This site originated as a means to show my photos to my friends and family, which are scattered around the country. It is rare that I manage to visit all my good friends in one year, let alone visiting them more than once in a year. I am hardly consistent with making phone calls or writing emails either. Consequently, without the Internet I am not able to keep them updated on my travels and photos. My personal website allows me to email people links to new photos and not the actual images so I don't clog up their inbox.
As the site grew I found it a great way to also share a few of my ideas by writing brief articles and reviews.
Thirdly, I designed this site as a way to learn HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, and other web tools. I have always been interested in programming and since I no longer have a need for C++ or Pascal this was the next logical step in the hobby. HTML is very easy to learn and can be done in a morning with a pot of coffee.
Running your own website allows you to store lots of files in a secure environment. I store all the original files on the server, which is locate in California and run by Lunarpages. This way I don't have to fill up my personal computer, I can access the files from anywhere in the country, and if my apartment burns to a crisp or is burgled I won't loose any cool photos. I never burn files to a CD for storage, I simply send them to my server. It really helps with minimalization.
There are several reasons to create a website, none of which is narcissistic.
These sites do not permit me the storage capacity I require and their design templates limit the uniqueness and content of my site. My friends tell me I am too old for Mysapce. If one of these publicly shared sites is acquired by another or dissolves my data could be lost and I would have the headache of distributing a new URL to my friends and family. I cannot stand sites that require me to enter a username and password just to view material. I want to receive a link in my email, click, and view. No typing should be required.