The world is changing– moving faster, becoming more connected, growing– and as it does, so does website development. I’m actually writing this blog from my phone; you couldn’t do that 20 years ago!
The internet began as a small maze of information and specific topics. Search engines weren’t even needed, all a user had to do was dial into AOL to find the information available. As time elapsed, businesses started creating websites for the World Wide Web, but users today would never think to call them that. In today’s terminology, you would label the original business websites as simple landing pages. They looked more like a flyer than anything and were comprised of just a photo at the top with a business address and phone number, sometimes followed by a short description.
I worked for a development firm in those years and we were tasked with developing 40-60 of these websites per day! If we could put out over 100 new sites a day, we got a bonus, and that achievement was not unheard of! If you asked a developer to do that these days, they’d laugh at you, at best. Furthermore, each site was created for free, with the hope that the client would want to add additional pages at a premium price. Perhaps 1 out of 50 would say “Yes” to that prospect and ask for a page that talked about them, thus sprouting the “About Us” webpages of today. It took at least 5 years before it really caught on that websites could really help your business, and traffic increased.
Websites now have a lot more pages that provide everything a user could ever need to know. You’ve got a question? The Internet will have the answer, almost instantly! And websites are more interactive than ever before; some have interactive touch capabilities, while others allow direct video game play. Websites such as YouTube allow anyone to become a video sensation, and websites like Ustream give you the opportunity to create your own TV show and stream it live. You can even do it all using an app on your phone! E-commerce sites boast thousands of webpages, each featuring a product for sale and allowing consumerism to run rampant. Then websites like WebMD give us information about our bodies and turn any internet searcher into a household doctor, or a paranoid hypochondriac by making you think you have every disease imaginable.
Even our TV habits have changed due to the changing internet! While watching some of your favorite TV shows, you can now interact with them by going to their web page. Larger TV stations like CNN keep you updated minute by minute on their websites. ESPN keeps sports addicts from missing the big game by allowing subscribers and FREE logins to watch games on their website. Not to mention the fact that you can access the internet through your television!
Web developers have also changed. By using techniques in the developing stages, such as cleaning up code, decreasing load times, etc., developers are showcasing businesses, attracting customers and convincing them to make conversions around the globe. Add in creating responsive designs, which help websites change based on the device being used to view them (mobile ready, anyone?), and developers are displaying a lot of new tricks they’ve honed over the years.
With the majority of people using search engines to find the information and websites they need, web developers also have to develop sites to search engine standards. Developers have to be knowledgeable about graphics and coding in order to give the websites the necessary looks and feel. In addition, since Google is the top rated search engine at this moment, they must also develop each site to keep up with Google’s algorithms. Why have a website if no one can find it? Just look at how much our website has to offer and everything that must have gone into it:
The web will be constantly changing to make things easier, faster and more interactive for all of us. Google now allows us to speak to our computers and find what we are looking for, in addition to new programs for the hearing impaired. So you won’t even have to type in search terms to find what you need! I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.