Setup a Personal Google Homepage

This article will provide step by step instructions how to setup and personalize an iGoogle home page. No one is required to do this but it helps to have a formal area setup where you can store your more important links and other information needed to run your online business.

I often receive phone calls and email from customers that forget what the URL is to a custom application. I have to take some responsibility for this myself because I usually setup a testing area on a server that requires login credentials when I building and testing applications, and I send these test URLs to clients for review. Most will set a bookmark into the testing area, and when the application goes into production, rarely does a client replace the testing URL with the production URL. It isn't always feasible to setup a redirect from the testing area to the production area, so in a sense, the client's saved bookmarks get littered with junk links.

Many of the support phone calls could be eliminated if you take the time to customize your own Google home page. Google provides a lot of useful and free tools that can make it easy to retrieve information that you use daily, such as links to your domain manager application, special links to customized applications, calendars, notes, and more.

iGoogle is a customized home page, typical of what you will find at MyYahoo and Windows Live. It provides interactive gadgets (igoogle gadgets) which have been developed either at Google or by a typical user. There are gadgets for displaying photos, calculators, timers, videos, news feeds bookmarks and other gadgets that can improve your online experience. You can also choose from a set of themes for your customized home page as well.

Steps to Creating a Customized iGoogle Homepage

Step 1: First, you will need a Google account in order to create a customized iGoogle Homepage. If you don't currently have a Google account, you can create a free Google account. When your account is available, you can login by going to the Google home page and clicking the "sign in" link in the upper right hand corner (be sure to check the "stay signed in" box when you enter your email address and password).

google home page with sign in link

Step 2: Once you sign in, click the iGoogle link in the upper right hand corner of the page to go to your default custom home page.

google home page with igoogle link

Step 3: At first, your iGoogle Homepage will be very sparse because you haven't added any of the gadgets. You might first want to experiment with the different themes that are available by clicking the "Change Theme from Classic" link in the upper right hand corner. There are all kinds of themes, so expect to spend a little time choosing a theme that speaks to you personally.

Step 4: Next, you will want to start selecting some useful gadgets. To select from the options, click the "Add stuff" link in the upper right hand corner. Some gadgets I find useful are the news, to do lists, local weather and a few fun things like a daily horoscope. You may have to select a Category link in the left hand sidebar to limit the large number of gadgets to scroll through. You can also do a search for gadgets in the upper right hand corner search box.

Here is an example of my own personal iGoogle page:

my igoogle personal home page

When I need to find that special link, I can simply look in my book marks. I find if I keep my essential links on my iGoogle home page, and my non-essential links in my browser book marks, I can be a lot more efficient with finding things I need every day. Also, you can easily move around the display boxes however you want to put your important gadgets at the top and less important gadgets at the bottom for example.

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