Saturday, December 29, 2007
- First verify the address before submitting it.
- Type the address carefully for complete accuracy.
- For error-free submissions, use the "copy & paste" function on your computer to highlight and copy the address from your web browser window and paste it into the text box below.
Links are often submitted to my site without much care. Incorrect URLs (addresses), no descriptions, poor descriptions, misspelled words, lack of punctuation...you've heard some of this from me before. But, that isn't what this message is about today. Today it is only about the incorrect addresses that cause broken links.
I don't normally pick on specific people or instances, but this one is still haunting me today, over a month and a half later, with dozens of e-mails coming to me to report the failed links. On November 15th someone submitted a link for each US state to a site called iMortuary.com. 51 new links (don't forget DC). Of those 51 links, 43 links were submitted with bad addresses and are broken. Further, the submitter didn't use consistent descriptions, so they obviously weren't merely doing a copy and paste (if so, the description would probably have been the same over and over again). 43 broken links, newly submitted, means extra work for me to now fix them on my What's New page for November (http://www.cyndislist.com/new1107.htm); 43 links are forever broken in the mailing list archives (http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/CyndisList/2007-11/1196067888); there are numerous wasted e-mails back and forth reporting the broken links to me; and a bunch of wasted time for all of you who tried to use those links. In the end, the broken links defeated the purpose of submitting them to my site in the first place--to get visitors to that site.
Now to the lesson in broken links. If you encounter a broken link you might be able to find the correct address yourself by looking carefully at the URL. In this case, the broken links resulted because the submitter put the first letter in the name of the state in uppercase instead of all lowercase letters. For example, they submitted this:
when it should have been this:
Another issue with the link for New York was easy to spot. It was uppercase, but they also left off the hyphen used in the two-word names for other links. For example, they submitted this:
when it should have been this:
Another thing you can do is break down the address and move up directories to the main directory. In the examples above, just backtrack through the address, removing first the state name:
In this example you are taken to a page which is an index of all of the links to each state page. If this example hadn't worked we could just backtrack more through the address and go to the main homepage at:
If you haven't already learned these tricks, start looking at URLs for web sites to see if you might figure out broken links that you happen upon. I'm off to fix the links on the What's New page.
Friday, December 28, 2007
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(reason: 550 lady's name IS NOT ACCEPTING MAIL FROM THIS SENDER)
What this means is that my e-mail address is not in her address book as an acceptable sender, so I can't e-mail her. And the messages on my mailing list are now shown as being sent from my personal address, rather than the old server address that previously worked for her. So, I'm not sure what to do. I hate to disappoint her. But I also hate getting e-mail from people who are annoyed with me when it isn't under my control. Catch-22. Nothing that I can do to fix this....that I know of.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
"...sender was rejected.Remote host said: 550 Your e-mail was rejected for policy reasons on this gateway. Reasons for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or IP/domain reputation problems." and "...BL004 Blocked for spam"
I have not spammed anyone. This is another instance of technology failing us. Something in a software program somewhere is "detecting" behaviors and taking action based on that. So, I can't e-mail several of my friends or web site visitors tonight because of that software. Grrr.
In some past instances my e-mail address was blocked because I was sending out the RootsWeb mailing list posts to the CyndiList mailing list each day. Every once in a while RootsWeb mailing lists get tagged as possible spam, but this is the first time that my personal address has been tagged that way. I'm a bit irritated. I can't figure out how to resolve this. I've e-mailed my ISP. I've tried to e-mail Hotmail. I posted a request on Comcast. But I wonder if those are the right things to do. We'll see.
Monday, September 3, 2007
- People who submit links for their web "sights."
- People who refer to me as Cindy even when they quote my site's address correctly--CyndisList.com.
- People who submit their web site link over and over again (almost always vendors) despite my rules that ask for no duplicate submissions.
- Broken links (that really isn't news).
- A weird smell in my kitchen that I can't locate.
- My 23-year-old clothes dryer that takes forever, but refuses to die and give me an excuse to buy a new one.
Friday, August 31, 2007
- 40% or more off in the Genealogy Warehouse
- Sales and bargains
- New books and CDs
- QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style
- Brand NEW--a must have for everyone's genealogy library:
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
And I updated my lineage society page:
I sub-divided it into three new, additional sub-categories:
- National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
- National Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
Monday, August 20, 2007
- Naturalization Index - MA Original source: NARA M1545. Index to naturalization petitions and records for the District of Massachusetts, within the US District Court, 1906-1966, and the US Circuit Court, 1906-1911.
