Specialty Sites: It’s Not ALL Business on the World Wide Web

Most of us think of the web in terms of business. We buy books, clothes, refrigerators, wedding rings and a bunch of services from the fastest growing marketplace ever. But it’s not all business. A lot of times, it’s all about convenience.When you open an account with a quality web host, expect to get everything you need for less than $5 a month – less than you pay for a double shot latte vente. Anyone with pocket change can rent disc space from a web host and have instant access to all the features of the world wide web.That’s why lots of people are turning to the W3 for the features it offers in connectivity, convenience and easy communication for stakeholders, whether family, friends or soon-to-be-friends.There are lots of reasons to open an account with a quality web host and build a simple site for just about any purpose. Here are some suggestions to get those creative juices flowing.Family SitesFamily sites are available by invitation only. In other words, you create an on-line family web site that’s password protected, then provide family members and other special friends the log in information via email.
post family updates – The Flanders’ Family News
upload family pictures to be shared with remote friends and relatives. Guaranteed, you’ll get book marked by all of those closest to you.
organize a family reunion. Use the site to collect RSVPs, provide an events agenda, and even provide links to local hotels and motels, simplifying accommodations. Click, book, “Hello Cousin Liz!”
Share family news with service men and women who are far off and, more than ever, enjoy news from home. You can also make it easy for family members to upload pictures and posts so the whole family can share.
Using simple templates and modules (add a blog module for easy communication), you can have a family site up and running in a few hours, and change it as often as you or the family wants. It’s a cool way to keep in touch and costs a lot less than one long-distance telephone call. How can you lose?Friends’ NetworksThe average American family moves every five years due to job transfers or new opportunities out West or back East. And that means a lot of sad good-byes as we leave our friends and neighbors behind and move to a new time zone.Stay in touch with the old gang by creating your own, private network of friends – the people you shared good times with, the people who babysat the kids, the people you shared your life with.Again, these private web sites aren’t available for public access, they don’t get spidered and they don’t appear on search engine results pages – unless you want them to. Otherwise, keep the conversation going even if you’re on the other side of the world with those close friends you had to leave behind.Class Reunion Web SitesIf you’re in charge of organizing the 20th reunion of your high school class, build a website – today! You won’t believe how easy this makes your life.Simply notify all invitees of the website’s existence, with complete URL, and let the web site take care of the chores associated with organizing these fun-filled, albeit, labor-intensive, get-togethers.It’s simple to design a template-based web site that equips old classmates to RSVP. Post the URL to your Facebook wall and ask your FB friends to spread the word. With 500 million Facebook users, news of the reunion web site will spread quickly.Be sure to include:
all contact information including the name of the main contact, email and telephone number
an RSVP opt-in page that syncs up with a database module (really, it’s easy because everything is modular so you don’t have to do anything but click, click and you’re opt-in module is in place and fully functional)
directions to the reunion venue
links to airline booking sites
links to the local hotels and motels you’ve contacted
an email link that automatically opens an email response box so your chums can contact you with questions, comments and HELP!Always ask for volunteers on your class reunion web site. These things are a logistics nightmare, but a reunion web sites handles most of the heavy lifting.Wedding SitesAgain, convenient to set up, convenient to use and convenient to track. Post the same information listed under reunion sites – contact info, location and start time of the wedding, etc.Include the web site URL on the wedding invitation! It’s really not socially acceptable to send wedding invitations via email (except maybe to your closest friends). Gram should get the traditional engraved invitation delivered via snail mail. Just good manners.Provide RSVP capability, directions to the wedding location, reception location and links to local accommodations. You can also create downloadable directions and even a downloadable map showing out-of-towners how to get to where they’re going.Memorial SitesWhen a loved-one passes away, often family and loved ones want to honor the life of their dear, departed friend or relative.Memorial sites are great ways to share pictures, videos, create a sign-in guestbook, create in charity site link “In lieu of flowers…” and an easy means of loved ones to share their thoughts and celebrate the life of someone close. It’s a wonderful way to connect people who honor the lives of loved ones.It’s always a good idea to include an email link on a memorial site. You’ll be amazed at how many people want to share their feelings and memories of their common bond with you.Event SitesLaunching a seminar for local real estate agents? Planning a mastermind round table of business leaders in your community? Planning to teach a class open to the public?Event sites are a simple way to explain the event, provide all pertinent even information (venue, address, telephone number), a contact email and, once again, links to booking sites for both transportation and accommodations close to the event site.If the event requires payment, make sure your web host offers a free checkout module that’s totally secure.Track attendees, use the site as your email client in exchanges with prospective attendees and, of course, provide all registration fees, hotel/motel fees and any other costs associated with the event.Make it easy to register, handle the accommodations and you’ll see a better response to your event.One other tip: create URL cards. URL cards are the size of a standard business card but the only information contained on the card is your event site URL. Pass out these cards in person and by snail mail to likely candidates. For example, if you host a real estate conference, every regional real estate agent receives a URL card by snail mail.It’s sure to create curiosity, which in turn generates traffic, which in turn converts site visitors to sign-ups.Personal SitesThe world wide web is egalitarian. It’s a huge sandbox and all are invited to play. If your web host provides: disk space, free domain name registration, software, web building templates and even 24/7 customer care lines, virtually anyone can build a virtual presence on the web in just a few hours.Are you an artist? An aspiring author? A poet? A thinker? A politician or just a political junkie, you can quickly and easily build a web site that’s all you – from design to content to target demographic.You can display or share your work with the world or with close friends. You can encourage feedback and constructive criticism. You can put on your best face and show or tell the world what’s going on in your life and in your head.Sometimes called “vanity sites,” for $5 a month you can create your own space on the world wide web and use it any way you want to. The world wide web is totally egalitarian. Anybody – ANYBODY – can create their own space and their own face on-line.So what are you waiting for. In a few hours, you can create your web presence and stake claim to your own personal pixels to use as you choose.Look for a web host that offers all the tools you need to build a web site (templates and plenty of them), a secure checkout, a blog module, opt-in or response module, easy email forwarding (an email client), lots of flexibility and built-in functionality so site visitors can respond easily and even book plane reservations for your upcoming gallery opening.The world wide web isn’t all business, but it is all convenience. Use it to share information, broadcast updates, post pictures and get invitees.

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