Updated: May 2
If you’re running your own website for your brand or have a heavy part to play in your company’s web presence, then you know that a website is one of the major faces of your brand. It is a key part of your marketing strategy, and nowadays it will be the first thing most people see in detail when they look up your business. A cheap and poorly designed site will reflect a poorly run business and vice versa.
Yet websites are also complicated, and sometimes it can be difficult to know what people want when it comes to a company’s website. And it might differ based on your industry on top of that. However, there are common threads to follow and design trends that generally work better than others. And experts have studied these trends and found helpful stats that partially reveal what people are looking for. Keep on reading to learn more about how to improve your website’s user experience and what consumers are looking for:
General Website Statistics
Before anything else, we want to talk about how important websites have become and what some of the most important things to know are. After all, you need foundational knowledge before some of the other statistics make complete sense or their points are fully impactful. How popular are websites, and how important are some of them?
It is estimated that there are more than two billion websites on the internet. This number has spiked and faded over the years, but has generally been on an upward trend. Many websites are small and barely visited, often acting as more personal pages. Other websites still are effectively spam or scam-related, and are disabled or effectively removed from the internet
Yet of these two billion websites, only 400 million or so are active. Only that many actually have posted anything new or made any updates recently. Others are either forgotten or are meant to be more of a signboard than an active site.
While this number might seem intimidating to you as someone hoping to gain an audience, remember that most of them aren’t a competition or a concern. Note all the spam pages. Remember that your niche is the only one that matters when considering the competition. And finally, remember that most sites aren’t even in your language or have access to your audience.
The average person in the United States will visit 130 pages in a day. That’s a lot, and very little when compared to the total number of websites available. And while there might be a debate as to whether pages within apps or posts on social media can count (it will vary depending on the study).
Out of all the websites online, more than 20 million sites are e-commerce related, according to Kommando Tech. Again this exact amount is liable to change as sites come online and go defunct. Additionally, many of these sites are barely known or nonfunctional as well. Nonetheless, millions of sites engage in eCommerce, with many of them being mega-platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, and Esty that serve millions if not billions. We will go further into the realm of eCommerce later on in the piece.
How you look at this depends on your perspective and what type of site you are trying to run. Having that many competitors sound intimidating, even if you rule out those obviously not in your industry. It only showcases the importance of marketing and SEO, with website design being a huge part of that.
Something else to note is that a small minority of the websites operating online get a vast majority of the traffic. Consider the most popular websites in the world. An average person cannot hope to compete with these, but often they might hope to utilize them.
As of this writing, the most popular websites in the world are Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Looking at these sites and their pages might also be a good opportunity to learn about how to improve your own site’s user experience. You don’t have the resources and full toolset of Google, but you can experience for yourself with an inquisitive mind the design choices that most people and even professionals wouldn’t notice.
On average, users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image and 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content. We’ll go into this on a design level later on, but here let us just focus on the fact that most people are going to bounce off a page or website quite quickly. While there are people and readers who will read a piece of content, especially once their interest is caught, most will bounce around to different search results until they find what they need or find something they like.
Across all industries, the bounce rate (the rate at which users visit one page on a site and then leave without viewing another) for eCommerce sites is 47 percent.
While not strictly about websites, looking at the search engine and SEO trends can tell you a lot about browsing habits. And the most striking figure is that the first search result on Google gets 28.5 percent of the clickthrough traffic. If you go down only to the 10th listing, then that becomes 2.5 percent. And rarely do people go on the second page of search results.
People spend hours online daily, and a lot of that time will be spent on websites just like yours. Yet there is a lot of competition with so many websites online, and much of the traffic goes to top websites. Consider all the above and what else you know, and recognize the importance of design and getting your website to the top of the listings both on Google and in the hearts of consumers.
Website Design Stats
While there are a few people who will look over a website fully before deciding whether it will help them, far more people will make a snap judgement about a website based on only a few (if that many) factors. If there are annoying pop-ups before someone gets an idea of what a site is about, they are more likely to leave it. If a page takes too long to load, it’ll quickly bounce off the page. If the site is confusing in any way, then people will be likely to leave.
Conversely, there are design decisions that consciously or unconsciously may convince someone to stay. The color scheme and overall design might be pleasing to the eyes. The design could similarly not be too overcluttered and work to draw the user’s attention to the most impressive and important elements (likely what they came there for).
