31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog

by Tonia Kendrick on June 26, 2011 in And More

Does your genealogy blog need a kickstart?  Do you want to learn more about successful blogging?  Have you gotten in a rut and need some fresh ideas to make blogging fun and interesting again?

Then join me as I spend the next 31 weeks putting into practice tips and tricks from ProBlogger, Darren Rowse.

This program is based on Darren’s highly popular challenge “31 Days to Build a Better Blog,” which he has made available as an e-book.  31 days does not work for my schedule (especially in the summer), so I’m switching it to a weekly challenge.

How It Works

  1. Each Sunday, beginning July 3, I’ll post my take on a chapter from Darren’s book, including at least one action item (which may have a genea-blogger twist).
  2. After you complete the action item, come back and let us know what you learned (or what you thought about the challenge) in the comments section.  If you write a post about it, leave a link.  I’ll be doing all the action items, as well, and reporting back on my experiences.  If you don’t want to do all 31 weeks, that’s okay.  Jump in and out as often as you like.


Yes, that’s right, there will be weekly giveaways.  I got so much awesome stuff at Jamboree that I want to share the love.  Each week will offer an opportunity to win something.  In fact, we are going to start this week.  The first prize is a discount on an annual subscription to GenealogyBank. The regular price for an annual subscription is $69.95, but I have a coupon code for 20% off, which equals an annual cost of $55.95.  I would keep this for myself, but I don’t have time to take full advantage of another subscription, right now.*

This coupon expires on 6/30/11, so we have a short window of opportunity.  Leave a comment on this post by midnight, 6/28/11.  On 6/29/11, I’ll choose a randomly-numbered comment and contact the winner with the coupon code.

What Can You Do to Get Ready?

All these are optional.  You don’t have to do any of them to participate, but some will make it more fun.

  1. Buy the e-book:  This is strictly optional.  I’ll be summarizing key concepts from each chapter and posting them every Sunday and you can find a lot of the information at the Problogger site.  But, if you are like me, and like to have everything in one place, the e-book is the way to go – (I converted it to Kindle format and have been reading it by the pool).  I’m dipping my toe in the affiliate-link waters, so if you decide to purchase the book and you click the image to the right, I’ll get a small portion of the purchase price.  The cost to you is the same, either way.
  2. Roll Call:  If you want to play, leave a comment below with a link to your blog and your Twitter ID.
  3. Get Connected on Twitter:  What?  You mean you are not already using Twitter?  Come on and join the fun!  If you are already on Twitter, the hashtag for this challenge is #31WBGB.
  4. Grab the badge:  Tell your readers that you are building a better genealogy blog by displaying the button on your website.  They might want to play, too!

Check back next Sunday and we’ll get this party started!


*And just so we’re clear, I received the GenealogyBank discount as part of the Geneabloggers Welcome Bag from the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree.  I’m not affiliated with GenealogyBank and receive no remuneration from them.

Series Navigation#31WBGB: Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog >>

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina June 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

Sounds like a great challenge, Tonia. I think breaking it up into weeks instead of days is a good idea. I hope I have time to play along.


Tonia Kendrick June 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

That’s great! I’m glad y’all are interested.


Cheryl Palmer June 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I have a copy of this and I have not been able to get through it. I am hoping by going along with you I can at least get a few challenges in! I LOVE that you are doing this as a weekly challenge! I will participate as much as I can! Thanks Tonia!


Leah June 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

What a neat challenge! I don’t know how faithful I’ll be, but I’ll try and play along each week.


Tonia Kendrick June 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Glad to have you aboard, Leah!


TriciaS June 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm

This sounds like an interesting challange. I would like to join it!


Yvonne Henriksson June 27, 2011 at 2:09 am

I would like to try to get in on this challenge, if I may … Should be fun and see what happens …;)


Tonia Kendrick June 27, 2011 at 3:45 am

Hi Tricia and Yvonne, welcome!


Debbie June 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’m in! Sounds like fun.


Geneapoppop (Bart Brenner) June 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

What a great idea! My blog has lain dormant for far too many months. Your challenge will help kick-start me. Thanks!


Tonia Kendrick June 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Debbie and Bart, glad to have you aboard!


