31WBGB – Week 4: Analyze a Top Genealogy Blog

I meant to do this week’s challenge from Tonia’s Roots much sooner than this, but I found out that my last post in my blog had been copied in its entirety and posted on another blog full of spam today. Why, I have no idea, as I am certainly no one famous or special. I am proud of the post, but I certainly don’t want anyone stealing it. I was pretty dumbstruck and irate at first. Looking for what I could do about it consumed most of my afternoon; if this does ever happen to you (I hope it never does!), the Geneabloggers have a large list of resources here.

Anyway, on to this week’s challenge – Analyzing a Top Genealogy Blog!

Choosing a genealogy blog to review was very hard for me, since I read so many wonderful ones! But I finally decided to go with one that’s pretty well-known and well-visited by many, not just myself, and I chose Randy Seaver’s ‘Genea-musings‘, a wonderful resource that many of us love and frequent.

  • Content – Geneamusings covers a wide range of content that ranges from industry news and issues to personal research to the ever-popular ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun’. Posts are usually daily and even sometimes more than once a day.
  • Reader Engagement – The topics that tend to generate the most comments are the SNGF and other posts that center on industry issues or news. These are usually things that everyone can enjoy or have an opinion about, and it makes it a style of open forum. The SNGF activity is a good activity to get people interacting.
  • Design – To be honest, this is the only fault I can find with Genea-Musings. The layout is a bit confusing sometimes. The list of links on the right side, including the resources, is great and visible, but the archives are simply labelled by dates. I’d really like to see some categories or easier ways to access past posts. And while Randy makes great use of labels/tags, I didn’t see a search engine anywhere. It seems unfortunate to have as much amazing content as he does and not make it a little more accessible/searchable. It’d also be nice if there were some borders or differences in shading or color of background to let one know where one entry begins and another ends more easily.
  • Monetization – Nope! Randy does what he does for the love of it, it appears, and there’s no ads visible. Not that ads or monetization is wrong! There’s just none present here.

Action Items

What is one thing you want to start doing based on this analysis?

I really want to do more of what Randy does in the way of content. I want to cover a variety of topics, not just my own family history and research, but really connect with others about current issues and items of interest in the genealogy industry. I’m not sure how others keep up on all that news, but I want to try! I also want to find a similar interactive activity to SNGF because I want to have more comments on my blog! I love the feedback and learn so much from the interaction.

Is there anything about your blog that you want to change, now that you’ve done this analysis?

I’m going to add a search function! Even though my blog is a baby, I want to plan ahead for the days when I have many more posts, and keep things accessible.

© 2011, copyright Genealady & JustFolks


31WBGB – Week 4: Analyze a Top Genealogy Blog — 6 Comments

  1. Hi GeneaLady,

    Thanks you for the compliments and the constructive criticism. You’re the first to offer that, and I understand what you say. I’m old and a “stuck in a rut” type of guy, and “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

    For example, I’m still using “old Blogger” for my template, archives, etc. That means any widgets or other “stuff” has to be put in the trempalte as HTML code. I haven’t done it. also any editing, like adding Labels, has to be done that way, and I just haven’t done it.

    I could switch to the “new Blogger” templates, add some nice color, all those widgets I’m envious of, but with over 5,000 posts I’m concerned that I might lose the whole ball of wax (I know, I can back it up, and they say you can undo it, but …).

  2. I completely understand being afraid of losing all the wonderful content you’ve put together! And backing it up can be very time-consuming. I appreciate the response, and I hope you don’t mind that I chose your blog to review – it’s one that I visit daily and really enjoy. Flash and snazz don’t compensate for what you already have – wonderful content and loyal readers. I’d take that any day of the week.

  3. So sorry you got splogged! It’s happened to me too and it is infuriating.

    You picked a great blog to analyze. Randy’s content, both quantity and quality is amazing. Great insights and a great plan. I see you’ve already added the search function. Good for you!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Tonia, I appreciate it! And yeah, the splog thing is becoming a daily thing. >.< I got the first site shut down and now two more have popped up. Their pingbacks are clogging my inbox and I'm always afraid to check for comments, only to see more of them! I've only been blogging a couple weeks, so it's a little overwhelming.

  5. Adding a search function is definately one of those things on my ‘to do’ list. Sometimes I feel rather computer savvy, but most of the time I am intimidated when trying something new in techy land.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    • I feel the same way, Theresa! I’m just lucky that the program I’m using, WordPress, has a lot of those widgets built in – otherwise, it’d be a lot slower going on that to-do list of mine for this site. :) Thanks for dropping in!

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