When I first got online, blogging didn't exist in any meaningful capacity, and social media was still a few years away. If people wanted to know who you were, they'd have to visit your website. Or, rather, your online home, where they could see a page about you. A homepage.
Starting in 2002, I decided it'd be nice to have my own corner of the web, and hopped onto GeoCities. I used the Java-based Yahoo! PageBuilder to put together a few crude sites:
I also had a few accounts over on FreeWebs (before it was renamed to just Webs). The first was Evil Village: Empire of Evil, which had stories and animations based around a city where the sky was always red, ruled by a warlock and his army of robots. Then, I co-ran a StarCraft fansite with a friend of mine during middle school. Lastly, during 9th grade, I made FilterTHIS, a list of proxy sites that hadn't (yet) been blocked by the content filter at my school.
During this time, I also had my first few domains. The first was a single-page site (hosted for 'free' (plastered with ads)) featuring whatever animation I'd just made. The second was basically an enhanced version of TLHTC. Then in 2004, I made a small site with some silly animations of logos firing lazers at each other and got it hosted on a subdomain.
Late in 2005, I made an account on SheezyArt, which was like DeviantArt for furries. It was a very fun hangout that allowed for much more customization on its profiles than DA. Fooling around with the layout on there was the first push that got the ball of web design knowledge rolling.
I'd joined the Glock Group forum, and was granted a 'dorm' - a folder to upload whatever I'd like to. I picked up a clan website template from TheDesignWorld and used it, but it was a bit restrictive. So, during summer break, I decided to actually try learning HTML, and forge my pages by hand. Because only tools need to use tools! /s
The first site I whipped up was the Brain Leech Archive, a retelling of a fictional competition between snack companies created by me and my associates in math class. It also had a personal site where I posted other stories and games I was attempting to make. Because I couldn't wrap my mind around how <div> works, it was a mess of nested <table>s.
My next domain was LollerCupcake Industries, which used another clan template, but I did use it to experiment with PHP to inject content into a single layout file. After that, I started Impure Creation, which did have its own original layouts.. after I was eventually able to decide on one, a full year after registering the domain.
And then I kind of disappeared off the face of the web for a while. But I was not idle. During my long silence, I was gathering fantastic ideas and inspiration from places like tgchan and the MSPA forums. My skills were also being honed, designing a variety of sites that would be created, but never put online.
Having had the importance of web standards instilled in me, I'd decided to make my sites be valid HTML 4.01 Strict whenever possible. I also grew concerned enough about the influence of copyright-obsessed corporations on governments for most of the sites I made during this era to feature fake seizure pages.
It went through a few name changes, but the majority of my free time over the next few years was spent working on my personal omni-archive.. That and RPing on Tumblr as FNAF OCs. Both were quite fun. I also found Neocities and knew I had to have a site on here, but had no idea what it should be.
A stronger muse for the Tumblogs and a shifting vision for the domain made it difficult to complete. From PHP, to SSI, to static HTML, it took quite a while to figure out how to present this project. Because I wasn't sure what I could put on my Neocities site, it seemed easier to move over anything meant to be frequently updated, leaving the evergreen content on the domain. I also had ambitions of hosting some type of tilde.box that gradually.. well, not quite faded, but transformed into something else.
So, I had a site from 2014 that had a section punched out and formed into a separate 2016 website. Rather than slap on a 2018 coat of paint, It seemed like it'd be easier to start from the beginning, now that I had a better idea of what I was trying to achieve.
At this point, I decided to make my web projects with whatever HTML/CSS would have existed at a given point in time; my 'modern' sites would aim for compatibility with 2011's web browsers, 'classic' sites would target the IEs and Netscapes of 2001, and a barebones 'retro' version would cover Gopher support for 1991 compatibility.
Why? Both for the challenge of it, and because I think legacy matters. Unfortunately, having a plan and executing it are two different things. I often say that I left up my April Fools page year-round because the world is a joke, but the reality is I just lacked motivation to create anything.
I did manage to put together a half-finished auxiliary homepage for NeoZones, as well as create the initial redesign for Bytemoth's Brook, but it wouldn't be until 2020 that I actually managed to do anything with it.
With the help of htp, giving my pages a consistent layout is now much easier, and changing it if I should need to will also be simpler. The Brook was re-redesigned with super advanced CSS-only navigation tabs, implemented from experience making bytemoth.rocks. This site's been closer to a drip-feed than the stream I wanted it to be, but I believe my mood is improving, and I should be able to do more soon.
After finishing the rest of the planned pages for the Brook and MothZone, I intend to focus on CD5K.net. In addition to modern (HTML5/CSS3) and classic (HTML 3.2) versions of the site, I'm also working on having modern (Fediverse/Discord) and classic (web forums/BBS) community hangouts.
Watch this space for further developments™.