Friday, September 24, 2010

Genealogy Blog Bling

One of my favourite Aussie bloggers, Judy Webster, has raised the issue of "must haves" for a genealogy blog. This theme has been taken up by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers  as an Open Thread Thursday theme. "What gadgets, widgets, plugins, etc. do you consider ESSENTIAL for a genealogy blog?"

A number of  bloggers have made comments at Geneabloggers. As an opinionated genealogy blogger I must add my thoughts.

A few months ago I wrote a post Geniaus - Mission Statement Missing in which  I talked about audience and purpose in blogging. I think it is putting the cart before the horse to talk about what a blog must have before thinking about why the blog is written and for whom.

Is the blog for entertainment, education, advertising or promotion?

That being said I think that these elements from the list of musthaves proposed by Judy are probably the minimum needed for any blog:
  • About me
  • Subscribe option
  • Follow option 
  • Blog archive
I would also add a search facility (ie Google search) so that the blog can be searched by keyword and provide a link for the reader to contact the blogger (this could be in the form of enabled comments or a simple email link).

I applied a new template to my blog a few months ago so that I could add extra bells and whistles to my blog. I thought long and hard about which to use and where to place them on the page (and I am still shifting them around). .I live less than an hour from Sydney's CBD in a semi-rural area where we, like our country cousins,  have poor internet connectivity Although my blog is loaded with bling it seems to load in a reasonable time considering the constraints.

Once a genealogy blogger has thought about the purpose and audience for her blog then it is time to consider which bells and whistles are appropriate to enhance that blog's unique character. 


Tamura Jones said...

The only thing a blog really needs is great content. Some info pages (About, Copyright, Contact, perhaps a FAQ) are nice. Most widgets and plug-ins only distract from the content. AddThis and ShareThis pop-ups are particularly annoying.
Good content doesn't need any bling.

Judy Webster said...

Thanks for the big boost to my morale! It is great to hear everyone's ideas (some of which I have already implemented today). I intend to play around with different layouts, stand-alone pages, etc. to see what works best. (So much to learn.. so much to do.. so little time!)

Judy Webster said...

For some reason I have never taken much notice of the Nav Bar at the top of Blogger's pages. A few moments ago I made it transparent (which looks nicer) and I tested the Search box there. It seems to search my blog very nicely - in which case I only need to add a search box in the sidebar if I hide the Nav Bar or if I want to customise the search to include other Web sites. (Please correct me if I'm wrong about this.)

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