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I want to start my own website. What should I do? Any advice or tips?

First off, be prepared to work on it! I know that I don't always get around to working on this site as much as I would like, but I *do* continue to work on it (even though it prevents me from working on my personal homepage most of the time!) Although the occasional rude or flame email makes me grumpy for a little while, I ultimately have enjoyed working on this site. A lot of people I know - and I include myself here - find working on webpages addictive! But the drawback to that is that you often have goals for your site that you might not always be able to accomplish. But the ultimate point it to keep working on it if it's something you are enjoying!

Okay, so now to the more technical details. Unlike the very early days of the Web, you don't have to know all the details of HTML code and how to run a webserver. There are hosting companies with lots of helpful manuals to get you started and there are programs that will generate the pages for you (usually referred to as WYSIWYG - "wizzy-wig" - or What You See Is What You Get programs). They tend to write junky code, but if you are more interested in getting content out there than learning to write your own HTML, then I think they are perfectly fine. I used Adode's Pagemill program for years until it was discontinued, and then I switched to Go Live, which is what I did the 2003-2004 redesign in. I'm now using Adobe Dream Weaver.

Also, I suggest taking a look at Lissa Explains it All. The site is intended for kids who want to make their own pages, but I think it's a good reference for *anyone* who wants to. The author was just 11 years old when she started the site!