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History of the Internet - useful background information

The history of the Internet is rather long and complex, so I'll keep this brief and at a very general level as it applies to operating an Internet business.

Development of the Internet centered around government funded research (mainly for purposes of defense) and involved numerous independent but related efforts. It was developed, in part, out of a need to connect computer networks together to share information quickly. Many universities, including UCLA, Stanford and the University of Utah were among some of the early research networks that were interconnected to allow rapid sharing of data. Such network connections were established in the late 1960s.

The technology was advanced by many who saw its usefulness and wanted to enhance this communication capability. As it attracted more followers, especially at the university level, improvements were introduced and standards evolved. The early development of what we know today as the Internet was all funded either directly or indirectly by government agencies.

The usefulness of such broad inter-connectivity soon caught the eye of the private sector where early pioneers like Compuserv and Prodigy established email messaging and bulletin boards. Soon, there were Internet service providers springing up nearly everywhere to offer dial-in connections to the Internet.

Websites of Yesteryear

It used to be that a website could be created by having an account with a service provider and lots of knowledge about HTML. Essentially, you had to be a programmer of some sort. Then, websites development services provided an option for those of us who "don't do code." That option still comes at a relatively high price.

Today, there are numerous programs out there that will allow you to create your own website with very little need to know HTML. There are even programs available today that will create a website and fill it with content for you.

In the past, you also had to have a website address that was easy to remember and descriptive in nature. Otherwise people wouldn't know how to find you. And now, it doesn't matter all that much what you call your website. What's important is that the search engines can find you. That means careful use of keywords.

As the history of the Internet became more of a history of a new approach to free enterprise, competitors made improvements that changed the face of the web into something more than just a place for Emails and bulletin boards - now products and services can be sent via the Internet.


The history of the Internet includes a few casualties as well. The post office and overnight mail services have felt the pinch as Email is used more and more to send messages, documents, and a wide range of information-based products. Hard copies are still useful, but increasingly, people rely on electronic versions of documents.

Sure, technology changes, but some things remain the same. We still use wooden pencils, and we still ride horses. So, there is no need to panic about the Internet changing out from underneath us, but we still need to keep pace with what is popular and pleasing to others if we're going to operate a business on the web. Otherwise, the history of the Internet will include us in a footnote on one of its pages.

Keep Pace or Become History

They key point is simply that the Internet is changing, and we have to be mindful of that. The better you can stay on top of what works well on the Internet, the better your chances are of being successful.

It's not hard, even today, to find many of the old style web pages that are simply a long (very long) page of text. Some have organizational headings that allow us to jump down the page to information we'd like to learn about, but when you boil them down to their basics, they're just a great big page of writing with limited formatting.

Thankfully, someone asked, "what is a website" and answered it by saying, "it can be a lot more than what I'm seeing here." With that, came the birth of navigation bars, hyperlinks, more use of graphics, photos, video, animation, audio and nice backgrounds. All of that came together to make websites more inviting and appealing to visitors.

One of the most recent developments in the history of the Internet is the popularity of blogs (web logs). These changed the face of the web by allowing and encouraging conversations between visitors and writer/publishers online. They even have a "chat room" type of feature where visitors can interact with each other via comments and forums.

The key to remember is that the history of the Internet hasn't been written yet - it's still being written. And, unless you want to get left in the dust, you have to stay current with key aspects of it as you plan, build and improve your online business.

Done with History of the Internet, take me back to Internet Business Ideas

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