- Naturalization Index - MD Original source: NARA M1168. Index cards for Naturalization Petitions filed in the US Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951.
- Naturalization Index - NYC Courts Original source: NARA M1674. The Soundex index to naturalization petitions filed in federal, state, and local courts in New York City, including New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties, 1792-1906.
- Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Jul 1865-Sep 1906 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from July 1865 through September 1906.
- Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Oct 1906-Nov 1925 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from October 1907 through November 1925.
- Naturalization Index - NY Eastern Nov 1925-Dec 1957 Original source: NARA M1164. A card index to naturalization petitions filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York from November 1925 through December 1957.
- Naturalization Index - NY Southern Intentions Original source: NARA M1675. Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917-1950.
- Naturalization Index - NY Southern Petitions Original source: NARA M1676. Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1824-1941.
- Naturalization Index - NY Western Original source: NARA M1677. Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalizations of the US District Court for the Western District of New York, 1907-1966.
- Naturalization Index - WWI Soldiers Original source: NARA M1952. Index cards for locating naturalization records for soldiers serving in the US Armed Forces during World War I, specifically the year 1918.
- Naturalizations - CA Southern Original source: NARA M1524. Naturalization Petitions for the Southern District Of California, 1887-1940.
- Naturalizations - LA Eastern Original source: NARA P2233. Naturalization records in this publication include petitions and oaths for new citizens in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1838 to 1861.
- Naturalizations - MD Original source: NARA M1640. Naturalization Petitions of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1906-1930.
- Naturalizations - MA Original source: NARA M1368. Petitions and Records of Naturalizations of the US District and Circuit Courts of the District of Massachusetts, 1906-1929.
Naturalizations - PA Eastern Original source: NARA M1522. Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 1795-1930.
- Naturalizations - PA Middle Original source: NARA M1626. Naturalization records for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1906-1930, also include US Circuit Court records for 1901-1906.
- Naturalizations - PA Western Original source: NARA M1537. Naturalization petitions of the US District Court, 1820-1930, and the Circuit Court, 1820-1922, for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
More naturalization and immigration links (434+) are here:
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I do not take e-mails seriously when several words are misspelled, when no punctuation is used, or when consonants and vowels are added or dropped randomly from words. Call me picky, but that is that. So there.
(who is overly fond of the comma and misplaces it regularly)
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
- Take time to read the Help files at
- Start by reading the Basics, even if you think you've already had enough experience using Google. It is never too late to learn something new.
- Read the Advanced search help files to learn a new trick or two.
- Keep a research workbook open on your computer (a word processing file for your research notes) while you are visiting web sites.
- Copy and paste directly from the web browser window to your notes the search terms you use, the sets of results you get back, ideas you have for future searches, etc. Keep a running log of what you are doing so that when you step away from the computer you can later pick up again where you left off.
- Google is not case-sensitive for keywords, so uppercase or lowercase letters will each return the same results. Boolean operators are case-sensitive (AND, OR, NOT).
- Google automatically uses "and" in the query, returning hits that include all of your keywords.
- Google allows up to 10 words to be used in a search. Use your 10 words wisely.
- Use distinct keywords unique to your query: a place name, a unique given name or surname, a year, etc.
- Don't use common words or phrases such as: the, of, is, but (these waste your 10 words)
For example, instead of The Genealogy of the Johnson Family in Iowa enter a simpler, more specific query with unique keywords such as:
genealogy peter johnson iowa sweden
A Slightly More Advanced Search:
- Place quotes around a set of words to keep them together as an exact phrase. In the example above I would use them if I want to be sure to get returns that include exactly the name "peter johnson"
- Use + in front of a search term to insure it is included (although Google does default to assume this)
- Use - in front of a search term to exclude a keyword or a phrase. In my example I could exclude possible hits returned that might include Norway:
genealogy peter johnson iowa sweden -norway
- Use OR in a phrase to include results, but not necessarily all of the words in your query. In my example I could use OR to look for variant spellings on the surname:
genealogy "peter johnson" OR "peter johnsen" iowa sweden
I will post more Google Tips for Genealogy in the days to come . . . in the meantime visit my Googling for Grandma page for links.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
- Add that person's e-mail address to your non-spam/junk filters.
- Add that person's e-mail address to your "It's OK, I like this person" list or whatever it might be called in your e-mail options.
