I love blogging! It has so many advantages for the genealogist/family historian that I can’t imagine trying to research without including a blog in the process. Not only does it allow me to write the stories of my ancestors as my research develops them, it’s also easy to update those stories when new facts come to light. And, it’s amazing how quickly that collection of family stories grows! While even the idea of tackling THE FAMILY HISTORY is overwhelming, blogging “little” stories is a joy.
Blogs are also cousin magnets. Even if your blog stats show few visitors reading your posts, the search engines are keeping a sharp eye on even the smallest blog and will deliver a research cousin in a heartbeat when their search matches your content. There’s also the commenting systems included in most blog platforms which have turned blogs into community centers where people gather to share information and inspiration.
There is one issue that has been a concern – a rather serious concern. Most blog platforms have limited backup capabilities and trying to move content from one platform to another can be a nightmare. Then there’s the dreaded shutdown notice giving users a short period of time to grab their work before the platform is taken down.
How do you protect your work from crashes, shutdowns and old technology? Here are a few ideas for developing “archival quality” blog posts.
This article was written using the Byword [Mac – $9.99, iOS – $4.99] text editing app. It supports Markdown which makes it a lot easier to incorporate HTML code in the article for formatting and including links. It also includes an optional Publish feature – a $4.99 in-app purchase. With it you can publish your Byword files to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Evernote and Scriptogram. Byword is just one of a growing number of editing and journaling apps that support blog publishing. Not only do they make it easier to write articles, you also maintain archived copies of them on your desktop. This can also come in handy when you decide you want to turn some or all of those articles into a published book.
You can also take advantage of a number of journaling applications like WinJournal [Win – $40] and MacJournal [Mac – $40, iPad – $3.99] as well as desktop blog editors like Microsoft’s free Live Writer and Blogo [Mac – $30]. With them you save your working copy on your desktop (or device) then publish a copy to your blog when you are ready.
There’s another advantage to using a writing platform for your blog posts. As your collection of stories grows, you’ll find it very easy to reorganize and repurpose those articles into all kinds of family history publications. For example, you could pull out all the articles on family members who served in the military to create a Memorial Day memory project. Use them to commemorate a special anniversary or honor someone who has passed away. You’ve done the heavy lifting – researching and writing each story – with your blog posts. Now you can enjoy the fun part of family publishing – turning those stories into beautiful treasures.