Are personal blogs dead? And are edited ministry websites like Desiring God or The Gospel Coalition the only way forward? We might be tempted to the issue an either-or matter when in reality it’s not. Personal blogs and edited websites have different and complementary purposes.
I have a column at TGC Canada and a personal blog. I do different things on each platform for different reasons. If you are asking the question of whether you should start a blog or write for an edited site, I’d recommend doing both if possible. If not possible, then consider the following purposes for each kind of platform to figure out which fits best for you.
1. Personal blogs allow for frequent, experimental writing. Edited sites do not.
I write here (wyattgraham.com) frequently. Usually, I write about whatever I am thinking through. It helps me to improve my writing craft, clarify ideas, emote, and functions as an avenue of Christian devotion
Edited sites may allow writers to express Christian devotion too. But they will not allow me to improve my writing craft on a daily basis and clarify ideas for myself. Still, they will allow me to grow in my writing ability in a way that personal sites will never allow. My submitted article will go to an editor who can spot weaknesses in my writing and spur me on to improve my craft.
So both personal and edited sites have their benefits. The first lets you write frequently and experimentally; the second helps us to grow in our writing ability
2. Personal and edited sites have different audiences.
My site has an audience that basically comprises my friend lists/followers and bit beyond. And that is okay. But if I have something that I hope will benefit people outside of my circles, I can always reach out to a larger edited site to pitch an article. If so, I may be able to reach more people who are outside of my current audience.
And that could mean more people will look you up after the fact and read your personal site too. So it’s a win-win if you desire people to read what you write. And most people who write like that. I hope people read what I write, and I hope it benefits them.
3. Edited sites (unlike personal blogs) show visible unity with other Christians.
Writing for Desiring God, TGC and the like shows visible unity with other Christians. We grow together when we work together. So working with other Christian associations can help us unite together with other believers for the good of the kingdom.
We tend to build silos when we need to build cities together. Like churches or Christian organizations, Christian writers should band together to express visibly their unity in Christ.
With that said, also write a personal blog if you can. Edited and personal sites can work side-by-side. My personal blog lets me experiment, think out loud, emote, and express devotion. My TGC Column lets me sit back and write more polished articles. And if I submit an article to an edited entity, then I learn through the editing process and through the extra pressure of preparation.
So don’t make it an either-or thing. Make it a both-and thing.