With the ability to share information instantly (and anywhere), many people utilize the internet to keep in touch with out-of-town relatives. Sure, emails and social media are quick and easy, but sometimes they lack a personal touch. So why not blog? Even if you don’t know how to start a family blog, there are benefits to using this method of communication.
While social media and emails are common, they have their own drawbacks. Emails can be a bit too formal for family matters and can be restricted in terms of format. Likewise, social media sites have set structures and parameters you have to follow when creating content to share, which puts limits on what you can post and how.
Plus, there are some blurry lines when it comes to ownership of the content you post on social platforms, as most of these sites actually have certain rights to it.
Additionally, the ability to share updates on these channels makes privacy an issue since you can only set your privacy settings. If you post something on your page that one of your followers shares and their settings allow anyone to see their content, that private post is now public.
So what’s the solution for family matters? Blogging.
Why blogging is the answer
While staying in touch with family can be accomplished through social media or email, blogging might be a better option. Starting a family blog is a great way to reach multiple people while potentially limiting visibility at the same time. Before learning how to start a family blog, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a blogging platform to keep in touch with relatives:
- No advertisements. Unless you are trying to make money off your family blog, you can keep the focus on the content and not distract family members with annoying ads.
- Managed privacy. You can share your life with only those you want accessing your blog. You can even require a password to view the content.
- More creativity. There are no character limits or restrictions on types of content you can post in a blog. You can also customize the design so the website caters to you and your family.
- Photo sharing and storage. Using a blog to share pictures allows you to organize and save the photos without worrying about losing them if your computer crashes.
- Updates are by choice. Your family members can check in when they want, on their own time, so inboxes won’t be slammed with updates if you post frequently.
- It creates a keepsake. A family blog can act like a journal to track your life. It provides an account of your children growing up, travel experiences, big events, etc.
Along with the many benefits of starting a family blog, technology has made creating a blogging website possible for almost anyone.
How to start a family blog
Pick a domain, platform and hosting.
Choose a theme and plugins.
Take necessary security and privacy measures.
Share with family members and start posting.
Once you decide to go the blog route, there are a few steps to take to get up and running. The process for how to start a family blog is outlined below.
1. Pick a domain, platform and hosting.
First, decide what platform you are going to use, pick a domain, and set up hosting.
One of the most commonly chosen blogging platforms is WordPress because of its simple usability, so this option is great for those who don’t have any development experience. You could also look into Blogger, FamilyLobby.com or Medium. Some of these also include a free domain, but not all are completely original, as the free options might be on a shared domain (e.g., myfamilyblog.blogspot.com instead of myfamilyblog.com). Explore a variety of platform options before making your selection.
2. Choose a theme and plugins.
Most blogging platforms will have plenty of free themes or templates you can use to customize the look and structure of your site. You can also find plugins that allow you to add or expand functionality.
For a family blog, you might want to allow commenting, set up photo galleries, integrate an MP3 or video player, or automatically back up your site regularly.
If you choose a platform other than WordPress that doesn’t have plugins at your disposal, you’ll likely have features available to you within the structure to further customize your site.
Editor’s note: Don’t want to worry about backing up your content? Think about using GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress for your blogging needs. We’ll handle the backups for you.
3. Take necessary security and privacy measures.
When posting personal information, it’s important to prioritize security and privacy. Some platforms allow you to adjust your settings to manage authors, specify who can read your blog, and limit access to only those with the password. If yours doesn’t, it likely has security plugins that can do this. For example, WordPress has Password Protected or My Private Site as viable options. Browse what plugins are available on the platform you choose.
To take full advantage of all security plugins and features for WordPress specifically, make sure you update your system, theme and plugins every time a new version is available.
Along with controlling who has access to your blog, you can also discourage search engines from indexing your site. Doing this can prevent your family blog from showing up in search results, which reduces the likelihood of a non-relative stumbling upon it.
4. Share with family members and start posting.
Once your platform is chosen, the theme and necessary plugins are installed, and the level of privacy is established, send the URL of your blog to the family members you want to see it. Should you decide to limit viewers by requiring a login to see posts, you will need to send the password as well.
You might also want to open up posting to other relatives. If you use WordPress, you can add users to your site so they can share what’s happening in their lives.
That’s it! Now it’s time to start posting. Even though your blog might be private, try to make it visually enticing and easy to follow. Your relatives will feel like they are a big part of your life, even if they live across the country!