October 18, 2017

3 Ways to Improve Your Genealogy Blog

Creating and maintaining a genealogy blog is a fun and rewarding way to share your family history. Blogging is also effective in finding cousin connections! If you are worried your blog isn’t pulling in the cousins you expected, elevate your ranking in search results by implementing these 3 ways to improve your genealogy blog.

improve your genealogy blogI recently received this exciting email from Ruth:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Several months ago, I attended one of your all-day seminars in Bossier City, Louisiana and I must thank you for motivating me!

I’ve been researching my family tree off and on for 25 years or so, and at times it has taken a back burner to whatever was going on in my life; only to be dusted off when I would get an inquiry or perhaps when someone in the family passed away. In the last 3 years, I have been attending these local seminars with a distant cousin. They were fun and I learned a few things, but none had generated the enthusiasm that I have at the moment!

The knowledge that you share and the easy manner in which you deliver your presentations are so down-to-earth and it inspires me to learn more. I left your seminar with a Premium Membership package and I have been listening to your podcast ever since.

You also encourage your readers to blog about their genealogy. I took your advice and I’ve done just that. Please take a look at my blog – any suggestions you might have would be welcomed. The title is My Family Tree: Hobby or Addiction? and I have dedicated it to my father who passed away in 2005! Here is the link: http://myfamilytreehobbyoraddiction.blogspot.com/

Thank you again for all you do that encourages us and for the new tools that you share with your listeners to help their journey along the way!

Many thanks,

Ruth Craig Estess

Ruth, thank you and congratulations!

improve your genealogy blog ruth

I love hearing how you have put it into action what you learned at the seminar.

Tips for Improving Your Genealogy Blog

Ruth is doing a terrific job including family information on her genealogy blog that others might be Googling. That means they are very likely to find her. But there’s more that can be done. Here are 3 additional tips for Ruth and anyone who wants to get more traction with their genealogy blog:

1. Add more images. Google looks postively upon websites that have images. It considers the website to be more of an authority on the subject covered in the blog. Images improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) In layman’s terms, SEO refers the ways in which you have made your blog easy to use, and easy for Google to understand what it is about. The better Google understands the subject, the better chance it has of delivering your blog as a result when people search on things you write about (like your family tree!) It’s important that your image files have names that accurately reflect what they and your blog post are about. Therefore, it’s a solid strategy to include relevant genealogical information such as names, places and dates in the image titles. If you don’t happen to personally have photos about the subject of your blog post, include images of documents or other related items.

2. Include a Call to Action. At the end of each post, invite your readers to comment and contact you if they are researching the same family. It’s amazing what a little invitation will do to prompt interaction. If you skip this step, your readers may just “lurk”, or in other words, quietly read and then go on to the next website. That’s a missed opportunity for connection and collaboration. Even though a reader may be researching the family you are writing about, they may not think to reach out to you or comment unless you prompt them to do so.

3. Make use of blog categories. Categories and Labels help organize you blog content. Create a category for each surname you discuss on your blog. The category can appear in the side column on your blog. That makes it easy for readers to click a surname they are interested in and jump directly to your posts that discuss that name.

Surname labels in genealogy blog

Categories and Labels are great for SEO too. Google loves well-organized websites because they are easier to understand and deliver in search results.

More Gems on Creating Your Own Genealogy Blog

Ruth wrote to tell me she has already started putting these ideas into practice. She’s on her way to rising in the search results and hearing from distant cousins. How exciting! Click below to continue reading about rewarding and effective family history blogging.

Why Marketing Experts Would Agree That You Should Write a Family History Blog

Why and How to Start a Family History Blog

Genealogy Blogging, the Future of Genealogy and More

Tell Us About Your Genealogy Blog

Do you have a genealogy blog? Well, here’s my call to action! Please share your family history blog, SEO tips, and success stories in the comments area below.

And I would so appreciate it if you would share Genealogy Gems with your friends and blog readers by including a link to our website in your list of favorite genealogy help sites on your blog. Thanks!

