Your Blog’s Welcome Mat

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How welcoming is your blog? What impression does it make on new visitors?

I ask this because on Saturday, October 11, 2009, I will be giving a presentation entitled Become A Genealogy Blog User at the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland, CA.  And during this one hour talk, I will be not only highlighting many different genealogy blogs in our blogroll here at GeneaBloggers, but my handouts will also list over 50 genealogy blogs and their URLs.  It is likely that attendees will go home and visit most of these blogs at some point after the presentation.

And if that isn’t incentive enough to think about shaking out your blog’s welcome mat, consider that many web surfers make very quick decisions as to whether or not a blog or website are useful.  As Mother said, first impressions are important!

I will have more posts on this subject soon – specifically on how to create a permanent landing pad area right below your banner and right above your latest post.  A landing pad can give a quick glimpse as to what your blog is about, your best and most popular posts and more.

While I work on these posts, consider some of these tips and tricks:

  • Where Are You? Not knowing where a blogger is based or the geographical area of their genealogy research can cause confusion for new visitors or force them to disregard your site as unimportant to their own research.  Create a simple text widget or add a map for your side bar.
  • Add a Search Engine. Many blog visitors won’t take the time to go through your entire blog to look for information.  Add a search engine widget similar to the one here on GeneaBloggers. For instructions on setting up Google Search and using the link on your blog, see this post on Bootcamp for GeneaBloggers.
  • What Are Your Surnames? Sure Google and other search engines will pick up your blog posts with the surname in them, but having them on the front page of your blog gives them greater page ranking abilities for your site.  Again, a small sidebar widget perhaps linking to the tab or label for that surname would be useful for visitors.
  • A Simple Welcome.  Here’s a great example of a welcome mat at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History: Cindy has created a graphic for her sidebar which reads “Did you land on my blog because you searched for a name that’s here?  If so please contact me at CindysOffice@aol.com.  I’m always looking for cousins and exploring possible family connections!”
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Welcome mat photo used under Creative Commons 3.0 License courtesy of King Dumb at Flickr.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Genealogy Blogs – Vote For Your Faves During #FT40

Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

Family Tree Magazine has opened the voting polls as part of its search for the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs!  There are 131 different genealogy and family history-related blogs which have been nominated in 10 different categories.

GeneaBloggers Nominated

Thanks to all those who nominated GeneaBloggers in the ALL AROUND category – it is truly an honor and we are in good company with so many great genealogy blogs nominated not only in this category but all categories. You can find most if not all of the nominated blogs here on our Blog Roll.

If you find our site useful we’d appreciate it if you’d take a minute and vote for us while you also vote for all your favorite genealogy blogs.

How To Vote

footnoteMaven has done a bang-up job of listing all the blogs nominated, organized by category with directions on how many can be selected in each category.  See her post here.

Voting ends November 5, 2009 so get your list of favorite genealogy blogs and go to the polls here at Family Tree Magazine’s site.

Show Your Support

Take a minute to visit those blogs that are nominated and wish them good luck in the comments section.

And don’t forget that you can also show your support for the contest and genealogy blogs in general by posting one of the contest badges in the sidebar of your own genealogy blog.

And The Winners Are . . .

According to Family Tree Magazine, the top 80 vote getters will enter a final round during which time the editorial staff will select the top 40 blogs.  The winners will be announced in the May 2010 issue.

Good luck to all the nominees and don’t forget to vote!

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Reminder: Nominate Your Favorite Genealogy Blog

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Remember that Wednesday, September 30, 2009 is the final day to nominate your favorite genealogy blogs as part of Family Tree Magazines 40 Best Genealogy Blogs issue scheduled for May 2010.

All genealogists are asked to nominate their favorite genealogy blogs between September 3 and September 30, 2009.  You can nominate as many genealogy blogs as you want (you are not limited to just 40) and you can also nominate your own.

Once nominations are received, visitors to Family Tree Magazine will vote for their favorites from October 5 to November 5, 2009. Sign up for Family Tree Magazine‘s E-mail Update newsletter to be notified when voting is open.

You can nominate your favorite genealogy blogs here using Family Tree Magazine‘s nomination form.

And don’t forget to follow Family Tree Magazine and the “Family Tree 40″ contest on Twitter for contest updates (using the hashtag #FT40).

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee