Why a Genealogical Society Should Blog

I love researching genealogical and historical information, and I’ve found that many genealogy societies and associations are fantastic resources to help me track down my family’s history, especially when it comes to regional information.

What I HATE about many genealogical society sites is that they are still websites and they don’t incorporate modern blog technology which makes their websites more powerful to the visitor and member.

Let’s clear a few things up about the difference between a website and a blog. A website is like a static billboard on the information highway. The pages are fixed, sitting there, waiting for someone to get information. They usually do little more than act as placeholders. Updates means adding a new page to the collection and then posting the links to the new page all over the site to help visitors find the new page.

A blog uses Content Management System (CMS) technology to create dynamic web pages. When you write a new “post” or “article”, adding content to your site, the information is automatically added to lists of “most recent”, “most popular”, and other link listing resources to help let the visitor know what is new and what is happening on the site as well as within the group.

Blogs are not only dynamically generated, they are also interactive, allowing visitors to comment, add information, and continue the discussion.

But there is much more to blogs.

Imagine the front page of your blog or site being constantly updated with the latest information on what the society or association is doing? It’s easy. Easy to manage, easy to write articles, and easy to update.

Blogs allow more than one “user” or author to contribute information to the site. This means membership organizations can give permission to more than one person to help write articles, provide society information and updates, and maintain the site. The more who participate, the more fun it is for all, and the less the burden rests on just one person.

Imagine the benefit of helping your genealogy society members the opportunity to “publish” their research, tips, news, and articles? What a great way to increase member participation, enthusiasm, and benefits. You can even set up specific categories by author, or use author web pages that list all the articles by that author, like we do on this blog. Each published member could have their own author page.

Articles can also be categorized, allowing easy navigation to find related subjects on the blog. For example, if you are researching the Knapp family, you would find all our articles on that part of our family tree in our Knapp category.

Blogs also offer feeds, a way of “subscribing” to a website through the use of a feed reader. Feeds are text summaries or full post versions of the posts on your blog that people can read through a feed reader, allowing them to monitor your site for new information and updates easily. You can also add more subscription information such as email alerts which automatically notify someone by email if the site has a new post or has been updated.

You can also add forums, online discussion areas, to your blog to help users and members post information, ask questions, and provide a form of “customer support” to help answer questions about researching their family history. This increases the interactivity of the blog.

One of the most important aspects to researching genealogy online is being found in search engines. If you can’t be found, how will your great information and resources be found by the folks you want to help? Blogging tools and platforms (blogging programs) like have built-in features that automatically sends a note to search engines and directories when you add new information to the site, inviting them to come for a visit. And for the most part, WordPress blogs are designed to be very search engine friendly, helping search engines find all the content on your site to include within their searchable database. You don’t have to submit your site or do anything. It gets found with little effort from you. I like low maintenance things, don’t you?

There are many benefits to having a blog, whether it is in addition to your website or it is your total website, that will help a genealogical society. You can find more information about blogging, how to blog, and how to use WordPress to blog, on my blog, . See also my article series on Building a Genealogy Blog.

Here are some more resources to help you learn more about how blogs work and how to make your blog work for you and your genealogical society.

Most Recent Articles by Lorelle VanFossen

About Lorelle VanFossen

Lorelle VanFossen hosts Family History Blog covering her ancestors and related family members. She is one of the top bloggers in the world, and host of the Lorelle on WordPress, providing WordPress and blogging tips for bloggers of all levels. A popular keynote speaker and trainer, she is also editor, producer, contributor, and official disruptive thinker for Bitwire Media which includes WordCast, Making My Life Network, Stories of Our Journeys, Life on the Road, WordCast Conversations, and the very popular WordCast Podcast.
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One Response to Why a Genealogical Society Should Blog

  1. Pingback: Why a blog? « Moultrie Creek Online Historical Society

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