- Check and double-check your own e-mail address as you supply it to them for a reply. If you can't correctly spell your own e-mail address you've got problems.
- Don't make the receiver go through one of the spam-blocking services by making them reply to an automated message first in order to be added to your list of acceptable addresses.
I've become pretty darned grumpy about that last one. When someone writes to me, I reply. When I get back the automated "please reply to message so that you can be added to my list of acceptable e-mail addresses" message I put my foot down. I don't reply. I delete. It really makes me grumpy because they wrote to me first.
Because e-mail is so easy to send it has also become easy to use to intrude on others without thinking first. Please be sure you use your e-mail wisely and think about the person at the receiving end. Especially if you hope to have a successful correspondence with them in the future.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
This classic collection of links continues to grow—with 264,800 links in 180-plus categories at last count—and remains our favorite stop to find family history sites."
Thank you David Frixel & Family Tree Magazine!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Back to the links...Cyndi
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
My research workbook has tabbed sections for each surname I'm working on. On your computer you can create folders for each surname, the folders being the "tabbed sections" in your workbook. You can also create sub-folders under the surnames for each couple or family group. Whatever make sense to you, because it all depends on where you are going in your research and how you organize yourself and your files.
Your research notes can be free-flowing text that you write or type as you work. Or your notes can be confined to pre-defined formats on charts or forms, or in software programs. Many people use the Notes field in their genealogy database program to type their notes on individuals. Some genealogy programs allow for large text entry and some have limited notes fields, so you will have to decide if this works for you or not. In the end you might find that a combination of free-flowing text, forms, or notes in genealogy software programs works best.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE
Whether your research notes are in pre-defined forms or free-flowing text, be sure to include these important bits as you find your ancestors in records:
- Date you are doing the research
- Copyright date of the material and/or "updated" date of any web site data (when the data was published)
- Full title of source material
- Call numbers, URLs, page numbers, etc.
- Your comments, notes to yourself for the future, goals
- For database or search engine searches list all the keywords and various combinations of keywords you used in the searches
- Ancestors Research Log
- Ancestry.com Research Calendar
- Bailey's Research Record Sheet
- FamilySearch.org Research Log
- Family Tree Magazine's Research Calendar
- Family Tree Magazine's Note Taking Form - Surname
- Family Tree Magazine's Note Taking Form - Family Group
- Family Tree Magazine's Research Journal
- Family Tree Magazine's Research Worksheet
- . . . and many more linked from Cyndi's List
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
"FamilySearch and Footnote announced today the first project of the new Records Access program-to digitize and index the historic U.S. Revolutionary War Pension records. The Record Access program helps archives and other records custodians publish their collections online. A significant collection of genealogical and historical significance will be accessible online by leveraging the resources of FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical information, with those of Footnote. Footnote is one of the new breed of genealogy web sites working with FamilySearch to digitally preserve, index, and publish the world's records in concert with archives around the world. As part of the agreement, FamilySearch will digitize the images currently held in the National Archives Record and Administration's collection (NARA) in Washington, D.C., and Footnote will create the electronic indexes. When complete, the indexes and images will be viewable at Family History Centers and at Footnote.com. Indexes will also be available at FamilySearch.org. Numerous other national and international projects are under development at this time and will be announced as agreements are signed or data is published. To see examples of the Revolutionary War Pension Files, go to www.footnote.com/revolutionary-war.php."
"FamilySearch announced today its Records Access program to increase public access to massive genealogy collections worldwide. For the first time ever, FamilySearch will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish, and preserve their collections. The program expands FamiliySearch's previously announced decision to digitize and provide online access to over 2 million rolls of copyrighted microfilm preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. A key component of the program allows FamilySearch and archives to team with genealogy websites to provide unprecedented access to microfilm in the vault. The combined results ensure a flood of new record indexes and images online at www.FamilySearch.org and affiliated websites."
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
If I walked up to you and said, "I'm taking my son to the movies today," would you then reply to me with, "Do you think hamburgers are better with cheese?" Not likely. Most likely your reply would be something about the movies, thus staying on topic. And if you wanted to talk about cheeseburgers you would change the topic and we would move on.
So, if you wouldn't do this in face to face conversations why is it OK to do in e-mail or online conversations? It isn't. Following are several examples of where I see people doing this exact thing in day-to-day online conversations.
