If you’re reading this, then I assume you’re aware of The Dadabase‘s new facelift. That’s right. I’ve “had some work done.”
You’ve probably noticed the new logo, the quicker load time of the web page, the easier-to-read font, and sleeker overall look. But that’s just the surface of the updated Dadabase.
Because more importantly, navigation is easier than ever now; so is your ability to share a Dadabase article if you feel so inclined.
Or maybe you just want to subscribe to this blog and be instantly notified whenever I publish a new post.
Well, Christmas/Hanukah has come early this year. Because you can do all those things. Let me steer you through it.
Look at the top of this (and every) actual blog post. You see an option to instantly “like” it on Facebook, publicly recommend it on Google, share it on Facebook, Tweet it, or even directly email it with ease. Try it out right now if you wish.
Now look to the right side of the screen. It says “Search This Blog.” Was there a time a while back when you remember me writing about circumcision or Cheers or Smurfs and want to revisit that exact post?
Now you can. Type in any random word you can think of, and there’s a good chance I’ve written about it in my now 400+ Dadabase articles.
Try me. See if I haven’t mentioned the Dharma Initiative or gay marriage yet. I dare you.
There’s an option to pull up my articles from a certain category, too. Feeling nostalgic? There’s a category for that. Deep thoughts? Got ‘em.
Okay, now you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a little bit obsessed with time travel. If you share my same lust for going back in time, I have something to fill that void in your life: An “Archives” option.
You can click the month and year you want; going all the way back to April 2010 when The Dadabase was first launched with the announcement of my wife being pregnant.
Keep in mind that since I always tell how old Jack is (or how far along Jill was in her pregnancy) at the top of each article, you can figure out what was going on here at that time.
Right now in June/July 2012, Jack is 19 months. If your kid is 9 months old, do the math. Then click on the right month and year and there you have it.
Maybe I have already been there, done that, and got the Bedazzled sweatshirt. Find out if I am able to enlighten you with my past experiences as a parent.
And if you feel the need to further inflate my ego, there’s conveniently a section called “Follow Nick Shell.”
Go to straight to The Dadabase’s Facebook page. Or Twitter page. Or subscribe to The Dadabase. Or email me directly.
I just realized how easy I’ve made it for you to stalk me right now. Oops.
Today, I want to share some advice with any mom or dad out there who is considering, or at least curious about, starting their very own mommy or daddy blog.
If you’re wanting to start blogging about your kid mainly just to share with friends and family, then I simply recommend going to WordPress.com and get to typin’. That’s all the advice you need from me.
But if you are like I was back in April 2010, recently having found out I was going to be a parent and wanting to be the best darn baby blogger I could be with hopes of “going pro,” then this article is perfect for you.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to start a baby blog:
1. Be both personal and international. You want to engage two different types of necessary readers: Friendly Followers-family and friends who read your stuff because they love you and your cute kid. And Cosmic Crashers- people who don’t care who you are but want to learn about some buzzing new topic you’re covering in the world of parenting.
2. Be different. Before I started my blog, I was determined to find my “schtick.” I wanted to be the first ever daddy blogger who documented his thoughts from the moment he went public with the pregnancy, on a weekly basis.
Even now, I don’t know of any other dad who has done this. You can go back for over two years and find between one and seven blog posts each week about my son and my thoughts as a dad. What’s your schtick?
3. Be willing to be wrong. I am constantly wrong when it comes to my opinions and viewpoints regarding all those polarizing, controversial parenting topics from circumcision to raising a vegetarian child.
Not only am I wrong at least half the time, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind being crucified one day and praised the next. I am both the good and the bad guy.
4. Be consistent. Can you commit to writing at least one blog post per week? If not, stop reading now because this isn’t for you.
Just like with advertising, your work needs to be omnipresent. And just like with the news, it needs to be fresh.
5. Be egotistical. Speak with authority. Assume your story is interesting, then prove it. Ever heard of what’s called “the blogger’s ego?” Well, I depend on it.
6. Be weird. In the midst of sharing the chronologically predictable advancements your child experiences each week, make each event special by pointing out the strangest aspect about your kid learning to eat solid foods or learning to walk. “Quirky” sells.
7. Be named well. You have to come up with a really cool name for your blog; one that represents you well. Consider your kid’s name or your last name or something people won’t be able to forget.
