How to create a no-maintenance family blog in 3 easy steps

What do you do if some of your family won’t join Facebook yet get miffed if they hear your news second hand?

An easy option is to create a private blog that gets automatically (the no-maintenance part) populated with your family’s facebook updates and pictures.

Creating the blog is a relatively quick one-off job. It might take an hour or so but once its all set up you don’t need to touch it.

I picked WordPress for our family as my sister and I used it already (and it’s free, as are most blogging platforms).

How to set up your blog in 3 easy steps:

1.  Set up the blog

2.  Invite your family to join you

3.  Set up the rules to create new posts on your blog (more on this below)

1.   Setting up your blog

Pick a name for your site.  This will become part of the web address so should be easy to remember.  For example allthingsjones.wordpress.com

Set your theme and title. WordPress has lots of free themes you can play around with and personalise with your own photos or pictures.

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Set the blog to private to restrict access to just your family.  This is done under “Settings”,”Reading” in the WordPress blog dashboard.Image

2.  Inviting  your family to join

You can assign different access levels from editor to follower depending on whether you want to allow them to add/edit/delete posts or just read them.  This is done from the “Users” “Invite New” menu on the dashboard.

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So now that you have your blog, how do you (and your family) auto-magically add posts to it?

The answer:  Using IFTTT (IF This, Then That).  Now this sounds technical and involved but it’s really not, no coding experience or IT knowledge whatsoever is needed.

3.  Setting up the rules to create new posts on your blog – automatically!

If you haven’t yet heard of IFTTT, it’s just a really easy way to get the internet to work for you.  You can set up rules like “If I post a photo on facebook, add it to my family blog”.  So every time you post a photo on facebook, within 15 minutes your photo will appear as a new post in your blog and everyone who is  following your blog will get notified that there’s a new post. And it’s free!

First – join IFTTT here.

Second – register your Facebook and WordPress (or whatever platform you are using for your family blog) as “channels”.

IFTTT1

Third – create your rules (known as “recipes”).

IFTTT2

You create rules by choosing a channel to get information from (for this rule facebook is the “this” channel), the trigger (each time I post a photo), and a channel to send the information to ( the “that” channel is your family blog).

IFTTT3

IFTTT guides you through setting up your recipes step-by-step to make it super easy to use.  You can accept the default values for your blog post initially and then play around with them later when you have it all working.

Your recipe should look something like this when it’s been set up:

IFTTT4

Now all you need to do is activate your rule, add a photo to facebook and wait for it to appear on your blog. Too easy!

Each rule or recipe will keep working until you switch it off.

Now get the rest of your family facebookers to do the same…

…and keep the facebook haters happy :)

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Joining Jess at www.essentiallyjess.com for IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays)

There are heaps of other things you can get IFTTT to do for you – there are thousands of recipes you can look through to see how other people are using it to make their online lives easier. Check out the two IFTTT articles linked below for more information.

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6 responses to “How to create a no-maintenance family blog in 3 easy steps

  1. wow! i had no idea this kind of thing was possible! thankfully anyone i need to see things is on facebook, so it’s all good, but this would be a wonderful way for families to keep in touch privately. love it! x Aroha

  2. Great idea – and one my family could really get into, we are spread out all over the world these days. Checking BOT – mamagoingsolo.com!

  3. WOW – what a great way to share information !!!
    I will bookmark this and come back to it when I have some more time to have a good read / play with it and see if I can use it for anything that I do.
    Thanks so much for sharing !!
    Have the best day.
    Me

  4. Brilliant way of sharing things, I would never have thought of that. I also like the idea of having various family members contribute. Lovely way for cousins to see themselves together all in the one space despite a physical disatance. This is also the second post I have read to day that mentions IFTTT, you did a much better way of explaining it as well by the way. Thanks so much for sharing

    leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  5. What a fab idea, I might try that for the MIL, she will totally HATE my blog any other way :)

  6. Oh that’s a very cool idea! My mum hates finding out second hand, but I think technology daunts her anyway. I just need to talk more instead :)

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