Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Genealogy Site is on Geocities. Now what do I do? Part I

You may have heard that Geocities will be closing down later this year (2009). There are many genealogy sites on Geocities, and sadly, many of these sites may be lost if the webmasters don't move the sites to a new location.

Important Announcement

After careful consideration, Yahoo! has decided to close GeoCities later this year. You can continue enjoying your GeoCities service until then — we just wanted you to let you know about the closure as soon as possible. We'll share more details this summer. For now, please visit the help center
for more information.

How to fnd genealogy on Geocities sites.

If you have a genealogy site on Geocities (as I do), these are the steps you can take NOW so that when Geocities does close down, your site will already be moved and links around the Internet will already be pointing to your new site.

Why is it important to start now?

  • You can put a link from your Geocities site to your new site so both people and search engine spiders can find your new webpages. This will give Google and other search engines the chance to find your new site and index it. It will also give people a chance to find your new site and bookmark it. If you wait until Geocities closes to move, you may miss out on this linking opportunity. You cannot count on Geocities to allow pointers to your new site once it closes, and it sometimes takes months for Google to fully index all the pages of a new site.

  • Webmasters that link to your site may be inundated with link changes once Geocities closes, so you have a better chance of getting your links changed before the deluge of link change requests.
  • You don't know how much notice Yahoo will give before Geocities closes for good. Copy your site now before it is gone forever.

How to Move Your Genealogy Site.

Copy your site page by page to the hard drive of your computer. To do this, go into the Geocities file manager and open one page at a time, copy and paste the page to Notebook or an HTML editor, then save each page into a folder on your hard drive using the same Geocities file name. Example: page1.html or familytree.html Also, copy all of the image files on Geocities to your computer.

This serves two purposes.

  • You will now have a backup for your website.

  • You can make changes to the website offline and then upload to new server

Edit: Dick Eastman likes which will automatically copy your website to your hard drive. I haven't tried this free program, but I'm for anything that automates the tedious process of copying a site.

If you have a genealogy site, it makes sense to move your website to the Freepages at Rootsweb. The advantages of Rootsweb are:

Of course, there are other free places to put a genealogy website. Your ISP may have some free space available. Search Google for free web hosting to see what else is available if you don't want to move to Rootsweb.

How to Build a Genealogy Site at Rootsweb.

I moved my Geocities sites to Rootsweb, so that is the process that I am going to describe.

  • Request space for your website at Rootsweb.
  • Copy your Geocities site page by page (or use to automatically copy) and save to a folder on your computer keeping the same HTML names. This will keep the links on your site from becoming broken.
  • FTP or upload your site from this folder on your computer to Rootsweb. How to FTP your site to Rootsweb.
  • Change each page at the Geocities site to point to your new Rootsweb site. Example: This site has moved to Rootsweb (provide link) Please update your bookmarks.

    Here is an example of how I did it.

    You want each page to point to its corresponding page on the new website. You do not want all pointers to link to the index page of your new site. It is important to link to your new website and remove the content from each old Geocities page because:

    • You want to give Google and other search engines plenty of time to find your new site so that it will index ALL the pages. It can take Google a surprising long time to find and index all the pages of a new site.

    • Google penalizes duplicate content (sometimes by not indexing the new site) so you only want to have your website content on one website at a time.

  • Test all your links on your new site to make sure they work.
  • Check all the images to make sure they work.

  • Set up a new Rootsweb guestbook


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