One of the best ways of getting more information is put your info online. People really do love to sharing, trading or request more information. Just remember, don’t share or put living names online, someone put a living family members online.
The 2 easiest free ways of putting your genealogy online are http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/, and http://www.gencircles.com/. All it takes is uploading your gedcom. I don’t get many people contacting me on these, but I do a lot of sharing with others there.
What has worked best for me is making my own website. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, most genealogy programs will make very nice webpages. All you need to do is find a server (place to put your webpages). A lot of the times your Internet Provider will give you webspace as part of your service. Another option is find a Web Hosting Provider, you will want to make sure it allows FTP (file transfer protocol) because you will need to upload your webpage. RootsWeb does offer Freepages http://accounts.rootsweb.com/, but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know the limits. I found this with interesting links http://www.freecenter.com/homepages.html but not all the ones that offer FTP include it on the free package. Just remember those companies have to pay for those free services, so that means advertising or spam. I do use a pay Web Hosting Provider for $62.88 a year and that includes the domain name, and it has more space & bandwidth than I would ever use. Just something to think about.
For the beginner you will probably want a WYSIWYG webpage program & a FTP program (Windows Explorer will work), there are plenty of free ones on the web. I kind of like Mozilla Suite for tweaking html webpages, but a lot of Word Processors do html editing. Finally I would suggest a “Dummy Book”, there are ones for about anything you can think of.
I’ve got it online how do I get it in the search engines? You can add your website to Google here http://www.google.com/addurl/. MSN site submit is here http://search.msn.com/docs/default.aspx?FORM=HLRE2. Yahoo is here http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html & click “submit your site for free”. I’ve never tried it but there are things called “webrings”. One family member uses GenRing http://c.webring.com/hub?ring=genring for an example. Just experiment with the others & don’t think you need have to pay to get noticed.
One drawback to a website is spammers looking for email addresses on websites. Probably the best is make a graphic out of your email address or I have seen people change firstname.lastname@example.org to “me # mydomain dot com” & tell people to change # to @ and dot to period. I do recommend a separate email address for your website, that way the spammers won’t bother you on your personal email address.
If you feel like a small challenge I like PHPGedView http://www.phpgedview.net/ the only cost is the programmers would like a donation to keep the project going. It makes VERY impressive webpages but it is all done online & your server has to support PHP, MySQL will make it run a little better but not mandatory. All you do is upload the files, the hard part is doing the settings (I know nothing about PHP & was able to do it). You can enter everything online or just upload your gedcom & it does the rest.
I hate to write a novel so if you have any questions please post a comment.