How to be a Really Good Reader of Blogs

by | Mar 14, 2014 | 7 Quick Takes, Blogging | 68 comments

Last Friday, I shared with you some things I really enjoy about many of the blogs that I read.

In response to some comments on that post, this week I’m going to share with you some things I love about the folks who read this blog, whether they have a blog themselves or not. And also the things I try to do to be a good reader of the blogs I love.

I can’t speak for all bloggers, of course, but I’d wager that we’d all like most of this stuff. 

So, thank you very much if you ever do any of the following things . . . 

Introduce Yourself

I have gotten a flurry of emails recently that begin with something like, “I read your blog and I feel like I know so much about you, so I wanted to introduce myself.” Then they go on to worry that this is weird.

it’s a rug!

It’s not weird. It’s great. I would love to hear from you. In the comments, on Facebook, or in a good old fashioned e-mail, whatever. 

My favorite part about blogging is the community. I love knowing that we are not alone out there as we try to raise faithful children. And also feed them. And educate them. And sometimes grab a moment with a cup of tea and a good book and nary a toddler in sight.

When I first started this blog, I emailed a handful of bloggers to introduce myself. And it turned out that almost every single one was an actual real person who responded to my email.

Comment and Agree with Me

I like it when you agree with me.

found here

It’s lovely when you comment to say that something I wrote was funny or helpful or well-punctuated.

Blogs are written by actual human beings after all. Human beings like feedback. I was just looking at one of my posts from this time last year and it has three comments. One from my Dad and two from my Mom. (Aren’t they the sweetest?) But I really love how people I’m not even related to comment on my posts now. See above.

Especially for folks writing new blogs, and niche blogs, nice comments really, really make our days. The internet has a reputation for so much negativity, but I think our little corner of it is pretty swell.

I really make an effort now to make sure that the bloggers I read know that I appreciate what they are doing. How? By leaving nice comments.

Comment and Disagree with Me

I also like it when you disagree with me.

Having a blog is an excellent way to grow in understanding. I like reading blogs that inspire thoughtful discussion, and I strive to write a blog that inspires thoughtful discussion.

Please don’t be afraid to disagree with one of my posts. Leave a comment or write a blog post of your own in response, and link to it in the comments of my post. (Bonus points if you use the html cheat sheet above the comment box to make your link clickable.) You just might change my mind.

Some of my closest blogging relationships have come from my writing a post that disagreed with one of theirs. (Hi Bonnie! Hi Jen!) or when they wrote posts to refute one of mine. (Hi Haley! Hi Amelia!)

The keys to disagreeing on blogs are the same as they are for disagreeing face to face: general pleasantness and assuming the best of others.

As I said above, bloggers are real human beings with real human feelings. And so are blog readers, of course. That’s a whole lot of feelings that could veer off at any moment.

When I read a post on someone else’s blog, or a comment on my own, I try to imagine that person standing in front of me saying it with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face. It’s almost impossible to get offended when I do that.

And when I comment on someone’s blog, I often use emoticons to express in what spirit I’d like the comment to be read. :0) means I’m happy, ;0) means I’m joking, +;0) means I’m joking on Ash Wednesday.

Yes, I feel like a teeny-bopper using emoticons. But I do think they can help avoid hurt feelings where none are intended. And let me just say, for the record, if I have ever hurt your feelings or offended you in a post or a comment, it was totally unintended. (And I’m sorry :0)

Respond to Other People’s Comments

More non-related-to-me commenters has meant a great increase in the total number of comments on this blog. Which is great.

But it also means it’s hard for me to respond to every comment in a timely manner, what with people in this house wanting to eat and learn math and stuff like that.

So, I appreciate it when I come back to find that someone has already answered a question a commenter asked. I also think it feels like more of a community when ya’ll talk amongst yourselves and it’s not just my teeny tiny face next to every other comment.

Be You in Your Comments

Speaking of teeny tiny faces, do YOU have one in the comments? I really love to be able to connect a comment to a real person, with a name, and a face. 

I have disabled anonymous comments on my blog not because I want to make the process difficult in any way, but because anonymous comments seem less kind because there’s no name or face to go along with them. (Also, sometimes they just ARE really, really unkind.)

