Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Big Secret

Genealogy Bloggers Rock!
2014 Blogger's Summit at
Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
I have a big secret - and a mystery, too. Not that kind.... 

However, if you are reading this, you are in on my secret. The mystery is about this secret. You see, while this blog has been around for awhile it seems that very few people know about it and that search engines miss it entirely. Apparently, without a personal invitation, nobody can find it. Sort of depressing, when I think of the work that has gone into it. On the other hand if I ever become a super-celebrity (heaven forbid!) I will know how to hide out on the web. But, back to how I found out that I had this secret...

I learned all of this at the Blogger’s Summit at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank this past week. If I wasn’t so shocked, I would have had the sense to be embarrassed. Lacking sense, I just sputtered, which was not at all attractive, but fortunately, the blogging community  wasn’t alt all snarky about it and welcomed me with open arms. (Perhaps they noticed my very warped sense of humor?) I found my way to Blogger’s Island, a conference table situated in the midst of the action with comfy chairs and libations nearby. Bloggers there gave me all sorts of wonderful advice about blogging and the courage to figure out what is wrong with my blogging. So thanks to bloggers such as Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, Elise Doerflinger, J Paul Hawthorne, Kim Cotton, Randy Seaver, Blaine Bettinger, Cindy Ingle, and so many others who hung out with me at Blogger Island, I have been working hard at letting my - our - secret out of the bag. Let the mystery finally be solved! 
Blogger's Island

Since then, I have learned that either I am as obtuse as they come and the Forest Gump of the blogging world, or that any blogger - new or experienced - can be in a similar situation. This is what I learned: first, check your settings. Mine were fine, meaning that I was keeping my secret in far more techie ways that I had the brains to delve into, but that has never stopped me. Of course, this epiphany occurred well after midnight, but I was committed to doing something, so I did a big ol‘ swan dive into the techie part of the blog puddle and learned about getting the word out. It seems that I was lacking a feed, meaning a service to spread the blogging word. I didn’t have one, or at least it didn’t go beyond Google+ anyway, so I looked around to find feeds. At two in the morning, I started looking around  to get myself listed on “feeds” such as FeedBurner and others. The ‘Others” part is what I am still working on... and trying to figure out what I was doing plus what I did at o’dark o’clock in the morning. My memories of it are a bit sketch at this point, but I did do some things correctly. Despite the hour, I somehow figured out that I needed to optimize my blog’s visibility to search engines. This is called “Search Engine Optimization” and sounds intimidating. It is intimidating unless you are or you have a 14-year-old kid around. Unfortunately, I am not 14 and when I was trying to do this for my blog, it was 2:30 in the morning and no 14-year-olds were available to consult. What I did do was left a strong document trail. I copied and pasted every page into a document and bookmarked everything into a separate, new bookmark file that was hard to misunderstand (i.e., “Blog Site Stuff So I Won’t Screw It Up In The Morning”). Now, I am blogging, procrastinating before slogging my way through that batch of bookmarks and an equally confusing scrum of note, all the while hoping someone will come along and explain what I did and what it means and how to get it all fixed so I can do some real genealogy. This may be quite a long process without the aforementioned help, so if there is anyone out there in my currently secret society who can answer my questions, of which there are many, please feel free to make suggestions. In the meantime, if you are reading this secret blog, feel special.