The Internet is its own little world. Actually, it’s a massive world that presents a seemingly endless array of options. According to a study done by MIT, the average American spends 24 hours a week online. That’s an average. Some people are locked into the Internet every waking minute of their day. Despite its sheer size (currently over 644 million websites), people typically spend their time online on a very small number of sites. Today, we take a look at four of the most visited websites in the west and what makes them so popular.
Google is easily the most visited website in the world, for good reason. It is the most utilized search engine in the world. It’s so popular that searching, whether a user uses Google or not, is now called “googling”. There are a myriad of reasons for this. The Google homepage is very simple and easy to use, which makes it extremely popular on every type of device. More than that, it’s effective, providing better results than other search engines. The homepage features no advertisements, and even when you do a search, the advertisements are formatted much like the other content on the page. Some studies suggest that almost 70% of all Internet searches were done using Google.
Google’s ability to offer services that integrate with Google.com is legendary. When you type (or speak) in a search query, there are immediately many options you can do from the search page. The number of options that it gives you makes it relatively pointless to use any other service. On a search results page you will get results, access to media, access to contact information, access to immediate information if available, other queries in the same topic, and more. Simply put, the romanticized nature of the Google search engine is warranted.
The quest for information is something that a majority of the most popular websites have in common. YouTube is no different. In fact, if you were to look at it from a practical standpoint, YouTube might be the greatest resource in the world. A video streaming site by nature, YouTube can boast that it is effectively the second most utilized search engine in the world with over three billion search queries performed every month. It’s said that half of the users active on the Internet are using YouTube.
Beyond that, it’s personable. The people that post content to YouTube do it for a multitude of reasons, but most of them are doing it to entertain you, to educate you, and to provide you with a user experience that will keep you coming back. In fact, there are individuals and businesses that make a solid living by only posting videos to the platform. Moreover, there is always something new to watch. In fact, if this was a list of the most addictive sites on the Internet, it would have to be toward to the top of that list for certain.
For individuals, YouTube is a great resource. For businesses, it’s more of a mixed bag. Sure the marketing opportunities YouTube provides small businesses is a wonderful resource, but for employee productivity it can be a problem. As long as you keep the reins tight, allowing your staff to view YouTube at work actually makes for better employees, but if it is left unchecked it can be a real productivity sink. Some businesses have lost upwards of seven hours of potential productivity per week per employee (about 18%), an unsustainable number over time.
Facebook is closing in on two billion active users. It’s not hard to see why so many people use it. Not only do people run events through Facebook, but every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a Facebook profile. Beyond the ubiquity, Facebook offers many services that are attractive to people.
The first, and probably most notable, is Facebook Messenger, the ever-popular messaging application that takes Facebook from a cool and useful social networking site, to a complete behemoth in the world of Internet applications. Beyond that there are hundreds (or more) ways to connect with others on Facebook. It’s so personal that if you haven’t seen one of your Facebook friends in a while, you may find that you will discuss Facebook profiles early in the conversation when you do.
Like YouTube, Facebook can be quite a time-waster. Since it incorporates many opportunities to be distracted, it’s not hard to waste time on the social media service. Facebook costs U.S.-based businesses upwards of $28 billion a year. That’s about 1.5 percent of all potential productivity. As mentioned above, allowing your staff access to Facebook can help workplace morale, but if you are having trouble getting the most out of your staff, no one could blame you if you tightened the reins on their Facebook usage.
Reddit, the largest online forum, has been climbing this list for sometime. Up to number four, it is the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet.” User statistics back this up as users actually spend more time on Reddit than any other site. There is no website that has the combination of informative, controversial, and entertaining content that Reddit does. Since users can find a forum about anything they want, it stands to reason that people who are engaged on certain topics would obsessively check it.
Much like another high-traffic website, Wikipedia, Reddit can be a wonderful resource and a complete time sink, so like many of the other sites on this list it may be advantageous to monitor your staff’s browser usage to make sure they aren’t wasting time engaged in a subreddit discussion when they are supposed to be productive.
The Internet is a great resource, and one that is mandatory for many businesses to get the most out of their staff. At BNMC, we know all the pitfalls that employees can fall into. We can offer solutions that will go a long way toward improving your organization’s productivity, like our content filtering system that works to limit available websites so that time at work is spent on work. For more information call our professional technicians today at 978-482-2020.