I prefer to have your actual name attached to your comment, first or last, or first and last, rather than your blog address or a nickname. I also prefer a tiny picture of YOUR face to go along with your comment. Not your kids, not your dog, not a meme you think is funny. YOUR face, so I know who I’m talking to. I think that’s swell.

I understand that some folks are not comfortable with that. If that’s the case, it would be lovely if you could at least personally choose an image to represent you. Colleen from Martin Family Moments uses a tiny Madonna of the Streets as her icon. Even though it’s not a photo of her face, when I see it, I know immediately that it’s her, and I think, “Yay! Colleen commented. I know her!” (Because I’m smooth like that.)

Maybe this is just me, since I tend to file things visually, but I think it’s also great if your icon photo is the same one throughout your social media. 

And here’s where I acknowledge that this is a big pain in the rear. I have set up a blogger account and profile, and a google+ account and profile, and a disqus account and profile, and a wordpress account and profile, and a facebook account and profile, all with the same name and photo. The bad news is that setting them all up is time consuming. The good news is that now, no matter where I comment, people know it’s ME. Also, my computer saves all the passwords, so once it’s set up, it’s pretty automatic.

Click on the links in the above paragraph for more information on how to get a photo attached on each of the platforms.

Let Me Reply to You

This is huge. If you ask me a question in the comments, I will absolutely respond to it. 

But most of the time, I’d say at least 75% of the time, I have to just reply in the comments and hope you check back because your commenting profile is not linked to an email address.

If that’s intentional, no problem. But I have this feeling that most people comment on a blog and then wonder why they never get a response. 

This is a good tutorial on how to check your blogger account to make sure your email address is enabled.

It’s more complicated if you have your google+ account linked to your blogger account. I ended up just disabling the link because it wasn’t adding anything to my blogging experience. But this tutorial says you CAN have both.

Read My Blog at All

“Hey!” you may be thinking. “Hey!” (because you’re kind of redundant), “None of these things apply to me. I am offended!”

Please do not be offended. (See number three.) I’m awfully grateful you’re here.

You are welcome to lurk (aka just read the blog and not subscribe, or follow, or comment, or interact) for as long as you like.

Before I had my own blog, I was a long time lurker on the two blogs I knew existed.

I am okay with that.

But if at any time you’d like to join the conversation here in the comments, or on the Facebook page, or via email, or if you see me at a conference or at Mass or in the airport, please know that I will be very happy to make your acquaintance.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. jen

    i promise that i'm a real person. i keep my last name a secret because my husband is a pastor and i had a bad experience 9 years ago when a parishioner found my blog and used it against us. so… i'm less "searchable" than most.

    so… about me: 33 year old northern californian pastor's wife with one kid who has been blogging for almost 14 years. i'm owned by 4 cats and am involved in preeclampsia awareness after having to have my son daniel delivered by emergency c-section almost 5 years ago when i developed hellp syndrome. for the rest of the story, come check me out. πŸ™‚

    • Kendra

      Hi Jen. Thanks for checking in. Do you have a different blog than the one your blogger profile links to? Because that one's not all that informative. :0)

  2. Renee

    Your parents read your blog?

    Mine are embarassed.

    Blogging I worry will further decline, much easier to have a pre-made internet meme say everything for you. Many are created by special interest groups backs by lobbyists. (Dont't think, just share this incredibly stereotypical message to shut down a convervasation.)I am more socially/politically commentative, so I like discussion. So little of it today.

    This happens mostly on Facebook.

    • Kendra

      People keep predicting the demise of blogs, but I figure I'm here for the long haul, so maybe other people will be too. It'll be like the playing bridge of our generation, something old ladies do. I'm okay with that.

    • Curt Dose

      Daddy here. I love reading Kendra's blog. It is an expansion on that moment, sitting at the breakfast table, with Kendra home from college, when she offered an opinion that differed from mine. "Wait! What did you say?" It's fun when kids grow into adults. Curt Daddy

    • Christine

      On a related note, I just learned that those of us who "still" use Facebook are considered old-timers now. Apparently, it's not used by a lot of high schoolers and college kids these days, and they all think it's for old people!

