Minimalism is a "design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect." [1]

Minimalist Blog Design for Blogging Genealogy via
What do you want your readers to remember?
Several readers/bloggers have commented to me recently about how much they really like using the Blogger platform over the free hosted version of Wordpress for a variety of reasons [personal preference, really], but they really didn't care for the templates. And that they much preferred the minimalist designs that are more characteristically found on Wordpress blogs.

And I agree. I like the clean uncluttered looks of the minimalist designs. However, this hasn't always been the case. Sometimes my artistic side [Read: the one that enjoys creating designs in Photoshop Elements] takes over and I get this uncontrollable urge to redecorate my blog, changing everything.

However, on one such day, I stopped and thought about what I was actually doing. 

And I realized that what I really wanted my visitors and readers to fall in love with was my words, my ancestors, my stories, my ideas, and my old photos, and not my blog redecorating efforts. Because, after all, my writing is an art, and so is my research and my ideas. And that's what I really want them to be focusing on.

So, since that moment of clarity, I've begun to drain the color and zany designs from my personal family history blog, Family Stories [as well as from this site and]. All in an effort to reveal the vivid color in my family stories [and my messages on my other sites].

What is Minimalist Blog Design for Genealogy and Family History Bloggers?
  • Being content-focused so that visitors and readers concentrate on our family stories, our research, and our images of old photos and documents.
  • Including more white space so that the reader is more focused on your writing without feeling crowded by too much 'stuff' and without feeling too hurried by a blinking image or ad in your sidebar. In fact,  more white space can be soothing. All of which encourages our readers to stay longer and read. [Note: white space doesn't have to be white. It can be black, another dark color, or a muted color, but it's solid and not bright. Gray scale shades work well also.]
  • Eliminating clutter. I'm still working on this one. Basically, I ask myself, "Does this contribute to the stories I'm trying to share?" And if my answer is, "No," then it goes. And this is hard for me.

Now, some of y'all might be thinking, "Whoa, Caroline. If I drain all the color from my blog and take all those doodads off and make it just one plain boring color AND everyone else does this too, then my blog will look just like everyone else's blog. And I want mine to be different."

Well, really, I think you should decorate your blog however you feel. Minimalist Design isn't for everyone and their blogs. I get that. Express what you want, however you want. I'm not saying you should or you shouldn't.

6 months ago I would've been right there with you.


Your template that you picked out? You know, the one with a cream-colored background with the birds flying in the sky? That one's real popular. I see it all the time on family history blogs.

And that one with the bright orange background with the stack of books? That one's real popular too. [Probably because genealogists love books.]

So instead of being original, your blog with these templates ends up looking like everyone else's except there are all these distractions taking away from your family stories and research ~ the stuff that makes your family history blog unique. [And notice how I remembered those designs? Probably not what you were hoping from me. ;) ]

So why not go minimalist [or at least try to reduce the distractions] and hit your visitors and potential cousins with the "maximum effect" with your blog content...with your family stories and research?

Just a thought. *shrugs*

In the next blog post, I'll have 2 short video tutorials showing those who want to learn how to convert their Blogger Blog or their Weebly Site to a Minimalist Design. Stay tuned.

Happy Blogging!

[1] "minimalism." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 15 Nov. 2012. <Dictionary.com>.

11/15/2012 10:56:24

I really like the minimalist blog also. Yours is fabulous. I have toyed with that idea, and may some day in the future.

Caroline Pointer
11/15/2012 11:49:38

Thank you, Yvette! It's a hard thing to do, but I'm happy with the results.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. =)


11/15/2012 13:54:19

Very clever post, Caroline... Sigh. I might have to rethink my newby blog after all....

11/17/2012 18:32:54

I'm looking forward to your tutorials. I might need to rethink also.


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