- Mailing Lists: There are more than 30,000 genealogy mailing lists devoted to specific topics, localities, or surnames. People frequently join mailing lists and participate incorrectly. Sometimes messages are sent that are off-topic. Sometimes people reply with unrelated questions or comments to messages for specific topics. And people often send new messages to the mailing list by replying to a pre-existing message, so that the "RE: Subject Line" appears in their new message. Solutions: Find a mailing list for the topic you need and post your message there instead. Don't reply to messages unless you're actually replying to *that* topic. Start new e-mail messages to begin a new conversation and topic.
- Message Boards: Ditto the points made above. Message boards (some call them "forums") have the same issues as mailing lists. The difference is that you receive mailing list posts by e-mail, but you have to visit a message board to read and participate.
- E-mail: Sometimes an e-mail message, especially a genealogical query, will contain numerous topics or questions. Often, replies to such e-mails will address one or two of the topics/questions, but not all of them. As the replies go back and forth between the correspondents threads of conversation are lost, points are not made, and answers are not given. And sometimes an e-mail message is sent about the movies and the reply comes back about cheeseburgers. Solutions: Before you reply think about what you read and be sure to read it carefully—more than once if necessary. When writing an e-mail query stick to one topic per message. Or if you have three questions about an ancestor, separate them into three paragraphs that stand out and indicate separate replies for each would be best. And when you start a new conversation, start a new e-mail with a new subject line. If your conversation has changed topics it is okay to change the subject line to reflect the new topic.
- Blogs: A blog is a personal online diary. Some people use them to post articles, to post genealogical findings, or as a substitute for a traditional web site. But the original concept is the same—messages on the blog are posted by the author. The nature of blogs allows for readers to post comments on blog entries. Blog authors can allow or reject those comments if they like. A blog is not a place for people to post comments on unrelated topics. A blog is not a place to ask unrelated questions. A blog is not a place for a reader to post a new topic. Since I started this blog I've rejected several messages that were attempts to contact me rather than actual comments on the topic the comment was attached to. Hey, if you want to e-mail me, then go through the web site and regular e-mail. If you have a comment on the topic, then use that blog feature. Otherwise, look for another more appropriate way to communicate with the author or find an answer to your question.
Overall, the theme here should be one of courtesy and common sense. Before you post a message anywhere ask yourself these questions:
- Is my question relevant to the topic?
- Am I sending my question/comment to the correct person or group?
- Is there a better place I should take this conversation?
- Should I start a new topic or separate topics?
- Does my subject line and conversation thread reflect the intent of the original conversation or the purpose of the mailing list, message board, e-mail , or blog?
- If I were at the receiving end of my message would it seem appropriate and would it make sense?
All that said, this is my official rule for this blog: if you comment on my posts make sure that your comments or questions relate to the topic. If you post a comment that doesn't match the original topic I will reject the post. As simple as that—let's stay on topic folks!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
"Is there a site where genealogy websites are rated? There are so many out there and the descriptions of each are confusing to me. It seems they overlap each other an awful lot, and subscribing to more than one site will provide little more than a subscription to one or the other. Has anybody ever created a chart where they lay out what each site has access to and compared the sites in that way? I am interested in subscribing to a site where I can upload my gedcom file, but there are so many, that I don't know which would be the best.It surely would be more convenient for one huge website to contain all databases at once, but then they could charge whatever they wanted--and get away with it."
This is how I look at this topic: "Is there a book somewhere that rates genealogy books, publications, and records? There are so many out there and the descriptions can be confusing and they overlap each other. I really just want to read one book and want to know which one is the best for me to use."
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
- Why do these people not understand that this is an automated process, not something that I did to them?
- Why do these people expect me to re-subscribe them to the list? They managed to do it themselves the first time they joined, so they should be able to do it again.
- Why can't people think first before they hit the reply button and then wait for someone else to fix the problem? It isn't my fault that AOL bounced them, but they expect me to fix it.
At my end I believe I've already done everything I can think of to prevent the AOL problems. I've contacted the listmaster at RootsWeb and they assure me they deal with AOL on these issues regularly. I have a web page for my mailing list with all the subscribe and unsubscribe instructions: www.CyndisList.com/maillist.htm. I have a section on that page with tips for AOL users on how to help make the CyndisList mailing more happily accepted by AOL's e-mail filters. And I periodically send those tips to the mailing list and I hope they read them or keep them for future reference (please!). For a while I even changed the way I was sending out the messages to the mailing list, sending them one at a time with a half-hour or more between the posts. The problem with that was that I would lose track of time and forget to send the next batch. The more obvious problem with that, for me anyway, is that the whole purpose in using the automated mailing list is to take some of the work off of me.
