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Building Personal Websites
May 25, 2004

Anyone can build a website. And anyone who hasn't yet is missing out on the fun and some great opportunities for sharing information, ideas and even making a little money.

Websites for the common, everyday person are called Personal use websites. These are perhaps the most simple and fun websites on the internet. Since anyone can build one for any reason, they are everywhere. Common uses of personal use websites include; hobby websites, family websites, photo sharing websites, blogs (web logs), resume websites, websites for file storage and more. With the free and low-cost hosting options available, there has never been more opportunites for people to 'get online'.

Hosting a Personal Website
Usually personal websites are less complex than business and non-profit websites so they don't need complex e-commerce or database software. These websites lend themselves well to free web hosting, meaning the website files can be stored on a web host's servers for no charge. Often free web hosts have simple online tools called "site builders" or "web templates" which make building a website quick and easy.

A favorite free host for building personal web sites is Using 20m's website builder users can have a website up and running with message board, email, polls, guestbook, photos, images, etc. in just a few hours. Since there is no charge for this service, free hosts make their money by placing ads on your site to fund their free services. Usually this ad will be a text link, banner ad, or pop-up advertisement.

The Many Uses of Personal Web Sites
To get an idea of just how useful a personal website can be, take a look at the following three scenarios:

1. Family Website
Sally Jones enjoys spending time with her extended family, however she has recently moved with her husband and children to the opposite end of the country as her relatives. Soon her siblings with their growing families will be moving away as well. Sally would love to provide a way for her dissipating family to stay close together. Through modern technology and the use of a personal website she can.

Sally builds a family website. She posts information about the upcoming family reunion, posts photos of summer vacation, video clip of Billy's first steps, audio of Danny's piano recital, creates an online forum to discuss upcoming events with family members, creates personalized web based email for every member of the family, and adds pages to the website and FTP login for each individual family to update their family happenings.

With this website Sally's family can stay in touch no matter what part of the country they are in. The possibilities are endless with their personal use website.

2. Resume' Site
The job market is tough, and no one knows better than Joe Brown who recently lost his job at long-time workplace, Wiggits, Inc. He is now struggling to showcase his unique abilities and skills to potential employers on a traditional paper resume. He decides to build a website where he can use multimedia tools and other features to better represent his experience and abilities.

His resume' website includes a personal introduction page, video segments of his past experience, photos of previous projects, and audio clips of previous employers' recommendations of his abilities. He also sets up email and instant chat so potential employers may reach him at any time to set-up an interview. Joe's personal resume website will help set him apart from the thousands of other applicants for the same position.

3. Hobby Website
Seemingly alone in the world, Juan Hernandez sits by his fish tank full of beautiful varieties and species of freshwater cichlids. He wishes there was someone with whom he could share his passion for raising fish. No one he knows is interested in his hobby. He decides to create a website where he compiles his fish photos and documentation on raising the fish.

After submitting his website to a few search engines he begins to receive a healthy amount of visitors to his fish site. He decides to add a forum and blog so his visitors can post messages and share what they know. Pretty soon Juan is corresponding with hundreds of other cichlid and freshwater fish enthusiasts through his website. Juan, no longer alone, becomes the webmaster of the online cichlid hub where he and others share their knowledge and enthusiasm for fish.

Get "Tangled" in the Web
These are just three examples of how people are utilizing personal use websites to connect to, share with, and inform their online audience. There are endless opportunities for creating personal websites. Join the fun and take advantage of the offers from free web hosts and low-cost web hosts for creating personal, family, and hobby wesites.
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