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Want to have some fun with the start-up page on your computer?
You know… that page that shows up first every time you open up your browser.
You probably already know that you can set your opening page to any website address that you want.
But did you know that you can change it to your very own personalized page — one that serves as a massive on-screen collection of all your favorite things? The best part: your personal web desktop can be accessed from any computer at any time, and you’ll find everything exactly as you left it!
I’ve experimented with a number of different FREE personalized homepages as start-up pages in my Internet browser, including these:
Here’s why I think personalized homepages are so cool, and why I like Netvibes the best…
What Are Personalized Homepages?
In addition to offering literally hundreds (if not thousands!) of ways that you can customize the start-up page in your Internet browser (IE, Firefox, etc.), sites like the ones mentioned above also serve as web-based personal news aggregators — which means they can be used as your very own personal RSS feed reader.
So, if RSS subscriptions, feeds, and feed readers sound confusing to you… have no fear. Personalized homepages practically eliminate the “subscription process” that’s typically required when you register to a website’s feed. They make it a cinch to stay abreast of updates on your favorite websites!
With a personalized homepage (or a personalized start-up page), you’ll always have the latest headlines from all of your favorite sites right at your fingertips.
Netvibes calls your custom browser start page your “dashboard.” It’s also referred to as a web portal, a browser homepage, and an AJAX homepage.
What Can You Do With Personalized Homepages?
In short: Personalized homepages are highly customized start-up pages that let you pick & choose the colors, number of columns, types of “modules” (widgets or cool shortcuts) you want on your page … in addition to displaying all of the RSS feeds for updated websites of your own choosing.
A personalized homepage is a great time-saver. And a good way to stay organized, too!
- There are tons of add-ons and modules that you can pretty much drag & drop onto your personalized space to create your very own “look” for the start-up page on your computer.
- Most of the modules are highly “niche” — such as “track your one favorite TV show by listing all future air dates & times” or “track your ebay watch items all on this one page”. Widgets like this makes it possible to store exactly the type of information you want on your personalized homepage.
- You can also create your very own module (or widget), if you so desire, and make it available for others to enjoy as well. It’s a very simple process in NetVibes and other startup pages as well.
- There are tons of options. You can choose your own colors. Pick how many columns you want to display. Change fonts. Download themes (or skins). And much, much more!
Why I Like Netvibes Best
- It’s the most customizable one that I’ve found.
- There’s no limit to the number of feeds you can track, and you can see them all at a glance. Plus, the tabs in Netvibes let you organize feeds by the category of your choosing, or organize other Internet widgets (like calendars, clocks, weather, sticky notes, to-do lists, movie showtimes, stocks, etc.)
- You can also store web pages and pictures on your Netvibes page.
- It’s very, very simple to use — practically no learning curve at all.
- The folks at Netvibes seem pretty cutting edge to me.
- They’re always on top of new features.
- I haven’t encountered any “bugs,” and when they find one they seem to take care of it right away.
- They have a very active community of users.
- Their pages of blog entries is loaded with fun and helpful tips. Plus, their loyal community of users usually post a kajillion comments to each post — for even more great ideas!
- They’ve been around since 2005. Not only is Netvibes very popular, it also seems likely to be around for a long, long time.
Good News: If you’ve already got a start-up page that you happen to like, you do not have to change it to be able to take advantage of all that a personalized homepage has to offer! Instead, you would simply bookmark your personalized homepage and access whenever you want.
More About Personalized Homepages
Ways To Build Your Custom Browser Start Page
AJAZ Homepages & Portals
Make Your Own Beautiful Customizable Browser Start Page
This Week’s New Ajax Homepage
Wired Talks About Netvibes
AJAX Homepages Market Review
stHrt Homepage Start Page
I got my first computer in 1986 and immediately started writing, saving documents, and organizing my entire life on it. Thus began my love affair with gadgets and all things tech. I built my first website in 1998 in old-school HTML code — before websites were "a thing". Blogs weren't invented yet. It was the same year that Google was born. My husband and I created TheFunTimesGuide.com in 2004 — before YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and Mashable were launched. That was the year Facebook started and 'blog' was the Word of the Year according Merriam-Webster. Ever since then, anytime a new electronic gadget hits the market… I have to have it. (My husband's impulsive nature to try out every new tech gadget invented is even worse than mine!) When I'm not trying out fun new tech gadgets, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).