On December 25, 1990, an MIT professor named Timothy Berners-Lee implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and a server via a network with the help of a friend named Robert Cailliau and another student. While a major breakthrough in and of itself, I doubt those three men understood that what they created on that Christmas day would eventually change everything. The first transmission of the world-wide-web had just been sent. With the modern web having celebrated its 20th anniversary just several months ago, now is the perfect time to reflect back on the online history of our industry and your own business.
In 1994 the world-wide-web grew by an astonishing 2300 percent, more than any other single piece of technology in the history of the world. In the mid-nineties, the automotive industry specifically was starting to join in on the fun as well as the dot-com boom was just hitting its stride. A simple search shows that the SEMA.com URL was originally registered in 1995, only two years after Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was even invented. Back then, most sites were simple information only sites with minimal graphics and lots and lots of text. If you were lucky, you might have even had a few rollover buttons! Some companies invested in these early websites, but many did not as they believed the early web might die off or not provide a true return on investment.
As the world completely changed during the mid to late-nineties with the mass acceptance of email, web surfing and early online shopping, the web was beginning to get more and more dynamic. Along came technologies like PHP, ASP and Flash, which allowed for overwhelmingly graphics-based websites and streamlined online experiences. For businesses in the aftermarket, this brought the opportunity to better showcase and sell products online to customers all over the world. The old ways of traditional distribution were starting to lose some of their importance; the ability to reach anyone anywhere was now much easier. As these technologies started to prove worthy, most businesses invested heavily in online development during this time period. “New” websites were everywhere.
After the major build up of Y2k (and its subsequent flop), the web started to move toward new heights. XHTML and CSS were dubbed part of the Web 2.0 movement and started to gain major acceptance, allowing companies to make their websites even lighter and faster than before. Google popped on the scene in the early 2000’s and brought with it the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Following suit, companies realized that they needed to reinvest in their websites (often starting completely over), in order to rank higher than their competition. Once again, “new” websites were everywhere.
We have now moved far past the early web and are now into the Web 3.0 space. With technologies like jQuery, HTML 5 and many others, companies are now realizing that they once again need to reinvest in their website properties in order to stay relevant and on the cutting edge. For the generation of people who have grown up with the Internet, old websites and old technologies just don’t cut the mustard anymore. New systems and technologies make for easier business by lessening manual processes and human error elements. They also create a superb consumer experience, which leads to higher conversion rates. At Martin & Company, we predict that over the next several years a large amount of “new” websites will once again crop up as businesses rush to be seen as the technology leaders in their segment.
As for your own business, where does your website history fall? Are you working with a site that was created years ago and no longer suits your current needs? More importantly, what about your customers’ needs? Why not let Martin & Company give you a free website review? We can help make sure that you are moving towards the future instead of living in the past.