So, I'm done accomodating AOL users. This isn't my personal attack on them. This is just me working to preserve my own sanity. If you're an AOL user please know I'm not picking on you. I just don't have the time to clean up problems created by AOL's e-mail filters.
BTW, I sent out the AOL tips to the mailing list yesterday. So, what did I get today? A message sent to the list address (1st error) asking me to update their e-mail address (2nd error) by first confirming that I'm acceptable through their automated address book update service (3rd error).
Where's my chococlate?!!!??!!
Saturday, March 31, 2007
- They are each free. OK, that isn't a difference, that is a similarity. Since they are free I thought it wouldn't hurt to offer all of them for you to choose from.
- All search engines work differently from one another. So, having more than one option seems like a good idea. You might get different search results using the same keyword(s).
- Everyone's favorite tends to be Google. So, the Google search engine box is the default and can be found at the top right corner of every page on Cyndi's List.
- The Google index of Cyndi's List is updated frequently.
- The FreeFind & WebSideStory indexes of Cyndi's List are updated once a week.
- The PicoSearch index of Cyndi's List is updated whenever Cyndi remembers to do it.
For years I fought the idea of having a search engine on Cyndi's List. The whole purpose of a categorized index of links is to...uh...browse the links found in the categories. From the very beginning I found that people who browse the categories end up tripping across a new topic or idea they hadn't thought of before in their research. I also found that many people were learning more and more about how to do their research by discovering specific topics or record types. So, browsing the categories is preferable.
Further, most people who solely use searching by keywords in their research are most likely only surname hunting. which means they are missing all the other possibilities out there. Or they are searching for something so incredibly specific that they miss the other important things they may help them. For example, I have heard from people who are looking for, but can't find, a ship that their ancestor immigrated on. They try looking for the name of the ship using a search engine on my site. Then they complain to me when they can't find it. It doesn't seem to occur to them that the information for that ship might not actually be online. Or might not yet be indexed by me. Or that they might have the wrong name for the ship. By limiting themselves to the search engine and just searching by keyword they miss browsing more than 700 other links I have for ship passenger lists, including numerous links to helpful articles or libraries or archives that will actually LEAD them to the ship of their ancestor.
That is why I don't want you to rely solely on search engines. And that is why I still categorize links every day. Browse the categories. Please! After years of getting requests I finally gave in and put the search engines on the site. You people just wore me down. Give each of them a try, but don't forget about the categories. . .browse, browse, browse!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Ancestry.com News Release:
"Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, today announced the addition of the first and only online collection of more than 4 million names of individuals who crossed the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956. These historical records are the latest addition to Ancestry.com’s Immigration Records Collection, which also includes more than 100 million names from the largest online collection of U.S. passenger lists, spanning 1820 to 1960."
FamilySearch News Release:
"Early vital records of Nova Scotia, Canada, are viewable over the Internet for the first time and for free, thanks to a joint project by the Genealogical Society of Utah, FamilySearch, and the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM). The records include one million names found in birth records from 1864 to 1877, marriages from 1864 to 1930, and death records from 1864 to 1877 and 1908 to 1955. Users can search the database at www.novascotiagenealogy.com. Anyone can now search names in the index and view a high quality digital copy of the original image online for free at NSARM's Web site, www.novascotiagenealogy.com. In the near future, the index and images will also be available on FamilySearch.org"
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I'm investigating local services and national services. Basically I need someone who will hold my hand 24/7, charge me next to nothing, and send me chocolates on a weekly basis. If anyone knows of such a web site hosting service please be sure to let me know. BTW, that would be dark chocolate.
This has preoccupied me for over a week now. And prior to that I had been on quite a roll working on backlogs of links. I have a backlog of link requests that goes back to September 2003 (all are available through the search engines on my site, but just aren't in categories yet). Also, after moving my office downstairs, I'm cleaning up old file folders, boxes, etc. and I'm finding all sorts of fliers, business cards, scraps of paper, and to-do lists that I've saved for years----all with URLs for sites or ideas for links and categories. It has been like stepping into a time machine and finding little bits of my brain from several years ago. After the site is safely moved I'll be back to work on the backlog.
