Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Should You Publish A Blog?

Blogging is Family History: Larry K Cragun     larry@cragun.net    http://larrycragunfamily.blogspot.com/

There is a community of people who have caught the genealogy and family history spirit. They are from all over the world, of all faiths and are engaged for similar reasons. They are writing, searching, and collaborating. This community is most easily discovered on a blog. 

Publishing a blog doesn’t need a webmaster; they are simple and flexible. Be aware though; there are reasons people resist. Here are the common reasons; “someone might read it, I am not a good writer, it’s too hard, I don’t have the time, and I have nothing to write about. 

WordPress.org and blogspot.com (Google) are the bulk of the blogs published. WordPress.org states that 97% of new bloggers quit publishing within 7 days. To avoid this it is important to have a reason and a plan. What is your reason, your goal?

Why blog? For What Purpose? Find cousins, influence family, inform others, Connect to Social Media, Collaborate, a journal for my family to share, preparing to write a book, find research partners, share my research, be a journal of  my research, preserve your research online,  or make a lot of money. Ha Ha, don't do a genealogy blog for his purpose.

Is there a book inside of you? Do you have family research to publish? I suggest that before you go to the expense of publishing a book that you create the book through a series of posts.

My main objectives in this blog are: feedback, collaboration, reach out to unknown cousins, improve some strained historical family relationships my ancestors created, and to come to the front in search engine results like these:

Cragun Genealogy:  Today that search delivers this me on page on 1 as the top three results.

Patrick Cragun: Today that search delivers this site on page one three times: #2, #5, and #6.

 Elisha Cragun, Patrick's son, and my 2nd great grandfather has this site as the #3 result on page 1.
I write about several topics to keep the site interesting and to make it less difficult to come up with articles to post. When I am focused I write at least three times a week. The more you write about your topic the better the search engines treat your site.

Blogs can be public, private, or limited to those you give access. Search engines won’t find your blog if it isn’t public.

Blogs can be free. Free blogs limit you in quality of templates. I use both WordPress and Blogspot. If you plan on making money by advertising you should use paid hosting and not use a free template or as they are called; themes. If you go the paid route you should definitely use WordPress. 

Themes can be purchased inexpensively now; I recommend you look to WPMUDEV.com for themes and support. Pagely.com is my recommendation for paid hosting. On a single blog your costs can be as low as $24.00 per month. Network, multi-user blogs are much more expensive to host.

Rules to be found on the search engines: (What is your blog about, really?) Make the title relevant, have the tagline or paragraph related to the topic, use tags, categories, article title, and some of the text in the article related to the topic of the blog. (The search engines like active sites with fresh content) Publish 3 or more times a week; sometimes for several weeks, to be found on page 1. Don’t steal other content or be banned. (The search engines recognize duplicate articles) It’s ok, even desirable to copy up to 1/3 of another post as long as you link to the original article. 
Some of my favorite genealogy blogs; (reading other blogs on your topic help you find your voice, give you ideas, and get you into the community are
) are: janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/, genealogystar.blogspot.com, http://www.geneamusings.com/, and  http://tangledtrees.blogspot.com/.  I list several others on the right sidebar of my blog.

Start simple, just start writing. Photographs make the articles much more interesting. Videos are a great addition to a blog. 

You can change your template at any time. You can start discovering the various widgets that add to the complexity of your blog later. Don’t wait until it is perfect to start publishing. Expect to be a better writer and photographer as you go. 

Blogging is genealogy, it’s a record of what you felt relevant. It’s an opportunity to share. It’s inviting feedback, opinions, and input.


  1. Wow! Thank you so much for including my blog in your post! I'm honored!

  2. Larry,

    I want to let you know that two of your blog posts are listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/02/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-february-28.html

    Have a fantastic weekend!

  3. You are most deserving and thank you too.