Do You Have an “About Me” Page on Your Blog?...

Think about it, you read an article or story and if you enjoy it you are likely to look to see who the author is, right? You’re intrigued. You want to know more about the person. Novels normally have a have a biography of the person, while articles online or in a magazine usually have a paragraph or two. I know I read those, and  I’m sure I’m not the only one. But there are a number of bloggers (geneabloggers included) who choose to remain effectively anonymous online. That’s their choice, and I say ‘each to their own’, they have their reasons. But there are some compelling reasons to have an About Me page on your blog. Let me start by saying that I see the usefulness of an About Me page on my own blog. I use Google Analytics to keep track of my blog stats for me, and using that I can see how many people look at what posts each day (or even hour if I wanted to). And from that I can see that my About Me page ranks in the Top 10 looked at posts on most days. So that tells me that people are interested to find out more me, and about who is writing this blog. I’m not saying your have to have your whole life story written there, but just enough to give those reading a sense of who your are. Besides, it adds a small personal touch to your blog, and that’s also important. My own About Me page which you can read here, is small, but I think it says enough. It includes my name, where I’m from, approximate age, experience in genealogy and my goals! But it can say whatever...

Blog Tips – the Collection...

Blogging is an amazing way to be able to share and communicate with others. You can tell stories, show photos, give facts … and more. And it seems that genealogy blogging (aka geneablogging) keeps growing in popularity as people understand what a blog is, and realise the usefulness of them, and decide to make the leap into the exciting world of blogging. But it’s not simply a case of sign up for a free Blogger or WordPress account, and get writing. Ok, technically you can, but there’s some things that you can do to make you blog a “great blog”, rather than “just a blog”. Over the past few years I’ve written a few posts with tips on blogging which are useful for the general blogger as well the geneablogger. So for ease of use, I’ve compiled them together for you: – Tips for Geneablogger Writers and Readers – Tips for Genealogy Bloggers – 17 Websites to Find Photos for Your Blog – Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog – Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons I’m no professional blogger, and don’t claim to be. I’m simply just someone who enjoys writing and and reading blogs. And during that time I’ve seen what makes a good blog, and what doesn’t. So to all those who blog (particularly my geneablogging friends), keep on blogging. Remember every post you write, you are recording (and sharing)...

Blogger Recognition Award...

I got a huge surprise when I found out that Barb from the Decluttering The Stuff blog had nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award. To say I was blow away is an understatement. Thankyou Barb, I’m truly honoured. So to accept the Award, there are some ‘Rules’: – I must thank the Blogger who nominated me and provide a link to their blog. – I must write a post to show the award. – I must write a brief story on how my blog started. – I must give two pieces of advice to new bloggers. – I must select 15 bloggers to pass this award on to. – I must comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post. So a brief history of how I started … well I started genealogy blogging for work back in 2009, but was finding I was wanting to write more about my own family, and experiences in genealogy, and having my own works far better than mixing it with my work one. So in 2011 Lonetester HQ was born, and I’ve been writing ever since. Two pieces of advice … hmm narrowing it down to two, that’s hard, so I’m going to make it five. – Write in your own “voice”, then it sound like you. – Have share buttons. Never underestimate the usefulness of them. If someone can’t share your post easily, they won’t. – Photos. They are important as people do like graphics (ie. Instagram, Pinterest and a decent portion of Facebook). – Have categories. As your blog grows add categories, and file them into them, because it’s ridiculously hard to find something on someone’s blog if it’s just one l-o-n-g...

Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons...

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a few geneabloggers writing about the topic of “is genealogy blogging dying” (see the links at the end), which are suggesting that there are far less active genealogy blogs and/or bloggers, now than there were a few years ago, and that people are turning to social media (namely Facebook) instead. They may well be, but I’m not going into that. Personally I can see that there is a case for both, but it purely depends on what the reason behind you doing it is. So I thought I’d just run through a few of the key features of both a blog and Facebook for you, to highlight the differences. FACEBOOK Let me start of by saying that there are different types of Facebook accounts. There is your own personal account, there are pages, and there are groups, and all of them have a different purpose. The Pros – it’s free – the amount of people there … Facebook states that they have over one billion active Facebook users – you can have a private group on Facebook (so you can have your own non-public family group, so you can get your cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces together on Facebook to chat and share family memories and/or photos) – you can have a group for Descendants of … to keep in touch with the wider family The Cons – not everyone is (or wants to be) on Facebook – it’s not indexed by Google – a photo or story that is put up, is essentially seen once, then lost in the feed – not everything shows up in Facebook, so many posts simply don’t get seen BLOGGING Please note some blogs...

Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog...

Has anyone else had issues leaving comments on someone’s Blogger blog, or is just me? I’m of the opinion that blogging is a two way thing. Someone writes something cool and interesting, you read it, and if you like you should leave a comment acknowledging it, or share it on social media.  So when I read blogs, I do like to comment. However some people who use Blogger have theirs set up differently, so that unfortunately won’t allow me to do so. As these bloggers probably aren’t aware that they’re missing out on potential comments, I thought I would highlight it here. Example 1. This seems to be the standard set of options which it allows you to sign into to leave a comment. However I don’t use LiveJournal, TypePad or OpenID. I have no idea what AIM is, but it doesn’t seem to be anything I can use. And yes, I do have a WordPress blog, but I have a WordPress.org not a WordPress.com one, so I don’t have a WordPress account. So none of these options work for me. I will admit that on rare occasions I have used ‘Unknown’ and just typed my name in as part of the comment, but it’s not ideal by any means. Example 2. This is actually a different issue I have with some Blogger blogs. you’ll see that there is no dropdown list, but rather simply a box to type. However comments based on your Google+ account. Now I manage four Google+ accounts, and it seems to be permanently preferrenced to my work ones. As yet I haven’t yet figured out how to change it, although I’m familiar enough with swapping between accounts themselves on Google+. So again, I don’t...

17 Websites to Find Photos for Your Blog...

From time to time I write a non-genealogy related post. One more general. This is one of those. But all of the links listed below are useful for not just regular bloggers, but they can certainly be used for those who are geneablogging as well. I have always believed that graphics in blog posts are important. And when you read the “what makes a good blog post” type articles, photographs and images always seem to get a mention, so I’m not the only one. Over the years I have been asked where do you get the images that I use on my blog, and the simple answer is I use BigStock which you do have to pay for, but it is low-cost compared to some. But there are other valuable resources out there that you can use, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of them. Many are free free stock photo sites, with a few pay stock photo sites listed as well. It kind of goes without saying that you MUST read the terms of use on each site, because each is different. Some are free without any attribution needed, some require attribution. Some allow you to alter the image, and others don’t. Some are available for personal use only, but not commercial. Others are fine for either use. So be aware, read the licence. ———————————————– BigStock – $ www.bigstockphoto.com BigStock (formerly BigStockPhoto) offers users over 35 million royalty-free photographs and images. They are available to download in various sizes and various file formats, and are available for individuals and commercial organisations. BigStock is a pay site, and you can pay per month, or buy credits. I use the credit method, and just purchase a batch of...

The One Lovely Blog Award...

I’ve been nominated for the ONE LOVELY BLOG Award by the one and only lovely Debra Watkins of the A Pocket Full of Family Memories blog. To Debra, firstly thankyou for reading my posts, and secondly for nominating me, I am really honoured with the Award – so thankyou. To everyone else, do yourself a favour and go visit Debra’s blog, there’s lots of good reading there! And you can read her One Lovely Blog Award post here. Debra is one of my online friends. Although she lives in Australia (as I do), we live in different states, and as yet our paths haven’t crossed in person. But we have communicated a lot via social media – blogs, twitter etc. for the past couple of years. If I’ve nominated your blog, please don’t feel under any obligation to join in with this; I was just pleased to be nominated so that I could share the blogs that I like. =========================================== Here are the rules for the One Lovely Blog Award: • Thank the person that nominated you and link back to that blog. • Share seven things about yourself – see below. • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire – also listed below (or as many as you can think of!). • Contact your bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award. =========================================== Seven Things About Me Hmmm … where do I start? 1. I’m a country girl – I grew up in the Adelaide Hills, and currently live on a 1 1/4 acre block on the outskirts of Adelaide’s suburbia. So I get the country life with koalas and kangaroos and a local peacock being regular visitors to my backyard, while still only...

