Building a website for the holidays is a great way for your family and friends to share photos, Grandma’s special recipes, or a simple calendar of events for who’s hosting which holiday gathering. Or perhaps you’re planning a class reunion to coincide with the festive season. Maybe you want to showcase a rental property near a ski resort or on the coast for those who want a change of scenery in December.
Whatever sparked your interest in building a holiday website, get started now before the season kicks in and you get too busy. Here are the basic must-have elements for two types of special websites for the holiday season.
Your Holiday Central Website
One of the most popular reasons for building a holiday website is to share photos and video memories. When it isn’t possible for your family to gather in one physical location to enjoy the holidays together, thanks to many easy-to-use digital tools, you can still share your memories online. Here’s how to get started on your seasonal site.
Create a WordPress Site on Bluehost
Having a self-hosted WordPress website give you control over your site, and choosing a web host optimized for WordPress is an important part of this process. WordPress recommends Bluehost as the No. 1 hosting service. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a WordPress website, walking you through choosing a domain name, installing WordPress, and customizing your site.
Build a Registry Page
Once you’ve created a WordPress website, add a registry page where each visitor can add his or her contact information — similar to a subscription signup form. This will allow you to publish a family newsletter after the holidays without having to dig up each individual’s email address.
Add a Menu
You’ll probably want a simple menu (with just a few tabs, such as Photos, Blog, and Contact) to help users navigate the site. If you’d like family and friends to upload their own photos and videos, include detailed steps on the Photos page about how to do this. Or you can request that family members send you links to their YouTube clips, Flickr albums, or Instagram snapshots via blog comments or email messages so you can add new items yourself.
Add a Photo Gallery
This will probably be the most important page (or maybe the only one) on your family’s holiday website. Easily add a new page in WordPress by selecting Pages and then Add New on the left-hand column.
Give this page a title, and then click on the Add Media button to select photos or upload new files.
Add a Blog Page
Go through the same steps as above to add a new blog page. In addition to a photo gallery or album, you might want to write about how Uncle Joe accidentally dropped the turkey on the floor (with photographic evidence, of course). You can do it yourself or ask each family unit to designate one person to be responsible for sharing their holiday news (in which case you’ll need to add additional users to your blog).
If you invest a few minutes in learning how to create a simple WordPress website, you can have your family’s photo-sharing site up in about 30 minutes. Feel free to explore the dozens of themes available and customize your site if you have coding skills or experience managing a business site.
Showcasing a Holiday Rental
Whereas a family photo sharing site doesn’t need a lot of fancy bells and whistles, if you’re using a seasonal website to generate revenue for a holiday rental property, you’ll need a professional, thought-out design and a few more feature to help your site visitors gather information.
Be sure to include scenery surrounding the photo of the condo or house you want to showcase, and upload a few pictures of the main attractions in proximity to the property. For example, if you’re promoting a condo in Breckenridge, Colo., you might take a few photos of the chairlift or the shops in the Village. If you are trying to rent a beachfront property in Florida, you could capture some shots of the board rental shops and the pier.
Along with the awesome visuals, you’ll want to make sure every visitor can easily find directions and maps, information on shuttles and taxis, complete description of the property, contact information, pricing and fee schedules, and your cancellation and refund policy.
These are the basic feature that are important when you want to build a website for the holidays. Naturally, you’ll also need to create a fantastic domain name before you get started.