At just about 23 years since the first website, there are now one billion of them, and more cropping up every second. We crossed that milestone this month. You can even watch them being added to the World Wide Web in real time. That’s about 1 website for every six people on the planet, but if you account for the fact that the one billion figure includes inactive websites that are just parked domains then really there is one website for every 24 people on the planet. This leaves me to believe websites are a growth industry, and will be for some time. It probably won’t take 23 years to get to two billion, maybe only ten years, but two billion still leaves a lot of room for growth.
When will websites reach their saturation point, when every person and business who would get one has gotten one? That may be when there is one website for every person on earth, with businesses making up for individuals who never will get one. That’s twenty four times more websites than what we have now, which should give website designers some hope they can make a living doing what they love for some time to come.
I predict the next 23 years will bring five times as many websites as the first 23 years, and 23 years after that, 46 years from now, websites will have reached their saturation point and the only growth after that will be due to population increase. If it takes 23 years for the number of websites in the world to increase by a factor of five then it will take the rest of the world 23 years to catch up to the saturation of websites we have now in the USA, which has five times more websites per capita than the current world average.
What Needs To Happen to Get to That Point?
Before everyone who might want to have a website gets a website the internet must reach every corner of the inhabitable earth. We might want to make an exception for Antarctica but they’ve had internet connection at the South Pole since 1998. Right now only about half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Google is working on the goal of taking the internet to the whole planet and with their resources they probably will before long. Their plan, called Project Loon, involves relay balloons in the stratosphere. Those of us in the Search Engine Optimization business have a love/hate relationship with Google but we’ve got to love their efforts to expand the internet into all the world.