Suffice it to say, design is important, and affects how people think about a site before they even know they’re thinking about it. Yet let’s take a closer look at the details and important trends.
Mobile Web Design
Before anything else, it’s important to note that most of today’s web traffic takes place on mobile. Specifically, it was 54.8 percent in 2021. In fact, the share of mobile traffic compared to desktop and laptop traffic has increased each year since mobile became something worth measuring, and we are currently uncertain as to when the share of traffic that’s mobile will stop increasing.
What does this mean? It means that one of the most important things you can do is make sure your website’s mobile design is on point and that it is optimized for mobile. Site owners simply miss out when they don’t, and that can snowball into desktop numbers over time.
While many companies have apps to help the user experience, many people don’t feel like downloading them, especially when they don’t know the company that well or don’t expect to use it often. In lieu of it, 50 percent of smartphone users are more likely to use a brand’s mobile site when browsing or shopping. Even if your brand has an app or a presence on a major app, the site cannot be ignored.
A mobile site could be one of the best in the world, but that doesn’t count for much if the site won’t load on time. For example, a B2B site that loads up in just one second will have three times the conversion rate of a site that takes five seconds to load. More specifically to mobile sites, just decreasing the load time by 0.1 seconds can lead to an 8.4 percent increase in the conversion rate for a retail site. If you have any control over the matter, do everything you can to decrease load times!
You would be putting your site well ahead of the competition if you did this. Despite the fact that long load times equal missed opportunities is well known, the average mobile landing page takes seven seconds to load. Even the Google algorithm is taking into account the load time of a page.
A total of 25 percent of consumers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t show well on their device. That number increases with certain other issues, such as having the images not loading or finding the content too long for their liking.
Among web designers, 53.8 percent of them say that “not being responsive on all devices” is a top reason that a site should be redesigned. Other reasons include a high bounce rate or poor conversion rate, but making sure everything works on mobile is a top priority.
If a business has a poorly designed mobile site, then 40 percent of users will go on to the next search result, even if it’s the first result. In this case, even SEO gets out-prioritized by design (though the two are so linked it’s hard to separate them).
This goes on to the all-important word-of-mouth. About 57 percent of internet users will not recommend a business to a friend if they have a poorly designed mobile site. While many factors go into such a recommendation, a poor design clearly doesn’t help.
Web Design Industry Stats
As mentioned, web design and optimization is an industry unto itself, and there is a lot to know and a lot to analyze. Among experts, there are some disagreements about some of the methods that would be best to use, but there has been a history of constant growth and it looks as though there is going to be consistent growth in the future. As we’ll discuss, small businesses and big businesses alike are investing in better web design as web design becomes its own business. Yet trends are changing, designers are learning, and you can see the changes. Just look at the effective time capsules of sites that haven’t changed over the years.
Naturally, you will want to consider some of the most important things related to web design for big and small businesses, listed below.
Small businesses are a lot more common online and overall, they need more websites than large businesses. Yet while small businesses might not have a huge budget for a website, one can be made easily and the impact is great. Consider the following statistics:
One of the biggest things a website needs is a call to action. It can be a store page, an email signup form, or even just instructions on how to call the business or what to get when they visit the location. Yet 70 percent of businesses do not have a call to action on the home page of their website. By adding one, a small business could get a lot more out of the web traffic they get.
Perhaps surprisingly, about a quarter of small businesses still do not have a website in any form.
Out of the small retail businesses without a website, 24 percent of them cite the reason as being that they do not know how to make one or run one. They might be caught up in the idea that web design is as it was years ago, and not as it is today. While it might be harder to design an amazing site, creating something simple takes an hour at most.
In the same survey, the most common response to why a site wasn’t created was that social media satisfies all their needs. Though about 21 percent of respondents thought a website was a waste of time (contrary to most evidence).
It doesn’t have to be expensive. A total of 28 percent of small businesses spend less than $500 on their website. While there are fees for maintaining it, the initial design doesn’t have to be expensive for them, and additions and expansions can be made later.
Nor does a website for a small business need to be crowded or flashy. In fact, 84.6 percent of professional web designers thought that the most common mistake made by small businesses was crowded design. Sometimes a simple yet focused effort will be the most effective option.
If you have a small business and you’re working on your website, remember that many of the things that attract or drive away potential customers or leads are still in your control. You still have a ton of influence over the design and administration of your site and your web presence. Make updates when appropriate, and make sure to study the competition, even if it makes you jealous at first glance.
