I began making websites in 2001. Looking back, I notice a pattern in many of the sites I created for myself. There were often a handful of images that represent the interior pages, usually accompanied by a short description of what you'd find there. Inside the site were sections about my work, ideas on media and philosophy, family and personal matters, and something just for fun.
A far as I can recall, I've had 14 different sites in the past 15 years. I don't make a new one every year; some last quite a while, some only months.
Below are a few front pages for example.
This site had four paths to follow: philosophy, portfolio, other, and contact. The primary image had four rollover pictures for the sections (x-ray images of things in nature). The burnt orange bar to the right was, in printing terminology, a 'bleed', meaning it extended to the edge of the browser window. In the default settings of the program I was working with, a small padding of white space appeared if you extended the width of the browser past a certain point. I wanted to make sure it stayed a bleed no matter how wide the window. In that land before templates, it took me days to figure out the code for that.
This site used another rollover-reveal image-based portal. In this case, I had spaces for thoughts, studio, students, things I like, and family. I'm partial to white space and simplicity, which I think was nicely expressed here. Working on this site also got me wondering why browser windows needed to be rectangular. Wouldn't it be cool if the whole window was able to be a circle or any other shape? Still haven't figured out how to do that, short of creating an entirely new browser.
As the caption on this site demonstrates, I occasionally want to revamp a site, but don't have a good idea or the time to create it. In those cases, I usually put up a simple picture and a thought to go with it. Truthfully, there's little need for anyone to visit my site – I'm not Amazon or Wikipedia after all – so a placeholder works just as well as anything (or sometimes nothing).