Hi! My name is Kate Vasicek Challis. I have been blogging at Czech Out Your Ancestors since 2013, and you guessed it, my blog is about my Czech heritage. But today I’d like to write a little bit about the importance of great About Me pages for genealogists. (Here is mine, in case you are wondering.)
My job as a GeneaBloggersTRIBE team member has been to write the blogiversary posts. By the way, I had no idea these posts existed, and I’m sure some of you reading this are also in the dark about what these could be. Basically, every year on the anniversary of your first blog post, GeneaBloggers get spotlighted in a “Blogiversary” post featured on the group blog.
Usually, I try to include at least these three things in the blogiversary posts:
- The name of the blogger with a link to an About Me page
- What the blog is generally about
- The titles and links to the 3 most recent posts*
*Note that if the post is an expired genealogy-related deal, I usually try to link to a different post.
I’ve been writing these for a month now, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve definitely explored more genealogy-related blogs in the past few weeks than I even knew existed! Y’all are a really diverse group, with all kinds of fascinating niche interests, blogging styles, website designs, and background knowledge. It’s been really wonderful for me. I never know where the next link will take me.
I rely very heavily on your About Me page to figure out who you are and what your blog is about. It is surprising how difficult it can be to mine this information. You would be shocked at the number of blogs I find that have really interesting, in-depth About Me pages, but never mention the name of the author!
Imagine I were a casual reader, coming to your site for the first time. Would I find it equally challenging to figure out what you and your blog are all about? Readers want to look at your About Me page and quickly ascertain:
- Who are you? What’s your name, or pen name, organization name, entity, brand? (This would also tell me what you want me to call you when I write about you for your blogiversary)
- What is the blog about? Are you writing about Irish Ancestors buried in Australia? Compiling a research log? Whatever it is, say so!
- What is the purpose of your blog? Your raison d’être, your inspiration, what makes your blog interesting and special?
If you do a Google search for >> importance of About Me Pages ~blogging, you will get thousands of articles explaining what an “About Me” page is, why it’s important, how to write it, where it should go on your site, and when you should write it (the answer to when? The same day you start blogging!).
In addition, here is some helpful advice from blogger and author Laura Hedgecock’s book Blogging for Family History: How to Launch a Blog and Make it Successful:
Think about the type of relationship you want to have with your readers before you set up your “About” page. Give them information that they will find relevant and engaging. Also, think about providing a way for readers to contact you, such as a contact form (which is easy to do on self-hosted sites). Of course, it goes without saying that your About page should include your social media links.
But we are not just any ol’ bloggers, we are also genealogists. We really like our relatives. Okay, maybe sometimes we like the dead ones better than the living ones. But most of us experience a kind of ecstasy that is really difficult to describe to non-genealogists when we connect with a 4th cousin 1x removed. The living people are definitely one way to connect to the dead!
So let’s think about this for a minute. Cousin bait doesn’t work if it’s not connected to the fishing rod! You lure your relatives with your content. They find your blog through a Google search, through Facebook, through a link on the signature at the bottom of your emails… who knows how!
But successfully reeling them in means they end up connecting with you. You need to make it easy for them to find you. The easiest way? An awesome “About Me” page!
Contributed by Kate Vasicek Challis © 2017