  3. Zamora Family

    Thanks for this! I'm a total lurker, but I do love your blog, and have gotten so much wonderful advice and pick-me-ups from your posts. So…here's me coming out of my lurker shell for just a sec to say hi, and thanks!

  4. Laura

    Hey, I'm Laura and I've seen your blog around but have never actually gotten around to read it. I am remedying this immediately! πŸ™‚ Also, I agree with this post in its entirety and I am a huge fan of your punctuation.

    • Kendra

      Thanks! Your photo is excellent. As is your punctuation.

  5. sonja

    I am still going through your archives! When I find a blog I really like I prefer to start from the beginning (assuming they haven't blogged for 10 years or something crazy). I will try to comment more once I catch up (this post just popped up on my Pinterest page). Here's an intro though: my name is Sonja, cradle Catholic married for 6 years to another cradle Catholic, 4 children (quads all about to turn 4, two of whom are identical twins) but I've more recently become very passionate about our faith and found your blog when I began seriously considering classical homeschooling. I've also been building up a liturgical year calendar with ideas for celebrating our faith and have found your posts very inspiring! Oh, and yes to scary fairy tales.

    I think that's all. Nice to meet you. πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous

      Sonja, I do that, too! I end up reading the blog for several days, just catching up on everything I missed, and then feel, creepy. Maybe its just me. πŸ˜‰

    • sonja

      @ourlittlenuthouse: haha no I think it is probably a certain personality type! If I find a blog with good ideas it just bothers me that I might have missed something. "Totally normal," I tell myself reassuringly. πŸ™‚

    • Kendra

      I totally do this too. I don't want to worry that I won't "get" something. I need all the back story.

    • Heather

      I am ALL ABOUT the binge reading of blogs! That's usually how I start a new blog-reading relationship. I want to know the back story because it makes me more invested in how things turn out.

  6. kate @ be merry, kate

    As a 4 year blog reader and writer I am shocked that I hadn't thought of some of these things. Like my picture… I have NO IDEA what is about to pop up and I'm sure it isn't the same as other pictures on my social media. Note to self: fix that.

    Also, hi, I'm Caitlyn (or Kate) and I mostly lurk because I'm often on my phone and I'm too lazy to comment on anything from there. But I comment when things are good. Like now.

  7. Amelia Bentrup

    Thanks for the link! Hi!

    And, thanks for that tutorial on how to link your comments to your google+. I think I finally got it set up so it links to my email. And, that is a great tip about keeping all your social media stuff the same. I know I've kinda been all over the place, because I'm scatter brained like that, but I do agree that it makes more sense to keep everything the same.

  8. Anonymous

    Looks like I"m one of those weird, unknowingly "anonymous" people, thought I don't mean to be! I usually go by most of my name, "Anne McD", so if you see that on someone else's blog, that's me! I have no idea how to fix wordpress so that my pic or name show up. I'm currently 11 bags into my 40 days challenge right now (with a small respite due to a stomach bug for the kids this week :p) so when that's done, I'm decluttering my inbox and figuring out WordPress once. and. for. all.

    I'm totally more social on FB, but alas, I gave that up for Lent. And I can't figure out Twitter to save my life. I'm officially old. πŸ˜€

    • Kendra

      I don't do twitter OR instagram, because I don't have a smart phone. I don't rule out that ever happening, but I think I'd have trouble being temperate in my use. I don't want to be that mom staring at her phone all the time, and I think I would be. But when I see blogs that say, "Follow me on twitter or instagram!" I'm like, "Get off my lawn!"

      Because I'm old.

    • Anonymous

      LOL! That's why I gave up FB– I became that mom. When your twelve year old son is telling you that you're on your phone too much… its bad. It feels so good to be off CrackBook. I haven't decided if I'm going back.

  9. Amy Caroline

    Excellent and so true!
    Oh and Hi! I am Amy! I just found your blog a few weeks ago and am enjoying it. I am also a Catholic homeschooling mom. I have 8 kids and one on the way. Pray for me! πŸ™‚

  10. Neely

    I've been reading your blog for awhile now, but can't remember if I've ever commented on anything (whoops!) Sometimes I comment in my head but forget to actually move my fingers and type it out. I do the same with text messages. All my friends just looove that about me! πŸ˜› I've enjoyed your tips for bloggers and readers-of-blogs. I just started mine back up and I'm trying to be more consistent with posts – comments from people other than your family really are motivating! Otherwise, you just think nobody is reading, and then that makes you feel all the sad feels. No bueno.

