Tuesday, January 2, 2018

For my Fellow Geneabloggers

G'day to my Blogging Genimates,

I am presently preparing my Beaut Blogs presentation (goo.gl/6AMJju) for Congress 2018 (www.congress2018.org.au).

I am reaching out to you via the blogging medium as I don't have email addresses for everyone I know and I am also hoping to reach bloggers unknown to me. I am seeking your assistance in two ways. 

While my presentation is well underway I want to ensure that I haven't overlooked anything really important. I'd love to know what elements you think makes a blog beaut (stand out from the crowd). No need for an essay - just a thought or two. If you have any thoughts to share please add a comment to this blog post or drop an email to jillballau@gmail.com.

Secondly I want to use, in my powerpoint presentation, screenshots from your geneablogs to illustrate various elements of beaut blogs. If you are willing for me to use your blog as an example please let me know via a comment on this post or in an email to jillballau@gmail.com. 

Please don't be shy. I want my talk to reflect the thoughts and work of many members of the geneablogging community.

Thanks in anticipation,

Jill aka GeniAus


Anne Young said...

I think it is all about the content but it certainly helps to have some white space and illustrations (maps, photographs, charts) to break it up and help make sense. I am sorry I won't be there to hear your talk. I am happy if you use my online research journal (my other hates the word blog - she finds it off-putting - it is not a great sounding word is it)



Jenny Mackay said...

Don't be afraid to write and put it out there. Put your school teacher to bed, don't worry about grammar and spelling, it is your voice. Agree with Anne, photos and maps help explain the story. Sometimes if it's too long, as some of mine were/are, perhaps break the story into two posts. Happy for you to use mine, if you think there is anything worthy. I still love that my blog became cousin bait and have connected with many researchers.

Lilian Magill said...

Make the title catchy, that will make someone want to read it. Engage the reader with a question that they can rely to. Yes, Jill you can use any of mine, if you want to.

Lilian Magill said...

Sorry, it should have read reply not rely.

JenniferAlison Jones said...

A beaut blog will catch your interest immediately with each post title. A beaut blogger will also keep posts concise in order to keep the interest of a casual reader. Happy for you to use my blog any time Jill.

Jill Ball said...

Thanks for the comments and permissions. I want to make the presentation as objective as I can - your input is a great help.

Kim said...

Hi Jill - I must admit I don’t ‘get’ blogs at all (but would like to), so I’m looking forward to your presentation. Having said that, I love the photo heading your page - it’s very welcoming & ‘non-threatening’ to us newcomers, & says “you’re going to have fun here”. It made me want to see more! Once we get past the hurdle of actually finding & being interested enough to investigate someone’s blog, I guess it will be content & ease of navigating the site that keeps us coming back for more. Hope that helps...

Jill Ball said...

Thanks Kim. One of my points is about using images, language etc to reflect the blogger's personality. Hope you come to the presentation as it should give you an idea of what blogs are about.

Dianne said...

I like a clean, uncluttered blog, not too busy or too loud colours. I also like to know who I’m following (some people don’t put their name or a contact email). I know some bloggers like to have ads to make money, but when the ads are interspersed with the text so you don’t know if you’re reading post or ad, I don’t go back. Easy navigation is also important. Acknowledge when readers leave comments.
My articles are usually to tell of a resource, but I try to relate it to a personal ancestor if I can. Once in a while I’ll do a series and that hopefully keeps readers coming back.

Ruth said...

I agree that images and content are both important. Do you remember Carmel's (Library Currants) post on creating your own images when you don't have any available? (http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/picture-this.html) I found that really useful and lots of fun. I played around with some images for my blog which I hope help with reflecting my personality a bit! And content. I think people overthink blogs and then get a bit afraid. Just think of blogs as telling a series of little family stories. But I really wish I was a better story teller. A great example is Jo's (Barwon Blog) latest post. She is such a great story teller and her latest story sucked me right in - (http://barwonblogger.blogspot.com.au/2017/12/thomas-and-ellen.html ). I also recently learned that I should make my paragraphs smaller - only one to three sentences - as it makes it easier to read and creates more whitespace. For what it is worth, feel free to use anything from my blog if you find anything useful (even if it is a case study in what not to do as I frequently break the rules! e.g. long posts in multiple parts because I want to document my proof rather than grab an audience, etc). https://familyfractals.wordpress.com (sorry this got a bit long :) )

genemonkey said...

