Tag Archives: blogging

How to Link to a Specific Blog Post and Why You Should

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This isn’t about doing genealogy, but it could help you share those stories about your ancestors. If you’re blogging about your ancestors, you need to know the different types of links to your blog and when (and how) to use them.

How Blogs are Structured

By default, most blogs are set up so that the main page  shows the most recent posts, starting with the last one that was posted. As more posts are added, the older ones get pushed down the page. Eventually, they go off of the main page. Those posts are still accessible — they’re just not on the blog’s main page anymore.

Two Basic Types of Links

A link to your blog (in general) will point people to your blog’s main page. The URL would be something like http://www.nostorytoosmall.com or http://familytrees.wordpress.com. When you want people to take a look at your blog, but you don’t care which post they see, send them this link. They will see whatever the most recent posts are.

A link to a specific blog post will take visitors to that post. The URLs are much longer. For example, the URL for my post about finding the origins of my great-great-grandmother is http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/how-i-found-my-orphaned-milkmaid-susan-tucker-kelley/ . This is the kind of URL what you want to use when you want to point people to something specific.

How to Get the Link for a Specific Blog Post

Blogs on Blogger and WordPress (and most other platforms) are designed by default so that when you click on the post’s title, it will take you to the URL with just that specific post.

If I want someone to see my post on 2015 being my “year of collaterals,” I can click on the post’s title:

specific-linkWhen I do that, it will take me to the URL for that specific post:

I can now copy/paste this URL when I want to point someone to just that post.

Why You Should Use the Right Link

Sending people the link to your blog (in general) is fine when you’re introducing them to your blog. Maybe you want to send an email to your cousins. “Hey, everyone! I’m blogging about our ancestors! Here’s the link: http://example.wordpress.com.”

But, let’s say you’ve been researching with Cousin Joe and you’ve written a post about how you just broke down your shared brick wall. “Hey, Joe! I finally broke down that brick wall! I just wrote about it on my blog. Here’s the link: http://example.wordpress.com. ” That’s all well and good right now…  But Cousin Joe is wintering in Florida and he doesn’t get around to reading your email and doing anything with it for about 2 months. When he clicks that link, he’s going to see the most recent posts. And if you’ve been blogging regularly, that post you wanted him to see isn’t going to be on the main page.

So Cousin Joe gets confused when he doesn’t see what you’re talking about. The golf course is beckoning, so he says, “The heck with this” and he never bothers to look for the awesome article you wrote.

Don’t do that to your Cousin Joe. Send him a link to that specific post.

5 Things I Learned While Blogging in 2014

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2014 was quite a year. I wrote more than I had in recent years, met some wonderful bloggers, and dug into more of my research. I also learned quite a bit while blogging. Here are 5 things I learned while blogging in 2014:

5. Blogging Is a Lot Like Exercising

You know how they say that when you want to start exercising more, it works best to tell your friends so that they’ll hold you accountable? That’s how the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge got started. I wanted to blog more regularly, so I set myself a goal of writing about one ancestor per week. I thought, “Hey, if I announce this on my blog, I’ll be more accountable for doing it.” Let’s just say it worked.

4. Genealogy Bloggers Are Incredibly Supportive

When the 52 Ancestors challenge took off in January 2014, I had no idea how popular it would become. In the early months, I compiled a weekly recap. I added the participating blogs to my Feedly reader and copied the links to the 52 Ancestors posts from the previous week. (Being the librarian that I am, I had to put them in alphabetical order.) When it got to be too much – regularly taking several hours each week – I had to decide what to do. Everyone was very supportive when I had to go to the current format of publishing a recap post and participants leaving links in the comments. It was a hard decision, but it was one I needed to make. I appreciate everyone’s support and understanding.

3. Cousin Bait Works

I found several cousins in 2014. Rather, they found me thanks to my blog posts. Think you need to wait until you know everything about ancestor to blog about them? Think again. Write up what you have. You never know when a cousin out there will see it and help fill in the gaps.

2. Calendars Are Wonderful Things

Having been an editor of several genealogy society periodicals, I know the value of a good editorial calendar. They keep you on track. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my own “best practice” before I went to Europe back in June. I intended on getting the posts for those 2 weeks written and scheduled before I left, but… And once I fell behind, I never got caught up again. (Which is why I posted my last 10 ancestors in the last 2 weeks of the year :(

1. Writing About Your Ancestors Is an Incredible Research Tool

Where will this keyboard take me in 2015?

Where will this keyboard take me in 2015?

Ok, this one’s cheating a bit, since I already knew it. But 2014 absolutely drove home this point. This is nothing like writing about an ancestor – even writing about one specific aspect or event in his or her life – to help you see where the holes in your research are. Suddenly you’re faced with the fact that you’ve never found them in all of their censuses or you don’t have his World War I draft record. You also get lots of new ideas for places to look. Don’t think of writing as something you do when your research is “done.” Think of it as another research tool.

What did blogging teach you in 2014?

Personalizing WordPress: The Missing CSS Code

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In my syllabus for my session “Personalizing WordPress” at RootsTech 2014, I inadvertently left out a section that is required at the top of the CSS file (style.css) when you’re using a child theme. Oops.

At the very top of style.css for your child theme needs to be these lines:

Theme Name: name you want it to display in the dashboard
Description: basic description
Author: your name
Version: anything you choose
Template: name of the parent theme as listed in wp-content/themes (ex.: twentytwelve, twentyfourteen, coraline, etc.)

For example:

Theme Name: My Awesome Genealogy Blog
Description: This is the theme for My Awesome Genealogy Blog, based on the Twenty Twelve theme
Author: John Smith
Version: 0.1
Template: twentytwelve

Put that code at the very top of the style.css file for your child theme. Upload it to the child theme’s folder in wp-content/themes. The child theme will then appear on your dashboard and you’ll be able to activate it.