We’ve come a long way baby!
Have you ever browsed your Facebook timeline, right back to the beginning, and looked at some of your old posts? If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, then you’ll probably find some pretty embarrassing material – things that your wiser and older self would never be caught saying to the general public. Well, the Internet archive is a bit like Facebook’s timeline & the WayBack Machine takes snapshots of what your website looked like in the past. That’s right — nothing is ever completely deleted once it’s posted online.
We thought we’d take a look at Strathcom’s website way back when we got started and oh, the fossils we dug up. Don’t hold it against us – we were all young and naïve once just like the Internet! But let’s just say some of our early designs might remind you of your teenager’s Facebook timeline!
The Beginning – 1998 Web Design
In the beginning, there was Netscape 3.0 (and Internet Explorer): brace yourself for state-of-the art web browsing technology! Here’s a snapshot of what Strathcom.com looked like in June, 1998:
- Minimal text and an a-typical navigation were a product of the times. Back in 1998, websites didn’t have much consideration for SEO or usability; all that mattered was having a presence on the web.
- Unlike many other sites at the time, we did have important SEO keywords in our title and description. Even today, 15 years later, many people don’t even know what Search Engine Optimization is.
- That being said, we have been in the SEO industry for 15 years. Not many web design or even SEO agencies can say that!
Strathcom at the Speed of Flash – Web Design in the year 2000
The year was 2000, and the millennium bug was still in people’s minds. So was the idea that a Flash-powered website was the bee’s knees. While 2000 passed without a hiccup, Flash websites are definitely still around. Strathcom has since advanced to a more effective and faster web design, leaving old flash websites in the dust.
- Once again, the primary purpose of our website was to establish our online presence. Not much was taken into consideration when it came to SEO; as long as we had a website explaining what we did, it was just dandy.
- As not everyone had Flash installed, we had to inform our visitors how the website was built and in what resolution, as well as provide a no-flash portal.
The Elevator Music Blues – Web Design in the year 2003
What would make our website really cool? I know – let’s add soothing background music and a blue background so our visitors can chill out to our subliminal tones. Elevator music: it’s what all the cool kids are listening to these days! Here’s our site in 2003 (the bars in the lower right move – neat, right?). Oh – that speech bubble – I might have added that.
- Boy oh boy was music a fad at one point! Now canned music tends to annoy anyone surfing the internet.
- On top of animated graphics and a stylized image of Edmonton, we also incorporated a more modern navigation layout which has a page to match each of our concepts.
- When you visit the one-click-deep pages, you can see that there still isn’t much unique text written for SEO purposes.
It’s Psychedelic Baby! – Web design in 2004
It might not have been the 60s, but our intro video in 2004 looks like a real flashback. Detractors might describe it as a combination between a techno dance party and what happens when you give a squirrel a caffeine tablet and tell it to make a music video.
But it does tell something else: the internet is moving quickly, and Strathcom has been there to help you catch up with the trend. Speed (the attribute, not the drug!) is something you need to successfully adapt online. Oh, and doesn’t the music scream “this is the future”!
- In 2004 we were still pushing strong to convince businesses to start marketing on the internet, as many companies still hadn’t jumped on board yet.
- That was too bad, because the longer your domain name has been live on the internet, the more authority your website has, and the better its rankings in search engines. Strathcom already had a well-established domain name by this time.
- This year we also switched to a side navigation. Although it might not look as pleasing to the eye, it did leave more room for the main attraction: the flashing techno dance party!
A Step in a New Direction – Web design in 2005
The year 2005 ushered in a new look for Strathcom. Gone was the background music, and in was a new streamlined look. If you look close, you can see our lot management tool being displayed on a state-of-the-art Palm handheld. You won’t see those around anymore.
- In 2005 we were really getting serious about the automotive industry. We started focusing just on the online automotive industry and moving away from building websites for any type of business.
- We finally introduced a modern page navigation that actually looks like what one would see on a modern, optimized website. We also included a “testimonials” and “news” section to keep users interested.
The EasyLoaderMobile Revolution – Web design in 2007
In 2007, we focused our website on our offering of the Easy Loader VMS, or Vehicle Management System, a tool that remains an essential part of our business. Our innovative Mobile Lot management system was also available for PDA devices.
- Who else can say that they were focusing on mobile in 2007? Even in the year 2013, mobile is still a new idea for many businesses.
- By now our website had a lot more unique content for SEO purposes, as well as some great calls-to-action. All of our services are structured out into individual pages for usability and SEO purposes.
- By 2007, web design wasn’t about just having a web page up and available anymore. There was much more to creating a website that worked for your users, and usability became an important consideration.
Where We Are Today: Web Design in 2013
If you’ve been to our homepage you’ve probably noticed that Strathcom has a new look. It’s a change that we’ve made to reflect our new ownership, and our vision of where we are going in the future. While not every single one of our website designs through history has been fantastic, we have been growing step-by-step to where we are today. We were one of the pioneers in automotive website design when we started, and we continue to be to this day. The web has changed, and so have we.
Google was founded in 1998. Facebook was launched in 2004. Just think how far the web universe has come in the past ten to fifteen years. You can see why a website isn’t a one-time investment. It’s an ongoing process that will evolve as the web environment and your business changes. And over time you will be able to take advantage all of the new features that technology has to offer.
— Michael Fisher & Samantha Goettel
Written by Michael Fisher
With a passion for everything automotive and an interest in online media & blogging, Michael Fisher has applied his love for the written word with a rewarding job researching and writing about cars. When he isn't fixing punctuation or tinkering with an obstinate sentence, Michael enjoys photography, art and backyard mechanics.