Genealogy Q&A: Developing a Free Family Website

By Vanessa Wieland

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If you want to share and preserve your family history, you may want to consider a free family website. Having your own genealogy site is a fantastic way to preserve your family history. And with plenty of free platforms available, you don’t have to break the bank to do so.

But if you think that creating a family website is beyond your capabilities, think again! Here are some questions that will show you just how accessible and rewarding creating your own family history website can be.

Free Family Website Building Basics

Q: I can barely turn on my computer, much less do any fancy programming. Do I need to know a lot of computer tech-y stuff to create a website?

A: No, the great thing about free family websites is that there are templates built in for you. You don’t need to know how to program or code, just how to type in a word processor and upload photos and documents.

Q: Just some questions about setting up a website: When I create the name for my website, do I need to include my full name in the title? Or just my first name and my city? What is best?

You don’t have to include your name at all if you don’t want to. A lot of people choose a website name that contains word “genealogy” in it, i.e. “Our Family Genealogy” or “Climbing the Tennessee Tree.”

That said, if you’re researching a specific family branch or surname, you may want to include that in the title, and if you’re researching them within a specific area, that may also help provide clues to other people researching the same information. For example, “The Davis County Ashfords.”

Pages vs Posts

Q:  I am wondering what to put on pages versus on posts. I want to provide information I have accumulated with stories, something that won’t be changing, and was thinking every week I would add some new information as a post. But now I am wondering if that is the right way to go. Should I just have pages?

A:  A page is static. A post is something that’s ongoing. What you’re describing falls under the concept of a post. A page is much more like “About” or a page listing the surnames that you are researching. If you make all of your posts a page then your navigation is going to get VERY lengthy! If you write them as posts, then they’ll be archived by date or by whatever gadget you add (e.g., popular posts).

Free Space Limitations?

Q: How much space is included in the free websites before you have to go to a paid subscription? If the blogs are archived, do they still count against your space calculation?

A: Whatever you put on the site will count as part of your space allotted. But remember, text takes up virtually no space. Images that have been resized for the web are pretty small too. It takes a lot to max out space.

Free WordPress gives you 3GB. Blogger doesn’t work quite the same way; it has limitations that relate more to how you use the platform. For example, you can have a total of 100 different blogs under your account. That doesn’t mean blog posts—it means totally separate blogs: one for genealogy, one for home, one for gardening, etc. Google provides the storage.

Free Family Website Content

Q: What can I include in my free family website?

A: Short answer: Almost anything you want! However, in order to determine what’s best for you, read about the 5 elements of a good family website.

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