I first got the Internet in 2000/2001 when my mum picked up a free AOL trial CD. I quickly became hooked, especially on chatting in the AOL chatrooms, and I made lots of friends. My friend Sophie introduced me to a site called Girland.com, and being the competitive person I am, I decided to sign up and collect ‘Girl points’. It’s not unfair to say I became pretty obsessed with Girland when I was 14 and was on it for hours every day.
I learned very basic HTML such as changing colours and fonts. I became a pretty well-known member because I was always on the site. Around the same time I began to notice basic Internet sites made by people my age and younger. I immediately wanted to make one, so I signed up with Expage (which was then free) and began building. I created a couple of websites, but they didn’t really take off.
After a while, I went back to Girland and on the problem pages there were people constantly asking for HTML help. A lot of members just copied and pasted a big list of HTML codes, but by this time I’d learnt so much I decided to put it all on a site and give people the link when they asked for HTML help. After a while, this became a Girland craze, but ‘layouts’ (tables and images) soon became popular and people started to create free layout sites rather than HTML help sites. However, as well as me recommending my site to people, others started to recommend it and my hits increased rapidly. My friend Rachael started to help me, and we moved my site to Angelfire because Expage was too restricted. I owe a lot to Rach because without her I’d still be on Expage!!
My site began to get a lot of visitors at this point, and I was constantly updating. By this time my site used frames, and I’d signed up for a dot.nu address to make it look better. However, there was one thing I really wanted to do and that was to be able to make dolls. I remember going to a dollmaker, and trying to figure out how to make dolls with my friend. It took me two days to actually make a doll (even with the instructions on the page!), but when I did I was SOO excited, lol. I really didn’t know anything about sites at this point, but I was totally convinced I did. I couldn’t even add images to a page unless there was a textarea code beneath them lol.
I’d never heard of being hosted or anything like that, so the next step was to get a domain. My first host was really crap, but I didn’t know that at the time. Just before I got a domain I got Jasc PSP 7 and Animation Shop for my birthday. I had absolutely no idea how to work it, and for the first few days I freaked out, thinking my dad had wasted all that money on something I’d never use. I couldn’t even follow Internet tutorials on it I had that little idea of what was going on. However, after a couple of months I pretty much had the basics and I began to edit photos and stuff. Rach had taught me FTP by this point – but I could only create new files and folders and edit them. I opened my site and my visitors gradually increased.
I had a tagboard, guestbook, several subpages and that was it. I had a few layouts, but not many because I didn’t really use CSS and it took ages to change the pages. Some months later I moved to Dreamhost because my first host was costly and unreliable. About this time I started to host other people, and some of my first hostees used i-frames. I was pretty impressed by this and found it was much easier to do than I’d thought. I started to make i-frame layouts, and it made my site much easier to update. After that, I gradually learnt more and more, from tutorials and people’s sites and my friends.
After my first domain, kutekitten.com, got overtaken by squatters, I quickly chose star-girl.org, then moved onto blossom.nu in the following year. I learned how to skin, validate coding and began to use tables and divs rather than i-frames. I’m still continuing to learn about the Internet, HTML and coding, and I’ve barely started on php, but I love it and hope to keep my site up for a long time yet