Genealogical research is becoming an enormous web category these days. If you are doing your own family research you may want to have a family history website. There are a few good reasons to set a site up. You can document what you’ve found out; it is easy for the members of our family to read along with you and might motivate them to help you with tales or research. And what’s more: your own family website is fun!
Don’t wait with setting up a website until you have all the results of your research. Your own genealogy website may help you getting more information, finding ‘missing links’ if the website is to visit by the public. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. WordPress.com is a good place to start and offers a free blogging platform. But if you are new to building websites, an easier service like Site Build It! Will make the job simpler so you can keep focusing on your digging and researching.
After you’ve decided on this, you have to make decisions on details like site design, content writing, copyright and access rights. You need to buy your own domain name, which costs you very little money. The hosting is more expensive. To create your pages of the website you can use your HTML editor like the popular Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft’s FrontPage. If you are not into building websites, you can purchase these services via one of the freelance websites. Make sure that the provider you hire is dependable, honest and experienced. Check his or her profile and see what former buyers of their services had to say.
When you build your website, you should think of these elements:
* Use a catchy easy-to-remember name for your website. Consult your family about their preferences, since it concerns their family history and information.
* To improve the chances of being on the first few pages in the search engine’s results your heading, URL and first sentences must have the surnames of all the family branches you have found. Use the names regularly in your text on the website. Use words relating to family genealogy often, for instance ‘genealogy’, ‘family history’, ‘family tree’, ‘ancestors’, ‘descendants’.
* For several reasons the quality of your content is very important. You want to offer visitors information that reads easily and is interesting. And you want to make sure your visitors can easily find what they are looking for. Your home page only contains a few short paragraphs on the history of your family and links to your detail pages, your family photos and copies of records you found. Limit the number of graphics on your home page because they download a lot slower and not every visitor has the patience to wait for the whole home page to open.
* Give your site lots of text links and navigation buttons. Give your links simple, clear titles so the visitor knows which ones he wants to click.
* It is very important to use good Meta tags if you want to come up in the first pages with results in the search engines. Of course you will use the name of your family as a Meta tag, and some keywords that are vital to the story you want to tell.
*Work on links exchange: you include links to other genealogy sites, they link to you. Usually you can work out a deal with other website owners, but you can also join a web ring that is focused on your family or on genealogy in general.
*Make sure your contact information is easy to see for all your visitors. Remember, every visitor might be able to help you with your research. And you will of course make it easy for them to ask you questions of give feedback on your website.
These basic tips will help you publicising your findings and getting information from people you have never heard of. Your content can be as wide as you decide: from personal and specific, focusing on your family tree, to general and informative in which case you tell about your scale of experiences with genealogy.
Your website will be a satisfying task that gives out all the information you have gathered to everyone. It’s a source of information, education and entertainment, appreciated by your family, and who knows many strangers. At the same time it’s a great tool to help you by your further explorations through your family history.