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Web Sites for Professional Genealogists

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17 October 2007, "Web Sites for Professional Genealogists." North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Raleigh, NC

17 October 2007, "Web Sites for Professional Genealogists." North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Raleigh, NC

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Web Sites for Professional Genealogists Web Sites for Professional Genealogists Presentation Transcript

  • Web Sites for Professional Genealogists Jordan Jones GenealogyMedia.com NC APG Meeting / 17 Oct 2007
  • Why Build a Web Site? Genealogist or Not
    • Professionalism: Web sites are signs of professionalism, in genealogy as elsewhere in the culture. Web sites are now as essential as business cards.
    • Marketing: Web sites provide effective marketing at low prices, including the development of mailing lists of prospective clients.
    • Education: Web sites can educate your customers and lead to a more rewarding experience for both parties.
  • ProGen on Web Sites
    • ProGen (pp. 218-219) suggests asking the following questions before deciding to build a web site:
      • Cost: Can you afford it?
      • Location: Where will your page be located?
      • Programming: Will you do it, or will you hire someone else do to it?
      • Links: Are you willing to spend the time looking for other pages to link to, and vice versa?
      • Content: What content will your site contain?
      • Commitment: Are you committed to the site?
      • Market: Are your potential clients using the web?
  • How a Website Fits into an Internet Marketing Plan
    • The website is your hub. Business cards, bills, reports, and letters should point to it.
    • Other strategies to consider:
      • Google AdWords (paid).
        • Drive people to your site based on their searches.
      • E-mail Newsletters (free or paid, $15-$30 a month).
        • Opt-in with links on your site.
        • See www.constantcontact.com .
      • Social networking and free resources (free or paid).
        • Librarything, LinkedIn, Flickr, del.icio.us, Blogger.
      • Samples
        • Providing research results or guidance can demonstrate the quality of your work.
  • How to Build a Web Site
    • Plan
    • Design
    • Implement
    • Operate
    • Optimize
    • This process repeats. While optimizing, you’re likely to start planning again.
  • 1. Plan
    • What do you want from the site?
    • How will you organize the information?
    • Will you need technologies beyond a simple webpage?
      • This depends on how interactive you want the site to be.
      • More and more technologies are coming “pre-packaged” as free or inexpensive services, which require little or no software development. Google is at the forefront here. See labs.google.com
  • 2. Design
    • Scope – How much information will you have in each category?
    • Chunking – A rule of thumb: Provide no more than 2 pages of scrolling.
    • Map the site visually on paper.
    • Visuals – Design for clarity, and provide plenty of white space.
      • This is often hired out, $20-40 an hour, or available for a small fee from your host.
  • 3. Implement
    • Choose a host based on features and price.
      • $3-$15 a month.
      • Do you need database servers, a high amount of data transfer? Probably not as you get started.
    • You can hire out the development, $60-$150 an hour, or for a set price by your host
    • There are tools for all levels of web developer:
      • Novice – Apple iWeb, pages.google.com (free) and page building tools from your host
      • Intermediate – Adobe Dreamweaver, Netscape
      • Advanced – Java, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, Apache developer’s tools and toolkits
  • 4. Operate
    • Day-to-Day – Most day-to-day operations should be managed by your host.
    • Customer Tracking and Error Logs – Use your site log to monitor comings and goings and errors caused by your site or links into it.
      • Many hosting companies will provide analysis of your logs for free.
      • See also www.clicktracks.com (paid) and www.google.com /analytics/ (free).
  • 5. Optimize
    • Link and Site Management
      • Use tools such as those available at www.w3c.org (free) to crawl your site in order to:
        • Verify links.
        • Find slow pages, graphics, or software.
        • Find errors in coding.
      • Use development testing tools and browser plug-ins (free and paid) to walk through your site, looking for errors whenever you make changes.
  • Costs
    • Hosting: $3-$15 a month (depends on service)
    • Web Design: $20-$40 an hour
    • Web Development: $60-$150 an hour
    • Package Deals: Some hosts will provide some or all of the above items for a packaged rate
    • E-mail Marketing: $15-$30 a month
  • Recommendations
    • Every professional genealogist should consider having a web site
    • Start with a single-page “billboard” website that announces your services and contact information, but is small enough to maintain on your own.
    • Web sites should be as up-to-date as possible.
      • If you’ve got more content than you’re willing or able to maintain, then you’ve got too much.
    • It is best to start small.
      • As you learn about the technology, you can add functionality and content.
  • References
    • Addison, Doug. Web Site Cookbook. (O’Reilly, Sebastopol, CA: 2006)
    • Mills, Elizabeth Shown, editor. Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD: 2001)
  • Additional Resources
    • adwords.google.com – Search-based marketing
    • www.librarything.com – Social networking, books
    • www.linkedin.com – Social networking, contact management
    • www.flickr.com – Social networking, photography; image storage
    • www.blogger.com – Web logs
    • del.icio.us – Social networking, web links
    • www.oreilly.com – Technology publishing company
    • labs.google.com – Technology sharing, including many free services
    • pages.google.com – Free web page development
    • www.clicktracks.com – Follow visitors to and through your site
    • www.google.com/analytics/ – Web site analytics
    • www.w3c.org – World Wide Web Consortium
    • www.w3.org/2002/03/tutorials – World Wide Web Consortium tutorials
    • www.constantcontact.com – E-mail marketing