A bit ago I announced I was starting a series of articles about building a new WordPress blog from scratch. Here it begins.
I’ve been researching my family’s genealogy since I was a teenager, and recently a fantastic series of events resparked my enthusiasm. Over the past few months I’ve been doing even more research and investigation, learning how to research genealogy through the Internet rather than just through libraries, dusty books and old musty photo albums. Connections made via the Internet have led to visits to my ancestor’s homesteads and residences, even meeting new family members and exchanging family history information.
I’ve gathered a lot of information, and as with all such research, the more you learn, the less you know. And the more you learn, the more you want to share. I decided to work with other family members to develop a WordPress genealogy blog. This will help us work together to learn more about our family’s history, as well as help others learn how to research their own genealogy.
Over the next few months I will be leading you through the step-by-step process of developing my WordPress genealogy blog. While you may not be interested in genealogy, you are probably interested in creating or improving your own WordPress blog, so this series should be interesting to follow. I’ll deal with the whole process from developing the purpose and planning of a blog to the gory technical details of what it takes to create a genealogy blog, or any blog.
It will be quite a ride. Hang on!
As with all things, it starts with a purpose and a plan.
The Purpose of This Blog
The process of starting a blog begins with the phrase, “The purpose of this blog is…”, and then answering it.
The purpose of my genealogy blog is:
- Displaying our family tree.
- Sharing family stories.
- Bringing together family members, news, and information under one resource.
- Working with other family members to preserve our family history.
- Sharing our research with others.
- Providing an avenue for teaching and writing.
- Helping others learn from our family history research techniques.
- Provide resources on genealogy research and studies.
The truth is that I just wrote that off the top of my head right now. As we go through this series of articles on building my genealogy blog, the purpose may change. It may be totally rewritten or evolve into a more condensed and specific form. Still, it’s a start.
The task of defining and redefining the purpose of my blog is part of the process. I’ll be discussing how the purpose will change throughout this series, helping you understand the shifts and balances that happen as a website/blog develops.
Now it’s time for the plan.
Developing a Blog Development Plan
I want to build a blog for my family’s genealogy research. I want to showcase our family tree, stories, photographs, and information, while providing an avenue for education. I want to share our family history and what I’m learning by researching my family’s history. So how do I do all this?
I need to create a list of questions to answer to help me develop my overall plan of action. From this list of questions I will determine the following:
- Develop a budget.
- Choose a CMS or blogging tool.
- Choose a domain/URL.
- Find a web server host.
- Determine multi-user contribution and responsibilities.
- Establish copyrights, usage rights, submission guidelines, legal terms and conditions, and general policies for the blog.
- Develop the blog structure, categories, navigation, features, and web design elements.
- Determine which additional features or modifications/customizations are necessary for the genealogy blog and how to incorporate them.
- Determine how much of the process, especially technical, I can do myself, and how much will require the expertise of others.
- Create a plan and schedule for implementation.
Notice how the general plan outline doesn’t start with web design? Most people’s websites and blogs begin with the question: What will it look like? I have been doing this for too long. I know better.
I start the process by asking a lot of questions to determine exactly what needs to go into the website before I begin designing it. It’s like making a cake from scratch by putting the empty pan in the oven first, mixing the ingredients second, and then at last asking what ingredients need to go into the cake. A little backwards.
A genealogy blog is a little more complicated than a normal blog as there are so many technical elements. I know that once I get involved in the technical stuff, I can get lost, obsessed with pushing, pulling, and tweaking things to get them to work. I want my plan in place, other people starting their work to help make this process happen, and then I can drop into nerd heaven.
I have a purpose and a basic plan. I have a lot of questions, overwhelming my head. I certainly have no answers. Yet. So next, I need to come up with the questions that will help me answer the above issues, and to create a solid plan. Are you with me?
Genealogy Blog: Building a Blog Series
- Starting With a Purpose and a Plan
- What’s the Difference Between a Genealogy Blog and a Normal Blog?
- Who, What, Where, and How Questions for the Plan
- Determining What Features I Want in My Blog
- The Blog Budget – How Much Does a Blog Cost?
- The Fast Method of Setting Up a Blog
- Choosing a Blog Title and Domain Name and URL
- Blog Contributors – Wanted Dead or Alive
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network