Be a master of your domain

You won’t believe it, perhaps, but it’s much tougher and more difficult to build a boring web page than one that sparkles with ideas and attracts eyeballs like there’s no tomorrow.

That’s because nobody bothers to write software for unimaginative pages that nobody bothers to visit, let alone read, anyhow.

And this is where the term Web 2.0 comes in. That is the direction that the Internet is moving. Ideally, it is going to provide better communications, improved online collaboration and tools to provide everyone with a feature-rich up-to-the-minute experience.

Ever heard of RSS (Really Simple Syndication)? It is similar to a collection of headlines condensed and delivered to you via a web site, or an RSS reader software program (sometimes referred to as an RSS aggregator program). Some examples of these RSS reader/aggregator programs are BlogBridge, SharpReader and RSS Bandit. RSS is one of the more popular buzzwords that are at the forefront of Web 2.0. If you have upgraded to Internet Explorer 7, you may have noticed that the RSS logo is built into the browser.

You can even subscribe to Andy Walker’s Blog RSS feed – free, of course!

Along with RSS feeds, there is something called the blog, a shorter version of web log. These are online diaries, if you will. They serve everybody. They let blog owners share their opinions, they let geeks write and publish product reviews, and, of course, they help provide RSS feeds.

In fact, some go so far as to call blogs “the backbone of civic journalism,” whatever THAT is supposed to mean.

Popular community sites such as:

are all driven by users who upload their videos, pictures and comments. This helps drive a trend called social networking. Social networking offers content from the users, as opposed to content from the owners of the sites. The public can share videos, photos, stories, opinions and advice. They can also rate this content by popularity, accuracy of the information, and quality.

What does this mean for you?

Well, for starters, you can use these tools to build your first home page or make your existing home page better. You can easily share your information with others. Family photos, videos, or whatever you wish, achieve a different dimension if you know what you’re doing and why.

Home page web sites have now also evolved – now you can build your own from scratch to official opening, complete with a virtual wine-and-cheese party. You can add content you want, organize the colors, background, layout, tools and utilities.

Building a better home page requires a few simple choices.

The most important thing, of course, is the content. What do you want to say? Whom do you want to talk to? Why? What do you want to appear on this page? Will you have any taboos?

One example may be to have your favorite news headlines, stock quotes, a calendar, all your e-mail accounts (most of us have more than one), a video player, an MP3 player, and weather updates for your corner of the woods.

You can add stuff as you go, using hundreds of free tools and utilities. A customized home page takes a simple drag-and-drop movement of elements from the countless libraries. You can place the elements, a.k.a. modules, anywhere you like on the page. You may create tabs and sub pages – without having to know any programming of any kind.

Still, here’s a rule of thumb: even though you can do basically as you please, it’s a good idea to put yourself into your projected reader’s shoes for a while. Try to figure out what will please and what will annoy your readers beyond repair. If you are close to being a normal human being, try to avoid the latter.

You can customize the RSS or news headlines completely. Just specify what site you want the RSS feed from; where you want the RSS feeds to be on your page, and when to deliver these headlines. The best part of all this – it’s completely free, and completely portable! You can use this customized home page anywhere you have Internet access.

These days, many think that appearance comes first and foremost – it’s called the eye-candy effect. They can hardly be more wrong: the look-and-feel should correspond to the content, not the other way “Ëœround. Still, to make your life much easier,, and are just some of the sites that let you build your own home page.