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The web keeps on growing . . . more and more people have their own personal pages, and more and more businesses have their own business web pages. Unfortunately with all of this growth, a degree of uniqueness has been lost. I see two extremes coming out of this, the boring and the outrageous.

The Boring - black Times New Roman font on a grey background with blue unvisited links and purple visited links. You know, your web browsers default. This may be asthetically pleasing, but believe me, it's overdone. In the body simply put a different background color and a different text color, and work from there.

The Outrageous - fortunately these pages are becoming fewer in number, but I'm not aware of anybody who hasn't seen one of these pages. They start off with a JAVA color sweep (which I still can't find a use for), then the music starts along with numerous animated .gif files in what seem to be an infinite number of frames to accompany the scrolling text bar across the bottom of your screen while pop-up notices tell you to sign the guestbook. Not only does all of this detract from whatever the page is saying, but it can be an eyesore as well as a waste of time, as those pages take forever to load. I think it's important to say that those things, with the exception of the JAVA color sweep, can be used to make a page better, but when the're all put together on one page, it becomes overwhelming . . . and it's up to you to judge when it becomes overwhelming. I know if I try to view one of these pages, I just shut down my browser because I can't stand waiting around for everything to load.

So, what I'm saying is form your page between these two extremes, and you're off to a good start.

So, now that you've caught your viewer's attention, and kept them from getting annoyed at the site, it's time to actually make your site good, and there is only one way to do this: content! Unfortunately, I can't counsel you much on this matter . . . as you either know how to write or you don't. But, with practice, anybody can become a decent writer . . . and believe me when I say that the art of language has NOT been lost with the "husstle and busstle" of the internet. I, and I think most other people, greatly enjoy reading a well written page. Of course, correct spelling and proper grammar fit into this as well!

Along the lines of good writing, orginization should go without saying. Here you should think of your web page as a book - divide it into chapters. Try to keep everything on a central theme. Topics can vary on that theme (which, for a personal web page, can simply be yourself), but keep centering around that. Then, when you start writing about a different topic, start a new page. If you have the ability of making subdirectories, I'd reccomend grouping like topics by that, but that would be only to help your own sanity when the number of pages becomes you have created becomes great.

Beyond a different color scheme, content, and orginization, there are still a few things that you can do to make your page just a cut above the rest, and I like to think of these as subtle little things. Here you should try to do things that will barely be noticed. Here are a few things you might consider doing:

As with everything, there are somethings you need to watch out for. I'd say that primary thing to be cautious about is advertisement. Remember that this is YOUR web page that you are creating, and that images from different companies deter from what you've created. Now, I can understand having one from your web hosting service if you're receiving a free home page, but I wouldn't place more than one banner on any one page, it's just too much.

The Secret to this - How do you find out about this stuff I'm talking about . . . by browsing the internet. Look around for stuff that you like, and when you see something different, view the source of that page and see what it was. This may sound like stealing, but remember, "There is nothing new under the sun." Don't take anything created by somebody else without permission (e. g. JAVA code or applet, a picture, a sound file), but if you like the way a table is set up, or the way a color scheme works, it's not complicated to create that yourself, so go ahead and use it.

I would also suggest looking up the HTML coding and using a text editor. This way you have complete control over how the page looks, and you'll understand the language of HTML (which just so happens to be the easiest computer language I've ever seen) much better. In fact, I think that once you learn enough of the HTML code, it's easier to use a text editor (e.g. Windows notepod) than the expensive HTML editors (like Microsoft FrontPage or HotDog).

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