Once you've decided to create a family reunion Web site, your first step will be deciding which type of Web hosting to go with. Some Internet service providers give you free Web space, along with tools to build your own site. Other companies offer free Web space and templates for designing a family site in exchange for advertising on your site. There are also companies that will provide you with an advertisement-free space and tools for designing your site for a monthly fee. Your choice will depend on your budget.
After you've decided where to make your family reunion Web site, you'll need to choose a name for your site. Choose a name that will be easy for all of your relatives to remember, and keep in mind that you may want to keep the site going for future events. In this case, a name like "ReynoldsFamily.com" might be better than "ReynoldsReunion2010.com."
Simplicity is also the name of the game when you choose the design of your Web site. While you want the site to look nice, too many bells and whistles will just be annoying for tech-savvy family members and confusing for the technologically challenged. Make sure that the most important information, such as the date, time and location of the reunion, are at the top of the page. You should include a map of the location and its immediate vicinity, along with directions on how to get there from north, south, east and west of the location. Include parking details and any special information about the location. If family members will be coming from out of town, include information about local hotels, restaurants and rental car agencies.
Start a blog on your Web site well in advance of the reunion so you can keep family members informed about plans and get their feedback. You should also create an e-mail list so you can message family members when there's important news about the reunion. Many family reunion Web site services come with polling tools that you can use to get family members' opinions about the reunion activities, menu and other options. If relatives are supposed to bring food or refreshments, post a running list of who's bringing what. Some templates even come with a feature that allows relatives to order reunion T-shirts or pay reunion dues by credit card using the site. After the reunion is over, you can upload photos and videos to help everyone remember the fun times you all had.
Now that you know the basics, what's the best way to use a Web site to help make your family reunion a time to remember? Read on for more tips.