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Thursday, 28 July 2011

31 Weeks of Better Genealogy Blogging: Week 4 - A Good Blog:

31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy BlogT
Tonia Kendrick, over at Tonia’s Roots has started a blogging series entitled ‘31 Weeks of Better Genealogy BloggingWeek 4’s topic is analyzing a top genealogy blog.  The purpose here is simply to observe and learn from others. 

For me, lack of time has been a factor this week on what is a thought-provoking challenge, so I have not selected one specific blog I admire, but have looked quickly at different elements I like or would like to emulate.

So what do I like in a blog?
  • Photographs are a fascination,  whether of family, fashions, heirlooms, views, 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 blogging reviews that point me to other sites and articles.
  • Practical tips,    e.g. on search engine optimization from http://www.luxegen.ca/- I followed this and it worked!    Also one on Spring cleaning Your Blog from http://keoughcorner.blogspot.com/) - I got favourable comments on the changes I made.   
  • Simple, calming  screens that are easy easy on the eye.  With my eyesight,  small print does not get a look in!  In my early days of blogging,  I had a brief flirtation with the deep rich red background which I felt showed up photographs very well, but I soon tired of the heavy colour and reverted to paler backgrounds. Tonia's  at http://www.toniasroots.net/is a good example here with a classic stylish heading that appeals to me.
  • Attractive, artistic front page banners - beyond my current technical ability but one of my favourites is Jen's at  http://www.climbingmyfamilytree.com/
What topics generate the most comments?  What styles of posts seem to connect with readers the best?
  • I have to admit I have not worked this one out and would welcome thoughts from others. I have been surprised at some of my posts that have generated interest in terms of comments, and also the lack of interest in others e.g. my Stop Press series on old newspaper items that appealed to me. Perhaps some postings are as much for my own pleasure as for a wider audience.

What I would  like to do:
  • I have never bothered much by studying the Geneabloggers lists of anniversaries and events, as I realise these are very much related to the USA.  However I like the idea from  Teresa of http://tangledtrees.blogspot.com/ of using them as blog prompts e.g. Bagpipe Appreciation Day.  so I must give them more attention to stimulate ideas for blog topics.
  • Set up tabs across the top of my blog. e.g. About Myself, Surnames I Follow.   I am not very technically minded but realise that other blogspot users do this, so I must puzzle it out.
  • I also like the tab on http://www.toniasroots.net/ for "On This Date".  It keeps such entries all together rather than posting them every day or month and acts as a reference point on dates.  
  •  I also like  the idea from http://geneapoppop.com/  of setting up a tab "Fire Mantle" to feature his awards.  I don't particularly like mine down the side of my blog - rather large and obtrusive and I have come close to deleting them,though I was very proud to  receive  them some time ago.  However here is a great compromise idea I must develop for myself. 
  • Change the "Labels" heading to "Categories" or "Subjects" which I feel are more meaningful terms.  I don't know if this can be done, but must look into it.  
These are just a few elements I recognise from good blogs.
 I am sure there are many more out there to learn from.  


  1. Susan, I like the twist and I think you've accomplished the intent of the challenge - figure out what others are doing well.

    Here are a few of my thoughts on a couple of your points:

    1. Re: comments and writing some posts for yourself. . .there is nothing wrong with this. Some things I write for a wider audience and some I write for me. I figure it's my blog and I can do what I want to. : )
    2. To do the tabs at the top, you'll add pages. It's been a long time since I used Blogger, so I can't tell you how to do that, but I'm sure there are blog posts and probably videos that would walk you through it.

    Good luck!

  2. Yes, you can change the "labels" heading to something else. Go to design, click on the widget for your labels, and there's a space where you can type in whatever you want to call it. I just recently found it and changed mine.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Many thanks, Tonia and Nancy, for your comments and advice. It was so easy to change the Labels title once I knew how. Must now move onto setting up Pages.

  4. I really enjoyed your post - it has a lot of useful ideas that I'm going to start thinking about for my own blog! I had a tough time with this week's challenge too... there are just too many good blogs out there to pick one!!

  5. Thanks for this post. It has reminded me that there are aspects of my own genealogy blogs that need to be reviewed and modified. I agree with you that there seems to be no logical pattern for which posts get comments! As for text size - you should be able to change this in your browser. It may vary according to what browser you use, but try looking under the menu option 'View' for an option to Zoom.


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