Those who write a family history blog are well-positioned to market their heritage to everyone who cares!
Recently, I read a marketing blog post on the power of blogging for businesses. Of course I immediately thought about what they were saying from the point of view of a family historian. We want to share–or market–our family histories so others will read and enjoy them! So I’ve adapted their concepts for why a genealogist should be writing a GREAT blog.
1. THE “COUSIN BAIT” EFFECT. Businesses that blog attract two-thirds more potential customers than those who don’t. Likewise, family historians who share their family history online can attract interest from lots of relatives, including those they’ve never met and those they never knew were interested in family history! Genealogy blogs are called “cousin bait” for a reason!
2. BLOGGING IS TIMELESS. Business blog posts can pull in new customers for businesses whether you wrote them yesterday or years ago. It’s worth updating older blog posts with more current information and keeping your current contact information on your blog, even if you’re not actively adding to it right now.
3. OUR RELATIVES ARE LOOKING ONLINE. By 2020, customers are expected to manage about 85% of business without even talking to a human. Wow! I think we’ll see some trending that direction in family history research, too. Increasingly, our relatives are likely looking for their family history online first—not as much by reaching out to distant relatives and relatives-of-relatives by mail or phone, though I still encourage that cold-calling approach that worked so well for Debra.
4. BLOGGING IS FREE. The only cost of blogging is TIME! This speaks for itself. No expensive mailings or printing copies of books and photos, hoping your relatives will pay you back.
5. SHARE WITH AUTHORITY. In the business world, blogs are considered a highly trusted source for accurate online information. The personal touch of a blog, together with your responsible research and the sources you cite, can help your relatives trust what you’re telling them. As you become known to your extended family as someone who prizes your heritage, you may also become the person that distant relatives or heirloom rescuers turn to when looking for a home for priceless family artifacts.
I share these thoughts–and oodles of inspiring blogging testimonials from Genealogy Gems listeners and readers–in the newest episode of the Genealogy Gems podcast. Click here to listen to episode #185–and learn how you could win a FREE year of Premium membership to the Genealogy Gems website.
More GEMS on How to Write a Family History Blog
Are you ready to launch your own blog, or recharge the one you’ve already got? Click here to see a BRAND NEW webpage I’ve created that’s packed with resources on how to write a family history blog that gets you found by others who care about your heritage.
Family History: Genealogy Made Easy
Listen to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke. It’s a great series for learning the research ropes and well as refreshing your skills.
with Lisa Louise Cooke
Download the Show Notes for this Episode
Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-09. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 45: Genealogy Blogs Started by YOU!
In recent episodes of this podcast, we’ve been talking about how and why to create a genealogy blog. In this episode I’m going to share some of the family history blogs that YOU—the listeners—have created. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to blog by what others are doing, or that you’ll take note of any blogs that can help you or perhaps are relevant to your own family history. Being a community is what gives genealogists strengths and inspiration. Get your notepads out and get ready to jot down these terrific blogs!
Below are the blogs mentioned in the show. Most of them stayed active and have very recent posts! What a great thing to see the success they’ve had since getting started. There’s only one blog we didn’t find when we republished this episode: Teri’s blog on her Pomeranian ancestors.
Listeners’ Genealogy Blogs
Fermazin Family Ancestry by Nancy Peralta (NEW URL)
Leaves of the Tree by Kay Haden (NEW URL)
Are You My Cousin? by Lisa Lisson (NEW URL)
Kolbe Genealogy Blog by Michelle Kolbe
Finding the Flock—A Genealogy Research Blog by Sean Lamb
Gus’s Genealogy Blog by Gus Marsh
BELL family History – York W.A. by Graham Wilkie
New Genealogy Blogger Take-Away Tips:
- Beginning is the most important step!
- Writing up your brick walls and family groups is a great way to summarize in your mind where you are in your research, which often generates new leads.
- Try posting more articles to generate content for the search engines.
- Put your blog URL on message boards relating to your surname.
- Have you lost track of someone else’s blog that is no longer at its old URL? Search for the blog, the blogger’s name and other keywords (surnames, topics, places) to discover whether it’s migrated to a new URL. That’s how we located some of the blogs above when we republished this episode.
Starting a Genealogy Blog Q&A
(Please note that features and layouts of blogging platforms change over time. These answers were current as of the original podcast publication date. If things have changed, use clues from the answers to find the current answer!)
Question: I set up my blog in Blogger. There does not appear to be any spell checker. How is your blog set up in terms of writing and editing?
Answer: Yes, Blogger has a spell check. When you’re in Compose mode, there are buttons across the top of the Compose box. You’ll see Font, Bold, etc. There you will find an icon “ABC.” That’s the spell-checker. Click it and it will run while you’re in Compose mode.
Question: How do I insert the name of the site as a link without typing out the name of the URL? The URL is somehow encoded in the name of the link.
Answer: When links are embedded in the text, this is called a hyperlink. Highlight the text or the name you want to send people to. Then in the Compose box, you’ll see a little button that looks like the link of a chain. Just click that and you’ll get a window in which you can type in the complete web address where you’re sending people (I always go to the webpage I want to link to, copy the full URL and then paste it.)
Question: I set my blog as available to all, but a search even for the exact name of the blog doesn’t bring it up in my search engine. Why is that?
Answer: You can do a couple of things in your blog to help search engines notice you, but the reality is that perhaps Google hasn’t yet “crawled” your blog. Google combs and indexes website every day, and perhaps they haven’t gotten to you yet. You can go to Google.com/addurl, and there you can send your blog address to Google and that will get it indexed much more quickly. Get lots of new posts up with specific words (surnames, locations and other terms about your family).