I have been pre-occupied lately with creating my family website at FamilyLobby.com. It is creating so I decided to write about my adventures. I started out with a free site, but my family is too large, so I had to opt for a paid site. I started out by deciding on my theme, searching for the right style. I wanted a transparent theme, the background picture didn't matter, since I was going to change it anyway. I tried out quite a few different themes before deciding.
I decided on a theme and spent a lot of time looking for the right background picture for the site. Since I called our site "Nuts in my Tree", I had to find the perfect picture. I found this drawing which was an open source drawing from the turn of the century, and decided it was what I was looking for. I like the gathering of squirrels, waiting for the nuts and the owl standing guard.
Next, I started customizing the site, changing the colours of the fonts, borders, arranging the homepage, etc. I ran into a problem with the navigation being on the left, it was getting too long and confusing, so I changed to a drop-down list at the top of the page, it looks much neater.
I made a "members only" category and put all of the private pages here, so members will remember where to post. I have the privacy set so a visitor sees the homepage, news, guestbook and some public pages that are included as default such as For Kids. I added a couple of more links that are favourites of my grandchildren too.
I started thinking of making some custom pages, so I had to change the font colours again to something that would show up on any background. I chose a grey colour that will show up on light and dark backgrounds.
I sent out the first newsletter this week too, it was quick and easy to compose. Every member has the ability to publish a newsletter, so if there's an announcement they want to make to the rest of the family, they can do it. I think this is a great feature for announcing engagements, births, etc. The newsletters have tie option of being put on the website as well, so that those who didn't receive the newsletter, such as visitors and guests, can read it too.
Since the family site has to be geared to all ages, I posted different things that the kids would be interested in, like posting their Easter egg colouring photos, etc. I also posted instructions for using the website that I hope will help them with any problems they have.
I also hunted up a few gadgets for them to play with, games, virtual pets, I even found an app. for Guitar Chords for my grand-nephew. I put links to Facebook and My Space in the "Member's Only" section for the older kids and adults too. I also added links to family reunion sites there, to keep everyone informed. I added links to free clipart and backgrounds as well that they can use in their posts.
I'm still playing around with it, adding to it when I think of different ideas. I was thinking about linking a couple of pages to my Viviti site with more features available yet. I think I'm going to try it, that way we could have eBay listings and PayPal buttons, Twitter, etc. I'm heading there now, I'll let you know if it works