#FHExpos Mesa Welcome Mat

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[Note: this content was previously published on 6 October 2009 but the information also applies to this weekend's Family History Expo Mesa]

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

I ask this because starting on Friday, 22 January 2010, as many genealogy bloggers begin attending the 2nd Annual Arizona Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona, you may see new viewers to your genealogy blog.

In addition, at 8:00 am on Saturday, 23 January 2010, I will be presenting Become a Genealogy Blog User and during class will list links to over 100 genealogy blogs.  Attendees also will have these same links in their syllabus materials to use later when they arrive home and begin exploring genealogy blogs.

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!

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.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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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.

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