I was introduced to the Internet early in the 1990′s by my brother who is always ahead of the curve on techie things.  I worked as a flight attendant at the time and carried a laptop around on my travels before most people even had a desktop at home.  There were no hotels offering free Internet access in those days.  You were lucky to be able to hook up at all, and when you did, the charge might be per minute.

Wild, Wild WestThe Internet was the wild west, unexplored territory and very little security.  It was the land of personal websites with galaxy backgrounds, embedded midis and all the text centered down the middle.  People all over the world created informational websites — just so you’d know, not because “content is king.”  On IRC, you could chat with a Scot in the evening and be slapped with a large trout by a South African before breakfast.  Coke.com was available as well as McDonalds.com.  I remember specifically checking their availability one night and wondering when everyone else would finally discover our amazing digital world.

GeocitiesI built my first website at Geocities.  Despite losing the password long ago, my site was still online, suspended in time, cheesy animated gifs and all until recently when Yahoo acquired Geocities and they closed down many of our little virtual neighborhoods.  Always wanting to improve my homepage,
I would study the source of other sites to try to figure out how they created certain effects.  After spending an enormous amount of time trying to decipher code, I became fluent in HTML and later, CSS.  Knowing the actual design languages, I am not bound by the limits of today’s editors.  I can manipulate the code if needed.

Animated FrogMy days of building sites with animated gifs and flashy features are gone.  Being involved with online sales here and here, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t in terms of both website design and small businesses.  I build sites with functionality in mind.  An attractive design is a must, but ensuring visitors can find what they’re looking for is the most important thing in website design.

These are the days of great opportunities on the Internet.  I remember in the early days thinking if only I had the ability to accept credit cards, I could try my hand at selling antiques online.  Today we have PayPal as well as many other business tools available to the average person and I have learned — if you build it, they will come.