I'd love to hear some stories of your very first website project! What prompted you to do it, etc.
Mine was around 1996. The commercial internet was brand new, AOL was taking off, and Denis Leary was doing commercials about the future of the internet. I was 19 or 20 and had always wanted my own business, but never had the money, so this seemed like something I could do.
So I went to the nearest Best Buy or Circuit City and bought my first computer: a CTX desktop with a 1.2G hard drive, 8MB of RAM, and a blazing 28.8kbps modem, for nearly $1,000 on a credit card.
After a few weeks of playing around, I downloaded Netscape Navigator 2.0 and started building. For those that don't know, this was like an early WYSIWYG editor, and one of the biggest competitors for Frontpage. I also downloaded PaintShop Pro 3 (and I still use 4.12 today, it's my favorite image editor).
I had this brilliant idea... I was going to create an online mall, where all sorts of businesses would work together! Instead of marketing individually, businesses would be able to work with this one company who would do the marketing for them.
I bought my first domain for $200 /year, iWantItMall.com. I create a logo with an animated gif of a spotlight on either side of it, moving up and down to highlight the logo... man, I was proud of that!
And then I downloaded a web server for my computer, only to quickly realize that you couldn't run a website off of a PC with dial-up... so I signed up for hosting for $25 /month with SiteWorks. Now THAT was a quality company to work with!
To get things moving, I signed up with a LOT of wholesalers, and started building e-commerce websites for 14 or 15 different business ideas (which were all me, of course). I was building pages from scratch for every item in the wholesale catalogs, working out agreements for some of them to drop ship for me, etc. ALL orders were COD, because taking cards online was unheard of.
Then I learned that I was going to need a shopping cart, so... Perl! Yes, it's true, I taught myself how to use Perl before I had ever figured out HTML! lol I downloaded a free shopping cart script from somewhere, and then had to figure out the code to adapt it to my own needs.
My first from-scratch Perl script was a catalog for my products, using flat-text for the database. Then I rebuilt my shopping cart from scratch, setting it up to remember customer information so they could just sign in, add to their cart, confirm their info, and submit the order.
No other company ever signed on to be in my mall, of course, but over a few years one of the business ideas took off and started paying the bills on its own, so I focused on that until 1999.
Just think, if I'd had a better domain name and a few million dollars to spend on marketing, old iWantItMall could have been like Amazon! :-D