The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.Perhaps two of the hottest new words on the World Wide Web these days are "blogs" and "RSS." OK, so RSS is not really a word–it's an acronym. It stands for "Really Simple Syndication." Whatever it is, RSS is becoming more and more popular every day in the same manner as blogs. Millions of blogs are already online, and thousands more are added every day. It seems as if almost everyone from teens to grandparents writes a blog.
Many people write personal blogs to share their recent experiences, their photographs, their political beliefs, or perhaps the activities of the local Cub Scout troop they help lead. Blogs can be about any topic at all. Many corporations and non-profit societies also publish blogs. These may describe new products or provide the finer points of using a product.
Both blogs and RSS news feeds have applications for publishing genealogy-related information, especially newsletters, project status news, software release notes, and other information that changes frequently. Almost all major genealogy conferences now publish blogs in the months preceding the conference to communicate last-minute details, describe the sessions being held, and provide biographies of the presenters. Several genealogy societies and others even publish their newsletters as blog articles. In fact, this newsletter has been produced on a blog publishing platform with accompanying RSS feeds for nearly nine years.
This week I thought I would describe how to create a blog, complete with RSS news feed, on a blog hosting service. Part 2 of this article will be published next week and will describe a different method of publishing a blog: how to install and configure blog and RSS software on your own web server. Part 3 will feature a concluding discussion that describes the best of both worlds: how to create a blog on a remote blog hosting service and then make it look like it is installed on your own server. The fourth and final installment will discuss using sophisticated offline text editors designed for use with blogs to simplify text creation and uploading.
Along the way I will describe some of my unsuccessful experiences and the outright mistakes that I have made. I prefer to call these, "learning experiences." Whatever the terminology, a discussion of my successful and unsuccessful attempts alike should help you get up to speed quickly and with less difficulty and expense than I encountered.
The information here applies to almost all blogs but will focus primarily on publishing newsletters, product news, or other information that changes frequently. If you or your employer or your local genealogy society is thinking of starting a blog, this article should help. In fact, I would strongly suggest that most genealogy societies should publish blogs containing the monthly newsletter, notices of upcoming society meetings and seminars, advertising of the society's publications, and perhaps even online queries.
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