Debra Newton-Carter June 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Sounds fun and productive. I’ll give it a try…but I don’t tweet…I’m on FB.


Tonia Kendrick June 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Glad to have you, Debra! That’s fine, tweeting is optional. : )


Shelley Bishop June 29, 2011 at 1:19 am

Sounds like a fun way to try some new things with my blog! I’ll join in as much as I can.


Tonia Kendrick June 29, 2011 at 6:20 am

Welcome aboard, Shelley!


Joanne July 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I thought I knew a lot but after reading some of your blog postings, I am thinking “uh oh” So I will try to follow along!


Tonia Kendrick July 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Hi Joanne! Glad to have you join in.


Lisa July 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I have been meaning to start a genealogy blog forever but never did. Your 31 weeks has motivated me to get going. I spent all morning setting up the site :) Now I will start week 1 and build it from teh bottom up. Stay tuned!


Tonia Kendrick July 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

That’s great, Lisa! Let me point you to Geneabloggers, if you are not already familiar with the site. There is a lot of great information geared toward both new and experienced genealogy bloggers.


Lisa July 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

That’s terrific! What great resources. Thanks for the tip. I have my work cut out for me this week!

Sandi Wiggins July 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Thanks so much for taking the lead in coordinating this challenge! I’ve only recently started blogging and have been overwhelmed with ideas. I hope this will give me the focus I need. Meet new peeps & fun too!



Tonia Kendrick July 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hi Sandi! It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the ideas you have and it doesn’t only happen at the beginning. I have it going on right now. : ) My advice is to start a list – jot down whatever information you need to make sure you don’t lose all the ideas. The day will come when you’ll need that list for inspiration.

Welcome aboard!


Regina July 4, 2011 at 1:18 am

Tonia, Just found this post. (I’m truly afraid to open my Google Reader I’m so far behind!) This sounds like a great exercise. I can’t promise to take every challenge but I LOVE the idea and might even buy the book. Thanks for making it your own and including us as well! =^)


Tonia Kendrick July 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

Hey Regina! I know what you mean about Google Reader. I opened mine about a week ago and it said 1000+. Yikes! I’ve whittled it down to the 300s, a number which I used to think was a lot. : )

Anyway, glad you found the post. . .I think it will be a lot of fun!


Tara Anderson July 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’m gonna jump in on this and try to take every challenge. I need to refine my blogging skills and make my blog more appealing to a wider audience. Thanks for the motivation!


Tonia Kendrick July 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hi Tara, glad you jumped in!


Michelle Goodrum July 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I hope it’s not too late to join! I’ve been travelling and trying to stay afloat right now but this sounds like a fantastic challenge to take on!.


Tonia Kendrick July 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Hi Michelle! It’s never too late. : )


Carole July 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Ok so I’m a little behind already, but better late than never yes?!


Tonia Kendrick July 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hi Carole, absolutely! Better late than never should be my mantra. Welcome aboard!


Susan Donaldson July 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hi, Tania – thank you for coming up with such an inspiring project. I am one of those people who doesn’t tweet, but I look forward to following your themes and getting ideas on better blogging. I have already learnt something new as I had no idea what an “elevator pitch” was.


Tonia Kendrick July 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hi Susan! Glad you’ve joined us.


Claire July 18, 2011 at 12:41 am

A bit late to the party, but I love the idea! Thanks Tonia!!
Claire´s last blog post ..#31WBGB – Lists: Top 5 Mysteries I May Take to My Grave


Tonia Kendrick July 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Hi Claire, the more the merrier!


Jane July 20, 2011 at 7:26 am

I’ve just found out about this and I thinks it’s just the thing I need to give my re started family history blog and me the kick it needs. Going to try and catch up this week so I’m ready for week 4 next week :)
Jane´s last blog post ..New Look, New Name and a Kick up the bum.


Tonia Kendrick July 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hi Jane! I’m glad you are joining in. Don’t feel like you have to do everything from the first three weeks. Feel free to jump in with this week’s challenge.


Geeky Texan July 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I’m a little behind but should be able to catch up soon! Great idea. I recently started my blog and need a little bit of focus since I can’t find the happy medium between no-posts and life-consuming!
Geeky Texan´s last blog post ..Alaska Mafia


Mary K McGraw July 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I just found out about this and would like to join.