I'm only a newcomer to genie blogging but have been doing a travel blog for a number of years. I agree with many of the comments including the need for lots of pictures and catchy titles. Brevity is good too, but I'm afraid personally I find that one a bit difficult if you want to tell the whole story! Feel free to use anything of mine.

Anne said...

Following up on Ruth’s comment, observing copyright is really important, particularly when it comes to pictures . It is great that she suggested an alternative source.

I think it is also important to observe privacy of other family members. If I am going to write about somebody, eg my mother or my children, I check with them that they are OK with that. I do it each and every time, I do not presume. I am also careful when writing about people that my readers will have known. We all have different memories and I don’t want to upset my family. I find it much easier to write about the long dead.

Anonymous said...

One more thing. My genie blog is a mix of my genetic and traditional research. I am trying to attract an audience to help with my 'brick walls'. I would be interested in advice about how to attract the 'right' audience. I'm using tags and adding links to Facebook and Wikitree, but are there other strategies that might help?

Fran Kitto said...

A dump of thoughts: While it is important to understand your audiences needs I balance this with writing for myself. I talk in my own voice. I wish I was more consistent with posting. I have loads of drafts but never finish them. Scheduling time or blog challenges helps me with creating posts. Have a purpose for your blog. Share on social media to expand your audience and tell current readers of new posts. Images are essential. Especially for social media. Canva.com is a super easy way to make images and you can get free or purchase images to make your posts more interesting or images for social media and avoid copyright problems. I try to use a limited colour palette and consistent fonts with images. I share about me to - family history for future generations. Might have got off the topic or not for xplained my thought process with this dump. Tomorrow my thoughts will be different however you need to want blog to get enjoyment from blogging.

Jill - feel free to use any screen dumps of my blog or social media posts.
Happy New Year

crgalvin said...

I'm sure you've got all these points covered
-catchy title
-visuals - at least one, quick to load small files
-use of headings and subheadings to break up text
-short paragraphs - easy to read
-lists and/or bullet points to provide variety
-quotes and indents
-spelling and grammar checks
-clear type - i.e not faint grey (think old eyes), not green on black or some other horrible combination
-contact info
-search facility
-archive listing of posts, categories and/or tags
-check how blog looks on phone and tablet ( I do all my blog reading on tablet)
-encourage comments
-subscription buttons/links
Feel free to use any screenshots from my blogs

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

As above and per my other comments but I think response to comments brings engagement. (Sometimes I fail)

Do you go with what will engage readers as prime consideration? Or the need to tell the story and document sources and strategies (incl maps, pics, links etc)?

Jill Ball said...

I woke this morning to this fantastic conversation. It demonstrates a strength of the blogging medium.

Thank you all for taking the time to join in with your thoughts and give me permission to use your blogs in my presentation. Your contributions will lift my ordinary presentation.

Linda Stufflebean said...

Good content, but with text in short paragraphs and at least one image or graphic of some type. More is better with images.The blog also needs well constructed sentences - anyone can make a typo or two, but when the sentences are run-on, it's difficult to follow a train of thought. Catchy titles are fun, but if the blog is about a person or family, the surname needs to be in the title, too, for cousin bait.

Infolass said...

I read a lot of blogs via my feedly reader so I look for an interesting heading and the first few sentences should catch my interest - especially if I am not too familiar with the blog. Are you going to mention "Search Engine optimization" so that a blog can be effective as "cousin bait".

There are of course different types of blogs including organisational ones which are a great source of updates and what is new etc.

tasteach said...

