My Favorite Blogging Resources

favorite blogging planning resources
This weekend I’m leading a blogging hands-on platform building class at Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks conference. The focus of the workshop is content and I’m very honored to be a small part of such an incredible conference. This is my third year attending and I really can’t say enough positive things about it.

Can I just tell you that I don’t know everything there is to know about blogging? No, I surely don’t. But, what I like to do is find the people who have the blogging and writing answers. When our workshop meets together this Saturday, we are going to collaborate and brainstorm and talk about all the great places and people you can go to when you need a little guidance on writing or blogging.

Today I wanted to share my favorite blogging resources with you. This is not something I would typically share here on my blog, but I am receiving a lot of email requests asking questions like:

    • How do you find time to blog?
    • How did you get started blogging?
    • How much time do you spend blogging?
    • How do you start a writing ministry?

Whenever I notice a pattern to the emails I’m receiving, then I will typically write a blog post to address the issues. So consider this a “bonus post” if you will. While I can tell you that every single person has a different writing or blogging journey, and God’s plan for each person’s work is unique, writing and blogging takes work! Having the necessary tools makes it all the easier.

So, of you have some great suggestions for your favorite blogging resources, we’d LOVE it if you would share them with us in the comments. I’m hoping that you will add your favorites and we’ll have a great time collaborating! Ready?

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1.How to set up  a WordPress blog in 20 minutes FREE video. 

This video is wonderful and is Michael Hyatt’s instructions on building a self-hosted Wordress blog when you know nothing about blogging is a great instructional video. This video is designed for bloggers who want to use their own domain name, such as michaelhyatt.com or myname.me.

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2. How To Blog Step by Step Guide:

This step by step guide on how to blog by Amy Lynn Andrews is one of the best. And guess what? It doesn’t take hours!! Just 15 minutes!

3.How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)

If your goal is to earn money while blogging, for whatever personal or business reason, then I can understand that, even though I never started writing for money. I don’t recommend that you begin writing to make money either. But I honestly can’t invest tons of hours writing or blogging without earning an income. See exhibit A in the right sidebar labelled “Woj Tribe.” This book made a HUGE difference in the way I began to view ministry and business through blogging and really helped me understand blogging in an organized fashion. Even if you never plan to make a dime from blogging, I strongly believe that this book will help you become the best blogger you can be.

4. Blog Planner

When I purchased and read Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit book listed in point 3, I had never before heard of using a blog planner. This little tool gave me incredible insight and understanding. Not that I’m perfectly executing the plan… ahem… but honestly, I was too haphazard and didn’t see the value in planning.  Now I KNOW the best way is to be organized first. If you have no big picture, your goals will be crazy difficult to reach. Ruth offers a great blog planner that I’ve been using for over a year. Her intention is for the planner to be used in conjunction with her book mentioned above and the instructions for using the planner are in the book. I know I said this before, but if you never plan to try to earn money from your blog, you will still benefit greatly from the planner itself, even if you never use the profit portions of the book.

5. Blogging Conferences

Across the US, there are several writing and blogging conferences I have attended or know the organizers personally. Conferences are a wonderful way to expand your blogging hobby or career. For blogging, I recommend the Allume Conference as I attended it for two years and found it very helpful for beginner level blogging.  For writing, I recommend She Speaks Conference (writer’s track).

6. Free Book Review Programs for Bloggers

Many publishers give free books to bloggers in exchange for reviews. Below you will find the programs of which I am aware and have used at some time in the last five years: 

Blogging for Books  by Waterbrook Multonomah

BookLookBloggers by Harper Collins- Thomas Nelson and Zondervan

Tyndale Blogger Network

Bethany House Blogger Review Program by Baker Publishing

NetGalley

FOR CHILDREN”S BOOKS:

Tommy Nelson Mommies by Tommy Nelson

 7. Training Services

One of the most important parts of blogging is accountability. If you are not a disciplined person who can keep yourself accountable to your goals, then having a partner for this is pertinent. You can find a blogging friend or training service that focuses on keeping you accountable to your ministry goals.

I’ve not personally used any of these services, but they are highly recommended by my blogging friends.

For leadership, speaking and writing: Compel Training by Proverbs 31 Ministries

For platform building: Platform University by Michael Hyatt

For focused, purposeful writing: TribeWriters

 

I hope you have enjoyed this special bonus post for my She Speaks Conference friends and all the others who have emailed me and asked: Can you help me with blogging?

Best wishes on following God’s best for you!

Rachel

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Team Lift Your Voice Hits GSN’s American Bible Challenge

Addendum 5/6: We learned today that Team #LiftYourVoice appears in the June 19th episode!

Hey Friends! I’m excited to announce to you that earlier this week, GSN’s American Bible Challenge trivia show announced their teams for the upcoming season… and team Lift Your Voice is one of those teams! WOOHOO!

My husband, Matt is on the far right in the purple shirt; my brother-in-law, David, is in the center, and then,there’s me.

The Voices

 

We are so thrilled to take part in this exciting game show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy with worship led/provided by Kirk Franklin!!

Team #LiftYourVoice represents our charity, the National MPS Society, and we can’t wait for the season to begin on May 22, 8/7c!

Don’t worry- I’ll remind you on my social media channels, just be sure you are following! You can check out all of them in the top right sidebar or for the most frequently used, click on the following:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

But for now, can you give us a big shout-out to let us know you’re rooting for us? Use the social media links above and below this post to let all your friends know about this incredible, generous show and our opportunity to be a part! For more information, head over to the American Bible Challenge.  And PS: Hashtag #liftyourvoice :)

Thank you and much love!!