Tonia Kendrick August 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hi Mary! Welcome. We are glad to have you join in. Don’t feel like you need to catch up. You can start with the current week, which is “Contact a Reader.”


Carole Riley July 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Tonia this is a brilliant idea! I have had this book for ages and never got through it. I’m finishing my thesis at the moment but in a month or so I’ll be ready to catch up. Thank you!
Carole Riley´s last blog post ..I don’t love my new Toshiba netbook any more


Tonia Kendrick August 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Hi Carole, I knew I’d never go all the way through the book without something to keep me accountable. . .hence the challenge. : )

We’ll be glad to have you join in when you get that thesis finished. Good luck!


Beth August 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Sounds like a great idea. Sometimes I run out of blog ideas so I will try do some of this.


Tonia Kendrick August 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Hi Beth, glad to have you aboard!


Nancy Bender August 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I just created a blog this morning and this looks like a great idea! Thanks.
twitter: DUVDAR
Nancy Bender´s last blog post ..Welcome!


Cindy August 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I just found your blog and this challenge through Dana @ Just folks.
I love the idea. I started a genealogy blog ten days ago. So I can’t wait to get hints and tips and improve. Thanks!
Cindy´s last blog post ..Do you think my great-grandfather was a mama’s boy?


Marian Pierre-Louis August 25, 2011 at 9:49 am


I’ve been reading all of Michael’s Hait’s posts on this theme. To be honest I was a bit confused (I didn’t look carefully enough) with your 31 weeks meme and all the other 52 week genealogy memes that the other folks do. I’m a little slow but I have caught on now! I’ll be playing catch-up just like Michael did. Great idea!!

Marian Pierre-Louis´s last blog post ..Be Respectful But Don’t Miss a Good Photo Op


Tonia Kendrick August 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hi Marian, glad to have you on board!


Earline Bradt August 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

Well, better late than never, I’ve got some catching up to do.
Earline Bradt´s last blog post ..Proud To Be Canadian, But Why?


Tonia Kendrick August 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Welcome, Earline!


Lisa August 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Hey Tonia,
Excellent job at linking forward through this post to the weeks following… previously I always had a hard time finding the current week for 31WBGB- this new box at the top solves it – thanks!
Lisa´s last blog post ..Super duper extra bonus and final wrap-up


Tonia Kendrick August 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Thanks Lisa! I have to thank @moultriecreek for introducing me to the Organize Series plug-in. Here’s the post, if anyone is interested.

I do want to see if I can change the formatting, but I like the ability to pull all the posts in a series together.


Jo August 28, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thanks for this Tonia. I found your challenge by putting “genealogy” into Google+ sparks. I have a very dormant blog – now is the time to revitalise…. but I’ll be following several weeks behind!


Monna Ellithorpe August 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hi Tonia,

I’m VERY late to the party but very interested in catching up with everyone.

I have Darren’s book. How did you convert it to your Kindle? For some reason I can read books much easier on my Kindle than a regular book.
Monna Ellithorpe´s last blog post ..Talk About Dysfunctional…Family History Files Are A Mess


Tonia Kendrick August 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Monna, this works for all pdfs. You should have an email address associated with your Kindle account. You can find it in your Amazon account. It may be something like yourname@kindle.com. You’ll modify this to yourname@free.kindle.com. The free part is important, because otherwise you get charged for the conversion.

Send an email to the modified address with the word Convert in the subject line and the pdf attached. A little while later, you’ll get a reply with the Kindle version attached. Then you just move it on to your Kindle with the usb cable.


Monna Ellithorpe August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much. I was able to transfer to my Kindle with no problem at all with your directions.

Monna Ellithorpe´s last blog post ..Talk About Dysfunctional…Family History Files Are A Mess

Mary January 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

I couldn’t follow along last year because my job was just crazy!! But things have settled down and I am ready to take this on now. Thanks for hosting this. I am looking forward to learning lots!


Kathy July 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Sounds like a fun 31 weeks!



Tonia Kendrick August 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Great! This is a handy little thing to be able to do.


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