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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

Published in: Technology, Design
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Web Sites for Professional Genealogists

  1. 1. Web Sites for Professional Genealogists Jordan Jones NC APG Meeting / 17 Oct 2007
  2. 2. Why Build a Web Site? Genealogist or Not <ul><li>Professionalism: Web sites are signs of professionalism, in genealogy as elsewhere in the culture. Web sites are now as essential as business cards. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing: Web sites provide effective marketing at low prices, including the development of mailing lists of prospective clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Education: Web sites can educate your customers and lead to a more rewarding experience for both parties. </li></ul>
  3. 3. ProGen on Web Sites <ul><li>ProGen (pp. 218-219) suggests asking the following questions before deciding to build a web site: </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>
  4. 4. How a Website Fits into an Internet Marketing Plan <ul><li>The website is your hub. Business cards, bills, reports, and letters should point to it. </li></ul><ul><li>Other 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. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>See . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking and free resources (free or paid). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Librarything, LinkedIn, Flickr,, Blogger. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Samples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Providing research results or guidance can demonstrate the quality of your work. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. How to Build a Web Site <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>
  6. 6. 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>
  7. 7. 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>
  8. 8. 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) and page building tools from your host </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intermediate – Adobe Dreamweaver, Netscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced – Java, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, Apache developer’s tools and toolkits </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 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 /analytics/ (free). </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. 5. Optimize <ul><li>Link and Site Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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) to walk through your site, looking for errors whenever you make changes. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. 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 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Recommendations <ul><li>Every professional genealogist should consider having a web site </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>Web sites should be as up-to-date as possible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve got more content than you’re willing or able to maintain, then you’ve got too much. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is best to start small. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As you learn about the technology, you can add functionality and content. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. 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>
  14. 14. Additional Resources <ul><li> – Search-based marketing </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, books </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, contact management </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, photography; image storage </li></ul><ul><li> – Web logs </li></ul><ul><li> – Social networking, web links </li></ul><ul><li> – Technology publishing company </li></ul><ul><li> – Technology sharing, including many free services </li></ul><ul><li> – Free web page development </li></ul><ul><li> – Follow visitors to and through your site </li></ul><ul><li> – Web site analytics </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>