowse and Chris Garret‘s great book on blogging ProBlogger. I’ve read it and highly recommend picking one up if you’re interested in becoming a better blogger.


Two Mega-church Pastors in Dallas, Two Very Different Media Reactions

The Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex has no shortage of mega-churches or mega-church pastors. It’s been called The New Capital of Evangelicalism by Christianity Today. It’s not unheard for a mega-church to be across the street from another mega-church. There is also a history of at least one other Dallas pastor getting caught in a money scandal.

Yesterday, I asked how much a pastor should make for his work, but today I want to look at another angle of the Ed Young saga. That is how the media portrayed him and another area mega-church pastor very differently this past week. The other pastor is Matt Chandler from The Village Church.

If you’re not familiar with Chandler, here’s a brief history. His church has grown rapidly in the past seven years that he has been the senior pastor. The average attendance when he began was around 150. Now they average around 6,000 each weekend and have three campuses. This past fall he was diagnosed with brain cancer and had surgery to remove a rapidly growing malignant brain tumor.

The Associated Press ran a story last weekend that was very favorable to him. They pointed out that he drives a car that he affectionately calls his Dodge “Gimpalla” and has over 140,000 miles. They also were very gracious in their descriptions of his desire to “suffer well” for the glory of the cross of Jesus Christ.

What struck me as I reflected on these two portrayals in the media was how Matt and Ed stand in juxtaposition to one another. One pastor is an over-the-top personality who’s known for elaborate sets, props, and creative communication in his preaching. The other is known for his simplicity (not to mention his self-described yelling at his church while preaching) in pointing people to the cross. They really are two very different personalities and have been portrayed as such by the media.

I’m not intending to pick on Ed Young. I still think he’s a good guy, loves the Lord with all his heart, and is leading his church properly, but I can’t help but think of verses like 1 Timothy 3:7, “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace.” Also, Jesus’ words to his disciples as he sent them out to do work in Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

These two stories were good reminders to me that the outside world is watching our actions and I need to make sure that I reflect Christ in everything I say and do.

What’s your take on these two stories in the media? Share your response in the comments.

What Should a Pastor’s Salary Be?

This past week WFAA Channel 8 ran a story that painted Ed Young, Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church, in a very negative light. The gist of the report was that Ed’s salary ($1 mil) and various perks (private jet, $200k+ parsonage allowance) are intentionally kept hidden from his congregation and he’s profiting from his non-profit church behind their backs.

While I think the story had some holes in it and didn’t paint a complete picture (no interviews from people defending Ed), it did raise a few questions that I think are worth asking of every church and pastor. In particular, how much money should a pastor be paid for his work?

I know there are quite a few opinions on how to determine the answer, but here are just a few examples:

  • Pastors should not be paid for their work. While this opinion is rare in the United States today, it can be found. Some people think that all pastors should be bi-vocational (work one job to earn a living while serving the church).
  • Pastors’ salaries should be less than the average salary of their congregations. The idea here is that pastors are servants. If someone is making less money than another then by default they will feel like more of a servant.
  • Pastors’ salaries should be comprable to the average salary of their congregations. There’s an expectation for pastors to live in the area in which they serve and be able to relate to their congregants every day lives, so they’d have to make about the same amount of money to do that.
  • Pastors should make more money than is average in their area. Ministry is a stressful profession. In addition, many pastors are highly trained, well educated people. When you compare the work of many pastors to jobs in other lines of work you’ll see that salaries are pretty high in those other jobs.

The actual dollar amount will of course be different from one town to the next, but these are some ideas that I’ve seen used to determine a pastors salary.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of flickr user borman818.