The Traditional Personal Website
There’s nothing to stop you from registering a domain name, finding a web hosting agreement that suits you, and using the templates or site-builders provided by your web host to create a personal web page. Your site can include information about you and your family, a résumé, a collection of photos, and more.
Alternatively, you can take the reins yourself and design an elaborate and breathtaking site in, say, Adobe Dreamweaver, and have that site hosted (or host it yourself on a home server). Given time and funding, you can make your personal web page as interesting and extensive as you wish.
There are several appeals to the traditional type of personal website. One is that you may be able to get free hosting. See the article “Why Use a Free Host?” for more information on how to creat a personal web page for free. In addition, many useful elements may be pre-made for your use, such as site-connected e-mail, message boards, guestbooks, a photo album, etc.
Free hosting most often comes with advertising, and if this and some of the other downsides of free hosting don’t really work for you (see the article “Cons of Free Hosting“), you can consider an inexpensive hosting plan for help in creating a personal web page. But before making your choice, consider some of the alternatives available today.
ISPs and services like .Mac often come with reserved room for a personal website, templates or site builders, and a collection of add-on features. Usually there is a restriction on anything commercial, so this is not the place for your résumé or an affiliate program but is ideal for creating a personal web page.
Some people today focus their personal site around a blog from WordPress or another blog service. They keep in touch with friends or express their views with a daily, weekly, or hourly update of their experiences, travels, or thoughts. They may also include photos and multimedia. For people who usually have something to say, this is a great basis for a website and a simple way to creat a personal web page. Blogs can also be attached to more traditional sites that have separate pages for separate topics.
Networking Is Key
For some people, staying connected is a central issue, and they may choose to use their page on a networking site such as MySpace or FaceBook as their personal website. The ability to use these sites to stay in touch with friends through e-mail, postings, and instant messaging, is very appealing to many people. The built-in ability for privacy has a lot of appeal as well for those who prefer to allow people in as they wish, rather than have a site on the Internet that anyone can find.
Being able to post clever applications, share music, and compete at games are particularly appealing to high school and college students. It’s not so long ago that students going away to college had to use the phone or letters to stay in touch with their high school classmates, but now they can “visit” each other daily through this type of site.