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Get Traffic for a Genealogy Blog

Updated on April 29, 2019
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia likes to help other writers get started online. She wrote for eHow, Squidoo, Hubpages, and is a blogger.

Bloggers Need Readers

No matter what kind of blog you write, you'll want to know how to increase your readership.
No matter what kind of blog you write, you'll want to know how to increase your readership. | Source

Want More Readers for Your Family History Blog?

From the time you post that first story on your genealogy blog, you hope the readers will find it and keep coming back for more. The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a blog challenge, has more genealogists writing down their family stories and sharing their research. Many ask the question, "how can I get more followers for my blog?"

There are some simple ways to build up your readership. I'll share what I've learned over my years of writing my blogs and from writing for content sites like Squidoo.

Make It Easy for Readers to Return to Your Blog

Set up the widget for FOLLOW BLOG so they can have it sent to them via email.

Make Sure Family Members Know About the Blog

  • When you send letters or Christmas cards, tuck in a slip of paper or a business card that tells about your blog.
  • Start a Facebook group for your family surname and invite all your cousins and other relatives. Regularly share the links to your blog posts so they don't miss any.

Start a Facebook Group for Cousins And Others Interested in That Surname

I have 4 cousins' groups on Facebook and regularly post my blog links there.
I have 4 cousins' groups on Facebook and regularly post my blog links there. | Source

Put Blog Links on Ancestry.com

To reach other researchers, who are looking for the person you blogged about, post links on ancestry.com. This probably can be done on other sites like My Heritage, Geni, Find-A-Grave, and Family Search.

On the profile of an ancestor that you wrote about, go to the list of sources. At the bottom of that list, click on ADD WEB LINK. Put in your URL and a title. If the blog post title is too generic, I adjust the title just on Ancestry so it is meaningful to ones searching there.

Here's an example of adding your blog post URL on Ancestry.com.
Here's an example of adding your blog post URL on Ancestry.com. | Source

Post More By Joining Challenges

I very much recommend trying a challenge to get you to posting regularly. The more content you have on your blog, the more Google will pay attention and send traffic to you.

For several years, I've participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge which occurs every April. It gets you to write in your blog every day for a month for a total of 27 posts. These are done following the alphabet, so the first day is A Is For -----, and so on. You get Sundays off.

I've taken this year off from that challenge so I could focus on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow Johnson provides a list of prompts to get you started. That encourages writing about a different ancestor each week for a year. If you missed the start in January, you can still join in at any point. You can be creative with the prompts or go off topic if one doesn't fit your plans.

You can find other genealogy blog challenges by searching on Google.

Join Blog Challenges

Blog challenges get you to post more frequently and also to interact with other bloggers participating in the challenge. Naturally, many of them will visit your site and even subscribe to it.
Blog challenges get you to post more frequently and also to interact with other bloggers participating in the challenge. Naturally, many of them will visit your site and even subscribe to it.
This started in 2014 and has grown bigger every year.
This started in 2014 and has grown bigger every year. | Source

Make It Easy for Readers to Go on to Other Related Posts

You can choose a Wordpress theme that has this feature with each post or you can put your own links to related posts at the end of each story.
You can choose a Wordpress theme that has this feature with each post or you can put your own links to related posts at the end of each story. | Source

Check Your Settings

Enable Comments

Choose settings that enable people to comment on your article but also to block out spam. I enable avatars (Wordpress explains this, "an avatar is an image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on avatar enabled sites."

You can set up with Wordpress a "Gravatar" which is a Globally Recognized Avatar. You don't have to be a Wordpress user to set one up.

Add Social Media Sharing Buttons

Look for social media buttons on your dashboard under Appearance - Widgets. These make it easy for your reader to share your story on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. (see the photo example below).

Activate the LIKED feature in the settings. This makes it easy for you to make return visits to other blogs.

Add Social Media Buttons to Your Page

Add tags to each post for surnames, locations, years, other topics (like death, immigration, marriages, etc.).
Add tags to each post for surnames, locations, years, other topics (like death, immigration, marriages, etc.). | Source

Interact with Other Genealogy Bloggers

There are a number of Facebook groups that specialize in genealogy blogging. I'll list some below.