In addition to the small businesses that you need to consider, it is also important to look at big business website traffic and overall design. They aren’t always trendsetters, but they are the entities that solidify trends. And if there is a mistake in design, the consequences of that mistake are all the larger.
Some of the main things you should know are:
While many small business owners opt to design a website for less than $500, that isn’t necessarily the norm. The average cost of designing a basic website is $3200. And big businesses are likely paying much more than that for their regular operations and creating the best-designed pages possible. A good website does represent a significant investment for a big business if one clearly pays off. This might be the reason why some businesses do not update as often as they should.
Among all businesses, about 73 percent of them invest in a unique design. While getting a cookie-cutter template site might work for the most basic of functions, it probably won’t wow anyone looking at the page. Note that a custom design isn’t necessarily hard (there are plenty of tools for it, and a custom design doesn’t mean using new technology). It just means that plenty of thought and tweaking likely went into it, and it benefits from a professional designer.
Of all large enterprises, 45 percent struggle to create a mobile app. And the same trends can apply to creating a mobile site. It isn’t that these organizations don’t value a mobile presence or a web presence in general. Usually, it is a problem with management or overall web strategy that leads to an issue with the site design. Alternatively, due to the size of the organization, the enterprise cannot adapt so easily and will fail to take advantage of trends that would keep them on top.
Related to this, it is thought that the average lifespan for a website is 1.5 to 2.5 years. While there will be exceptions to this, after that point people will no longer feel that the design is fresh or innovative in any way, leading to potential customers or readers leaving a site.
Larger businesses have slightly different concerns than small businesses when designing and building a website, but there are some commonalities. What applies to one will apply to the other as a matter of course (and perhaps more severely to big businesses, given the standards people have for them). If you are in charge of a site for a large business or part of the team in charge of one, keep general design trends in mind and make sure to act as quickly as possible when something potentially beneficial comes along in the world of web design.
Web Design as a Business
As we mentioned, web design is a business in itself, and it’s worth talking about its growth.
Web design is becoming more important than ever, but there is something important to note: If you look at the market size of the industry, it seems to be decreasing year over year (at least according to one source).
Why is this? It might be that many of the big clients are more looking into maintenance than huge redesigns. It could be that web design has gotten cheaper, which while good overall does look like it has a negative revenue impact. And it might also be that app design is getting much more attention than before. Web design could also be considered other things depending on how you look at it and accounted for as such. Web design is evolving, and we may need to redefine it to get accurate information.
The business is clearly a profitable one to invest in, at least from the perspective of one who might use it. According to one source, for every dollar invested in the user experience, there is a 9,900 percent return on investment. This is a huge return, and likely only applies to certain situations, but it certainly turns heads.
It is expected that there will be more than 200,000 website designers in the United States by 2030. In 2020 the number was 179,000, and there will be a slow and steady increase over the years.
As of 2020, the median annual wage for a digital designer (and/or web developer) was 77,200. It isn’t the most lucrative position, but it is enough to maintain a decent standard of living in most states in the United States.
Web designers generally use the same tools as everyone else to create a website, or they learn to work with those tools to their maximum effectiveness. While a site can be designed from scratch, an astounding 40 percent of sites on the planet are run on WordPress. Similarly, decent shares of sites use other platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify. Some are better than others when it comes to specialized sites, but all have their place on the market and designers know this.
Website Usability Stats
When it comes to creating a great website, there are several different factors to keep in mind. There is indeed the matter of aesthetics. The use of color, white space, graphics, and more can mean a great deal, as we’ll discuss shortly. However, just as important is the fact that the website is easy to use, quick to load, and simple to navigate. Users might be wowed by a first impression, but they’ll quickly get frustrated if they can’t find what they want (predicting what they want is part of the designer’s job). Yet if all of the stars align and the elements are great, customers will be much more likely to stay loyal.
What Elements Do Consumers Value on Websites
We speak of customers staying loyal if the right elements are used, but which are the right elements? Based on one major source, they value photos and images the most. In fact, in general, there is a preference for visual media, whether it takes the form of video, animation of some kind, or infographics and charts to explain things. A website having color is also important, but more in the sense that it has a good sense of the colors it uses and it is generally aesthetically pleasing. No matter the case, the days of a site being comprised entirely of text and maybe one photo are long behind us.
