About Writing Homepages

(11th January 1998)
Well, I said I should try to update my pages more often than I have, so here are my next random thoughts. This time, I want to tell about the joy and the frustration about making homepages, and maybe a bit about the process involved.

First of all I want to tell about my frustrations. Not because it's so important or to warn anyone off, I just want to get it out and be finished with it. You see, what I'm most frustrated with just now, is the fact that my harddisk crashed. Some of the data is corrupted, and I can't fix it - I have to reformat the drive... Problem is, I don't have the media to back up the data to, at the moment, so I can't do much about it. Now, that's in one way a minor issue: I won't be frustrated about this frequently. The other source of my frustration is time, or lack of it. I have so many ideas for what I could do on my pages, but somehow I never seem to have time to start doing it. Now, I do know I can organize my spare time better, and make more time available. I will of course do this, but still there's also much more that pops up, and which should be done...

Enough of that. Making homepages is, most of all, fun! And it's no big deal, either; Everyone can make their own homepages with the help of a plain text-editor. If you don't know what's behind those impressive-looking pages you find on the net, it may look complicated, but it really isn't. (Unless you want to program your own java-programs, but that's programs used by your pages...) Some prefer to use so-called WYSIWYG-tools 1) to make their pages, others type in the HTML-codes by hand, and it isn't so difficult it takes the joy out of the process. Which is what I wanted to write about: Why I think it's fun to make and work on my homepages.

First of all it is the feeling of creating something. Just to create, and see the finished product, that's something I believe everyone takes great pleasure in, no matter what they make. My first pages looked quite different from what they do now, using only the simplest tags: To include pictures, the occational background-picture, and link my pages together. And I was proud of what I had made, as I had learned all by looking in magazines, and maybe most important: Looking at the source-code of existing homepages.

Thinking back, I still believe those pages were good, as they did have what I consider most important: content. I had added a guestbook by following the instructions of my ISP, and I enjoyed reading what people from all over the world wrote to me. I continued making new pages, and updating old ones as I learned new things. Some of what I learned I used, other things I saw no use for at the moment. I started to put counters on several pages - invisible, so that the wouldn't "disturb" my visitors, and had visible versions on a statistics page I could access manually. This way, I could see which of my pages were most visited, and tried to change my pages accordingly, so that pages I really wanted to have visits were more accessible. I rarely deleted pages, though.

As the number of pages grew, I found I had to sort them into different categories, and therefore had to make a new front page. After a while, the result was like you see it now. And what do I feel about making and updating my pages now? It's still some of the most fun things I do! I have better statistics, revealing not only which pages are visited, but also where my visitors come from, and how they found my pages. Comparing all the informations, I have discovered that many more find mypages than the counter on my index-page shows: Some come directly to my pages inside via search engines, some have linked to special pages, and some apparently have bookmarked pages they find interesting. And I still study the statistics to see if I should do anything to make less visited pages more visible...

Ideas for new pages keeps popping up in my head. Most of them unusable, though, with the content I strive for in my pages. (Or what do you think of "What pocket-fluff means for your personality" with pictures and long, serious thesis? The idea is free... ;-) But some of it bears fruit after a while, and lots of notes and sketches later. Problem is the time-aspect I mentioned at first...


1)So-called, because with all those different browsers, resolutions and platforms, you never know exactly how they will show your page. You can only give a hint about it.