Blogging: How it Started for Me...

How did you get into blogging? It is an interesting question, and one that I do get asked from time-to-time. So today I thought I’d write the story down publicly. Blogging was something that I never wanted to get into … yes, I know, I know … says she who is now rather addicted to it. But it is true. It was decided (though not by me) that my work needed a blog, and I was given the task of being the writer for it. I did start off very tentative wondering what to even write about, and what would be useful to let people know about, as well as figuring I didn’t have any interesting news to tell people … but almost 4 years later, I’m still the writer of that blog (Genealogy & History News), and now I simply don’t get enough time to write all the blog posts I want to. [DREAMJOB: that would be a full-time geneablogger]. Anyway after writing for the work blog for a while, I discovered two things. 1. I was getting the itch to write some things that just wouldn’t fit on the work blog. 2. I rediscovered my love of writing. I have vivid memory of being in primary school and having a relief teacher for the class, who then asked what we should do. Naturally I put up my hand and asked if we could write an essay, which was what we ended up doing. Needless to say I was NOT popular with the other kids after that. But that is my first real defining memory of realising that I loved writing. So October 2009 was when I’d made the decision to start my own blog, and Lonetester HQ was...

A Blogging Overview: The Bloggers’ Geneameme...

You know I love blogging, so how could I go past Jill Ball’s (aka Geniaus) new geneameme, “The Bloggers’ Geneameme“. Jill writes … “It’s NationaI Family History Month here in Australia and I have been procrastinating about hosting an online activity to mark the event. I am very interested in hearing about the practices and thoughts of fellow Geneabloggers so thought I’d dream up a little geneameme on the topic. You are invited to respond to the questions in this short geneameme via a post on your blog. Please write as little or as much as you like and don’t feel obliged to answer all the questions.” So here goes … 1. What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s? Lonetester HQ – www.lonetester.com Memorabilia House – www.memorabiliahouse.com 2. Do you have a wonderful “Cousin Bait” blog story? I have had some people contact me, but no-one close. What I have found very cool, is that my cousins are enjoying learning about the history of the family through me sharing the pictures and stories. 3. Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging? I started my blogs because I had already been blogging for work, and decided I needed my own, as i had more I wanted to say and share with others. 4. How did you decide on your blog/s title/s? The Lonetester HQ one I took quite a while took quite a while to come up with, as I was deciding on my social media name at the time, so thought about it probably too long. And that’s what it ended up as. The Memorabilia House one just came to me one night. The name, together with the whole...

Tips for Geneablogger Writers and Readers...

Tips for Geneablogger Writers and Readers … actually should be called Tips for Every Reader or Writer of Blogs, as it is actually for everyone who reads and/or writes blog posts, which obviously includes those in the geneablogger scene, but this goes far beyond just them. From my two or so years that I’ve now been blogging, through my various blogs, these are tips that I have picked up along the way. You may agree with some, and not others. And others may have more tips to add. By all means feel free to do so. FOR WRITERS Tip 1. Allow comments on your blog. Yes you will get spam, but wouldn’t you like to know that someone enjoyed your post so much they wanted to comment on it. Or if someone has googled and has come up with the name of your great grandpa who you wrote a post about a year ago, and they wanted to get in touch with you – don’t make it hard for them to do so. It’s off putting. Tip 2. If you use photographs on your blog, label them. By labelling them, I don’t mean caption them (though you need to do that too). I mean the title you give your photos, rather than the P1200983 that your digital camera, or scanner automatically names it as. If you have scanned a picture of your grandma’s and grandpa’s wedding back in the 1940s, don’t just leave it as the default name, name it as “wedding of Annie Smith and Alf Harford 1941”. When people Google for the name, your picture will come up. Trust me you will get new contacts through this. Tip 3. Put share buttons on your blog. People do...