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All you need to know to start your own home page

September 5, 1998
Web posted at: 12:27 p.m. EDT (1627 GMT)

by Julia Lovallo

(IDG) -- When you grab your cereal box in the morning, you'll see one. Driving to work, you'll notice one on a billboard. Sitting in traffic, you'll catch a glimpse of one on the side of a bus. They are Web site addresses -- those omnipresent things that always begin with "http://" or "www." and often end with ".com." They represent places to visit on the Web.

Did you know that everyone with Internet access can have a page of her own? I'm fifteen years old, and I have my own home page -- and I've designed several others for my friends. Let me explain the simple steps involved in building your own Web site.

Before you construct your Web page, you need to decide what it will be used for. You could make a Web page for your family. This might include scanned photos of your last vacation or the new baby for relatives to view (using a password, if you like). Or you could build a page for a school club or sport. On this type of site, you can list the players, upcoming home games and statistics. If you enjoy graphic design, why not put up a Web site to display your favorite artwork?

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You probably already have some ideas about what you would like to feature on your personal Web page, but how do you make it happen? If you have Internet access, several companies provide free space for you to construct your own Web site. Three friendly sites are Angelfire, Geocities and Tripod. If you subscribe to America Online, its Web-page builder is called Personal Publisher, which can be found at keyword: PP2.

Now it's your turn

It doesn't really make a difference which service you use, so let's get started. Simply open your Web browser and type in the service's URL (such as Next, click on the area that says "Become a Member" or "Membership." You should log on and create a member name and password. Both are required to store whatever you put on your page. They also prevent a stranger from changing anything.

The service will create a URL for your site (for example, at Angelfire it would be something like and ask you what kind of editor you want to use. Editors are the programs you use to create the page -- kind of like word processors for the Web. Geocities, Tripod and Angelfire have both basic and advanced editors. The basic editor is better for novice builders; a page designed this way can be on the Web in less than half an hour. Basically, all you have to do is click on the color background you want, click one of the images from the database and type some display text.

On AOL, Personal Publisher takes you step-by-step through creating graphics, inserting text and writing HTML. It's a basic and advanced Web editor in one. Personal Publisher will also perform just about any function on the Web.

With all editors, once you have finished your page, click the button labeled "upload" or "publish," and voilà! it will be on the Web in about two minutes.

If you want to get fancier or you're just intrigued by how all of this works, you can choose the advanced editor and learn about HTML, Hypertext Markup Language, the basic lingo of the Web. This takes a little study but allows you to make your page look just the way you want it. To learn more about HTML, check out

Two tips for graphics, the biggest challenge you'll face in Web page construction: First, any graphics file (such as a family photo) must be converted to one of two file formats: GIF or JPEG. Second, you need special FTP (file transfer protocol) programs to send your graphics files to the Web page provider. You can download free FTP programs from your Web service provider or from Fileworld (link below). Once you've installed the FTP program, follow the instructions for your computer type that are on the Web page provider's pages.

If you want to dabble further, there are programs that let you create Web pages even when you're not online. Simple Web editors are built into the Microsoft and Netscape browsers and in all Windows 95 and 98 word processors, or you could buy programs such as Microsoft's $99 FrontPage. However you do it, the result -- a Web address you can tell all your friends and relatives to visit -- is well worth it!

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