What could be better than owning your own little piece of Cyberspace? To have the thrill of telling all you know to “e-mail me at email@example.com!” It is such a thrilling thing to be in complete control of your very first website. Akin to owning your first home.
I’m serious, let’s explore the two for a moment.
First you test things out, you see this wide world and decide to try exploring it. You go out and you make contact with others and get to talking to them. (Log into a library or school computer and enter chat rooms)
Now you’re hooked, you don’t want to have your parents or friends driving you around you want to be free to explore. You buy your first car! (First computer - YES! Now you can put whatever YOU want to on it! Oh… a flame paint job! Yeah!) Okay… as much fun as buying your first car was, and as much fun as souping it up was, that was not all you got it for. Time to get out there and explore!
You go out and get yourself a thankful of gas and go cruising. The world is a big place though, so you quickly start familiarizing yourself with how the highways are laid out, grab a road map or two and set off exploring. (Figure out what all those dot things are.. You know .com .net .gov .edu…. Then you run off and find a search engine [road map] and set off exploring.)
This is kind of nice so you decide maybe you might like to get your own place. Just to try living on your own a while, you know, see if you like it. Your first apartment! (Free website space) Ahhhh… this is the ticket! No one telling you how late you can stay up, no one complaining about the feet on the coffee table. This is the life… until you get tired of that blinking Neon sign outside your bedroom window (Banner ad across the top of the page) Or the limited number of colors the landlord said you can paint with (limited selection of templates)… and worst of all… them damn neighbors who keep calling the cops whenever you turn the music up enough to hear it (VERY limited bandwidth and/or site traffic allowed).
Living on your own is not quite as wonderful as you had first thought. Too many restrictions cramping your style and in more and more places, you can’t even get mail delivered (no-email service) so you have to go get yourself a Post Office box! (separate e-mail account)
Okay, this is just not working. Your style is too cramped. What do you do?! Buy a place! That’s it! If you own your own place then you can do pretty much anything you want (within reason). That annoying neon sigh could be YOURS! (your banner ads), you could invite all your friends to a party at your place (your own blogging site!), heck, you could even set other poor saps up in low-rent places on your property and make them put up with your annoying neon sign flashing in *THEIR* bedroom windows!
But where to start?
Well, in the real world you would probably start with a Realtor… in Cyberspace you start with a hosting company.
My preferred hosting company is PlatonicSolid.info. Check them out for a little while and you‘ll understand why.
This is where you create your world. Where you set up your home, your store, your museum, and invite others in to see what you have to share. Where you place your work and share it with the world. When you get your site the first thing you want to do is add stuff to it… how? Well, you can generally get design help from your hosting service, or, if you’re like me, you can dive in and try to build that world yourself. I suggest that unless you are familiar with site design (or go with a site like PlatonicSolid.info that has such easy to use ‘what you see is what you get’ site editors) you bypass the headaches (and there are a LOT of them) and have someone build the site to fit your dreams. However you decide to build your site, you will find a pride to be had from pointing your friends and family to your own little section of Cyberspace.
Copyright 2005 Sandra Fikes
About The Author
Sandra Fikes is a freelance writer living in Alaska.
Her website can be found at Phantascene.com.
For more articles and information, on writing and the internet, see her blog.