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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree October 2018 > How to create a better website

How to create a better website

Show off your family history findings in style and make new connections across the globe. Paul Carter shows you how to build an awesome online home for your research

Publishing your family’s story to the web gives you a great outlet for your research and offers the opportunity to find new connections with relatives across the world. Choosing the content to publish, and how, is determined by what you’d like to achieve, whether that be a wish to search for distant cousins, write stories or simply share material with your known family.

In my previous article (March 2018), I introduced some of the basic concepts and showed that, by using one of the most popular tools, WordPress, building a great family tree website is attainable without a lot of technical knowhow. This time I look further into the sort of content to include, and how to ensure people can find your website online.

What should you include?

It’s your website, you are the author, editor and publisher, with ultimate control over how it looks and what it contains. If you’re unsure which direction to take, I recommend taking a minute to decide the outcomes you’d like from your website.

• If it’s to connect with distant cousins then structure a website listing the ancestors in your tree, which you may be able to extract from your family tree software.

• Perhaps you’d like to focus on a onename or one-place study, in which case your website will contain a range of details on these projects.

• If your interest covers various themes, then either divide your website into sections or consider publishing separate websites.

How much should you share?

Keep in mind how much information you choose to share. While it’s helpful to visitors to tell the full story, if you’d like to connect with interested researchers, consider holding some information back which will help encourage contact.

A good compromise is listing the names and birth dates of your ancestors but no further details and even withhold how they’re related to each other. Again, it is your choice but don’t lose the opportunity to connect by giving everything away freely. It is possible to password protect selected web pages (I show how to do this in WordPress later), which would allow content to be published but only available to a restricted audience.

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About Family Tree

Check out our bumper guide to your top 101 must-search family history sites. We've got: Sites to help you track down essential records Online sources to help you dig deeper into your family's story Leads to help you research your family locally and across the globe! By exploring and using the excellent websites in our guide your family history is sure to flourish. Dive in and learn more about your ancestors' lives and livelihoods with our handpicked selection of websites and records to help you...