Chapter 4 - Old School

We learned in Chapter 2 how to put together Open Graph, Twitter Cards, Meta Tags and and in Chapter 3 making sure we support as many operating systems and mobile devices within reason. Now we will take a step back and look at some old school practices that have influenced today.

I remember back in the 90's when I was 18 and a freshman in college, I needed to get information, so I had to go to my college computer center and tunnel to Minnesota using the Gopher protocol. My friends and I like to play at the arcade and used Gopher to find the latest move combinations to many of our favorite games. We tried to get the upper hand and sometimes it worked really well. Hypertext Transfer Protocol soon took over and became the dominant protocol. Gopher was a successful and effective predecessor of the world wide web.

Let's look at links, banner ads and email campaigns.


I remember spending many hours writing emails to other webmasters about sharing links. I would add their website to my links page and would send an email letting them know. A lot of time, my site would be listed on their site and a simple email confirmation would cement the agreement. If they never reply or add my link, I would remove theirs after the next link update.

Webrings and Link Exchanges soon took over. You would register your site with these link exchanges and would get HTML code in return to add to your page. Webrings would be a circular link exchange where the sites would share a certain theme or category. Webrings were popular among amateur websites. Exchanges would display results as banner ads. The ads were downloaded and displayed, and simple stats were kept like viewed and click results. We all know ads have continued to this day while webrings and link exchanges have faded away like the Gopher system.

Backlinks are still relevant today. The more web applications and services that have a link back to your site the better. Posting tasteful advertising to social media and other services that link back to your site will boost your authority with search engines and help promote your brand.

Ghost of Chapter 2

Banner Ads

I understand the need for webrings, link exchanges and banner ads as they were a great way to promote your site. However, it is also a negative element to add to your site. You are spending time and money to get traffic to your site while losing some of it to ads that will take traffic away. Ad placement is key. I do have some ads on my site and most of the time they are displayed until the end for articles and important information. After you get to the end then you can explore elsewhere.

There are many size ads. Here are some of the most popular sizes.
Square - 250 x 250.
Small Square - 200 x 200.
Banner - 468 x 60.
Leaderboard - 728 x 90.
Inline Rectangle - 300 x 250.
Large Rectangle - 336 x 280.
Skyscraper - 120 x 600.
Wide Skyscraper - 160 x 600.

I am a fan of the Leaderboard (728 x 90) and use only this specific ad for all of my sites and applications.

Email Campaigns

"Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness." - Wikipedia

I worked at several marketing companies in the late 90's and early 2000's. At each place I was the only one who could understand the software to distribute massive amounts of emails at once. I was also one of few who were in IT and development working at a marketing shop. There were many designers but usually one networking, one programmer/developer and a help desk IT colleague.

Let's take a look at the current email client stats as there are a few options to display rich HTML in email to your clients using either embedded html or external links (http) to images.

Email Market Share February 2019 - Stats by

The following examples were tested with all of these clients and Windows, Android and IOS.

The example show an external http links to pull in graphics for a browser. It is nice, clean and simple.

Your user will experience this issue when using Outlook. If your email is not in their safe senders list then the images will be blocked by default. Inline emails will not have this issue.

The images are shown after your user allows the images to be downloaded. All looks great!

I would rather spend the time using the inline option than the external link version. It can be time consuming with QA and testing all of the browsers, OS and email clients to make sure they all look good. Inline takes basic CSS and images and embeds them right into the email.

Outlook has a hard time with the inline option among all of the clients tested. It still looks decent but more time is required to make it look good.

Google, Yahoo and other browser based email clients look great. IOS and Android native email clients all look very similar and great too.


Backlinks, Banner Ads and Email Campaigns are old school techniques that are still relevant today. These techniques have a greater degree of difficulty these days but if used correctly can still be very effective.

We have covered so far...
CH 2: Meta Tags
CH 2: Open Graph
CH 2: Twitter Cards
CH 2:
CH 3: Mobile Support (IOS and Android)
CH 3: OS Support (IOS, Android and Windows)
CH 3: Browser Support (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE and Edge)
CH 4: Backlinks (From social media, search engines and other websites and services)
CH 4: Banner Ads
CH 4: Email Campaigns

My Website and Free Tools
3/16/2021 - Prelude: Websites, Schemas, Search Engines and Social Media
3/1/2019 - Chapter 1 - Hello World! - Website Upgrade
3/5/2019 - Chapter 2 - The Big 4
3/10/2019 - Chapter 3 - Mobile and Browser Support
3/12/2019 - Chapter 4 - Old School
3/16/2019 - Chapter 5 - Posting and Searching
3/22/2019 - Chapter 6 - Images and Analytics
3/24/2019 - Chapter 7 - Retrospective I
4/13/2019 - Free Basic Website Meta Tag Generator