How to Create a Family Reunion Web Site

Get the whole family together with the help of the Web.
Get the whole family together with the help of the Web.
Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Families have reunions to bond with their loved ones, get to know each other better and create cherished memories. But organizing them can be a hassle. Lately, however, lots of families have turned to 21st century technology as a way to get the word out about their family reunions -- and even to enhance the reunion experience.

How can modern technology help with this tried-and-true tradition? Most people have access to the Internet these days, and a Web site is a fast, convenient way to get information to a lot of people. Any event that brings together a large group of people will require a lot of communication. You'll need to let everyone know the date and time of the reunion, how to get there, where to park, what to bring, where to spend the night, and where to get something to eat. Instead of calling or sending a stack of letters to Aunt Cindy, Cousin Julian and everyone else in the family, you can put all the information up on your Web site.

You can also use your Web site's interactive capabilities to get everyone's opinions before the reunion by blogging about possible venues or food choices. On top of that, an e-mail list can keep everyone up to date on any important information. These tools can help the whole family have a dialog about the reunion beforehand, share their thoughts about the reunion afterward and make suggestions for next time. Many families decide to keep their family reunion Web site and use it as a continuing calendar for important family events.

If you're thinking about creating a family reunion Web site, you'll need to consider things such as cost and user-friendliness. Some family reunion Web sites are free, while others are not. Making a Web site completely from scratch requires some computer knowledge, but family tree templates are easy to make and use. Read on to learn more about creating your own family reunion Web site.

Family Reunion Web Site Attributes

Think about whether or not you'll use your family reunion Web site for future events.
Think about whether or not you'll use your family reunion Web site for future events.
Larry Dale Gordon/The Image Bank/Getty Images

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.

Tips for Creating Family Reunion Web Sites

Load pictures onto your family's site so you can share the memories.
Load pictures onto your family's site so you can share the memories.
David Woolley/Taxi/Getty Images

One important way your Web site can help you make your reunion the best it can be is by helping you get everyone's input. You can use a blog to report your progress on the reunion plans and invite family members to join the blog, give their opinions and ask questions. This will help you find out about potential problems you maybe didn't think of. For example, a relative who has trouble getting around might ask about how many steps the reunion venue has, and this would give you a chance to find out before the big day.

While a basic Web site with a blog is enough to get information out about your family reunion, there are also lots of ways to use site-building tools to add fun to your family reunion and help everyone get to know more about each other. You can use the same polling tools that you used to ask people's opinions about the reunion menu to help people get to know each other better. One fun way to do this is to post a poll before the reunion that asks family members about themselves. Ask things about interesting places family members have visited, favorite books, and other personal facts and characteristics. Read the answers aloud at the reunion, and have everyone try to guess whose answers they are.

Another family reunion goal that your Web site can help you with is creating memories. Most Web site templates allow you to upload photos and videos. You can make multiple photo albums and arrange them by theme, and if you keep your Web site for the long run, you can create an archive of past reunions so everyone can look back and reminisce. You can also use those polling tools to ask everyone about their favorite reunion memories.

If you use your Web site to get the word out before the reunion and keep the memories afterwards, you can add joy and fun to everyone's experience.

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Sources

  • Best Web Hosting Reviews. "Tips - Creating a Family Reunion Website." (April 19, 2010)http://www.bestwebhostingreviews.com/creating_a_family_reunion_website.html