I have just passed my first 6 months as a blogger, so it seemed a good time to review how I have been getting on - what has worked well and what not so well.
- I began by trying to find other British family history bloggers. Thank you to John of The Wandering Genealaogist for pointing me in the direction of Geneabloggers.com. I haven't looked back, taking on the challenge of the stimulating blog prompts, eagerly checking the daily blog beats to see if my efforrts have been listed, hoping for comments and becoming part of a great social network.
- I am allso one of those (sad?) people who actually like analysing statistics, so the number of page views has come under scrutiny.
- Past experience on message boards etc. means I am under no illusion that my family names (Danson, Rawcliffe, Weston & Donaldson) evoke much interest, so the blogs themselves have to do the job.
- My most popular postings are due, I am sure , to the appeal of the Geneablogger prompts.
Black Sheep Sunday - Great Grandfather in the Stocks (Dec. 2010)
Black Sheep Sunday - John Danson's "Said Bastard Child" (Jan 2011)
Wedding Wednesday - Jennie Danson 1920's Style (Dec 2010)
Wedding Wednesday - A Shivering Bridesmaid, Dec. 1946. (Jan 2011)
- 've tried to follow the online advice about catchy titles, and putting the focus on them, with the prompt label second. I thought I was being a bit too obscure with "Barque, Brig, Sloop. Smack and Snow" (Dec 2010) when writing about my Donaldson maritime connections. It initially aroused little interest but has since moved to the 5th most popular post - or perhaps readers are just wondering what is it all about!
- The post that evoked the most comments was ironically one I rattled off quickly without too much thought - "From Book to Blog" (Nov. 2010) - and that was without the benefit of a blog prompt label.
- Some postings have been written as much for myself. I was proud to write a tribute to my mother in "Happiness is Stitching - Talented Tuesday" (Dec 2010) . It did not result in any comments but has again been slowly gaining more page views.
- "Eye Witness" (Mar 2011) came about following Susan Petersen's Long Lost Relatives blog with her moving account of the Challenger Disaster. It made me think back to events that affected me such as the Queen's Coronation, the Assassination of President Kennedy, and 9/11. On a much lighter note "Nifty at Netball but Hopeless at Hockey" (Feb 2011) was composed in my head in bed one sleepless night. Neither of these postings have resulted in any interest, but you never know they may appear recycled in an appropriate "52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy".
- I enjoy looking at old newspapers in my local archive centre and there are many quirky, fascinating reports which I was keen to share e.g. A Slow Stagecoach Journey, A Female Navie, Female Fashions, A 1913 Society Wedding, among them. So I began a series entitled "Stop Press" which I quite liked as a header, as opposed to the more prosaic "Newspaper Article". Howver there has been a singular lack of reaction, so perhaps this again is a series for my own pleasure.
So what do I like in a blog?
- Photographs are a fascination, whether of famiy, fashions, heirlooms, houses or documents
- Catchy titles that attract my interest in the long list of daily blogging beats.
- Ideas and inspiration for future blog topics
- The weekly bloggiong reviews that point me to other sites and articles
- Practical tips, such as the recent blog on maximising search engine impact.
- Attractive, artisitc front pages - beyond my current technical ability.
It has been a great 6 months. My intial target was a posting per week. I am so hooked, I managed 21 in the month of january! I am relishing the blog experience of telling my family history stories to a wider audience, discovering a new style of writing, coming up with a title and content that appeals - and making new contacts with felllow enthusiasts.