As a “daddy blogger” who sketches out writing topics on a nearly hourly basis, I am constantly trying to predict which topics are not only interesting enough to me, but also the ones that will resonate with the people I don’t even know.
Since my daddy blog, dad from day one, was picked up by Parents.com in May 2011 and rebooted as The Dadabase, I have been keeping a close eye on which posts became the most popular.
Ultimately, I am always “taking requests” based on what topics people tend to enjoy reading about.
Specifically, I know now that any time I mention a TV show title or the word “vegetarian” or I do some kind of countdown or list, more people are likely to read. But what else attracts readers here? Let’s find out right now, together.
#1 The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin- No matter how passionate your stance on abortion, there’s definitely something unnerving about finding out you are a twin, but that your sibling was selectively aborted while you were chosen to survive.
#3 Positively Communicating to My Seven Month Old Son- I realized my ability to truly polarize an audience when I suggested it’s uncool to jokingly offer to give your kids away to strangers. There is a 100% chance you’ll either totally love or hate this one- no in between.
#6 The Positive Re-branding of Fatherhood- Sure, the sitcoms of the Nineties will always hold a special place in my heart; especially thanks to their enchanting theme songs. However, there was a major downside to them- the way most of them portrayed fathers.
#7 6 Things This Dad Got Wrong During Pregnancy- Despite the fact that’s it’s sort of my job to act like I know what I’m talking about as a writer, I’m often wrong. In fact, here’s looking back at 6 particular times I missed it.
#10 Little Boys Live in Their Own Little World- To be perfectly honest, I’m not exactly sure why this one made it to the Top 10; unless it’s because people get to see me back in 1991, wearing neon green suspenders? Probably not.
Tune in a year from now when I review the Top 10 of 2012. No, wait- actually, come back before that, like tomorrow.
A few weeks ago I invited all my readers to send me their family’s holiday cards, so I can display them on my refrigerator. I explained that the cards would not only serve as a cool decoration and a way for me to meet Dadabase fans, but also as entries for upcoming giveaways.
So now it’s time to check it out in action.
Today, Zazzle is giving one lucky Dadabase reader a free personalized ornament through their website. It’s really cool because you can put a picture of your kid on the ornament. We got one for Jack and it should be arriving in a few days.
Now, as for the winner, we’re letting Jack decide. I’ve put all the holiday cards in a hat and now Jack will draw a winner…
See? That was fun. So if you haven’t already mailed me your family’s holiday card, take a minute to do that right now and join the cool club. You will become eligible for the next prize giveaway. Here’s the address again:
Exactly a year ago today, after 22 and half hours of “coaching” my wife in labor, which consisted of me proclaiming stock phrases like “Oh look, here’s the head!” for the final three hours of the delivery, along with, “Baby, I’m so proud of you!” my wife finally gave birth to our dark Mexican baby. I will always remember the way he was silently starving for air as soon as the doctor pulled him out. He looked so mad.
Granted, he eventually morphed into the Norwegian little boy we know today as “Jack-Man.”
A few weeks later we moved him to Alabama, suffered mutual unemployment, then singular employment but still couldn’t afford to pay the bills, Parents.com contacted me about switching my daddy blog “Dad from Day One” to their website and so The Dadabase was born, then we moved back to Nashville and got our old jobs back, we had to buy my wife a new (used) car, then tried to move back into our townhouse but realized there was serious water damage that destroyed part of our living room ceiling, and I guess that leads us to where we are today: Finally, we have sense of normalcy that we’ve been desperate for.
And Jack has been along for the ride the whole way through, both oblivious to the chaos and eager for more excitement.
I admit, I don’t exactly know how to act. I mean, everything’s actually going pretty well right now. We’re officially moved back into our home and made it ours again. And I’m nervous to even say it- what if I jinx it?
Wouldn’t this be such an appropriate time to learn, “Surprise! We’re having another baby!” For the record, that is not the case. All I mean is that I’m so accustomed to life being crazy with some kind of constant fiasco, that I almost expect some kind of shocking surprise like that.
Wow, we as parents, have survived our first year! Sure, it’s awesome that our son is now a year old; so cool. But seriously, we not only survived raising him thus far but we made it through a lot of wacko stuff since then.
We as a family have made it through; thank God. Going through a whirlwind year like this has surely left us with unsettled psychological issues that we need to sort out with Jason Seaver (the psychiatrist dad from Growing Pains) but until then, I’ll continue using my writings here on The Dadabase to serve as my own psychiatrist.