Here are some of the clearest trends and stats to go by:
Out of the designs that are popular currently, the most popular seems to be “Flat Design”. It features two-dimensional elements and bright colors. About 88.5 percent of website designers say it’s the most popular trend. This makes sense given what else we know about what people like.
What about colors? Everyone has their preferences, but as a whole, the most popular color to see on a website is blue, with 46 percent of people saying that’s what they like to see most on a website. And out of people looking at a website for the first time, about 22 percent of them look for eye-catching colors.
You might be wondering about the audio of a website or other factors, but this isn’t a concern for designers. More than 92 percent of people say that the visual design or dimension of a website is the most important factor when deciding whether to make a purchase. Images, graphics, and more are all part of this.
People generally like interactive content, and while the definition changes depending on which resource you use, features such as videos, surveys, and more are well-received, so long as a site doesn’t force them on a user.
What Elements Annoy Consumers on Websites
When we talk about good design, we also have to talk about not-so-good design and the things that will annoy visitors into quickly leaving or worse getting a negative impression of the brand. And they won’t take their time; most will leave the site within seconds of finding something disagreeable. These things fall into two categories: elements that are unwanted and intrusive and elements that are lacking. People do not like pop-up ads, animated ads, or anything that will start up automatic audio and/or video. The same goes for intrusive live chat popups. They can either startle or distract a viewer, and not in a way that makes them conducive for conversion.
On the other side of the coin, buyers want to be able to see contact info, get a clear message from the site, and not be bothered by poor design or navigation. There are also a few elements such as tiny text and the use of stock photos which can put a buyer off.
Some of the most important notes on the subject include:
Out of the elements that are commonly missing, it seems that thorough contact information is the main problem. A total of 51 percent of people think that it is the most important thing missing from a lot of company websites.
As mentioned, users hate an overcrowded design or too much content on a single page with no room to breathe. Only 8 percent of users notice white space, but many more notice a lack of it.
Functionality is fundamental. About 42 percent of respondents to a survey said that they would leave a website due to poor functionality. After all, there is likely a competitor which offers mostly the same thing that has a website that will run better. And unfortunately, it is unlikely to matter whether the problem is on your side of things or theirs. The most a designer can do is control and optimize what they can.
While colors can be great and bright colors are often appreciated, a design can go too far. “Outlandish” colors will make 21 percent of consumers leave a site.
Website Content Stats
In addition to the strict design of a site, the content that goes on it can matter just as much and is an element of design, if a large one that takes considerable work to get online. Content marketing has grown in popularity over the years, with both businesses and consumers embracing it and making it part of their existence. Marketers are using it to try and make their websites authoritative in a topic and ranking for certain keywords, making customers notice them in their searches.
Additionally, content marketers hope to provide key information to readers, so that the readers will be more trusting of the site. If you draw someone in with what they need or want to know, they’ll be more likely to hear a marketing pitch for a product or service.
Here are some key stats related to website content and content marketing you should be aware of:
Some organizations invest more than others in content marketing, but most businesses do have some sort of strategy. In total, 84 percent of organizations have a content marketing strategy. Yet despite this, only 11 percent of organizations think that their strategy is an excellent one. It is clear there is more work to be done and that organizations are still trying to perfect their strategies (or have resigned themselves to mediocrity).
What goals are companies hoping to achieve through content marketing? For the most part, it’s to generate quality leads. Among one survey of businesses, 79 percent of respondents wanted to attract better leads, while 75 percent wanted to attract more content to the website. Other responses included improving brand reputation, improving customer engagement, and to a lesser degree promoting new products. With content marketing, it appears to be more about the company and brand than any singular product or initiative.
It is estimated that content marketing was worth about $412 billion in total in 2021. This number is expected to grow in the following years, given that we are learning more about content marketing, experts are mastering the process, and the true value of it is becoming known.
It is not just consumer-facing companies that are interested in content marketing. There is another world of B2B content marketing that exists. Out of B2B marketers, 79 percent of them have some form of content marketing strategy in place.
The most important thing for B2B consumers is the trustworthiness of the source. If you are in charge of the content, make sure the facts are set straight.
Ecommerce Website Stats
If you’re reading this, there’s a strong chance that your work is related to eCommerce in some way. In total, there are about 12-24 million eCommerce sites, with 20 million being a recent estimate. More eCommerce sites are getting created every single day.
