Your Guide to Building a Family Website

Happy FamilyRecently my cousin contacted me via text looking for some help setting up a family website where he could share pictures and news with all of his relatives. Since I have website experience he came to me for help. I thought my informative replies could aid anyone out there looking to do the same.

 

My Cousin: I want to setup myfamily.com but don’t know how to. The one thing that I can’t do and want to do is a landing page myfamily.com where my family signs in and then they can see pictures and other shit. How do I buy my own website?

JD: You don’t need that. Go to posterous.com

My Cousin: I want myfamily.com. Posterous doesnt do that.

JD: Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: Hmmmm. So “myfamily.com” and then a link inside it that takes us to Posterous.com? That sucks. I’m reinventing the wheel here. I don’t want to have my family website on any other website just my own.

JD: Go nuts. Let me know when you start using Posterous.

My Cousin: When I send you a message that says visit myfamily.com but with no username or password you’ll know it’s done.

JD: That makes absolutely no sense.

My Cousin: It won’t be Posterous.com/myfamily.

JD:

JD: Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: No that’s not right. I want my own website.

JD: (headdesk) Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: No you don’t get what I’m trying to do here.

(five minute pause)

JD: (knowing he’ll regret reentering the conversation) Did you want to be the only one posting pictures or do you want to have the whole family able to contribute?

My Cousin: If I can why can’t they? I’m not sure yet, though. For now just me.

JD: It’s a matter of the simplest interface. Is your mom going to want to open up a new wordpress post and upload pictures and arrange them? Is your sister? Is your brother? Are you? With your own domain running WP you can set up Posterous, which has a simple interface, to be the method of writing posts. Plus, with Posterous running, people have the option of interacting with the site however they choose. They can receive and send things entirely through email, they can visit the site proper and post via posterous, or they can login to the wordpress dashboard and create posts there.

My Cousin: Does your family use it?

JD: I set it up for my family. My sisters used it for awhile. My sister-in-law tried to upload a video and quit. My mom insists she isn’t getting any of the emails but complains constantly that posterous is sending her spam. My dad swears he’s never heard of the site every one of the four hundred times I’ve explained it to him.

My Cousin: What’s your address?

JD: It’s password protected.

My Cousin: You can do that?…

(ten minute pause)

My Cousin: Hey I found this site called Posterous. I’m going to use it for myfamily.com.

JD: I swear to god I’m fucking adopted.

My Cousin: I can’t get it to accept my website.

JD: I’m done here.

My Cousin: No you’re not.

JD: What the fuck are you even talking about?! I don’t know what that means? What is “it?!” What is “my website?” The whole reason I sent you to Posterous is because of the numerous options it has. I have zero idea what screen you’re looking at right now nor what you are attempting. And you know what? That’s the whole point. Look at this conversation. See how you plowed through every answer I gave without bothering to understand what I was saying, or checking whether you even grasped the basic definitions of the terms I was using? Can you imagine that from my end? How annoying it was? Because that’s what you’re setting yourself up for. Twenty-six hundred conversations with your family where they ignore whatever you’re saying. You know why? Because nobody understand the fucking Internet. But everyone thinks they understand it. And they think that it operates based on whatever magical web of insanity and toad-sweat induced fantasy they’ve invented to explain it. You’ll have people telling you that their Google isn’t accepting their password. Or that their AOL can’t view picture files. Or that they logged into the site but it isn’t scanning their email. What the fuck does that even mean?!? I don’t know! And neither will you because it HAS no meaning. Give up! Give up while there’s still time!!

(five minute pause)

My Cousin: Can google help me finish this website? That’s what you’re saying?