Thursday, August 09, 2007

More bloggy thoughts

The weird thing about having a blog is knowing that Real People read it. My mom (hi Mom!), my husband, my sister Rachel Anne, and even weirder, a few of my mom's friends often begin a conversation with, "I was reading your blog the other day and..."

Well, after a whole year of rolling her eyes at my blogging obsession interest, my dearest friend Sherri has decided to become One of Us. Yes, this is the Sherri who was with me through the Dark Years, and whose passion for Christ constantly spurs me on to seek Him more. I love her, and she loves me back, even though I don't grind my own wheat, bake my own bread or (technically) homeschool my kids. She loves me even though I procrastinate, can't keep papers neat, and I am incredibly bad about remembering birthdays. I called her the other day, and she couldn't talk because she was mowing the lawn. Uh, huh. Yes, she is Proverbs 31 deluxe, but (before you hate her because she does all of the above AND her photo albums are up to date) she's SO down-to-earth and real, you can't help but be drawn to her. She keeps me reaching higher, and I, well...I keep her flexible. I am SO honored that her kids call me Aunt Katherine. That's just about as good as it gets.

I hope you will welcome Sherri to our crazy blog world at her brand-spankin' new site, Noise Overload. She will be tickled to get a few comments!

As Sherri and I chatted a bit about her new blog (she caught me walking the aisles of Walmart today), I thought of some old and some new blogging pearls. Here are some of them (are we EVER done with this conversation?):

1. Check the box, and include your blog name in your display name . Yes, this is the box that allows people to reply directly to you via email. It has possibly been THE most important friendship tool for me in the blog world. It may take me a while to visit you (I do try) but, honestly, I only get out to visit other blogs in the wee hours of the morning, and even then, only a couple times a week. In between visits, I can reply directly to you, and check up on you. I hope you will feel free to do the same for me! When your display name includes your blog name, that's just one more way to encourage blog-name recognition and helps us get to know one another.

2. Check your settings. Since I don't get out all that much, I like it when a blog has at least two weeks (or more) of posts on the "home" page. That way I can see what's been going on with you in one click (I know, I know - I'm lazy!). If I have to search through archives to read more, I am less likely to go digging for more gold in your blog-mine. On Blogger, this is under the Settings tab, Formatting sub-tab. Mine is set to 30 days. Any more (I'm told) makes the blog slow to load, especially if you post a lot of pictures.

3. Watch your picture names. If you do not want Cyber-creeps to know your name, last name, or kids' names, don't name your pictures. Leave them the jumble of numbers the camera randomly assigns, or one right-click on "properties" will tell the whole world your name or worse, some sicko will will be able to do an image search on "kid in diapers," and bingo, there's your kid.

4. Keep it short. Blogging "experts" recommend 500 words, maximum. If you are a Really, Really Good Writer, I can read much more, but I get bored of my OWN writing if I go much over 700. Break it up into parts and let us enjoy your story in small bites.

5. Write from your heart.
The whole reason you have a blog is just that, so it can be YOURS. If people don't want to read about what you want to write about, they can move right along. Don't get hung up in the number of hits your site is getting, and don't be afraid to state what you believe. Chances are, you may say something that someone else was thinking, and voila - a friendship is born. If you are a published author (or want to be) or are selling something, you you will have a different purpose for your blog, and that's okay. The rest of us are just out here wanting to be friends, and just like in the real world, it takes all types. Let's celebrate each other's contributions, whether you are a ringleader, a thinker, an organizer, or like me, just someone who enjoys being in the room with you (now if only there were something chocolate we could all share across cyberspace to seal our friendship!).

Happy blogging!


Terri said...

Great list!

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts. I admit I still struggle with the last one about really sharing what I want to without worrying about someone will say. Then, I think, maybe I need another blog for that purpose . . . instead of my blog that has turned into a journal.

I must say, I wish more people would "check the box." :0) I checked my profile after your initial post and I believe my box is still checked. ;0)

Beck said...

Hey! I'm so flattered - thanks!
And I think your tips are great, even for people who've been blogging for a while.
Off to say hi to your friend!

Jen said...

Hello! I went by to visit your girlfriend....very cute picture...I loved your list....hope your household is doing well. How is Allie?

Anonymous said...

What perfect timing! My blog is just a week old, I was inspired to move my journaling efforts online after lurking on so many great blogs for awhile. Your list is so helpful...thanks for the tips! Off to visit your friend,

Lisa said...

like I said in my previous post, still new at this...sorry!
Hopefully this post will link to my blog!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Awesome thoughts, as always.

CHECK THE BOX, people! I feel like that should be my tagline sometimes. LOL!

~Rhen @yestheyareallmine said...

Great post! I knew I enjoyed reading your blog for a reason.

All for His glory, ~rhen

Marian said...

"Proverbs 31 deluxe"-- what a great phrase, and a great tribute.

Still having trouble with blogger/google liking me to comment as you'd like. Will try again to re-set it.

Lori said...

Thanks for the list...I am just now *thinking* about joining the world of blogging. I so appreciate when veterans share what *really* works!!! Blessings!!!

Unknown said...

Good thoughts! I totally agree about checking the box, and my posts stay short. I can't write longer even when I'm supposed to (for some sort of a word count requirement!). I'm going to look into the settings, because I like to be able to just scroll down and catch up without going into the archives, but I know that mine aren't set that long.

Julie@HighFive! said...

Ok, this is embarrassing, but check WHAT box? I don't see a box. That was a great list....your blog is what has inspired me to start my own. I don't know anyone who is raising 5 kids, around here it's more like 2 or 3, so I went online hoping to find some encouragement via blogs. I've discovered so many great blogs that I just had to try it myself. But I had the hardest time writing the first post, until our neighbor who prints our neighborhood newsletter asked me to write something on public school vs. homeschool and voila! there was my first post. 2 birds, 1 stone, painless! Until I read it (I'm sure it's WAY over 500 words) and it was boring for ME to read. So I've been revamping it and shortening it, day by day, and adding pictures in the meantime. (You see, even this is long-winded!!)

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Julie,

Just click the link (the highlighted part of #1 on that list). It will take you to a post that explains everything. Welcome to blogging!

Anonymous said...

This was a really helpful list...thanks! I need to make my home page show more than the last 7 posts.

Julie@HighFive! said...

Without actually counting each word, how do I know when I've reached 500 words? Is there a word counter? I think it's going to be very difficult, it is beginning to appear to me that since I don't have any time to really, truly think during the day....I might start doing my thinking when I'm blogging. When I actually post whatever I've written, I'm blown away by how long it turns out to be. Perhaps as I improve, I'll be able to express myself (and think) more succinctly.