Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blogging pearls: Names, relationships, and ages

I forgot to add one more tiny thing to my personal blogging pearl list.

I love it if, somewhere in EVERY post, you mention your child's age, as in "Ruthie (3)" or "Ruthie, who is three." Some of you have their names/pseudonyms in the sidebar and/or in a family introduction post, and that helps, but if you are like me, you are reading through fast. If I have to stop and figure out if drinking out of the milk jug is remarkable (for a two-year-old) or revolting (for a 14-year-old), it just ruins the moment, know what I mean?

Just once, to give some frame of reference. Your regular readers (or those who know your family in real life) will bleep right on over it, but those who are new to your blog will be able to join in on the dynamics of your story. This is not just for those of us with lots of kids (I do not expect you to remember all my kids' names, let alone their ages - I can hardly remember them, myself!), but for all mom-bloggers out there. Even if you are only blogging as a personal journal, mentioning ages is even more valuable for reference in the future.

Furthermore, I even would go so far as to spell out the fact that that man's name you just mentioned is your husband, as in "my husband Dennis." You just never know about these things. Don't take relationships for granted - explain them for us!

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this:

Even if you've been blogging a long time, every once in a while, it's a good idea to read your blog as if you were a new visitor.

Because every day, you will probably have at least one person who has never visited you before. If a new acquaintance were visiting your house, you'd pick up the place a bit. Look around on your site - your header, your sidebar, your links - and make sure everything works. Make sure your posts do not assume too much previous information (link them properly if they do). And most of all, make it easy for visitors to figure out what you are talking about!

And I'm sure y'all knew this, but Shannon, my friend at Rocks in My Dryer, created a website just for questions on blogging, Blogging Basics 101. It's set up in a Q&A format and is a very fun, informative read.

Happy blogging!


Julie@HighFive! said...

Awesome tips! I finally figured out how to add a profile pic (if I read for detail rather than speed, it wouldn't have been nearly so difficult) so tonight I'm going back to add the points you mentioned. This is amazingly addictive poor neglected kids today!!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Again, another wonderful tip from you. I have it on my list of blog ideas to write a little something about my own blogging story...I think I might do Chilihead's former carnival a few months late :) BUT, when I do, I want to link to your "pearls for blogging". I used them when I started up (hence the @notbefore7) and now will take these new suggestions back to my blog! SO TRUE!

Jen said...

Very well put.

Grafted Branch said...

Thanks Katherine! That's a great tip for someone like me who is always speaking from inside my own head. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm brand new to blogging. I must confess I'm nervous about putting much personal details on my blog like my kids' name and ages. Until now I've just said ds 8th grade or something. With all the weirdos out there I'm imagining the more info they have the more they could track you down and do something weird to your family! I know I"m probably overly cautious but how do you feel about that?

Beck said...

You know, that is a GOOD point - I just prattle on about The Boy and The Girl and never stop and think that someone hasn't been reading me for ages, which means I get the occasional email asking me if The Boy has read Anne Of Green Gables. Um, no - he's five!

fAiThFuL cHiCk said...

I am so enjoying your blog. Thanks for keeping it real. And, thanks for the tips. I am still rather new to this blog-land and every little "nugget" helps!

Leslie @ Joy n Pain said...

Thanks so much. I have a lot of updating to do now! LOL

I am L Boogie as my display name, my email is jtcreative1 (my husband's) by blog name is and my blog name is Blog for Life. Um.....I can see how that can be kenfewsing! :-)


And also I have not linked to my email address yet!

Unknown said...

I am glad to hear you say this (well, I didn't "hear" you, and you didn't "say" it, but I can pretend we are sitting over a cup of coffee, right?). I used to always do this, but then I started thinking that people who read regularly are saying, "Yes--we know!! Amanda's almost nine. Kyle just turned 3. We get it." But I think I instinctively did it because I like to know. I only have two kids, and they are different sexes and well spaced age-wise, but especially with same-sex kids and more than a couple, it's a great reminder.