While I was pondering how to share my ideas on how to create your own genealogy blog, I remembered that I had a lot of questions at the start. As a result, I am going to going to write this post in a question and answer format.
Why would I create a genealogy blog? What would I post?
There are probably as many reasons to create a genealogy blog as there are people doing it. To get some ideas, read other genealogy blogs. Please be aware that anything published on the internet is automatically copyrighted whether or not the post includes a copyright notice. There are lawsuits filed over blog plagiarism. So while you can borrow ideas, be careful not to directly borrow content without giving credit. I included information about finding blogs to read in my last post. For this post, I will mention again a website that will relate to several aspects of this article. That website is http://geneabloggers.com/ The GeneaBloggers Blog Roll will provide you with many different blogs to read.
One of the first questions that you will need to answer when you are ready to begin the process of creating a blog is what title you want for your blog. Your title should reflect what you plan to post. You can make it specific so that your focus is clear. Be careful to not make it so specific that your title limits what seems appropriate to include in your posts. You may want to have your title broad enough to include a variety of subjects if you intend to blog over a period of time or address a number of subjects. I have heard from other bloggers that as they have continued to write, their blogs become different from what they initially intended for them to be.
If your goal is to become rich and famous, you will need to find a way other than writing a genealogy blog. Celebrity bloggers like Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman write about topics like cooking that have a broader appeal than genealogy. Blogging is no different than other activities in that I am sure there are a lot more people wanting to be famous for it than are.
How would I create a blog? What tools are available?
There are many servers on the internet that will provide you with space to create a blog. I will focus on the two of the largest providers: Google Blogger and Word Press. Several years ago I attended a seminar on technology and was told that Google Blogger was easier to use but Word Press was the better site if you wanted to be found by people searching the internet. For that reason, I have my personal genealogy blog on Word Press but I find professional genealogists using Google Blogger too. Word Press does remind me to tag posts with search terms but it appears a blog is equally visible on either Google Blogger or Word Press.
Both Google Blogger and Word Press have tutorials available to help you both get started and to continue to develop your blog. I also have found it helpful to do an internet search for tutorials because sometimes a person not associated with the website can give very valuable instructions because they like us are looking in from the outside.
Who do I want to read my posts? Do I want my blog public or private?
It is important to decide who you want to read what you write. Your desired audience will determine a number of things including what you post, how often you post and whether you want your blog to be public or private. Perhaps you want to share things with your immediate family or you may want to reach a wide audience of potential, but currently unknown cousins. I heard a presentation by another blogger recently who related that he knew that he had not inherited all of his great-grandmother’s photographs. An inquiry regarding the current owner of the rest of the photographs was posted on a blog. Three years later, the then owner of the photographs saw the inquiry, made contact and returned the photographs.
Blogging your everyday activities and posting pictures is genealogy just as much as posting photos that are a hundred years old. As you chronicle your life, you are creating a record not only for yourself but for others. You may want to do it today for your children’s grandparents but the record may one day be enjoyed by your grandchildren. This is a good point to talk about whether you want a public or private blog. Once you create a blog, one of the tools you will have is the ability to know where people live who are viewing your blog. When I see that people from other countries or even other continents are reading my blog, I am thrilled because I keep hoping to hear from currently unknown cousins. On the other hand, my daughter who blogs mostly for the benefit of me and the other grandmother was very uncomfortable to find how widely her blog was being viewed and chose to make it private. When you choose to make a blog public, you need to realize that public means the whole internet public. If there are things you want to share with the world and other things you want to share just with family and friends, you could have two blogs, one public and one private. Blog space providers are happy to give the space for more than one blog. However, if what you want is private space and you use Facebook, a private Facebook group may be something you want to check out.
How often would I post? Are there helps for coming up with ideas for blog posts?
How often you post will be likely be determined by your reason for blogging. If you are creating a personal or family journal, you will probably want to post daily or at least several times a week. Other bloggers who use their blogs to report research results, post less often and whenever they have something to report. I find that writing one thoughtful article a week is my limit with all the other things that are a part of my life. For ideas of what to post GeneaBloggers is a good source for ideas. They have ideas for every day of the week under Daily Blogging Prompts. Also search the internet for genealogy blog ideas, there are a lot of ideas out there.
I find blogging rewarding. I have had people comment on my blog and share with me information related to my posts. I haven’t found any new cousins yet but I’m sure in time I will.
Christine Bell has been seeking her ancestor for almost forty years and continues to find joy in each one she finds. She volunteers in a Family Search Family History Center where she helps others find their ancestors. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints, she is grateful to be a member of the Church. She is a wife, mother of six grown children, grandmother of five going on six, and currently living in the western United States. Christine enjoys spending time with family and creating quilts for family, friends and Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.