  11. Hannah Gokie

    It took me a LONG time to figure out how to link my already-Google-Plus-ed Blogger account with my email address, so now I am going to bookmark your link and send it on to everyone I know who needs it! THANK you! πŸ™‚

  12. Elise

    Another great post, Kendra! πŸ™‚ Have a good weekend!

  13. Jenny Cook

    Wow, thanks for #6! I had no idea I could get out of being no-reply and was always trying to remember which blogs I had commented on so I could go back and check for replies. Always helpful, that's you, Kendra!

  14. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    So I followed the instructions and I think I should have a picture now! Thanks for all the helpful tips. I'm Elizabeth, by the way. I'm over at, being awesome.

  15. Caron

    I once commented anonymously because commenting on my phone is sort of painful. Otherwise, here I am.

  16. Colleen

    Thanks for giving me a pass with my Mary image instead of my face, I have such struggles with vanity (not that I think I look good, but that I care too much about how I look) that when I set up my blog 6 years ago, I decided to let Mary be my "face". πŸ™‚

  17. Kris

    Just for you, I put a picture on my google + account….! πŸ™‚

  18. kelly

    I recently found your blog and have spent too much time going through the archives (just to be clear, *I* don't think I spend too much time, it's my kids that need three meals, clean clothes, and math lessons etc that think I do). I too feel silly using emoticons but do it for the same reasons as you. After reading your Seven Things I Love About Your Blog, I made a few changes. I am still undecided about my pic on the sidebar. It was on my about page, nice and hidden. I liked that, it feels a little weird…maybe I'm weird πŸ˜‰ I love your blog!

  19. Christine

    I agree! πŸ˜‰

    And thanks for posting the instructions for not being a no-reply blogger. I should post that on my blog as well.

  20. Aileen

    Hi Kendra! I'm Aileen. I don't comment a lot on blogs but I'm trying to remedy that when I can. I'm subscribed to several but I use two different email addresses. Some blogs don't specifically have a link to Google in the comments and so I've used another address there. I'm hoping I'm not confusing anyone. πŸ™‚ I've realized that a number of the blogs I read are mommy bloggers and the reason for that is because my daughter has 3 children and pregnant with her 4th. She is my only child but I very much wanted more so I love that she is having all these children! I pass along blog posts to her that I think she might be interested in including yours (honestly, I'm not a pushy mother; she is okay with this as she has requested it if I come across a topic she has discussed with me. πŸ˜‰ ) I am a cradle Catholic and a revert. Love your blog!

  21. Anonymous

    More great tips! Thanks. I know I have commented before but now I can't remember if you see a picture of me and my real name or not. Sometimes my comments on different blogs won't show my name; they only show my blog.

  22. Anonymous

    ^^Grrr…see, I only show up as somedaysaints with no picture from my wordpress account. I'm Gina. Hi, nice to "meet" you! I suppose now I need to figure out how to get me to show up.

  23. Michele Chronister

    Hey, Kendra…thanks for another thoughtful post! Question for you…I'm curious how you decided to use real names for your kids instead of nicknames? I use nicknames on my blog because I get over worried about privacy…but I do use real names in my book. So maybe the privacy issue is moot? Seriously…been pondering this since your post the other day and I would love any insight you have!

    • Kendra

      That's a good question. These two posts have really gotten to the heart of why I blog. It's for community and relationships and evangelization. I can't have any of those things if I won't really share my whole self on this blog. There are bad guys out there on line, but there are bad guys out there in "real life" too, and I refuse to live my life in fear of either kind. I trust in the goodness of the vast majority of people.

      The other concern people have is of embarrassing their children. My solution for that is to not write things about them that I wouldn't say in front of them. I'm willing to share funny stories about my kids at Thanksgiving dinner or at our parkday, so I'm willing to do that here too. But I don't intentionally shame or embarrass them, or write anything that could be used against them by a college admissions board or job recruiter.

