Why should creating a family history blog be next on your list?
Have you considered creating a family history blog but don’t know where to start? Fear not, as in this post we will cover all the basics of blogging and what you need to know to start your own personal genealogy blogs.
Benefits of personal genealogy blogs
Let’s look at some of the many reasons why you may want to begin your family history blog.
1. To inform family and friends
Creating a family history blog to inform family, friends and others in your networks is a great way to publicly showcase all your efforts. Your less committed family members can still take an interest in their family history without needing to signup and subscribe to any apps or genealogy memberships. A blog is a great way to showcase this.
2. To gather further intelligence and tips from the online community.
Many people will use their blogs to not only share their knowledge but also to create a space to facilitate conversations and tips on family history topics. By allowing comments, family and friends from all over the world can visit your blog, comment on your ideas and share their insider knowledge and feedback on your content. Your blog audience can greatly benefit from this too and may become a large reason for people visiting your blog.
3. To share your accumulated knowledge and tips on genealogy and family history
Some family historians have been at it for so many years they’ve accumulated a breadth of knowledge on the subject. Many like to share their skills and expertise in a blog. Especially if their goal is to encourage more people to get into their genealogy. It can even serve as a place to inform other genealogists about public events and social gatherings.
4. A great way to grow and refine your passion for genealogy
Creating and maintaining a blog is a great way to stay motivated to your genealogy research. You’ll find that with more followers and readers the more you’ll want to publish better content and stay consistent to satisfy them.
Important to note:
As FamilySearch states- you should never post any public information on living family members on open public sites on the internet. This could lend a hand to fraud, attackers could use the simplest of information in a bid to orchestrate an attack. If you want to run a more family-centric and less public blog an easy way to do this is to not index your website on search engines, this will in effect make the page hidden.
How to create a blog
You can easily create a blog for free or very little payment. All you need is a domain and a website host. It sounds very easy and it is if you follow the steps below.
1. Come up with your blog name
Choose a name with keywords that your audience are actually typing into Google. This way you’ll appear higher on the search results page when people are typing in your blog name.
Select a name that is easy to remember, say or spell?
2. Select your domain
Next, select your domain, this is your blog website URL address. Here are some things to consider when it comes to selecting your domain.
- Select a domain ending in .com.
- Keep your domain short, easy to spell and pronounce.
- It’s smart to use your keyword in your domain if it’s available. This will help you rank higher in Google and other search engines.
- Research your domain name to check if there are any already similar names out there.
When you’ve decided your domain name, you then need to register it. To do this, you need to find a domain registrar. Some of the big ones that you’ve most probably have heard of GoDaddy, Domain.com or Bluehost. You usually have to buy these, but you may come across deals to get these domains for free if you’re lucky.
3. Use a website hosting platform
To get started on creating your blog you’ll need a place to host it. The easiest way to do this is to use a hosting platform rather than creating a website from scratch!
They are very easy to use and you can find loads of tutorials online on how to get started with each of them- if you need to know.
If you have very little technical knowledge we recommend selecting a blogging platform that does it all for you. No coding required.
Our favourite to use is WordPress- it’s free also! It’s a great platform to use as there are loads of themes to choose from and has a huge library of free plug-ins.
4. Choose your blog template
When it comes to finding your family history blog template, there are a few things you can look out for.
Find a layout that shows lots of white space. Nothing that is too crowded and displays your blog in it’s best light. Do you have lots of images? Or is your website primarily articles? Look for a layout design that would facilitate the type of content you want to public for your family history blog.
Choose an appearance theme that is mature, light and fresh. Something that is easy to read with a white background.
We briefly mentioned Plug-ins earlier. A plug-in is a feature that allows you to add on extensions to your blog that improve the functionality. Many are free and can be used to drastically improve the user experience, SEO, Social sharing, Analytics, image uploader and many, many more.
Basic Blog information
Before you get publishing your content you need to make sure all the basics of the blog are covered. These are called static pages, which are always available for your audience.
