About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

GeneaBloggers at FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio This Week

FGS 2014
Many members of GeneaBloggers – at least 40 – will gather with thousands of genealogists in San Antonio, Texas this week starting today to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2014 Conference.

 GeneaBloggers Members – BEADS!

This year’s edition of GeneaBloggers beads – with cowboy hats and cacti – are generously sponsored by MyHeritage. If you’ve signed up with us and your blog is currently listed on GeneaBloggers.com, stop by Booth 601/603 in the FGS 2014 Exhibit Hall and pick up your set. And while you’re there make sure to thank MyHeritage for their support of GeneaBloggers!

Stop By and Say Howdy!

I’ll be there presenting four lectures plus an Exhibit Hall session beginning on Wednesday 28 August 2014 – I can’t wait to meet up with my genealogy colleagues and I look forward to making new genealogy friends. If you are at FGS 2014, please stop and say hello – when I’m not lecturing, you’ll find my in the Exhibit Hall talking with vendors and other attendees. For those of you unable to attend, follow the hashtag #fgs2014 on Twitter for the latest news (see the Twitter feed in the sidebar)!

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Wednesday 27 August 2014

oil well titusville
Today is Wednesday 27 August 2014, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: First Commercial Oil Well – Anniversary, Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Birthday – Anniversary, and La Tomatina (Spain).

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Tuesday’s Tip – Do You Make It Easy to Follow Your Blog?

blog followers

As genealogy blogs become more popular, those who read them on a regular basis are always looking for easy ways to keep up with their favorite blogs. Have you thought about the type of welcome mat you are providing for your current and potential readers? What tools do you offer so that readers can get alerted when there is new content on your site? One of the keys to a successful genealogy blog is making sure that your latest post is always available to your readers!

Offer Different Access Points

Unless you really know your readers, you can’t predict how a person will want to subscribe to your content. They may add you to a list of bookmarks, perhaps add your blog to a list of genealogy blogs on Pinterest, or add your RSS feed on Feedly or another RSS feed reader. If you only offer one or two options, you maybe sacrificing potential readers and site traffic. You can offer a variety of subscription options without making your blog sidebar appear too crowded. Review the options listed below and also check out your own favorite blogs and see how they make their blog available to readers.

RSS Feed and Feed Readers

While some who read blogs may bookmark or “favorite” the blogs they want to track, after about 20 or so link, it becomes difficult to manage. For this reason, many blogs use RSS feeds to create a “news channel link” that then can be used in “reader” programs. These programs, like the popular Feedly reader

For Blogger, in your Dashboard, click Layout, Add a Gadget and then add the Subscribe gadget. For WordPress, most templates will come with an RSS feed button built in. Tip: it is always a good idea to keep track of the URL for your RSS feed in case you want to use it as a link or share it with others.

If you want to attract Feedly users, then visit the Feedly button page to learn how to add the Follow on Feedly button in your blog sidebar.

Email Alerts

Some readers like to receive your latest post in their email. Don’t leave them to their own devices – setting up a Google Alert – just add a “subscribe” feature in your sidebar.

For Blogger, in your Dashboard, click Layout, Add a Gadget and then add the Follow By Email gadget. For WordPress, add the Subscribe 2 plugin to your sidebar (for self-hosted WordPress sites only).

Don’t Forget FeedBurner!

Another option is to create a new RSS feed at FeedBurner (http://feedburner.google.com) and then enable the BrowserFriendly and SmartFeed options in the Optimize section. Doing so will enable those with different RSS feed readers easily add your blog to their subscription list.

See What Does “Burning a Feed” Mean? and Setting Up a FeedBurner Feed here at GeneaBloggers to learn more about FeedBurner.

Other Notification Methods

Once you’ve posted new content, make sure you share the link out on your social media platforms. This means posting the URL to your post (not your blog) to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites.

You can choose to automate the posting using site such as Buffer or Tweetdeck, but be careful: if you have an error in your post title or post, often you can’t “retract” those automated updates. For this reason some bloggers opt to post to social media manually or to build in other review procedures so as not to compound any errors.

Conclusion

The most successful genealogy blogs are those that offer a variety of methods to keep up with the latest content. Don’t restrict your blog to just one method or what you think is the most popular method. Realize that your readers have different habits when it comes to accessing online information; honor their choices and make sure you’re covering all the bases including RSS feeds, email alerts and social media.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.