All of these images come from the Internet Archive.
DigitalOcean (from 2001)
This is the oldest site that I looked at, and it shows. Here's what the site looked like in 2001:
And here is today:
And here's all the ones in between:
Duolingo (from 2010)Duolingo's site has become the least friendly to being recorded by the Internet Archive. Here's the first site featuring the owl mascot (does he have a name?) from 2010:
Here's today (but all stretchy):
Everything in between:
GitHub (from 2008)
The early GitHub landing page featured beautiful briefcases. Mmm... wonderful briefcases of 2008.
Watch it change over time.
Heroku (from 2007)
Heroku has gone from light to dark to light, always maintaining the purple. (It started out bluer). Here's their earliest home page from 2007:
And here's the evolution:
Yes, that pony you see is actually how the Internet Archive retrieved it on November 8th, 2012.
Stripe (from 2011)
Stripe is kind of the discouraging exception to this group (at least as far as website design is concerned). They started out with this beautiful site in 2011:
The latest version isn't too different:
So, keep trying. Don't worry too much about being perfect now. Any other great "ugly ducklings" you know of?