Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Who reads all these genealogy Blogs anyway?

Some Bloggers are likely frustrated journalists seeking fame and fortune through the unlikely outlet of writing blog posts. On the other hand, most journalists, at least those who went to some sort of school to become one, would look down their collective noses at what they would consider to be the amateurish efforts of the unschooled masses online. Having read a few thousands of blog posts in the past years along with a lot of newspapers, magazines, books and other publications, I figure I have a pretty fair idea of what I think is good writing and what is decidedly not. In my opinion, genealogy Bloggers, on the whole, come out way above average for writing and story telling ability. I also think that the possibly unschooled masses are on the way to ultimately replacing the professional journalist in some venues. Bloggers will then become the de facto professional journalists. As a matter of fact, some of the Bloggers are already professional journalists.  Although, I might add, professional in the proficiency sense not necessarily in the area of compensation. I don't think "genealogist" and "rich" go in the same sentence together very well.

So, if we assume that there are a significant number of genealogy Bloggers out there writing at a professional level, who are they writing to? I mean, who is the audience. Do I know who my audience is? Do I care? Would I write if I didn't have an audience? In my own case, the answer is simple, I write compulsively. But would it be nice to know who, if anyone, reads my stuff? Hmm, I guess. Sure, why not?

As a matter of fact, the genealogy Blogger all have a pretty good idea about the identity of their audience. The word "genealogy" alone gives us an idea and that idea can be confirmed by looking at reader's demographics. There are, of course, a lot of ways to tell your blogs demographics. For example, there is Google Analytics, Alexa and Quantcast, all of which give you a detailed look at who reads your blog posts.

Google Analytics has reports on the number of visits, pageviews, and pages per visit as well as traffic sources and content analysis by post. I can learn that my blog is read in 55 different countries. I have quite a following in the UK, Canada and Australia. goes a little bit further into the analysis, I can see trends for the past week, month, quarter, half year and year. The program also gives me an idea of the demographics. My readers are 58% Female, 55% over 50 and 92% Caucasian. 90% of my readers have no children under the age of 17. How do they know this? I have no idea. But it appears that they compare the traffic to my site with all of the other sites visited and deduce the demographics from the traffic comparisons. They also come up with a whole lot more information. is another source of demographics. You might be interested to know that Google, Facebook and YouTube are the top three sites in that order according to Also people are eating a lot of Life Cereal and using a lot of Q-tips. This is a really interesting site. According to my blog is rated 256,246 in the U.S. Wow, what does that mean?

OK, so you can get a whole lot of information that you don't need or care about, but you might just get some ideas about promoting your blog, if that is what you want to do, and if that is why you are writing.


  1. I'm reading your blog right now! And I fit the demographics on Quantcast :-) Interesting post, I enjoyed it and it made me think about my own blog. I'm going right now to check out Quantcast and Alexa

  2. G'day from someone who is your typical Quantcast demographic and I'm a reader from Australia to boot.

    Your question made me think of the costly journal that I received this week from a genealogy society. It contained a few feature articles, some resource reviews, a list of recent library acquisitions, president's and financial reports etc.

    Blogs give me access each to day to many more articles on genealogy than I get in one edition of that journal. Through my RSS feed I, not a journal editor, can scan a huge number of articles and select those that I want to read and digest. So I read genealogy blogs to get access to a wide range of pertinent articles written by many people, to hear of events, keep up to dat with the latest resources and to communicate and collaborate with like-minded people.

    I'd love it if more readers embraced the collaborative nature of blogging and engaged in a conversation via the comments section in the blogs they read.

  3. "My readers are 58% Female, 55% over 50 and 92% Caucasian. 90% of my readers have no children under the age of 17." Yup,that's me. female, 59, Caucasian, and my youngest is 35. They are way to good, and know way to much about us, whoever They are.

  4. I read your "stuff." I write to gather my thoughts, pose questions, and propose theory's. I guess I write for my myself and if anyone out there is searching the same people perhaps they will contact me.

    I read others blogs because some (like you) give a lot of insight, links and articles relevant to what many people are searching.

    I also find links to sources that may help me or just be of interest and what others have done to solve their brick-walls.

  5. Interesting post, James. My readers demonstrate a similar profile based on the metrics (which I check regularly).

    The content presented in the genealogy blog world is timely, relevant and often not found elsewhere. I use google reader and google alerts to bring the genealogy news of interest to my attention.

    Geniaus has an excellent point about the cost of traditional print journals vs blogs.

  6. I'm also typical of your demographic -- but as a fairly new "follower" of your blog, I'm really glad I found you. You are a great writer and always insightful.

  7. Male, 25, 2 kids under 3.

  8. I think most people who blogs for fame and fortune are going to be disappointed, but those who blog just because they are passionate about something (like genealogy) are going to blog because they enjoy writing or talking about the topic. And they read the blogs for the same reason.

  9. Caucasian female UNDER age 50 (although, not by much), with a 4 y/o at home. Guess that makes me atypical (figures).