Web Design Time Travel: A Brief History of Websites

Sep 21, 2016 | Website Design

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kevin Fouche

Web Design Time Travel: A Brief History of Websites

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

‘Surfing the web’ has been part of everyday life now for the past decade or so, and in such a rapidly advancing world digital world, we thought we’d have a look at the history of websites.

So… fire up your old modem, dial in and let’s get ready to look back in time!

Web Design Time Travel: A Brief History of Websites

The term “e-business/” was coined in 1996 by the marketing team at IBM.

  • In 1997, IBM published an eight-page manifesto in the Wall Street Journal to introduce the notion of e-business. IBM had decided not to copyright the term “e-business/” because they wanted the use of the term to spread so that it would form the basis for an entirely new industry in which IBM would have a prominent role.
  • In 1998, IBM’s marketing company, Oglivy & Mather began to market itself as a leader in conducting business in the internet, describing itself as an e-business company.
  • By the year 2000, e-business and e-commerce have become roughly synonymous and had become increasingly important in common business practice.

The practice of e-business is grounded in the developing science of making effective websites. The first websites began to appear on the internet twenty years ago.

  • The history of websites preceded the common desk-top PC itself. On August 6, 1991, a page presenting information about the developing World Wide Web project was made by a developer named Tim Berners-Lee. It was written on the NeXT computer at the European organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN. The first web address was http://info.cern.ch/htpertext/WWW/TheProject.html.
  • The first websites that began appearing in the 1990s were written in static HTML. This means that each page had to be planned and coded by someone who knew the HTML protocol. Many of these early sites were contracted to specialised website development companies. The sites were uploaded to the internet and remained unchanged until new sites were written to replace them. This was an expensive, labour-intensive project each time.
  • In the early 1990s, websites were created as extensions of a company’s regular advertising and marketing plan. There was no special art of website marketing.
  • When few computers were actually attached to the internet, the email address was simply: person name @ computer name. There were no domain names until Internet Service Provider (ISP) organisations began to provide gateways to a widening internet. By 1989, the internet was developed well enough that the first ISP, “The World,” took its first customer.

When blogging grew out of instant messaging in 1994, a new era of websites was born. The capacity of the internet to collect a series of blogs in one location led to the birth of the modern website. A collection of blogs amounts to a website.

  • Blogging tools like Movable Type, Blogger, and Word Press offered mechanisms for organisations and individuals to make websites that are dynamic and editable to order. The companies who make the websites are not exposed to the complexity of the underlying HTML programming (even though they could use HTML code if they want to).
  • Around this time, in the early years of the two-thousands, Adobe Flash began to gain steam. Eventually, websites written entirely in Flash began to appear.
  • As the Google search engine gained dominance, and as other search engines began to emulate Google, the search engine prominence of business websites became a major factor. Flash-written websites were generally invisible to Google, which responded to HTML code. Eventually, websites became what we know, HTML-composed websites with linked Flash content.
  • Blogging types of websites soon evolved further because of the development of content management systems (CMS). CMS software extended the functionality of blogging tools, adding menus, completely modifiable content, dynamic tables and images.
  • Joomla and Drupal are popular CMS systems developed on an open-source basis. One of the more popular off-the-shelf CMS systems is WordPress, in continuous development since the early blogging days.
  • More recently, the trend has moved toward complete website customisation. Development firms focus on customising websites specifically to meet customer requirements. The focus has moved from website creation to website customisation.

Now we have covered the Brief History of Websites, The future of the web is trending toward the use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. The commercial idea begins with inbound marketing through forming relationships with followers and providing links to actionable website landing pages.

Pixel Fish delivers stylish, feature-rich professional business websites, and perfect individually customised business website solutions. Please contact us to learn more.

Further Reading
How to Successfully Use Content Marketing for Ecommerce
10 Top Social Media Marketing Tips for Ecommerce
Top 10 Benefits of Content Marketing for Australian Businesses
6 Key Problems an Inbound Agency Can Solve For Your Business
5 Signs Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Agency
8 Signs of a Great Content Marketing Agency
Why Small Business SEO and Content Marketing Are Made for Each Other

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director