Rachel

 

9 Best Bible Apps for Kids

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Hey there! Today I wanted to give you an updated scoop on Bible Apps for Kids. Even in just a few months, apps change and improve greatly.

My first post on Bible Apps for Kids this year was in March and I outlined the five best Bible apps at the time. Honestly, I could see that there was much room for improvement in the children’s Bible app department.

Then my second post provided four more Bible Apps for Kids and I felt like the market was beginning to grow when I posted this article in May this year.  Like all other technology, improvements have occurred and more availability is out there. So today I wanted to give you an update on the 9 best Bible Apps for Kids.

best bible apps for kids

Keep in mind that for my list, I really wanted excellent content AND excellent graphics. Honestly, I don’t think there are 9 Bible Apps for Kids on the market that contain both. But I’m outlining the best ones in our family’s opinion. My kids are tougher critics than I am when it comes to the apps. ;) In no particular order, here we go:

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1. Bible Adventures for Kids

Bible Adventures for Kids is provided by the American Bible Society and designed for ages 7 and under. My 2 and 4 year old love this app! With 10 stories and 20 games, Bible Adventures for Kids is a wonderful app for this age group. I love the “Read to Me” feature when I need 5 minutes to take a phone call or focus my attention somewhere else. The touchscreen is interactive and the app has excellent availability in English or Spanish, Aventuras de la Biblia para Niños for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android smartphones and tablets. Just click the graphic or link above to order for $1.99. ** This app was not provided on my previously-mentioned lists.

 

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 2. The NIV Adventure Bible App

The NIV Adventure Bible is the Bible my 11 year old son used and loved before he started using the Olive Tree Bible Study App on his ipod.  This app is FREE in the two lite versions available for Ipad and Iphone. The lite version is designed for Bible memory; you can do verse scrambles, choosing easy, medium or hard levels.  You can even record your own voice reading your favorite Bible verse. The full version of the app costs $1.99 and is available here.

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3. Superbook Kids Bible from CBN

Superbook Kids Bible App from CBN made it on the second list as a new release. I was so excited about the potential of this app because it made the cut on both content and graphics.   This app contains games, Bible trivia, videos, and cool sections for your children to mark their favorites. The graphics are EXCELLENT and  it’s FREE! Can you believe that? Available on Itunes AND  NOW Android! How awesome is that?! Superbook also has a wonderful online free game center for kids.

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4. The American Bible Challenge Game App

The American Bible Challenge is a Bible trivia game show entering its third season on the Game Show Network. My kids have had a ton of fun with this app and it works much like the trivia game played on the show. Although the app does not indicate that it is designed for kids, the instructions are easy to follow and my 11 year old and 9 year old love it. Available for FREE on Itunes and Android** This app was not provided on my previously-mentioned lists.

beginners bible app

5. The Beginner’s Bible App

The Beginner’s Bible App is designed for children ages 2-6 and the first “story pack” is FREE. I think this is a great way to try out the app and enjoy the features, determining if it works well for your children. This awesome app includes coloring pages, puzzles, and games. Each story pack contains 6 stories with accompanying coloring pages, puzzles and a game. The in-app purchases of $1.99 each can be made for additional story packs.  I was impressed with the graphic quality in this app in comparison to many free apps. Available for Ipad only right here.

The Word Search app

6. The Word Search is a fun Bible game app based on stories and themes in the Bible.  With four levels of difficulty and 32 puzzles for each level, this word search game is great to challenge through age 7 and entertain through adult. Available for Iphone and Ipad, as  a free download, this app is enjoyable and educational. As simple as the app is, I still find my kids playing it frequently.

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7. The Jesus Calling for Kids devotional app

I know- this is not strictly a “Bible app”, but it is still a Bible education app, as are many of the above-mentioned apps. If you’ve been around here much, then you know how much our family LOVES the Jesus Calling for Kids devotional itself. This is our third year reading it in the mornings at breakfast and we never tire of it. This devotional app is the exact same quality of the book. You can check out the lite version for FREE for IOS users or you can purchase the full devotional for $9.99- same price as the book. Also available on Kindle!

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8.The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook and app

This book has an incredible new feature your child will love if you have a smartphone or tablet with scanning capability. You simply download the app and throughout the book, you can scan codes to enhance your reading experience. Watch your child light up as the book comes to life through video within the app! For a full review of this product, click here. Click here to order the book, then scan the qr code on the front cover to download and use the app. ** This app was not provided on my previously-mentioned lists.

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9. The Olive Tree Bible Study App

The Olive Tree Bible Study App is not an app for kids. But this awesome company took our family on board with them when we needed a Bible reading plan for children added to the app. Generously, the RachelWojo.com children’s Bible reading plan for the gospel of John was added to their reading plans and we love the Olive Tree folks. In 6 weeks your child can read the gospel of John on the app. Three of my children completed the reading of John this summer. Also, my 11 year old uses this app all the time now; he just informed me today that he likes using the highlighting and definition features. ** This app was not provided on my previously-mentioned lists.

AND A Bonus:

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10.You Version- The Bible App for Kids

YouVersion has announced that “The Bible App for Kids” is being released this Thursday, Nov. 28,2013. The release is slated to include both the IOS and Android markets and currently, you can enter a phone number on The Bible App for Kids site to be the first to know of the release. The app is including touch-activated animations for Bible stories, games and activities. Since I’ve not seen the app functioning, I didn’t include it in the above list of our family’s favorites. I’d love it if you’d tell me what you think when it releases!

What are your family’s favorite Bible apps for kids?

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