Online with ABC Selfstore – from 2001

We’ve been providing storage in London for 25 years. In the quarter-century since we opened our first self-storage doors in Camden, the world has seen some colossal changes.

Socially, environmentally and technologically it’s a very different place. Most would agree that the most significant thing to happen to the world in that time has been the World Wide Web. It’s changed the way we do things. It’s affected pretty much every aspect of society – from the high street to the bedroom and virtually everything in between.

At ABC Selfstore we like to embrace technology that makes life simpler for our customers. We’ve been industry leaders introducing plenty of online firsts in that time, especially online. So we’re sliding the throttle levers on our 25th Anniversary time machine to 100% and heading back to the early days of the internet, to take a peak at how ABC’s corner of the internet has changed over the years…

The World-Wide-Web is the bit of the internet behind your ability to open a webpage. It opens up all sorts of opportunities to do things: learning, shopping, watching, listening, connecting, route planning, streaming, chatting… and reading blogs about self storage in London. Think of it like the body’s circulatory system, it connects everything and provides the essential blood-vessels through which information flows.

It was invented by British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. But it wasn’t until November 1992 (6 months before ABC Selfstore was born) that it became available to the public. Even then it took a few years to get going. Initially only governments and research organisations had the resources and equipment to get online, but in the mid to late 1990s commercial and domestic computers became internet ready – with the inclusion of dial-up modems to send and receive data.

Our First Website – November 2001

You might think 2001 was a bit late to be coming to the website party. But you need to remember that self-storage industry itself was still relatively young as a UK service – even in 2001. In November 2001 our website looked like this:

Let’s get geeky for a minute… it’s a classic HTML page of the time, with the content laid out in a table and everything in neat and tidy rows and columns. The tabular page layout was rigid, but that didn’t matter as everyone would have been viewing it on a similar sized screen – back in the day this would have been accessed almost exclusively on CRT desktop computer monitors – the kind that was at least as deep as they were wide and took up most of the desktop. In 2001 the smartphone didn’t exist and mobiles had simple LCD screens.

Even in 2001 we were slightly ahead of the game – our content was always centrally justified and the coloured bands in the header and footer scale to the full width of the browser window. It’s a small aesthetic thing – but not all websites did that back then.

Compared to our competitors, our site was comprehensive. For a start it was multi-page, it included sections on pricing, locations, maps and even an early version of our self-storage guide. All in all a decent start to our online life and our quest to be the most helpful self-storage company in London. Over the next 6 years, we’d tweak and add to the content, but the basic structure of the site would stay the same.

6 years is a long time in online science –  tune in next time when we look at 2007 – as the ABC Selfstore website underwent its first comprehensive revamp.