Tips for Organizing a Family Website

Dr. Purushothaman
January 9, 2014


These days it is no longer necessary to learn computer code to build your own family website. A myriad of software products allows busy parents to make an original site without any confusing scripts or jargon. Some products are offered via subscription but many entail a one-time purchase and the software can be easily loaded onto your computer. Once you decide which product is right for you, you will need to organize your materials for the site and you may also want to plan a schedule for updates. The following text is filled with tips to help you build your family website.
Before delving into the content of your website, the following software products may be worth checking out as they have solid reputations in their field: WebEasy, Photo.web, Macromedia Homesite 5, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, Microsoft FrontPage or NetObjects Fusion MX. Certainly there are others, but by putting a good amount of time into this purchase, you can find a product that suits your ability and lifestyle. The next step is finding a host for your website. Frequently internet providers (like AOL or Earthlink) offer such services (at minimal or no charge) to their customers), but an internet service provider is a necessity for getting your page on the net.
The content and organization of your webpage can also be adapted to taste, but generally, family websites include some of the following inclusions: family news, achievements, school projects, genealogy research (family trees), photos, artwork, vacations, trips, activities, sports, reunion planning or similar events, calendars, tributes or memorials to other family members, information about pets or hobbies, etc...Some family websites include local information about what is happening in their locale, church, work, etc...
For security reasons, it may be a consideration to check into password protection access for your site (only friends and family may access your page). Another security measure may be simply to eliminate surnames, addresses or anything you do not want the general public to know. For children's websites, the extra security measures are suggested. You can even register your domain name by proxy giving you an extra layer of anonymity that is important in such cases.
When deciding on page layout, try to keep your pages short. The most essential information--your upcoming trip to Catalina Island--should be conveyed near the top. It helps to treat your page like a newspaper. The most important or newsworthy items up front. It's also a good idea to keep the page looking neat and well-organized. A page that is filled up with clutter can be off putting.
Your main page may be similar to an elaborate table of contents. For instance--Katie's wedding (as a headline) and one picture of the lovely bride should be enough to lure your readers into a page specifically about the event. Each subsequent headline may serve as a link to more expanded information: David's Promotion, Lorraine's Prize-Winning Quilt, Our Church Picnic, Snoopy's 1st Day of Obedience Class, Granny's Class Reunion, Rachael's Tennis Season, Luke's Matchbox Car Collection and so on.
Pictures add so much to a website, but place them with care. Your main page may feature a header of the family faces and each item in your "table of contents" may feature a thumbnail or small photo associated with the headline. You want to prepare your photos before uploading them. Many photos need to be resized as they may contain too many pixels for a website. Your software will address this issue. You can add photos via scanner, digital camera or even a disk where photos have been stored.
Besides photographs of people and events consider photographing other items of interest like children's artwork, paintings, your home, your garden, letters, school notes, newspaper clips, event programs, report cards, sentimental items, etc...Many family websites also offer family films or recordings as well. Take time editing your pictures and use only those that truly capture the event or provide a clear shot of the person.
Playing with your photo-editing software is good practice--most pictures require lots of editing before upload. Consider using design features like black and white or sepia tone pictures for old-fashioned charm. Don't forget to add captions for your pictures! Grandma wants to know if that's Bill or Bob under all that hockey gear. Part of the photo-editing process might even entail captions placed within the photograph.
Once you have your items for inclusion, be sure to upload them to their own special niche in the website. Avoid lock blocks of text. Add snazzy headlines and various colors for font. You can add absolutely anything you like to your site, but be sure it is placed in its appropriate space so it may be easily found by your readers. Family websites are celebrations of family life--tailor your site to match your family's collective personality and be sure to give each family member adequate space in your arrangement.

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