The backlog of links bothers me. It first started about 6 months after the site was born in 1996. I started off working on the site about 2 hours every day. As the new link requests came in I started working more and more hours each day, but was still getting further and further behind. By 1998 I had a huge backlog sitting in my IN box. So, I had a programmer create a script for me to automatically submit the links and put them on the "What's New" pages and in the mailing list posts each day. That way the links weren't out of sight on my computer's hard drive doing no one any good. Now all the newly submitted links are available to everyone, but they still need to be put into categories. And not getting to them to be categorized quicker bothers me. I'm thinking of challenging myself. If I did a month every week I could get them done in 43 weeks. Oh, that doesn't sound very good. Maybe I should stop thinking about it and just work on them. After I get done freaking out and get the site moved to its new home. Where's my chocolate...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
- Don’t neglect to use one consistent title throughout the web page or the rest of the web site. People tend to fluctuate between titles, phrases, or keywords, which can create confusion as visitors navigate from one page to another. Choose one title and stick with it.
- Don’t use redundant, useless words or phrases such as:
---“Welcome to the home page of….”
---“Home Page of…”
---“Personal Genealogy Web Site for….”
- Don’t choose a title that isn’t descriptive enough, such as:
---“My Family History”
---“Smith Family History”
---“Our Family Tree”
- Don’t choose a title that isn’t completely honest or truthful, such as:
---“The Only Site You Ever Need to Use”
---“Every Smith Birth Record Ever Made”
---“The Complete Genealogy for the Johnson Surname”
- Don’t forget to include important items in the title, such as:
---Anything that is topic-specific to the content of the site
- Don’t include the title only on a custom-made graphic, and not in actual text on the web page. Search engines can’t read graphics. You must include plain text on the page as well.
- Don’t load up the TITLE bar with a list of keywords in the hope that this will improve search engine hits and indexing. Wrong. That is an Internet old-wives’ tale. It doesn't help improve your search engine hits, but it does make for a very messy looking title bar, bookmark, favorite, or search engine hit.
- Don’t forget to include the actual title of the web site in the TITLE bar. Some people remember to put everything else but the title in that spot.
- Don’t leave the TITLE bar blank or empty so that the web browser default of “home” or “index” or “Insert Title Here” or the URL appears there instead.
- Don’t use the site’s domain name in the TITLE bar unless that is the actual name and title of the site as well.
Examples of concise, descriptive, and useful titles:
- Descendants of David H. Ingle, Towner County, North Dakota
- The Story of George & Kesiah Smith, Exira, Audubon County, Iowa
- Smith, Johnson, Knox, Nash, & Frederick Families: Iowa to South Dakota
- Greengrass Cemetery, Anywhereville, Ohio - Complete Transcription, 1998
Sunday, March 18, 2007
If you publish a book you put your book's title on the front cover, on the spine, and on the title page. And most publishers would tend to insist that you should use the same consistent title on each of these spots. So, why don't people do the same on their web sites?
The majority of web sites I visit put at least two different titles on their web site: one in the body (the cover and/or title page) and a different one in the TITLE tag or bar at the top of the browser window (the spine). And if they submit their site as a new link to Cyndi's List many times they will use a third, different title when they do so.
As an indexer, which title should I choose to use in the link? Which one is more important to the author? Generally, I assume it is the one in the body. However, which one is more important to technology on the Internet? The TITLE tag. Search engines, web browsers, bookmarks, and favorites all use what they find in the TITLE tag to index web sites. Because of that I have always used the TITLE tag for indexing the links on Cyndi's List.
If you have a genealogy web site take a minute today to look at the title of your site. Do you have one title? Or several? Does your preferred title appear in the TITLE bar at the top of your browser window? If not, it is time to update your web site.
And if you have a genealogy web site linked on Cyndi's List don't complain to me about how I indexed the link. First look at the title that you chose and think about possible corrections that might improve your site's indexing future.
Every day I think of things that I wish I could say to the people who use my site. I reply to many e-mails with some of the things I want to say, but I rarely hear back from people. I wonder if visitors ever read my messages. I wonder if they ever read the instructions, or the hints, or the bits of advice I put throughout my web pages on how to best use the site.
I doubt it. So, I started this blog. I'm going to use this spot to post my random thoughts, wishes, and periodic rants. I hope you all find this useful. If nothing else I get things off my chest and won't have to mutter to myself as often.