Honey, I made a homepage

Posted on July 17, 2000

You cannot escape the Internet. OK, you're right, you can. You can move to Uruguay. But for all the trouble, you might as well find a computer and get busy.

A lot of people have been talking about designing a "homepage," which has nothing to do with your living quarters. Simply put, a homepage is the portal to the most important information on a particular Web site.

For instance, let's say you are the president of the Rick Moranis fan club and want to put together a Web page (Here's a pretty good example: http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Pier/6369/moranis.html/). On the homepage, you'd want to include a picture a Rick, preferably one from the movie "Spaceballs." Then you could include a mission statement, a way to join the club, and a way to get into contact with you, the company president (A.K.A. Head Dweeb).

The point of being on the Web is making your information more accessible to the general public, including cowboys. So make the info clear and concise. Don't include a life story on a front page. If you think your life story is truly THAT interesting, you could probably become the treasurer of the Rick Moranis fan club, if you act immediately.

The homepage should be at least halfway interesting. Even if you plan to sell lawn ornaments, you can make the site attractive. And, the best way to figure out what you want is by checking out other Web sites. In life, there are rarely many original ideas, and even fewer good original ideas. I think the last one was Velcro.

There are a few places you can visit and immediately learn more on how to build a simple site: http://www.builder.com/Authoring/Basics/?tag=st.bl.3881.edt.bl_Basics, http://developer.earthweb.com/classroom/tutorials/cl_html.html and http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/authoring/html_basics/. Notice how none of these are located in South America. Most new versions of word processors allow users to produce Web pages just by following simple directions.

I look through numerous sites each day, trudging though graphics and images and text, coming to the conclusion that my plant is the only living creature not featured on a Web site, but this is not to say there are not some decent ideas out there.

Anyone can design a Web site it's not about manifest destiny or fate or what you had for lunch. Although, people who do design Web sites for a living are probably going to be a little better at it than someone who designs transparent pottery.

The hardest part shouldn't be deciding what you want -- you have that problem enough in everyday life. The crucial moment, after you have finally decided new members will have to pay $15 for the "Honey I Shrunk the Web Site" Poster (only $10 for current members, of course), is to figure out just how you will implement what you want. Do you need a form so people visiting your Web site can respond? Do you need a bunch of blinking things? Do you need an aspirin?

Our job is to take everything a business wants, add some of our own ideas (and maybe a pinch of oregano), and make something not too gaudy. Sometimes we think something looks good other times, the business representative will think something looks better. Ultimately, though, it's up to the consumer to decide if the Web site is good enough to peruse. As an example, I have a site I recently completed, http://www.core-online.com/, and we'd like your feedback. Just simple multiple choice, and each time you answer, YOU WILL BE RIGHT! Yes, this is not the SAT, where each time you answer, you are either "wrong," "really wrong" or "are you serious?"

Assuming people actually participate instead of watching "Ghostbusters 2" again, I will share some of your comments in a future installment and maybe even - GASP! -- start a little discussion about just what you like to see on the Web. We will also talk more about how you can make your site live, as opposed to making a site and accidentally dropping it behind your refrigerator.

So instead of escaping, you'll be moving a deeper into the Internet realm. Don't suffocate. That's what you get for wearing a replica of Rick Moranis' Dark Helmet costume.