      It's obviously a personal decision. I can only tell you what *I* feel compelled to do, not what anyone else should do. For more, I really like this post on the same subject.

    • Anonymous

      Michele– Gina here, a reader and someone with the same sort of question as you do! I've blogged for years for our family, and use nicknames there…and when I recently started a more public blog, I have kept their nicknames. I've learned many people don't feel connected that way, but I am not ready to be so open. It's hard!! I keep thinking of all the creepy people…but then again, I'm not a big blogger, so I guess chances of some crazy guy following my blog are slim. Just popping in to say I can relate.

  24. Theresa @ OrdinaryLovely

    the "joking on Ash Wednesday" emoticon?!?! Genius! You might want to copyright that πŸ™‚
    Also, thanks for the links in No. 5. I always want to get around to this, but never do.

    • Kendra

      I have to give credit to Molly from Molly Makes Do for that. It is totally genius.

  25. Jenni

    Love this! Etiquette for blog socialization!

    I have the same deal going on my blog. My primary commenter is my dad, which is sweet. But I wish I could interact more. Working on that…

    You did a great job here!

    (And for some crazy computerish reason, I couldn't sign in in a way that reflected my real website, which is Just in case you're curious.)

  26. Hevel Cohen

    #6. Well, that is why I would never use Blogger's native comment platform. Your current settings don't allow me to use name/email/website combos, or even name/email. It will take you to my Google+ profile that I haven't used in months, and I don't get an option to receive only comments in reply to this comment by me if I subscribe to email notifications (wich I'm not even sure Blogger will offer me after I click Publish, because it sure doesn't now), and I totally don't want my mailbox spammed by conversations and comments by complete strangers on a popular group.

    Blogger is also horrible with threaded comments, replying to replies etc. So I think the letting you replying to us is currently on you, not on your commenters.

    Alas, I'll probably never see your response, because I won't get a notification, my email is not given to you by Google+ hopefully, and I'll totally forget to check back after your time zone reaches morning. πŸ™‚

    Hevel from

    • Kendra

      Sorry Hevel, I know Blogger is pretty old school. But it does work if you have a Google + account, which you already do. You just have to follow the instructions in the second tutorial. You may have to create a blogger account, but it only takes a second. I created a wordpress account even though I don't blog there so that I can use it to comment.

  27. Jamie Jo

    I like #3 and I like the "assume the best in others" part. I hope we both did that with our last disagreement!! hahah!

  28. Jenn Miller

    Thanks so much, Kendra! I was curious about the "No-Reply Blogger" thing, and checked my Blogger blog (I have 11, plus the 2 that I contribute to for my parishes). Not only was I a "No-Reply" but I had comments and I didn't even know about them! So, I've been ignoring people for over 2 years. So embarrassed! Now, to figure out what's going on for the other blogs…. And thanks again for your posts, I really enjoy reading them!

  29. Amy Salisbury

    Thanks for all the awesome tips Kendra, does my name and picture show up on my comments now?

  30. Mary Bug

    The "comment but disagree" category of comments can be a delicate balance. I am one of your likely small group of liberal, secular, lesbian mom readers. As such I usually choose to take the role of respectful observer (lurker). There's a point at which fundamental disagreements of belief prevent productive debate. I've seen too many good bloggers (Like Merchant Ships comes to mind) driven off the internets by endless negativity. I'm not interested in being part of that trend, I'm just here to read and learn. I will now back quietly away…
    Bread and Roses

    • Jenny Cook

      Thanks for un-lurking long enough to leave a link! I spent some time perusing your blog; you write thoughtfully about many issues which I have never had to face and gave me some new things to consider…plus you have a sweet little girl there! Best wishes to you.

    • Kendra

      Well, you're right. I'll bet that's a small group! Hevel up there is a gay father of 17, Irish but living in Jerusalem, former Catholic, former Mormon, Jewish, cancer survivor. So I think he may have you beat for most unlikely reader of my blog.

      But I'm pleased to have you both.

      I agree with you and appreciate your discretion. I certainly don't think the combox is the best place to try to bridge very wide gaps. Like you, I read a wide variety of blogs, and I appreciate them for what they are.

