My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wyoming, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Did I get Over 5,600 Hits in a Week?

Merrimack River, Lowell, MA

Last week was quite interesting; I was on a roll with my blog. How did this happen, what can you learn from this, and what did I learn from it?

How Did This Happen?
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has a free The Weekly Genealogist magazine. One of their features has been the weekly survey, In Nov. the question was how many genealogical blogs do you follow? The response was 60% don't follow any. I wrote about this in a post, A Surprising Survey.

As a result of this, Randy Seaver submitted to NEHGS a list of New England Bloggers and suggested they highlight our blogs. But first, we had to write our own introduction. Mine was the fourth to be highlighted, and I was at the NEHGS last Wednesday when I was told it had been posted. When I got home, I already had 1,855 hits, and that total went up through the evening. There were times I was downright scared, and almost took the blog off.

What Can You Learn From This?
As the days went by, and I was still getting a lot of hits, I realized there probably weren't a huge number of readers, but that the ones I had were reading a large number of my individual posts. I'm basing that on the emails that I received; they were all about the surnames, and the posts that were read. The surnames I have, the ones they have and the ones we share. They also enjoyed reading about murder. It is apparent, to me, that the readers looked at the labels I provided. I then spent time looking at some of the 250 blogs I follow, to gain clues as to why I was getting these hits, and compared my blog to theirs. I discovered there are a lot of bloggers who:
  • don't use labels
  • don't provide a search bar
  • don't allow you to subscribe via email. Only two months ago, I set up the email subscription, and because of that, in less than a week, I received 28 new subscribers, and 9 who used the "Follow" option, with their picture.
What Did I learn?
I should have reviewed my own blog before it went public. The tabs at the top of the blog should be expanded or eliminated. They are the worst of any tabs I've ever seen. A lot of things in my blog are not consistent with other postings of mine. For example, sometimes I bold the entire post, sometimes not. There are other improvements I'd like to make as well. Some of you might already receive these high hit numbers, but for me, I average between 700-850 a week, not 5,600!

My blog is not the best out there, that being said, I plan on providing a list soon, of what I consider to be among the very best of the genealogy blogs. Keep posted.

12 comments:

Lisa said...

Thanks for the insights! I have enjoyed following your blog for some now.

Susan Petersen said...

Excellent learning opportunity. One thing I've noticed since going mobile is that many bloggers have not optimized their blog for mobile viewing. Yours,of course, is mobile friendly. Great insights.

Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

I do not routinely use labels, but I think I should after reading your post.

Heather Rojo said...

This was a great post. I can see that more people are starting to read the blogs NEHGS reccomends, since I don't think I had so many hits when they featured my blog. This is good news. Your idea about the email follow widget is terrific, and I'm looking into adding that on my blog. I look forward to reading your blog list when you post it!

Michelle Goodrum said...

Wow. Great ideas for reviewing our own blogs. Congratulations on the visibility. I hope it helps you find more ancestors!

onerhodeislandfamily.com said...

Barbara - congrats on all the well-deserved attention to your blog. I have been admiring your arrangement of labels with the subheadings of "location" and "surname" to keep them from gettgin too mixed up. I've been thinking of stealing that idea. The sincerest form of flattery??
btw, I look forward to a picture of those NEHGS tulips, in their prime, sometime soon! -- Diane

Wendy Grant Walter said...

I have been doing labels since the beginning but I too really like the location and surname idea!

Shelley Bishop said...

Wow, I can't even imagine getting that many hits, Barbara. Good for you! I know my blog is still a work in progress, and I really appreciate your insights from this experience. I look forward to seeing your list!

Becky said...

Congratulations on the publicity and all of the hits you got from it! Amazing. You've got some good ideas for changes. I also like the "surname" and "location" labels too. Something to think about...

BDM said...

Many thanks for the helpful and practical advice (boy, do I have work to do on mine)! You deserve all the new readers and more. Hope I didn't do this twice ...
- Brenda

Pat Spears said...

Wow, 5,600!! That's great. I want to thank you for suggesting that we put labels in our blog. I went to my blog immediately and did just that! I don't know how to put a "search bar" in my blog but will look it up on google.

Barbara Poole said...

Pat, thank you. For the search bar, you go to design, then add a gadget. Good luck.