Blog Description- This is normally listed under ‘about us’ in many blogs. This is where you introduce the brand, or you and talk about what the blog is about. You can write a personal story, or keep it strictly business. How formal or personable you want to make it is totally up to you. Just remember how you talk on your intro page should guide the rest of the content on your blog.
Contact- Ensure you have a way for website visitors to contact you. You don’t have to put any personal contact details online. A great way to get around this if you don’t have a business line or address is to use a ‘contact us’ form. You can easily install one by using a plug-in.
Social media link and social sharing- You need to make your social media pages visible and clickable. Your audience wants to share your website on their social media. You must display your social media images and clickable links in a clear and easy-to-reach place.
How to get your blog noticed?
Creating and maintaining your blog for public viewing requires much more than stopping once the blog is created.
If you want people to be able to find and read your content you need to think about how you can easily appear on search engines and social media. This is a very brief run-through on the type of activity you can begin to increase the visibility and reach to your blog online.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is when you use techniques on your blog to better inform search engines such as Google what your site is about. With good scores, you’ll appear closer to the top of search engine results pages (SERPS). This is the goal as people rarely scroll past the second or third page when searching for information online.
How to get a high SEO score?
The world of SEO is very complex, and unless you dedicate a consistent stream of content optimized perfectly for SEO then it’s unlikely you’ll compete with the big dogs for top spots on the SERPs. However, if you have a will to do this then there is no reason you can’t achieve it!
To maximise your SEO score you need to optimise your website and blog content with keywords. These keywords need to be highly searched terms that internet surfers are actively searching.
- Paid Keywords
Paid keywords or otherwise known as Pay Per Click (PPC) is another way to get your blog post to rank higher on search engines. You can use sites like Google Adwords to pay for highly searched keywords to achieve this same process very quickly. WCIC Tech has written a great post on which PPC platform to use and the processes to get started.
- User-friendly content
Search engine sites such as Google will also rate your SEO score based on the user-friendly ability on your website. If your website is mobile compatible, easy-to-navigate, has up-to-date security and easy to read posts you’ll get higher rankings.
Link your blog to a social media page and use a combination of hashtags and social posts linking to your blog posts to get noticed. Make sure to only be active on social media websites where your active audience is based. Twitter and Facebook are pretty great social media platforms for Genealogy.
You could also easily set up an email subscription list. This was any visitors to your website who value your content will welcome email notifications on your new content. This is a great way to engage with your audience and keep them consistently returning back to your blog.
How to deliver your content for your family history blog
We’ve talked about how to set up a blog, then how to maximise visibility- now you need to capture your audience with easy-to-digest content.
Your content should be easy to read. This is not only for your audience’s benefit but for your SEO score too.
How to optimise the readability of your content?
1. High-quality content
Ensure your posts have correct grammar and spelling, great ideas and an enjoyable writing style. Don’t post content for content’s sake. Not only will poorly written content harm your SEO score but if your audience doesn’t find it useful or entertaining they won’t be reading or returning!
2. Short paragraphs and a combination of sentence lengths
Keep your paragraphs short. Most people who read content online are skim reading for information. Long paragraphs make readers lose attention and make it difficult to digest the information quickly. Try to keep 3-4 sentences a paragraph give or take. This also allows you to make your point in shorter sentences. Unnecessarily rambling will only disinterest your readers. Use a mixture of short and medium sentences to hold the reader’s interest.
I like this image example provided by Singlegrain.com.
Sub-headings divide your content to make it easier to read.
4. Links to relatable content and more information
Throughout your post include links to content that better expands on ideas. This way you can keep posts shorter, in separate categories and enable a great user experience.
5. Bullet points
If you have lots of lists, ideas, examples etc, use bullet points to make the reader see them easier.
6. White space
Ensure your blog post has lots of white space. Crowded writing makes it difficult to capture the attention of the reader.
7. Images or video
Include an image or media such as a video to help break up the white space and support your ideas with an illustrative easy to view example.
Getting started creating a family history blog
There you have it, we hope you enjoyed our easy tutorial on creating a family history blog. For more information on how to write a family history content see our blog post here.
If you liked our post, please give us a share on social media!