The other day I was at a party, and the man standing behind me whispered something to his wife. "Just ask her!" his wife replied, and the man then asked me, "did you go to Princeton?" Yes, but as the party was in Princeton this was not such an unusual question. "Are you one of the Building Cathedrals writers?" Now, that was exciting. He recognized me (and my name) from my picture. Now, here I was standing with someone whom I had never met before talking about Building Cathedrals. It is amazing to me, frankly, that there are people not personally known to me who read Building Cathedrals, and while it did turn out that this particular man does personally know one of the other builders, it made me start to think that we may be reaching more people than we had realized.
As with many who are strapped for time, this man reads Cathedrals through a blog reader, which means that he does not click through to our page every time he reads one of our posts. I do this for lots of blogs, I happen to use Google Reader but there are many such services. It occurs to me that readers using feed services do not get tallied in our "site meter," and so in fact we know little about how many people are reading our posts. We do know that readership spikes when we get linked by some of the "big guns" like Danielle Bean, Amy Welborn or Rod Dreher. We hope that after a link like that some of the new readers stick around and join the conversation. We also know that while the vast majority of our comments come from women, there are more than a handful of men who are reading, and we hope that they know that even though we are the ones on the homefront we believe that Dads are builders too.
One peice of news is that we have been chosen as one of the ten blogs to do online book reviews for Catholic Company. The first review of sorts was AWOL Mommy's post about Magnificat, but we do have a book in hand and our review will be up as soon as I can finish the book. As a teaser, I will tell you that we do not agree in our opinions of this book, so it should be exciting!
Well, we started out to get talking and see what would happen, and we are so glad that others are along for the ride. Now that we have the conversation going, we need some technical help with the blog, logistics like how to get a more accurate readership count, and aesthetics (we would like to make the blog easier to read, and add a third column so that we can include more links). We have also had a request to create some sort of button so that other blogs could have a link that says that they, too, are Building Cathedrals. We love the idea that other moms feel like they are part of our gang. It can be lonely out there, and as I couldn't do it without these girls I am so glad to share them with all of you!
We have been looking into making these changes ourselves and find that right now it is beyond the scope of both our programming knowledge and our time constraints (after all, if we are going to write about family life we have to live it first!). Are you a web designer or have you worked with one whom you would recommend? Are you any sort of marketing professional who has ideas about this concept? Do you love Building Cathedrals and wish that we were doing more, if so, what? As a reader are there topics that you wish we were spending more time addressing? Would you be strongly turned off if we had some advertising on the site? Do you just wish that I would spell check my posts more often?
If you have thoughts about Building Cathedrals as it moves forward, you can respond in the comments or, if you prefer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org