I just thought I would throw out a little hard earned wisdom to all of you who might be thinking of starting a family genealogy web site. I hope that you might be able to learn a little something from my mistakes. Believe me, I’ve learned many things by reading bloggers who have shared their mistakes!
First, think long and hard about your domain name choice. You must remember that genealogy is not something you can just fit into one box (literally!). I am now experiencing the hardships that come from choosing a bad domain name! When I decided to do a site, I asked my maternal family for help in getting the site up. There were many donations financially and I felt obligated to give it a name that would fit. I chose forbes-stevenson.com because my maternal grandparents are George Charles Forbes and Winnie Ida Stevenson. That’s a pretty logical name, right?
Well, since I had been doing research on my maternal side for almost 5 years and none on my paternal side, this seemed to make perfect sense! I called it The Forbes-Stevenson Genealogy Home Page, further cementing that this site is about my Forbes & Stevenson roots. Search engines should be able to figure out pretty easily what this site is about.
Well, things have been great! My site is now entering it’s third year and I have made many contacts through it. So, what could go wrong? Well, you have to remember that genealogy must be flexible. I have now started a thorough research on my paternal side and want to post it also. So, how do I integrate the Spangler & Gamble families into my site? My first thought was just use forbes-stevenson.com/paternal but how much sense does that make? How do you related forbes-stevenson.com to Spangler & Gamble?
My bad choice is coming back to haunt me! I thought about starting spangler-gamble.com and just having two sites but I find one site is hard to maintain so I can only imagine how hard two sites will be! I have come to a conclusion that I should have come to three years ago. I have now registered kenspangler.com and will soon move everything over to it.
Of course, when you have set up your site and the html has some direct paths in it, you have to edit all your pages. On some sites that is no problem, however on this site it is a huge problem. I have well over 1000 pages to edit! Yipes!!!! Now you can see where I could have saved a lot of work if I had chosen the right domain name at first!
So, think long and hard before making a choice for a domain name! You can save a lot of work in the long run!
I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my new site through this blog. I thought it wouldn’t take long but I now know that I may be in for a long journey in this transition!