About Lisa Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

Comments

  1. Hi Lisa. I always enjoy reading articles about how to improve my blog. In this case I was very happy to know that I already do the 3 things mentioned here. I remember hearing you speak when you came to San Diego a few years ago. Loved all your knowledge. The one tip I will share is for new bloggers to read as many other blogs as they can, on a regular basis. Leave comments on those blogs and you will find the blog authors will also visit your blog. Find the bloggers who post regularly. See how their blogs are set up. Is it pleasing to the eye, do you like the writing style? We are all different and develop our own styles. If possible, find an experienced blogger to mentor you. I’ve had a lot of fun mentoring some friends who are just beginning.
    My blog is called Michigan Family Trails, so named because of 3 generations of roots in Michigan. I share family mysteries, stories, research and technology tips. Here’s the website http://www.michiganfamilytrails.com

  2. Thank-you for the ideas to help make our Family Blogs even better!

  3. Great points Diane! Genealogy bloggers are definitely a community, and there’s so much to learn and share. Thanks for stopping by and commenting here at the Genealogy Gems blog.

  4. Thank YOU for taking the time to Comment!

  5. Lisa,

    Thanks for sharing these tips and for encouraging people to start their own genealogy blog. I started my blog about 4 months ago. Because I am very interested in the amazing places our ancestors come from, I have dedicated most of my blog posts to this broad theme. I try to include personal experiences trying new websites or techniques and mix in information about my own ancestors. I think I can do a better job with my categories and I will go back and see if I can improve that.

    You can check out my blog at http://TheFamilyNexus.com.

    Thanks again!

  6. These are great tips and I second each of them (it’s nice to have the reminder, too). I also encourage new bloggers to publish posts with regular frequency. Don’t let the quest for perfection prevent you from simply getting the story out there. It’s an important step to build and maintain readership.

  7. Susan LeBlanc says:

    Thank you for a great post. I have been blogging for five years and have slowed down considerably the last two years. My post include my family, research done by others not disclosing living people, and other items of interest to me. While I don’t get a lot of comments,most are positive.
    gophergenealogy.blogspot.com

  8. Susan LeBlanc says:

    I meant to write work done for others, friends, clients and associates.

  9. Hi Lisa. I started my blog, Gathering Leaves for my Family Tree, about a year ago. I started it so that my children and grandchildren would have a central place to learn about their ancestors. The added bonus is that I have been so fortunate to have heard from some distant cousins that I didn’t know I had. In the beginning I didn’t have many followers, and still don’t, but I feel confident that I am preserving the history of my family for generations to come. And my recent blog, Maw’s Purse, had over a hundred views. That really made my day.

  10. That’s fantastic Tonya! It’s not the quantity, but the quality of the viewers and connections.

  11. Hello Lisa, and thanks again for some valuable advice. I’ve been blogging for less than two years, and have found a few ‘lost’ cousins that way, as well as other bloggers who aren’t related, but who share my interest in certain locations. So I know how important it is to put those key words in! My blog is called ‘I Thought I Was a Smith’ because it’s mainly about my great-grandfather who changed his name from Cockram to Smith, and nobody knows why. Someday I hope to find the answer, and maybe somebody who reads my blog will be the person who enlightens me!

  12. Linda, your blog looks great! I love the images you share, and good for your for including a Names and Places index in the sidebar! Since our Cookes immigrated to Regina in 1912 I sure hope you’ll let me know if you run into them! LOL. Keep up the great work!

  13. I took your advice two years ago and began my family history blog: The Genetti Family Genealogy Project at http://www.genettifamily.com. It’s been an amazing experience connecting with cousins all over the world! Right now I am working with a distant cousin in Munich to track down documents from my family’s ancient history in the Austrian Tyrol. The documents range from 1307 to 1649! Once we have them all collected and translated, we are planning to write a history of our family prior to official church records (1565). So exciting since our genealogy contains several noble titles and a number of Coat-of-Arms given by the Holy Roman Empire (confirmed by the documents we are collecting). Thank you Lisa! You have been a huge help and inspiration!

  14. Hi Lisa, and thanks for this great post. I couldn’t agree more! I recently received a comment on a blog post I wrote five years ago, offering family information on my maiden name and asking if I thought there is a relationship. Turns out the commenter and I are fourth cousins. I never would have found her if she hadn’t found my blog. Your tips are spot on!

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