  31. bobbi @ revolution of love

    Hi Kendra, I have heard about your blog for awhile but I always thought it was geared towards home schoolers and didn't take the time to check it out until the last couple of weeks. I am so glad I did. I have been nodding in agreement, pinning posts and adding them to my fave lists. etc. I particularly loved your Lenten and blogging posts. I am a Catholic mom of 4 (ages 12 -2) and have been blogging on and off for over a decade and blogging regularly for about two years. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and a few friends but I love how it has introduced me to some wonderful new online friends. Sometimes I think they know me better than my real life friends who aren't blog readers! Anyway, it is way past my bedtime but I wanted to take a moment to say hi and thank you for opening your heart and sharing. It's not only fun but I'm learning so much and am inspired to make our little home a little sweeter. πŸ™‚

  32. Tricia

    Well, this post seems like the perfect time for a lurker like me to actually say hi. πŸ™‚ So, "Hi!". I am a fairly new reader and love reading what you have to say. I especially loved your posts on getting rid of your toys, having a family culture and parties! Thanks to this post, you inspired me to finally add a picture to my profile too!

  33. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I saw that picture and immediately though, "Coleen!" before I even read it. It works for her πŸ˜‰

    Also, joking on Ash Wednesday – good one.

  34. Divina

    Hi Kendra! Thanks for the tutorial in #6. I followed it, got my photo and blogger profile all situated, and am commenting here to test it out. Now when you see the pink flower, you can say, "Hey, it's Divina." Crossing my fingers that it works. πŸ™‚

  35. Sarah Doll

    So I tried to be a good reader of your blog and comment on this, BUT MY PHONE! it's so frustrating to comment with my phone and this was the third time I have tried to comment on your blog through my phone that failed. lol. I prefer to sit at an actual computer but who got time fo dat? haha. Thanks for writing this post and your whole blog really, you are an inspiration to me ( a future homeschooling mama).

  36. Anne Wharam Thomas

    Hi Kendra, I am a lurker coming out of the darkness! I have been lurking since I started preparing for Lent this year. I would love to have seven kids, a vegetable garden and chickens. Most of all, I am inspired by you to live more liturgically. But for right now I have three kids (one born on Nov. 13, 2013) and live on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and the only chickens I know are the ones in Congress. I hope one day you'll bring all those lovely children to the March for Life or at least to my little house and maybe speak to our parish mom's group! I just signed up on google plus and hope this thing works. Here's to more Catholic banter! Thanks for inspiring me!

    • Kendra

      Yay, a photo! (Still no email though . . . ) ;0)

      My sister and brother in law are in Arlington, well right now he's in Iraq, but they live in Arlington, so we'd love to head out that way someday.

    • Anne Wharam Thomas

      Ok. I will have to look into that. DC is a great place to visit. Lots of history here! A whole homeschooling unit!

  37. Sarah Doll

    Ok I think I linked my email, yay! So when you reply to me through the email reply does it mean that it doesn't show up on your blog as a reply? I kind of like reading replies from the blogger and seeing that they interact with their readers, do you do both?

    • Kendra

      Oh no! It didn't work!

      I try to do replies on both the blog and via email. I like to see the interaction too, but if it's just going to be a "thanks!" type reply, I prefer to just do that via email.

  38. Dara

    Hi Kendra, I have never commented on a blog before but I figure I should start now. You are sharing your life and it is nice to introduce myself. I started reading this month when my church (St Mary of the Angels in Singapore) had a link to your post on 66 things to give up for Lent on its Facebook page . Perhaps this is why you have had more views on your Lent-themed posts.

    I don't always agree with you but I like that you have supporting information (and links to the info so I can read it myself and make up my own mind). This was especially true when you were commenting on the Girl Scouts. I had many happy wholesome memories from attending Girl Scout camp for about 10 years. I was really surprised to read that you considered the Girl Scouts immoral. I read your links and better understood your views although I still would consider Girl Scouts for my daughter if she is interested.

    Re-commenting because my picture wasn't displayed

  39. Lacordi

    Hi from SouthAmerica! I'm a young catholic women, and just wanted to say your blog is great! God Bless!!!!

Submit a Comment

Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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