In talking with some of you about the blog, we’ve been asked several questions a number of times. We thought we’d devote this blog post to answering these questions and giving a little “tour” of Sycamore Sisters. Even though we still have a LOT more to learn, we can hopefully share some basic information with you that may help this "blog" stuff make a little more sense (writing it all down/laying it all out there definitely helped us!).
1. What exactly IS a blog?
Basically, a blog is a web site where someone can write stuff on an ongoing basis. The range of topics written about in blogs is gigantic, with each blog being whatever the author (or authors) want it to be. Blogs can be personal diaries, news outlets, places to share ideas, collections of thoughts or links, and so on.
Terms and Tidbits
- The word “blog” originally came from the word “weblog” or a “web log”.
- A “blogger” is someone who blogs – or writes content for a blog.
- “Blogging” is the act of writing a post for a blog.
- Blogs can be written by individual authors or by a collection of authors.
- “Posts” are entries written on the blog. Blog posts typically appear with the most recent post first.
- Blogs often have other areas of content and/or links to other blogs or websites.
- A blog is generally updated regularly and frequently.
- Blogs usually have an archive or history of previous blog posts for readers to access.
- Blogs most often have an area for people to comment or respond to each blog post.
A Tour of Sycamore Sisters
Our blog’s overall layout looks like this:
We have several tabs on our blog, which are essentially pages (or areas) with more information, ideas, activities, etc. If you click on one of these tabs, you will be taken to a new page in the blog.
This is our “home” page. It will contain our latest post. It is the starting spot for Sycamore Sisters. We will use this space to update you on the latest and greatest! We will also use this space to update you on new information contained elsewhere in the blog (in another tab).
This tab will take you to our Bible Passage and reflection for the month. We will be updating this tab each month to share with you how God is working through His Word in our lives.
This area of the blog is a reflection. There is a link to an entirely different section of Sycamore Sisters where readers can find thoughts, reflections, ideas, etc. about several different aspects of “Special Needs” such as Down Syndrome, Plagiocephaly, Speech and Language, and ADHD. The Special Needs section of Sycamore Sisters (which is really its own blog!) will be occasionally updated with new information. We will let you know about any updates to this area in our regular posts.
This area of Sycamore Sisters will be used to share some fun monthly activities on a variety of different themes. Some upcoming themes are “Beat the Heat” (summer activities), marriage (little, easy activities to strengthen your marriage), “Back to School”, etc. If you have theme ideas you would like us to feature, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This tab is a way to let you know a little more about us and our Sycamore Siblings (our kids!).
About This Blog
This area of the blog fills you in on how Sycamore Sisters began. It also explains how our blog got its name!
We have some exciting ideas and activities we want to add to the blog, once we get more “settled in” to our blogging routine, etc. We know you are really going to enjoy this area, so keep checking back!
Lets our readers know how to get in touch with us!
Today's post (or entry) is our third post to Sycamore Sisters. You will notice that the most recent post is always first. The date will appear at the top, with the Post Title below it. (picture of a post is below)
At the end of the post (post footer - picture below), you will notice some little icons. Clicking on these icons allows you to share the particular post. Each icon shares the post in a different way - Send to Facebook, Tweet This, Print This, etc. Clicking on the + sign will open up a window with many different ways to share the post such as email, etc.
You will see the time of the post under the Share Icons, and “LEAVE A COMMENT” (with a number before it). If you click on “LEAVE A COMMENT”, you will be given the opportunity to share your thoughts with us. It’s a great way for you to communicate with us about our posts! You can read other readers’ comments, as well!
When you click on “LEAVE A COMMENT”, another little window will open. Type in your comment and select your profile (if you don’t know your profile, just choose “Open ID”. You can preview what your comment will look like. Click “Post Comment” when ready to post.
Clicking on the little envelope after “LEAVE A COMMENT” allows you to email the post to another person. If you click on the envelope, a window like the one below will appear. Fill in the blanks and your friend will receive an email with the post!
The words under the time and “LEAVE A COMMENT” are labels, which are key words associated with the particular blog post.
The Sycamore Sisters current sidebar mainly contains ways for our readers to share our blog with others and/or subscribe/follow our blog (explained above).
