Blogging Genealogy: How to get visitors to read more via
It's nice to have new blog visitors, especially if you've been spending a lot of time and money on social networks to get them to your blog.

But if you've ever looked at your blog's stats, you may have noticed, that they come, read a blog post {if you're lucky, 2} and then they leave. And oftentimes, silently.

They're in and then they're out.

They didn't even read enough to determine if they might be related in some way.

So how, then, do you get a blog visitor, and most especially a potential cousin, to stay and read?

Well, I've talked about telling a story, 'cause who doesn't like a story? And I've talked about finding the right blog voice 'cause no one likes to be preached to or bored to death. {Or maybe you do. I dunno. *shrugs*} And I've talked about increasing your traffic to your blog as well 'cause relying on Google to direct them to you is helpful, but sometimes you need to help Google out. {And then I further talked about increasing traffic with Cousin Awesome Sauce and 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Genealogy Blog.}

But? There are some other things you can to do to subtly suggest to your visitors to stick around and not be that read 'em and leave 'em visitor.

The following are 3 things you can do to your Blogger Platform blog this weekend to convince your visitors to read 'em and to keep reading 'em until they forget what time it is and who they are. {'Cause why settle for anything less, right?}

Add the LinkedWithin Widget to your blog. 
How to get visitors to read more via
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This is the widget that suggests to your readers 3 of your other seemingly related previous blog posts for further reading below each blog post. It's a great way to get old content read and keep your readers on your site longer or to get a potential cousin reading more and long enough so that maybe they'll contact you. Their site has some instructions on how to add it to your blog. 

Basically, once you get the code for the widget from their site, highlight and copy the code then go to the back end of your blog and:
  • Select Templates
  • Select Backup/Restore to backup your blog before making any changes. {And this is really important. If you save it, mess with your blog, and don't like it, then you can restore it to before you messed with it.}
  • Select Edit HTML.
  • Check the box Expand Widget Templates.
  • Paste the code for the widget right before the </body> tag. {To help you find this tag, use your browser's Find feature by entering </body> into the Find Search Box. See Image.}
  • Click Save Template.
  • View Blog and check to see if it appears on any blog post. Relevancy will improve once LinkedWithin indexes all your blog posts.

How to get visitors to read more via
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Add a Recent Posts Widget to your Blogger blog's sidebar.
Adding this widget is much easier because it's already integrated with the Blogger platform. To add this widget, go to the back end {Design area} of your blog and:
  • Select Layout.
  • Select Add a Gadget.
  • Select More Gadgets. {The Basics are Default.}
  • In the Search Box enter the phrase: Recent Posts and click Enter.
  • There are several that come up. The one that I've always used on my blog Family Stories is the Recent Posts Advanced one because it has image thumbnails and folks like images which means they're more likely to click on them.
  • There are a few settings you can customize in order to get it to look just the way you want in your sidebar. Once you're done with those, click Save.
  • Then click View Blog to see if it's the way you want. If not, go back into it and edit the gadget. Easy peasy.

How to get visitors to read more via
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How to get visitors to read more via
Create an Ancestor Landing Page for an ancestor or family you tend to write about frequently.

It happens to all of us. There are just some ancestors we tend to write about more than others. Additionally, our visitors and readership - over time - tend to grow. As we network online and offline, we tend to gain new readers. And this is a good thing. So make it easier for them to get caught up with your stories about a particular ancestor by creating what online marketers call Landing Pages. And every time you write a new story as a blog post, add a link to it on their Ancestor Landing Page. This way, it's easier for new visitors to catch up on their exploits. {Oops, I mean stories. Yes, stories.}

I've done it for a fairly popular {At least with my awesome readers. 'Awesome' because they actually read what I write and come back for more.} ancestor of mine, my Big Paw Paw. He's naughty. He liked getting married. And then divorced. And had mistresses. And sued family. And was sued {even by the federal government}. So here's Big Paw Paw's Landing Page. Notice that since I made it a Page, he's in the navigation of the site. {He's popular. So I don't mind.} However, an alternative would be to make the Landing Page as a blog post, back date it {so it doesn't show up in RSS feeds}, and then add a link to it in the sidebar. Below are some screenshots of his landing page.

