How do you know where “home” should be?  The home page (or homepage) is the point at which your browser will start each time it is opened.  If you have your own web page, as I do, that is probably your home page because it will have links to sources you visit often.  Most people do not have their own page though, and so they rely on another page.  This page should be something you read often, or that has links to other pages you like to read.

Many people select news sources for their home page.  Some of the common sites include: CNN’s site (http://www.cnn.com), the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com), CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com), or BBC (http://www.bbc.com) because these sources provide headlines, links to articles and search capabilities.  Other people prefer news sources closer to home.  In Chicago, many people select the Chicago Tribune’s home page (http://www.chicagotribune.com) because it focuses on Chicago news and events, while people in Cleveland are more likely to select the page of the Plain Dealer (http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/), and people in San Jose are more likely to select the Mercury News (http://www.mercurynews.com) because they focus on events local to their communities.  Many sports fans start their web browsing at ESPN’s site (http://www.espn.com) so they can get information about their favorite teams and sporting events.

Other people select what are called “portals” for their home pages.  These portals may provide news, but they also provide links to a variety of other subjects that are of interest, such as movies, maps, weather, music, shopping, sports, health information, greeting cards, and even horoscopes and comics.  In addition, the portals give you access to email accounts, seach capabilities and other internet functions such as instant messaging and chat rooms.  Yahoo’s page (http://www.yahoo.com) is probably the most commonly selected portal.  But, Google (http://www.google.com/ig) and Microsoft (http://www.msn.com) each have one too.    In addition to the wide range of sources of information, most of these portals are customizable.   That is, you can edit the page and decide what information should be available in what spot on the page each time you open it.  So, I might weather forecasts both at my home, and where we intend to vacation so I can plan both what to wear today and what to pack for the vacation.  If I am active in maintaining my own portfolio, I might also locate a stock price window at the top of my page.  Instead, I might have the sports scores or technology news high on my page so I see them each time I go to my home page.    Some even allow you to adjust the colors on the page to make it seem more like your own.

Another source for a home page is that of organizations.  Some members of AARP (http://www.aarp.org/) use the AARP page as a home page in order to see information that is of importance to them.  Those who trade stocks and bonds might link to their broker, such as Ameritrade (http://www.tdameritrade.com/), or the New York Stock Exchange’s site (http://www.nyse.com/).  Others set their home page to the organization at which they work, or the one at which they study, or the one at which they worship.

There are specialized home pages based on interest.  Grandma Betty (http://grandmabetty.com/) provides a portal for “baby boomers and seniors.”  Ebay’s site (http://www.ebay.com) is selected by those who spend significant time with the online auction site.  The Sports Car Club of America (http://www.scca.com/) is a starting point for sports car enthusiasts, while collectors might start at the Collector’s Connection (http://www.collectorsconnection.com/) and knitters might start at http://www.patternworks.com/. What is the best home page?  There is no such thing as what is best.  Best is what provides the information and links that are of importance to you.

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