Another old friend turned blogger
A long time cyber friend of mine has finally decided to take up blogging as well. She is stranded on the tiny island of Puerto Rico and doesn't speak Spanish, hence her nom de plume, Lady Gilligan. Anyway, those first few days of blogging can be rather lonely when you are wondering if anyone is really reading, so stop by and say hello!

And just for you, Lady Gilligan, a run down of some useful things to check out. If you aren't sure how to add this all to your sidebar, just email me and I'll help you through it!

Here is a sort of blogging 101 course. If I have forgotten anything, please leave a note in comments:

1) Stat counters. These are nice because they let you know that people are indeed coming to read what you have written. Most people do not leave comments. I have had 115 visitors so far today and only two comments. And one of those was from me.

The best two are statcounter and sitemeter. Both have a pretty good log size so you can get a fair idea of where people have been coming from recently. They also track your readers a little, so you see what link they came from, what post they landed on, and how much of your site they read. Kinda cool. When someone comes in and reads every post you have on a given topic, you can assume they liked your work EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T LEAVE A COMMENT.

2) Blogrolls. These are a great way to get to know other people with similar interests and to get your link around so other people know you exist. I think my friend Lady Gilligan might be interested in the Christian Bloggers blogroll. Just follow the link and follow the instructions.

3) Technorati. They track millions of blogs, but only if you register. So get registered and tag your posts. This is like filing your posts in a library card catalogue so that anyone wanting to read up on a given topic can find you amongst the zillions of blogs out there. You can also track who is linking to you and what they are saying about well as watching your blog slowly climb in rank.

4) Truth Laid Bear. Also a blog ranking tool. And a little more entertaining than technorati although they track fewer blogs. Also check out their community pages. There are a lot of communities there you can join. Just click on the ones you are interested and contact the administrator. They will tell you what you need to do and get you added if you comply with their community vision.

5) Publish your RSS. This is written specifically for homeschool blogger, but the directions for blogspot aren't so very different. The only difference is really how to get the code in your sidebar. Again, email me if you don't know how to do that. Get your bloglines account started and you can read all your favorite blogs without having to click on each link individually, waiting for each page to load.

6) Link exchanges. I don't do this too much, but it is another way to get your link around. If you find a blog you really like and that shares a similar focus, email the owner and see if they would be willing to include your link in exchange for linking to them. Some sites have established procedures for this and neat little graphics and everything.

7) Carnivals! There are carnivals for every topic under the sun. And if your interest isn't duly represented, you can always start one. These are a collection of links to submitted posts on a common topic of interest to a group of people. They travel from blog to blog to reach a varied audience. Here is the current Chrstian carnival. My post, Establishing Purpose, is there! Here are the rules for submitting to the Christian carnival.

8) Take a look at I had heard of it before but have only started playing around with it the past few days. That is what the little boxes at the bottom of my entries are. If you click on one and log in, you are voting for that entry. You can leave a comment there for others to discuss. It is an interesting way to find blogs that others have thought worthy of sharing. It is also a nice way to share posts you think are interesting with a broad audience.

Note to homeschoolers...we are dreadfully under-represented there. There are hardly any homeschool blogs. Are the Cates the only ones submitting posts? You can also submit your own posts.

9) I know Lady Gilligan well enough to know that she will never run short of things to talk about. But just in case, there are a lot of ways to find information. You have you good old fashioned search engine. You can also sign up for google alerts and have links to related content delivered daily to your email box. You can do a search at technorati ot truth laid bear to see what others are talking about. You can also subscribe to a variety of news services through your bloglines account.