Building and Maintaining Genealogical Websites


Published on

17 February 2010, "Building and Maintaining Genealogical Websites." North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Raleigh, NC.

This is an overview of tasks and considerations for creating and managing genealogical websites, both for amateur and professional genealogists.


Published in: Technology, Design
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Building and Maintaining Genealogical Websites

  1. 1. Building and Maintaining Genealogical Websites NCAPG Meeting, 17 February 2010 Raleigh, NC JORDAN JONES E-mail: [email_address] Web: Blog:
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Websites for Genealogical Data </li></ul><ul><li>Websites for Professional Genealogists </li></ul><ul><li>How to Build a Website </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul>
  3. 3. Websites for Genealogical Data
  4. 4. Why Build a Genealogical Website? <ul><li>Organizing genealogical information – Gather and organize the results of research in order to help a researcher or client </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing genealogical information – Especially helpful for wide dissemination to family members </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methods (In Order of Increasing Flexibility) <ul><li>Upload GEDCOMs to hosted sites or to use them with GEDCOM viewing tools: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ancestry’s RootsWeb WorldConnect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GEDCOM Viewer and GED2HTML (Java-based, platform-independent viewer and converter) - </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Direct Output – Several products output directly, or via plug-ins that understand their data directly. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ancestry’s Family Tree Maker, of course </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The best of these, however, is: TMG, via SecondSite - </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Best Method: Native Database Output <ul><li>Several programs allow for management of genealogical data within databases designed for web output: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GeneaPro – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PhpGedView – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Next Generation – TNG – </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>BUILD IT YOURSELF, OR FIND A SERVICE? </li></ul>Websites for Professional Genealogists
  8. 8. Why Build a Professional Website? <ul><li>Professionalism: Websites are signs of professionalism, in genealogy as elsewhere in the culture. Websites are now as essential as business cards. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing: Websites provide effective marketing at low prices, including the development of mailing lists of prospective clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Education: Websites can educate your customers and lead to a more rewarding experience for both parties. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Pro Gen on Websites <ul><li>Pro Gen (pp. 218-219) suggests asking the following questions before deciding to build a website: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost: Can you afford it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Location: Where will your page be located? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming: Will you do it, or will you hire someone else do to it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links: Are you willing to spend the time looking for other pages to link to, and vice versa? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content: What content will your site contain? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment: Are you committed to the site? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Market: Are your potential clients using the web? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. How a Website Helps Market Your Business <ul><li>The website is your hub. Business cards, bills, reports, and letters should point to it. Strategies to consider: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google AdWords (paid). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drive people to your site based on their searches. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-mail Newsletters (free or paid, $15-$30 a month). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opt-in with links on your site. For example: . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking and sharing (free or paid). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LibraryThing, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Samples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing demonstrates the quality of your work like a sample </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tools such as WordPress allow you to create dynamic websites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Commerce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon and others allow you to affiliate, or easily set up your own store </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Blogger
  12. 12. Amazon Store Integration
  13. 13. Delicious
  14. 14. WordPress
  15. 15. <ul><li>P D I O O </li></ul>How to Build a Website
  16. 16. How to Build a Website <ul><li>Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>Implement </li></ul><ul><li>Operate </li></ul><ul><li>Optimize </li></ul><ul><li>This process repeats. While optimizing, you’re likely to start planning again. </li></ul>
  17. 17. 1. Plan <ul><li>What do you want from the site? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you organize the information? </li></ul><ul><li>Will you need technologies beyond a simple webpage? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This depends on how interactive you want the site to be. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. 2. Design <ul><li>Scope – How much information will you have in each category? </li></ul><ul><li>Chunking – A rule of thumb: Provide no more than 2 pages of scrolling. </li></ul><ul><li>Map the site visually on paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Visuals – Design for clarity, and provide plenty of white space. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is often hired out, $20-40 an hour, or available for a small fee from your host. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. 3. Implement <ul><li>Choose a host based on features and price. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$3-$15 a month. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you need database servers, a high amount of data transfer? Probably not as you get started. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You can hire out the development, $60-$150 an hour, or for a set price by your host </li></ul><ul><li>There are tools for all levels of web developer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Novice – Apple iWeb, (free) (free) and page building tools from your host </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intermediate – Adobe Dreamweaver, (free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced – Java, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, Apache developer’s tools and toolkits, </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. (Microsoft)
  21. 21. 4. Operate <ul><li>Day-to-Day – Most day-to-day operations should be managed by your host. </li></ul><ul><li>Customer Tracking and Error Logs – Use your site log to monitor comings and goings and errors caused by your site or links into it. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many hosting companies will provide analysis of your logs for free. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See also (paid) and (free). </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. 5. Optimize <ul><li>Link and Site Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Test your site: Use tools such as those available at (free) to crawl your site in order to: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Verify links. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find slow pages, graphics, or software. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find errors in coding. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use development testing tools and browser plug-ins (free and paid, see Firefox developer plugins and extensions) to walk through your site, looking for errors, especially when you make changes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up monitoring: For example, (free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up applets or automation to drive content from blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and other services to your site. Examples: and (both free) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Costs <ul><li>Hosting: $3-$15 a month (depends on service) </li></ul><ul><li>Web Design: $20-$40 an hour </li></ul><ul><li>Web Development: $60-$150 an hour </li></ul><ul><li>Package Deals: Some hosts will provide some or all of the above items for a packaged rate </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail Marketing: $15-$30 a month. (Some free options are cropping up here. Google “Free CRM”.) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Recommendations <ul><li>Every professional genealogist should consider having a website. </li></ul><ul><li>Start with a single-page “billboard” website that announces your services and contact information, but is small enough to maintain on your own. </li></ul><ul><li>Websites should be as up-to-date as possible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have more content than you are willing or able to maintain, then you have too much. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is best to start small. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can add content if and when you want to do so. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content management systems and blogware, such as WordPress, or page templating such as what is offered by Microsoft and Google, can provide a platform for easy site creation and maintainence. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. References <ul><li>Addison, Doug. Web Site Cookbook. (O’Reilly, Sebastopol, CA: 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Mills, Elizabeth Shown, editor. Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD: 2001) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Additional Resources <ul><li>Google Resources </li></ul><ul><li> – Blog creation and management </li></ul><ul><li> – Technology sharing, including many free services </li></ul><ul><li> – Free web page development </li></ul><ul><li> – Search-based marketing </li></ul><ul><li> – Website analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo Resources </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, photography; image storage </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, web links </li></ul><ul><li>Miscellaneous Resources </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, books </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, contact management </li></ul><ul><li> – Technology publishing company </li></ul><ul><li> – Follow visitors to and through your site </li></ul><ul><li> – World Wide Web Consortium </li></ul><ul><li> – World Wide Web Consortium tutorials </li></ul><ul><li> – E-mail marketing </li></ul>