Here’s how the number of websites developed since 1998:
In 1998 there were about 2.4 million websites. This grew to 17.1 million at the turn of the millennium. In 2007 the Internet cracked the 100 million mark and soon after, in 2009, the 200 million mark. 2012 saw a sudden jump to about 700 million websites. 2010 and 2013 were the only years in which the number of sites declined.
The number of users has been steadily increasing at a rate of about 170 million per year. It went from 188 million (3 % of the world population) in 1998 to 2760 million (40 % of the world population) in 2013. A mathematical trend analysis shows that we can expect the 4000 million mark to be cracked in 2017 and the 5000 million mark in 2020.
Very interesting in terms of competition among websites is the ratio of users to websites:
Before 2000 it was relatively easy to draw a large number of visitors to a website. But then the situation drastically changed. The number of users per website dropped from about 88 to 24 and kept on decreasing. Today there are only 4 internet users per website, a tough market for website owners.
Some more numbers: in 1998 there were about 10,000 search queries on Google per day, this grew 1,200,000,000,000 (or 1.2 trillion) per day in 2012. Since Google controls roughly 65 % of the search engine market, the total number of queries per day should be around 1.8 trillion.
In the fast paced online world people are not so patient as in real life. Accordingly, having a large home page size and loading time can negatively affect your blog traffic. Studies have shown that the greater the loading time, the higher the bounce rate. To find out how well my blog performs with respect to this (feel free to use the results for your benefits as well), I did a analysis of 70 WordPress.com blogs. I used iWEBTOOLS’s Website Speed Test and OriginPro for that. With the tool you can analyze ten webpages at once, but note that after ten queries you have to wait a full day (not an hour as the website claims) to do more analysis.
The average size of a WordPress.com blog according to the analysis is 65.3 KB with a standard error SE = 3.0 KB. Here’s how the size is distributed:
The average loading time at my internet speed (circa 600 KB/s) is 0.66 s with the standard error SE = 0.10 s. Here’s the corresponding distribution:
Note that the graph obviously depends on your internet speed. If you have faster internet, the whole distribution will shift to the left. My blog has a home page size of 81.6 KB. From the first graph I can deduce that only about 24 % of home pages are larger in size. My loading time is 0.86 s, here only about 22 % top that. So it looks like I really have to throw off some weight.
Here’s the loading time plotted against the home page size:
In a very rough approximation we have the relation:
loading time = 0.009 * size
In other words: getting rid of 10 KB should lower the loading time by about 0.1 seconds. Now feel free to check your own blog and see where it fits in. If you got the time, post your results (if possible including URL, size, loading time, internet speed) in the comments. I’d greatly appreciate the additional data. For a reliable result regarding loading time it’s best to check the same page three times and do the average.
Using data from websiteoptimization.com I plotted the development of web page sizes over the years. I also included the exponential fit:
As you can see, the 1/2 MB mark was cracked in 2009 and the 1 MB mark was cracked in 2012. Despite the seemingly random fluctuations, an exponential trend is clearly visible. The power 0.3 indicates that the web page sizes doubles about every 2.3 years. Assuming this exponential trend continues we will have these average sizes in the coming years:
2013 – ca. 1600 kb
2014 – ca. 2100 kb
2015 – ca. 2900 kb
So the 2 MB will probably be cracked in 2014 and in 2015 we will already be close to the 3 MB mark. Of course the trend is bound to flat out, but at this point there’s no telling when it will happen.