‘Our Philosophy’ Archive

7 Essential Family Blogging Tips

March 16th, 2011 by Joe

Family blogs are a great way to share your latest family news and happenings with others. To make sure you get the most out of your family blog, keep these family blogging tips in mind:

1. Choose Your Audience

For whom are you writing your blog? For the grandparents? For friends?

Decide who you want to read your blog and write accordingly. Perhaps family will want to see videos and pictures. Remember to share the story and context of these pictures so people know what is happening.

2. Choose What to Share

Think about the highlights of your day or week with your family. These are the things that you should share on your family blog. If you document absolutely everything that is happening, you’ll get burned out.

3. Let People Know About Updates

Make sure you let people know when you’ve posted something new on your family blog.

You can manually email family and friends but this may be tedious. Look for a family blogging service that will send out automatic email notices sent to subscribers or provides a feed that people can use in their blog readers (like Google Reader).

4. Post Regularly

Your family blog is a wonderful way for others to see what is happening in your family. Keep your family and friends aware of what is happening in your life by posting to your blog regularly.

5. Encourage Comments

You can encourage people to comment on your family blog posts by asking questions. Questions will prompt others to answer. Additionally, you can share some amazing family pictures or video to spark conversation.

6. Write For You

Think of your family blog as a family journal. This is your chance to archive what is happening in your family. Write posts and share information that you’d like to know about when you look back a few years from now.

7. Have Fun

Posting to your family blog shouldn’t be a chore. Keep things fun by including funny anecdotes about your family, stories of a fun family trip, or a video that made you laugh.

By following these family blogging tips, you’ll be on your way to having an amazing family blog that your friends and family enjoy reading.

How to Create a Family Blog

March 9th, 2011 by Joe

A family blog is an easy way to keep in touch with your family and friends.

You can create a family blog in 4 easy steps.

1. Choose a Family Blog Provider

You have two choices when creating a family blog: do it yourself or find an online service that handles all the hassle for you.

The do-it-yourself route will require some technical expertise that is beyond the scope of this article.

If you choose to use an online family blog service, make sure you can try it out to see if it will work for your family’s needs.

2. Private or Public

Decide if you want to have your family blog visible to the entire world or just those you invite. There are advantages and disadvantages to both public and private family blogs.

If you are concerned about privacy and keeping your family’s information, pictures, and happenings private, then you should consider a private family blog.

Make sure the family blog provider you select allows you to keep all information private. Be careful with some sites with complicated privacy settings that make it hard to tell what is or isn’t being shared.

3. Start Writing

The foundation of creating your family blog consists of the stories, pictures, videos, and news that you want to share. Start by writing a couple of posts about the highlights of your last week with your family.

4. Invite Family and Friends

Make sure you have some posts and messages in place before you start inviting people over to read your family blog. You don’t want to make a big deal about inviting people over if there isn’t anything to see yet.

Check to see if your family blog provider has a way to automatically let others know when you make updates to your family blog. This will save you the time of having to both write a post and manually inform people that you’ve got something new to read.

Public Family Blog vs. Private Family Blog

October 7th, 2008 by Joe

One of the reasons blogging has become so popular is that you can share information about yourself and family with anyone you want without the feel of spamming your entire email contact list. You can even share pictures and videos without crashing email. It really is a fun way share information about yourself and exchange information with other people you care about.

When it comes to family blogs, you have to decide if you want to open your blog to public viewing or keep it restricted to those you invite with a private family blog.

Public Blogs

People like public blogs because you can search for old friends and if they have a blog, voila! You can connect. There are many public blog services available, making it accessible to anyone who has a computer.

People also like public blogs because you can subscribe to a blog feed. A blog feed allows you to enter the URLs of any website you frequently visit, and when you visit your feed page, you can see at a glance who has updated any content to their blog or web page. (Most private blogs cannot be added to blog feeds.) You can keep track of your favorite blog feeds with tools like Google Reader or Bloglines.

If you have no reservations about having what you put on a blog seen by literally anyone in the entire world, a public blog is a good way to go.

Cautions with a Public Family Blog

Anyone, truly ANYONE, can stumble on your site. Our friends posted a funny picture of their 2-year old playing with his plastic golf clubs in the backyard while he was naked. The picture was censored but the blog title was “Naked Golfer.” They discovered that all sorts of weirdos were visiting their site who had done a Google search using those key words. Needless to say, they ended up deleting that post. Blog stalkers are a reality.

If you have a public blog, keep the information as generic as possible. Try to avoid using first and last names, street addresses, other contact information like email, physical descriptions, or things like genealogical information. You don’t want to make it possible for blog stalkers to put two and two together and end up on your doorstep.

We’re not trying to scare you but rather just to caution: be smart about what you say. Some people go to the extreme of identifying family members by their initials or referring to their children as “the boy” or “the kids.” Many people don’t worry about it that much. With the millions of blogs out there, it’s easy to gamble on the chance that the weirdos probably will not find you. However, Google and other search engines will find your blog eventually and then it will be at the finger tips of anyone with Internet access.

Advantages of a Private Family Blog

If you are concerned about weirdos reading about your kid’s birthday party or looking at your family photos, you may want to consider a private blog.

