The Top 5 Most Visited Websites In The US
To celebrate the 4th July, we’re taking a look at some of the leading websites in the U.S and just how far they’ve come since their creation. If you’d like any information about these websites or how to increase your brand’s visibility locally or globally, get in touch with our team on 0800 088 6000, today.
It’s no secret that the World Wide Web is heavily saturated with websites; we’ve said it before, Google will offer you millions of results per search query and even a scroll through social media has the potential to take you past hundreds of different URL links. There are over 1,697,695,000 websites live today (at the time of writing), with the number growing every single second. By the time you’ve read through this post, there could be hundreds more.
A very small percentage of these sites actually receive the traffic that every webmaster dreams of, however, there are some sites that stand out amongst the crowd, attracting millions of users every month and billions throughout the year. The USA is one of the biggest sources of these users, with 78.2% of the population having regular internet access. They hold around 7.5% of the total internet usage share and as the home of some of the world’s biggest online platforms, it’s a powerhouse that can’t be ignored.
Despite now being a Google-owned company, YouTube started life as a small video sharing platform, produced by PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The platform was founded in 2005, with the domain first being registered in February, and video uploads being integrated in April. The first ever video was uploaded on the very same day and by November, the company had earned a $3.5 million investment by venture firm Sequoia Capital.
Their growth throughout 2005 and 2006 was one of the fastest the World Wide Web had ever seen. There were over 65,000 new video uploads, with 100 million views per day by mid-2006. It had earned its position as one of the most popular websites on the web within that year, capturing around 64% of the video market share online.
It was in October of 2006 that Google took notice, purchasing the company for an incredible $1.6 billion in stock. The website would continue to operate independently, however, the following years saw the video-hosting platform grow more and more integrated with Google’s many features.
Today, YouTube gains around 1.9billion logged-in users and plenty more that haven’t signed into an account, resulting in over 1 billion hours of video watched every single day – that’s more than Netflix, who only see around 140 million hours watched per day. Visual content has become a must-have online today, with around 61% of businesses using YouTube currently. It can be a powerful marketing tool if utilised correctly, so it’s no surprise it has made number 2 on our list.
With monthly traffic of over 1,229,300,000, Wikipedia is one of the leading information sources in the US. Started back in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia offered an online encyclopedia that offered users the opportunity to create, edit and update information about each entry. The idea behind Wikipedia was initially to provide a feeder project for Nupedia, a different online encyclopedia that would accept contributions from qualified experts. However, Nupedia wasn’t keen on being associated with a Wiki – a content management system that lacked a central owner or manager.
Due to the resistance, Wikipedia became it’s very own entity with its own domain and on 16th January 2001, the first entry was posted. By 12th February, the site saw 1,000 articles, and the by the 7th September, there were around 10,000 articles. The growth in its first year even took it up to 20,000 entries. While this was a far cry from the 29 million currently live today (though a significant number are duds), the growth rate for the site considering initial resistance was incredible.
Today, Wikipedia attracts over 35.146 million users every year, though only 0.5% of these users are active editors. Supporting 280 languages, it’s globalisation has seen it grow extensively over the years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Facebook is easily the most popular social media platform online today, attracting upwards of 2.4 billion money active users but, as with every site on this list, had ‘humble’ beginnings. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in 2003, the website was initially known as FaceMash, only being changed to TheFacebook in 2004.
FaceMash was initially created as a ‘Hot or Not’ game for Harvard students, but after facing expulsion as a result, he turned his created code into something similar to what we know today. It was adapted into a social networking opportunity for Harvard students – the university that both Zuckerberg and Saverin attended – but this was later expanded to other local colleges, then to the Ivy League, to most universities in the US and Canada and by 2006, to anyone over the age of 13 and with an email address.
Throughout its growth, Facebook has come on leaps and bounds, expanding to cover a range of products including the mobile app, in-app browser, Messenger, Facebook Mentions, Spark AR Studio, Bonfire, Audience Network and, of course, Instagram, WhatsApp and Onavo. Facebook now holds over 79% of the overall social media market share.
As the birthplace of the hashtag and an 140-character limit that taught us all to whittle down our thoughts into short, snappy sentences, the social media world has a lot to thank Twitter for. Created by co-founders Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Noah Glass and Biz Stone, the platform began as a simple idea pitched to a podcasting company. Dorsey initially had the idea to create an SMS-based platform that would allow users to keep track of what their friends were doing, similar to standard status updates.
The idea was then pitched to a podcasting company, Odeo, and the go-ahead was given for the idea to develop into something bigger and better. With the help of Noah Glass and his development knowledge, the website was created and given the name ‘twttr’.
Following the first ever tweet on March 21st 2006, a simple “just setting up my twttr” by Jack Dorsey himself (@Jack), the website went through a prototype stage solely for Odeo employees and then, on July 15th 2006, was released to the general public.
Twitter now averages over 330million active users every month, 100 million of these users active per day and over 500 million tweets posted in any 24-hour period. As with many leading social media platforms, the success seen was rapid and while it hasn’t overtaken Facebook as the leading social media platform, it’s a powerful marketing and social tool regardless.
Time and time again, millions of people forgo a trip to the shops in favour of logging into Amazon. With the likes of next day and same day delivery making the wait more and more tolerable, the convenience often outweighs the rapid nature of bricks-and-mortar stores. It’s become the world’s largest eCommerce platform, a leading AI assistant provider and has some of the highest revenue in the world. In fact, the founder, Jeff Bezos, is thought to be the richest man alive currently.
Amazon is one of the older platforms on this list, founded back in 1994 when Amazon was incorporated but it wasn’t until 1997 that the website went public. They were selling music and videos at the time, until 1998 when they acquired a number of online booksellers in Europe – namely the UK and Germany. In the years that followed, they began to sell home-improvement items, video games, consumer electronics, games, software and toys, as well as a variety of other ranges as we do today.
Over the years, Amazon became more than just an e-commerce platform. They opened up Amazon Web Services, a data-analytics company that provided information on site popularity, traffic patterns and more and have gone on to start up a huge variety of different products, including:
- Amazon Fresh
- Amazon Prime
- Amazon Drive
- Fire TV
- Music/Music Unlimited
- Amazon Wireless
- Amazon Studios
Amazon now attracts over 300 million active users, with 197 million visiting the platform every month. There are 95 million American’s with Prime memberships too, showing just how valuable fast delivery has become to the general buying public. For Bezos, Amazon’s success has driven him to the top but for us as buyers and internet users, it’s revolutionised the e-commerce industry. Consumer demand has turned to must faster delivery times, the convenience of online shopping and, of course, platforms that can offer a variety of services all in one place (e.g. Prime Video, Prime Music.)
There are a number of websites continually fighting for the top spot, not least including Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn and Instagram and so the top 5 could look very different by this time next year. The growth rates of these five sites alone show just how fast a new platform or service can rise up through the rankings, particularly when we consider changing consumer demand, innovative new technologies and more. Where do you think the internet could go in the next year? Only time will tell.