Websites that offer a service, or that rely on a community to produce and share content, must find a way to engage with those users. Doing so gives people a reason to visit that website and interact with it. It also can entice new users to give the website a try. Genealogy websites can benefit from developing an engagement with their users. MyHeritage is doing a good job of it.
One of the things that MyHeritage does to engage users involves fun competitions. In June of 2015, MyHeritage held a “look-alike competition”. Users were encouraged to find a photo of a relative that bears a remarkable resemblance to an ancestor (who is in a old photo). Or, users could find a photo of a relative that they happen to look just like.
MyHeritage sorted through all the “look-alike” submissions and picked one winner and some runner ups. They posted the winners and runner ups in a blog that users could view. Everyone who entered that competition would want to visit MyHeritage to see who won. In addition, MyHeritage put all of the submitted “look-alike” photos onto their Pinterest. In doing so, they encouraged both users and people who have not yet joined MyHeritage to come take a look.
In 2009, MyHeritage did something similar that was a great way to engage with users. They had an app that people could use to discover what celebrity they looked a lot like. MyHeritage took the images users submitted that showed which celebrities they resembled and posted them in an album on Flickr. Fun contests like this give people a reason to visit, and sign up for, a website.
Unlike Ancestry.com, MyHeritage lets people use make an account for free. The free account does not have a time limit attached to it. The free account gives people access to genealogy resources and allows them to put together a family tree. This “try before you buy” offer is a great way to attract genealogists who want to make an online family tree and who don’t have the money to spend on an Ancestry.com subscription.
In addition, MyHeritage offers a couple of subscription options that will give a user access to additional stuff. Someone who has been happily using the free subscription option, and discovers they really like MyHeritage, can choose to upgrade their account whenever they want to.
Genealogists who use MyHeritage can print out their entire family tree with the click of a button. This would allow them to hang it on their wall. Giving users an easy way to turn their online family tree into something tangible encourages them to show it to their relatives. In this way, MyHeritage can engage with people who aren’t currently users, but could choose to become one.
Image by Natasha Laflamme on Flickr.
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