If you’re not actively engaging in it or online marketing, then what you’re doing to maintain and grow the site is there to help enable these possibilities. It’s what drives design forward and creates careers online. And there’s a lot we can learn from studying preferences and trends such as the following:
The most popular eCommerce website in the United States is, to no one’s surprise, Amazon. It gets about 2.45 billion visits per month, and for many is the only site people visit when they want to shop online generally. It might behoove other businesses and designers alike to visit the site to see what it is doing right.
Why do people shop online? The number one reason is free delivery. About 53 percent of people say that is a key reason, with coupons and discounts being available coming in second at 41 percent. Other reasons people shop online include an easy checkout process. This tells us that people are looking for a reasonable price, as always, but it also tells us that they are looking for convenience. The design of a website should highlight those conveniences where possible, and also make the site in itself convenient to use.
Businesses that have a heavy physical retail presence must still focus on their web design. Why? Because 33.6 percent of shoppers will look up price comparisons (among other things) while they’re at the store. The information is readily available to everyone who wants to take a look. A site for that retailer had best have the information quickly available, or else they might lose out to the competition in one way or another.
Having ready access to information and product details is an important note for the design of a site for a business that only does eCommerce as well. About 81 percent of consumers who shop online conduct online research before making a purchase. People like being able to research their purchases, especially their big purchases. A website that can tell customers key features about a product, and showcase them well, will have the advantage of making more sales, either on the eCommerce platform or for their brand overall.
About 70 percent of shopping carts online are abandoned. It is one of the major problems when it comes to eCommerce, and designers have been working on it for years. This means that the checkout process needs to be optimized for every eCommerce site and the design should never make it hard to check out whenever the user wants to. Reducing abandoned carts is its own topic that deserves your attention if it's relevant to your work (and it likely is).
To reiterate the importance of having a solid mobile site design, about 45 percent of eCommerce sales are on mobile. And the mobile commerce market is expected to grow over the years, both in its total share of the market and in general revenue. This will be the case not only in the United States but globally. Everything that has been mentioned about design for an eCommerce site applies to the mobile side of things.
Website Design Trends
If you aren’t up to date or ahead of the curve when it comes to design trends, then you are falling behind. And keeping up with the pack is essential in such a competitive industry. Here are some web design statistics related to current and future trends in the industry:
The one constant thing is that little is constant. A total of 90 percent of web designers agree that trends in the industry are changing faster than ever. And given events such as the pandemic and the rapid adoption of mobile technology, website designs have to respond to new demands and needs from users.
A personalized website design for the user is not the easiest thing to pull off and handle consistency, but it delivers results. About 80 percent of customers are more likely to purchase something from brands that deliver such an experience. And while it is difficult, it is not impossible. There are plugins and personalization tools that can be integrated into websites to provide recommendations based on user data.
Chatbots are on the rise. While intrusive live chat windows or chatbots are not recommended (people do not like them and will be more likely to bounce off a site), having them available to answer questions does reduce some of the design stress of having every possible question answered immediately noticeable, and available on a page. If chatbots are designed well (they’re getting better and work well if enough information has been put in), then they can handle a lot of customer needs, and summon support from a real human when needed.
On the even higher end of the tech, scale is the rise in augmented reality features and options for a site, providing a customer with a better experience. On the mobile side of things, one might be able to use their smartphone to preview how a couch would look in their home, for example. Otherwise, one might be able to upload a picture of themselves and see how clothes or a pair of glasses might look on them. It is an imperfect science, but something that is becoming more common on websites nonetheless and an element to watch.
Overall, we could list dozens of trends here, and you should look up more. Design elements rise and fall in popularity, but for some designs, something that is old can be new once again. Be careful to differentiate what one designer is pushing versus the overall trends of the industry.
Website design is a career and an art unto itself, and we could only scratch the surface in terms of things you should know related to it. Website design is becoming increasingly important, both on desktop spaces and on mobile. It can seem intimidating with the competition, but with the right design elements, you can attract people to your site and make more conversions out of those that come (all the while avoiding the wrong choices).
True change for a site doesn't happen overnight and is instead a series of smart decisions. Nonetheless, we hope that you can have a better idea of what you should be looking for and are now on the right path toward an amazing site. Thank you for reading, and come back to this page as you feel the need.
Guest Blog Post by Broadband Search