If you've tried out all we've talked about so far, you should have your basic homepage ready to put up on the Internet. The operative word being "basic". If you'd like to add some bells and whistles to your homepage / website before you put it on the Net, pay attention to this step. If not, move onto the next step of hosting your pages.
The common thread among people who have homepages / websites is that they are all intent on knowing how many times their page has been seen. In fact, the biggest websites in the world make their money based on the fact that they have so many million visitors. To keep track of the number of times your page has been seen, you need to add a counter to your page. The sites that host your page for you should offer you a counter, but if they don't, you could always turn to one of the many services on the Net that offer counters free of cost. FastCounter and Hitbox are two popular free counter services.
A page on your homepage where visitors can leave messages for you and the rest of the world to see. I personally don't see the need for a guestbook since the visitor could email you, but if you'd like one, BeSeen can offer you one among other useful tools for your homepage.
When you have a few pages, it's no problem for visitors to find what they're looking for. But what happens when you have hundreds of pages? Think about it - when you're looking for something on the Net, you use a search engine, right? Why not provide that same functionality for visitors to your site? Adding a search facility is easy and free with services like FreeFind and BeSeen. On my site for instance, since I archive my articles online, I've added a search feature to help people find older articles.
Aha - now you can even hear the bells and whistles! Audio formats like MIDI, WAV and real audio. For people like you and me, MIDI files and WAV files are the way to go, since real audio files need special software on the server where your page is hosted. MIDI plugins are great for playing files, but don't use the embed option, forcing the user to download and hear the MIDI file. Providing a link which he can click on if he so desires, is much more considerate. Eitherways, keep the filesize small.
A mailing list is an easy way to reach out to a large number of people. People sign up / subscribe to your mailing list, and you can send everyone on that list periodic emails without any effort. There are many uses you can put a mailing list to - sending newsletters, allowing alumni to keep in touch, or telling people when you page is updated. ListBot, CoolList, and EGroups are good free web-based mailing list services you can use for your homepage.
Jazz It Up
Plenty of homepage freebies - counters, guestbooks, search boxes...
Free counter for your page
Another free counter
Add search capability to your homepage
Create a mailing list
Another mailing list service
Yet another mailing list service