Hi Jill,
When I do this with school students, this is my list for a great blog post:

1. catchy title
2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
8. ends with a question to lure your visitors into leaving a comment

Feel free to use my family history blog. I have also produced a youtube video about creating a FH blog using edublogs.

Jill Ball said...

But wait there's more.... Thanks for the input.

Diane Gould Hall said...

I don’t think I can add any suggestions to the wonderful lists already shared by other bloggers. However, I'll give you my two cents. What keeps my coming back to other blogs is a conversational way of presenting the story. So, I try to think that the reader is sitting across from me sharing a cup of coffee and I’m telling a story. Along with the story, I’m sharing a picture or two and also some tips on how I obtained the information.
You may feel free to use content from my blog in your presentation, I’d be honored.

Happy New Year,

Brenda Wheeler said...

If you start a blog, make sure you think of all the different connotations of the name you choose. I thought it was apt to call mine 'My Mum's Drawers' as I was going through things that she had left behind in her desk drawers when she died. Unfortunately if you search for My mum's drawers it comes up in the middle of a load of pornographic sites!

Devon Noel Lee said...

I read most of my blogs through feedly and I'd occasionally n will try our new blogs from looks on Twitter or Facebook. So titles and images are necessary.

Find images on pixabay.com or pexels.com if your lacking something.

Devon Noel Lee said...

A beautiful is one that's easy to read visually. There are so many blogs that use a dark color scheme with a colored font and busy background image that I leave immediately, regardless of content. Keep it simple. Color is fine, but make sure there is contrast between the font color and the background.

That being said, there are several 'ugly' blogs that I follow beause if my next point and the power of a feed reader to take away the ugly. 😀

Also, don't write and wait for people to come. Go comment on other people's blogs. I will follow the work of my earliest commenters. Engage and become a beaut big beause of who you are and what you share.

Marian B. Wood said...

Jill, Lots of great comments already. May I suggest two more thoughts: First, decide on the purpose of your blog. Mine is cousin bait, as much as to "think out loud" about my genealogy methods and adventures. Second, to make it easy for possible cousins to connect, consider "ancestor landing pages" like those spread across the top of my blog (an idea I borrowed from another blogger). These pages summarize what you know about a surname or particular family, including a few photos. More than once, a cousin has contacted me after "landing" on a landing page via online search and recognizing that our families are related in some way.

Jacqui Kirkman said...

It’s easy when writing genealogy stories to get bogged down in the details so I try to tell a story. While the exact date and month one of my ancestors was born may be important to me, it’s probably not of that much interest to other readers. Other things which make reading easy: dot points, headings, bolding of important words and/or phrases. You’re welcome to use my blog but it is a bit neglected. Work gets in the way of genealogy :( www.leavesonmyfamilytree.wordpress.com

Laura Hedgecock said...

1. Content really is the king. Well written, fresh content, that is.
2. Beautiful is in the eye of the beholder, so I believe keeping the beholder's eyes (and brain) in mind when it comes to design. White space, shorter paragraphs, headings and bullet points all help, but so does starting with a good design.
3. Sometimes less is more--keeping the site uncluttered helps focus attention on content.

You can use my blog (TreasureChestofMemories.com) Also, I think the Legal Genealogist's blog is a "beaut."

Campaspe Library said...

I agree with the comments above :
Catchy title
Good, relevant content
Easy to navigate, uncluttered
Good use of images
Respond to comments
Clear type
Keep ads and irrelevant content to a minimum
Happy for you to use my blog https://campaspegenealogy.blogspot.com.au/

Sharon said...

Happy for you to use my blog.
My advise is jump in and start. I agonised over the name for my blog for over 12 months and then changed it after the first week and now have a URL that doesn't match the name of my blog.

Jill Ball said...

I haven't checked back in for a few days. Thanks all who have added to the conversation.You are so generous.

Sharon said...

This post reminded me that I have applied for LSL to attend. So I've just booked my flights and conference fees. Next step accommodation.


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