How to get visitors to read more via
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How to get visitors to read more via
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How to get visitors to read more via
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The idea isn't just to increase traffic to your blog, but to invite and subtly suggest they stay a little bit longer and read some more. When a potential cousin reads more, they are more likely to contact you and share. And I know this from personal experience. I've had cousins who have found my blog. Contacted me for more info. {Not to give it, mind you, but to get it.} And then a month or 2 later email me and tell me, "Ohmigosh. I finally read all your blog posts about our family. I've got more to add and share with you."

That's why, if your'e related to me, I tell you, "Go read my blog," before ever handing over anything. 'Cause that's double the work. And I try very hard not to do that. I'm lazy like that.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Lemme know below. =)

12/28/2012 07:20:53

Thanks as always for the great advice. I am still pretty new to the blogosphere and still trying to get traffic on my blog.

Caroline Pointer
12/28/2012 07:53:03

Thanks Deborah!

My BIGGEST advice for getting traffic on a personal family history blog is to simply keep blogging. The more you write about your ancestors, the more Google will index you for those particular ancestors.

While a secondary reason for blogging like connecting with other genealogists for the sake of genealogy is nice and can increase your traffic somewhat, it's not the main way to get potential cousins to contact. The main way is to create content on your blog so that Google will index it. And then just keep writing and responding to your commenters/readers.

Genealogists and family historians who blog are very lucky {as opposed to those who blog in other niches or genres} because our content of names, places, dates, and overall storytelling is already great content that Google prefers to index.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. I really appreciate it. =)


12/28/2012 09:44:30

I hadn't thought about a landing page for a particular ancestor or surname. I love the idea! Like everyone else I tend to write blog posts about a chosen few. Good idea! Thanks!

Caroline Pointer
12/28/2012 23:50:31

Cindy, thanks! I had the idea about a year ago and have been 'meaning to do it' since then. I think it's helpful for new visitors.

And thanks for stopping by and reading! :)


12/28/2012 09:50:38

Great tips Caroline! I really love the idea of the landing page for an ancestor. I may just do this, as I have a series of posts about my Grandparents's immigration story, and I've written several posts about my "Traveling Dentist" great-grandpa.

I already have the LinkedWithin Widget set up on my blog, but I haven't added a Recent Posts Widget to my sidebar. I do, however, have my Archives set up to list several of my recent blog posts for the month. I could make my Archives a drop down menu and add the Recent Posts Widget. What do you suggest? Leave it as is, or add the Recent Posts Widget, or have both Widgets?

4/11/2013 22:35:39

As always, thanks for reading, Jana! I do a dropdown menu for my archives and then I have both widgets. I'm greedy like that. <grin> But I think they both serve a purpose. The sidebar one catches those who may not read all the way to the end of a post where the other widget. So I chose to do both.

But? It's personal preference. =)


12/28/2012 23:47:55

Nice post. I'm just starting out and this was very helpful. I'm reading all I can to get ideas and advice.

1/2/2013 04:44:06

Happy new year and I'm so glad you blogged about the benefits of creating landing pages for each ancestor or, as I'm going to do, for each major family on the tree. Thank you very much for this idea!

1/3/2013 01:07:38

Thanks for the great tips! I use WordPress for my blog but these can be easily adapted for the platform.

I haven't completed them yet but am working on creating a biography page for each of my *favorite* ancestors.

1/3/2013 06:31:59

Thanks for sharing these ideas. I've been wanting to do the "related posts" thing for awhile but never really had the time to explore. Because of your post, it's now been added to my three blogs. I also like your idea for an ancestor landing page. I may have to explore this further when time permits.

6/11/2014 14:14:21

Hi, Caroline --
I missed this post when it first came around (and think maybe you reposted it recently?). Anyway, I've been trying to improve my blog as I go along and liked your idea of a recent posts gadget so I tried to add one. I thought maybe it was just taking a few days to find old posts but still, after a week of being there, it shows absolutely nothing. Do you have any ideas why I'm having the problem?


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