There is a search option (just type in a key word in the blank) for our readers to search for key words (labels) when wanting to find a particular post. This will be especially helpful as we build a larger archive of posts!
Speaking of archive, and the end of the sidebar our readers will see an archive of our posts. As we post more and more, these will be grouped into categories...by year and month.
At the bottom of the page readers can view "Popular Posts". Clicking on either the title or the picture icon will take you directly to that particular post.
2. How often will you post? (and how do we know when there’s a new post?)
Our current plan is to post a couple times each week. There may be weeks where we post more, and there may be weeks that we are only able to post once. We are currently writing the posts together (and using pictures of both our families within the post). As we go along on this blogging journey, readers will likely see posts more specific to each of us and our families. While we spend a whole bunch of time together, we each also have individual experiences that we want to share with others.
In addition to the “general” posts, a new Bible passage and reflection will be posted at the beginning of each month. A new activity calendar will also be posted on the first of each month.
There are a couple ways to be notified when we post something new on Sycamore Sisters. The easiest way is to “Follow by Email”. By simply typing in your email address, you will receive an email message each time we post something new. It will be a quick and easy reminder to check in with Sycamore Sisters!
The image below shows what happens on your computer when you enter your email and click "Submit".
3. How can we follow your blog and/or share your blog with others?
There are 3 different ways to follow the blog.
1) Follow by Email
2) Subscribe to Posts and/or Comments (through an RSS Feed)
3) Become a Follower through Google Friend Connect
Readers can share our blog a multitude of ways!
1) Share It (on the right side...share on Facebook or on Twitter)
2) Clicking on icons at the bottom of each post (Facebook, Twitter, Print, Email) - explained previously in "Posts" :)
Read on for explanations on how to “do” the things mentioned above!
FOLLOW BY EMAIL - As mentioned above, this is an easy way for readers to be notified of a new post. You will receive an email in your Inbox letting you know to check the blog for a new posting.
SUBSCRIBE to POSTS and/or COMMENTS (through an RSS Feed) - RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." Basically it is a 'news feed' that you subscribe to, much like subscribing to a magazine that is delivered to you periodically. Instead of the subscription coming to your physical mailbox each month, new information is delivered to your 'RSS Reader' every time your favorite website updates. If you are using a web browser such as Explorer or Firefox, you already have an RSS Reader and can subscribe to feeds!
Firefox: When you click on "Subscribe To"...Posts (or Comments), you can choose an option (RSS Reader) from that menu. If you aren't sure what to choose, click on "Atom". A window like the image below will appear. You again have a choice of RSS Reader (it says "Live Bookmarks", but click on the down arrow for more choices). For Firefox, we like to choose "Live Bookmarks".
Once you subscribe, you will see the title of the blog in one of your menus...like the one below. At any time, you can click on the RSS Feed icon beside "Sycamore Sisters" (or any other sites you subscribe to) to see a list of recent posts (click on a post title and you will be taken directly to that post)!
The above image shows Jen's Firefox RSS Feed "menu"/bar...Latest Headlines and two other blogs she subscribes to (titles blocked)...
In Explorer, your RSS Feeds appear in a menu bar, as well...next to the yellow star with the green arrow (above the Favorites menu bar).
BECOME A FOLLOWER THROUGH GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT: When clicking on the "Follow" button, a window like the image below will appear (remember, you need to already be a member of Google or become one (which is free)! Readers don't really receive any notifications when the blog is updated with this option, but you will be an "official" follower of the blog, which will also be acknowledged on your Google Profile.
SHARE IT: By clicking on one of the icons under "Share It" on the Sidebar (Faceook or Twitter), readers are able to share Sycamore Sisters with others.
5. How can we help with your blog?
We are so appreciative of the support and encouragement we are getting! We are surrounded by incredible people with wonderful ideas - let us know your thoughts and ideas about and for the blog. One of the most exciting things about doing this blog is that “the sky is the limit”...we want to keep it fun and exciting--for us and for all of you!
The best ways for you to help with our blog is to read it, give us feedback (LEAVE A COMMENT, email us), AND to share it with others!
And remember, you can always email us at email@example.com, too! :)
We promised some pictures of Ben playing baseball (from Life on the Diamond)...
That last one was totally worth the wait, huh?