We challenged Studio 5 Contributor Kiersten Blanchard to create a family website. She shares what she learned, the advantages and a little how-to.
My favorite program was at www.myfamily.com. It has the best storage, easy-to-follow steps, fun upload options, and clean look.
To get started go to myfamily.com*. Enter a name for your family website and click “Create.” You will then be guided through a simple set up. You can choose the basic plan for free, or the “Essentials” plan for $29.95/year. The Basic plan is a great place to start and can be updated to the Essentials plan anytime. The only negatives to the free plan is a limitation on how many MB of info you can upload to the site each month (100MB) and there will be ads on your site.
Here are a couple of things you can do on your family website:
Upload pictures: Been on vacation? A picture is worth a thousand words…that saves a lot of blogging.
Upload video: Baby’s first steps. Now your family can see it too. It’s like your own private YouTube. Just remember the 100MB limit. Keep the videos short.
Add discussion: This is a place to add updates on each family…but it doesn’t stop there. You can add recipes, review movies, or just share some exciting news.
Create photo stories: take photos from an album, add your own voice narration describing the pictures!
Create a family tree: Now your kids can finally see where they came from.
Add events to one central calendar: No more forgotten birthdays, or “why didn’t I hear about that get together?” Now everybody can be up to date on the latest family events.
Share files: Has a family member created a great file you’d love to have. Chances are you aren’t the only one. That person can post the file so that everybody has access to it.
Add people: You can choose who to invite to the site. Send invitations by entering an e-mail address. Once they accept and add a profile picture, you choose whether they are a guest, member or administrator.
You can make changes to the site by clicking on “Site Settings” on the far right-hand side. You can even change it from a “family site” to any from “friends” to “business associates” or a “club or group.” Here you can also make it open to the public. Here you can also change the theme (ie. Background look) and even create your own by clicking on “custom.”
Most of all, have fun staying connected with your family members in this easy, fun way!
*The one thing I didn’t like about this site is that it seemed to crash several times I was trying to enter an event. But considering the alternatives, this was my clear top pick!
Other Website Options:
www.familylobby.com – Similar in many of the features to myfamily.com, but I didn’t like the look as well.
www.sampa.com – Nice clean look, but visitors cannot be administrators, so it’s more like a blog. Also, doesn’t have as many options.
www.kinector.com – Not as easy to use and had some strange word overlap on my screen.