By: Sarah Brooks
OK. You’ve got a genealogy blog. Either you’ve been at it for a while or just started blogging, but either way you enjoy what you’re doing. You love personal stories, family history, research, documentation, learning of communities and how they evolve, or a combination of these things. You spend some time thinking about your blog, writing, and editing your blog daily or weekly.
If you are like many of the other bloggers in this field, though, the only thing you might need help with is gaining followers. This is something that many genealogy bloggers struggle with, but it is possible to get engaged, returning readers that want to hear what you’ve got to say. Consider these steps to increase traffic to your blog.
Create Strong Content
The best way to draw people in to your blog is to create strong content. While you can do anything and everything under the sun to get your blog on as many screens as possible, your readers won’t read—or at least stay engaged—unless the content is strong. When you talk about a specific topic, get quotes from professionals on the subject or other authoritative voices involved with the topic to add to your blog. Perhaps you can get some information on a specific community from a local historian or a quote from the family member you are talking about in your post.
You might also be able to pull in some court documents, immigration papers, or other relevant sources to quote from. Primary source material, as well as great secondary sources, makes for excellent content builders. Finally, fine tune your strong content by making sure your grammar and spelling are correct.
Make Your Blog More Multimedia-Based
In addition to making sure your writing is filled with strong content, compliment that content with good videos, pictures, charts, images of key documents and anything else that can make the blog more multimedia—in short, studies have shown that multimedia makes for stronger, more interesting blogs. And remember, genealogy—and the history associated with it—is a very multi-faceted, multi-layered study that crosses communities, continents, and cultures—take advantage of that with your blog and various media. As a way to connect back to your content, try linking to other relevant sites as well—people want to know where to look next to keep the conversation going.
Get a Strong Focus to Your Blog
It’s easy to take the topic of genealogy and just run with it; after all, there really are so many interesting and worthwhile avenues to pursue. But to have a successful blog, you should ask yourself what it is that you have to say with your blog, what it is that you have to say that will add to the genealogy conversation. In other words, what will your topics be and where will your focus lie?
If your blog doesn’t have a focal point within the genealogy spectrum, consider taking one. Are you more interested in personal family history, how to conduct family or community research, documentation methods, or another specific area? If you can, take a definite, more “limited” focus with your blog. You might be able to branch out after you’ve been blogging for a minute, but start with a focus and get readers from there.
Use Social Media to Your Benefit
After you’ve written your blog, post a link to or an enticing quote from your blog on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other relevant social media site where you might have friends, family, and other contacts. Comment on other genealogy blogs to interact with their authors—they can come to your blog in return. Finally, you might also consider starting an email newsletter that people can sign up for or simply creating a link to the article in your email signature. In other words, reach people in the places they are with your blog. In time, then, with strong content, you can get them to come to you.
Join Genealogy Groups
There are several excellent genealogy groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Ancestry.com, or other sites that you can really benefit from. You might also find some great groups that meet in person in your community or larger metro area that you can join. Not only will you have a platform to share your blog with these groups, you can also get expert opinions, different viewpoints, or even valuable proofreaders that can help you with your blog.
This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com