Obviously, privacy is a big motivator for those of us who go that route and was one of the reasons we built Family Says in the first place.

With a private family blog, you have more control over who is looking at the things you put out there. You still have all the benefits of blogging but not as many of the risks.

Private family blogs generally require a user name and password. The good news with this is that friends and family tend to respect your desire for privacy so it’s generally not too much of an issue.

Individual Blogs vs. Group Blogs

September 9th, 2008 by Joe

Traditionally blogs had just one author. Any visitors to the blog could leave comments on posts made by that one author. This single-author setup may be fine for most individual journal style blogs but doesn’t always work for families.

With a family, you’ll probably want to have multiple authors so that mom, dad, and maybe the kids can all share their own thoughts on the blog.

Nuclear Family vs. Extended Family

Your immediate family may only have a few people that would be authors on your blog. If that is the case, your blog only needs to support just a handful of authors. Be careful when investigating options, not all blogging services let you have more than one author.

If you want your entire extended family to share a blog, make sure your blogging service supports numerous authors. Here at FamilySays.com we have a “Family Reunion” plan that can have up to 50 authors, which should be enough to cover a large extended family.

We’ve used our extended family website to replace the traditional printed newsletter we had for years. The family blog gives people the opportunity to share news and events when they happen instead of having to go through the coordination hassle of a family newsletter.

Why choose Family Says over a family blog?

September 4th, 2007 by Joe

We received a question today via our support email which we feel bears a little discussion here:

“What would be the competitive advantage of this website as compared to a family blog?”

Our Family Says service is, at its core, a family blog. A primary advantage Family Says has over other blog providers is privacy. With our service your site isn’t accessible to the unknown public scattered across the Internet. You control who sees your site and your personal family news.

Family Says is free from advertising banners and other intrusive commercial marketing. Your site is for your family and private discussion and shouldn’t be covered in distracting ads.

Simplicity is one of our founding principles. Our service is so easy to use that great-grandfathers can use it. Family Says is ideal for baby boomers whose families are now scattered across the country or even the world. We already have people using Family Says in Korea, Japan, and Portugal to keep in touch with their families and friends here in the States.

Thanks for your question. It was a great way for us to reflect on the things that are important to us that we hope are also important to you.

Private Means Private!

August 27th, 2007 by Mindy

This week one of my friends sent me a link to her newly formed blog (unfortunately, not a Family Says site). I was navigating around and clicked on a link that said “next,” assuming it would take me to the next blog entry. Instead, to my surprise, I was taken to the next alphabetical person’s blog. I have no idea who they are. I quickly navigated back to my friend’s page. I was kind of taken aback at how easy it was to view some random stranger’s personal thoughts and feelings.

I think that privacy on the Internet is somewhat discounted when it comes to the extreme popularity of blogging. It’s so common for the younger generation to have “their space” that they share freely with friends and use to look up acquaintances. But for some of us in older generations, we aren’t quite ready to give up our privacy like that.

We like the idea of sharing thoughts and feelings in a way that used to be reserved for the daily diary but hesitate because that puts a lot of us out there. The feeling could be compared to running through the grocery store naked. Thankfully, Family Says stands ready to hand those seeking privacy a proverbial pair of shorts.

I’m glad that I have friends who share glimpses of their lives with me via blogs, but I am also glad that when I share glimpses of my life that I have complete control over who sees what I’m sharing. It helps to foster the intimate feeling that I hope people feel when I share daily struggles and triumphs.

I have to wonder how many others there are out there, like myself, who view themselves as private people. Listen up: Family Says is for you! Join in the fun! Here at Family Says, private means private.

So simple an 80-year old can use it!

August 10th, 2007 by Mindy

We received a letter today from a happy customer, an 80-year-old patriarch of a family spread around the world. His comments made us happy, since he is reaping the benefits of simplicity, one of the components we’ve tried to focus on as we’ve developed these private family websites.

His letter, in part, read:

“Thanks so much for all you have done to make this such a viable commodity for all of us! It’s great!…especially when oldsters like us can navigate through the program.”

There seem to be many people out there who don’t consider themselves computer savvy and don’t have the resources to join the technological world, as much as they might want to. This isn’t too shocking, given the fact that the majority of all things Internet have developed in the last 15 years at a rapid rate.

One of the prime reasons we focused our efforts on making Family Says easy to use was due to the large number of our family members who were intimidated by the computer and online technology. They have all been surprised by how easy it’s been for them to participate in online family conversations and relieved that they have been able to join the “in” crowd.

We love hearing comments like this because it reinforces the point that Family Says can level the playing field for family members of all abilities and levels, as this great-grandpa (as well as all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) illustrate. I mean, we knew it for ourselves, but it’s nice to hear it from others, too!

Why You Won’t See Ads on Your Family Says Site

May 1st, 2007 by Joe

How often do you see advertisements online that are really relevant to you? Not very often.

How often do you see ads that are flashing and annoying? Probably too often.

We feel that your Family Says website should be a sanctuary from the non-stop attack of banner ads and gimmicks you often find online. Even though families are a great demographic for targeted ads, we want you to have a distraction free family website.

You should be able to share your latest family news or pictures without seeing or being influenced by unrelated, irreverent, or annoying third-party advertisements.

So sit back and enjoy your ad-free zone.