From Digital Brochures to Marketing Platforms: How Websites Have Evolved
This is a guest post from fellow Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Phil Singleton. Thanks for such a great post!
Website and web development technology has come a long way since the birth of the Internet. From the first point-and-click websites, through Flash based websites, to today’s mobile-responsive websites tricked out with slick HTML5 slide-and-scroll animation and parallax effects, the look and feel of the Internet has changed dramatically over the years. Of course broadband Internet connection has help speed things align too, literally. More importantly, the purpose and use of websites have changed so much, that the word “web site” is now misleading, because your company’s website is now so much more than just a site on the web. Here’s a quick overview of where we started and where we are today:
1. They Started Out As Digital Brochures
Back in the early days of the Internet, before search engines became a core component of the global economy, websites were just static web pages floating out in the Internet. Although they had a lot of value, for many companies websites were a trophy marketing asset, or simply digital. In other words, companies started to get them because the competition had one, not because they viewed websites as a profit center as many businesses do today. Yet even today, the majority of small businesses DO NOT HAVE A WEBSITE. Although it’s hard to believe, a survey by Google in 2013 revealed that 55% of small businesses do not have a website.
2. They Evolved Into Digital Phone Directory-Style Landing Pages
Over a relatively short period of time, as companies and individuals started publishing more websites and web pages, people quickly recognized the need to develop directories and then search engines so that Internet users could easier find the information on the “Information Super Highway.” It was during this time that people started to develop a habit of searching, stuffing and making purchase decisions based on what they were finding on the Internet – it was also during this phase that search engine optimization was born and business owners started to realize the importance of organic SEO.
3. They Became A Content Publishing Platform
Within the last ten years or so, content management systems like WordPress, Joomla & Drupal came into play. Companies and individuals now had the ability to self-publish their own content quickly and easily – on their own websites. This gave authors the chance to reach and engage new audiences, build authority and increase conversion rates - and it became a major search engine ranking factor. Social networks quickly followed and amplified the way self-published content could be shared across the Internet, helping website generate social signals which further enhanced organic search engine visibility.
4. Today: The Hub Of Company’s Presence
For many companies, websites are no longer viewed as a business expense or a cost of doing business. They have evolved into core investments and revenue-generating business assets. Today, the most effective – and profitable – websites are those positioned as a hub to integrate all of a company’s marketing, advertising, communication and education efforts. Every day you can see and hear how companies position their websites as the destination point for virtually all types of marketing efforts including TV, radio, print and online advertising. Diverse inbound marketing campaigns drive ideal clients to specific web page content, with the sole purpose of triggering a call to action.
What’s next for websites? It’s tough to say and the next big thing in terms of Internet technology may be in the works right now. What we do know is that the Internet is getting exponentially larger by the minute. Google search alone processes over 3 billion searches every day and more and more business are coming online. While no one knows for sure what the major phase will be, one thing is for certain – websites and the Internet will continue to evolve.
About the Author: Phil Singleton is the owner of Kansas City SEO®, a full-service Internet marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other online marketing services, and Kansas City Web Design®, a web development firm specializing in custom SEO-friendly WordPress websites and custom web applications. Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant and provides small business marketing product and service at the Kansas City Marketing Agency.