Browse the group to see that it's a good fit for you. Read their guidelines, then click on JOIN. Don't overwhelm the group with every post you've ever written. Take time to get the rhythm of the group and notice if there are daily or weekly places to share your newest writing.

Go to other group member's blog posts to read and comment on them. This will give you new ideas for improving your own blogging. Often those bloggers will return the visit after they see your comment.

Facebook Groups for Genealogy Bloggers

  • Genealogy Bloggers
  • We Are Genealogy Bloggers (good for getting advice, NOT for posting your blog posts in)
  • Our Ancestor Stories, Inspired by the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge
  • Generations Cafe (this is specifically for writers participating in the 52 Ancestors challenge)
  • GeneaBloggersTribe - go to their website to register your blog. It will appear on their Facebook page as a new genealogy blog and also show up once a year on your blog anniversary date. Their website also has prompts for genealogy bloggers in case you run out of topics to write about.

Facebook History Groups for Sharing Genealogy Blog Posts

Look for state or local history groups that fit your topic like Kansas History Geeks or You might be from Montgomery County if... Take a look at the photo below to see how this looks. Note that I wrote a sentence or two to introduce the blog post. This helps make it searchable on Facebook.

There are some nostalgia groups (Dusty Old Thing, Do You Remember, Time Travelers) which can bring a lot of one-time visitors to your blog. Many of these groups are really large with 30,000 or more members. If your picture, title, and story are particularly engaging, these can get shared and reshared many times across Facebook.

You can also post to groups such as the Civil War Buff or US History.


Example of Sharing a Blog Post on Facebook

Source

I've found it beneficial to post some links from my family history blogs to Facebook groups of nostalgia or history. I get traffic and sometimes, new subscribers. In particular, they seem to like solved mysteries or unusual vintage photos.

Set Your Blog with Search Capability

Encourage people to search for other topics or names within your blog. You want to get each visitor to read as many posts as possible.
Encourage people to search for other topics or names within your blog. You want to get each visitor to read as many posts as possible. | Source

Pin Your Post to Pinterest.

It's important to have a photo of some sort with your family story. That makes it easy to pin to Pinterest. You can set up pinboards there with each surname and pin to those.

Having a Graphic on a Post Gives Something to Pin to Pinterest

You can't just grab any photo online to use with your blog, but many of the pictures on Wikipedia are public domain. You need to credit these. I didn't have a photo of the ancestor who was killed in a farming accident, but this picture served for me.
You can't just grab any photo online to use with your blog, but many of the pictures on Wikipedia are public domain. You need to credit these. I didn't have a photo of the ancestor who was killed in a farming accident, but this picture served for me. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Virginia Allain

Comments

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    • TheSuperSagor profile image

      Sagor Al Mamun 

      2 months ago from Dhaka,Bangladesh

      very helpful post.. thanks for sharing

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      I have to do that with articles I find. It makes it so much easier to find again. I'll try to add more tips over time.

    • profile image

      Elizabeth Gauffreau 

      2 months ago

      Thank you for this very helpful article! I've saved it in Evernote for future reference.

    • profile image

      Diane Anderson 

      3 months ago

      Virginia,

      Thank you so very much for all these great tips! I will start putting most of them to good use right away!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This is a great guide for anyone with a genealogy blog. Thanks for sharing. There are also many tips that can be used by other bloggers.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Virginia, many thanks for updating me on the challenge. I will soon do my search for connection. Have a great time.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      3 months ago from Central Florida

      Miebakagh Fiberesima - I did a search on African social media and found a nice list. Check to see if any of those would be a good place to promote your blog

      hi5: Popular throughout much of the world

      Netlog: A blogging service available in dozens of languages

      Badoo: Multi-cultural site, claims over 46 million users

      AfricanZone: A general social network started in 2008

      African Path Village: Runs on Ning

      NaijaBorn: A new Nigerian community site

      Maneno: A promising minimalistic blogging platform that offers a variety of languages. Still in Beta stage

      Afrigator: A blog, photo, and video sharing network based in South Africa

      Gatorpeeps: A social community located at Afrigator that shares similarities to Twitter

      Gnaija: Nigerian social network

      Naijapals: Nigerian social network

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hey, Virginia, thanks for sharing. It seems to me that your story focuses more on Americans, while I am a Nigerian. How does this apply to other nationals? Many thanks again.

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