The Internet Is Shrinking. Now What?

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for

Small businesses and the shrinking web
Image: alexmillos/

What if I told you the Internet was shrinking?

Okay, maybe not literally shrinking. The numbers tell us otherwise, don’t they? Consider the millions of interactions happening at a moments notice, the gigabytes of data swarming the web and the rapid pace of today’s ever-growing user-base. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?

Yet consider also how the modern Internet has managed to downsize, scale back and shrink when it comes to how we digest and distribute content. The evidence?

Twitterspeak – In 2007, Twitter heralded in the 140 character limit and the modern hashtag. Users and businesses alike have taken notice and are learning how to communicate in fewer words than ever. The phenomenon has spawned a generation of companies and consumers who are able to communicate flawlessly in shortened “Twitterspeak.”

Microvideo – Viral videos are getting shorter and shorter. Vine just surpassed over 40 million users and many “best of” Vine compilations are getting millions of hits on YouTube. Microvideo platforms such as Vine and Instagram represent a “less is more” mentality shift when it comes to how we consume visual media. We want our content faster. We want it shorter. We want it in an instant. Microvideo ultimately delivers on all levels when it comes to speed.

Bounce Rate – Blame it on shortened attention spans. Blame it on picky users. Regardless, today’s visitors are bouncing like never before and giving new sites less attention. With many users spending less than a minute per website they visit, it’s clear that companies are often fighting an uphill battle when it comes to holding users’ attention. While there’s no secret formula for managing bounce rate, the phenomena begs the question: “How do we get users to stay put when they’re predisposed to skipping around?”

Mobile UsersThe influx of mobile Internet users since the smartphone boom reflects the fact that websites are getting smaller and smaller. Not literally, of course, but many of us are accessing them on smaller screens. This means that mobile compatibility can make or break the modern business; meanwhile the bells and whistles we’ve come to associate with the most websites are being scaled down. For this reason, the information we deliver on our sites is crucial as we attempt to give our users what they want.

With all of this in mind, how do businesses respond to the shrinking web? They adapt.

  • Businesses must get to the point when it comes to relaying information, adopting a “less is more” mentality as they deliver content
  • Businesses must pack a punch with visuals and visual representations of data
  • Businesses must deliver upon the needs of its consumers in real time, responding to the shortened attention spans of users and their increased expectations when it comes to service

Get to the Point

Most of us could talk for hours about our business, product and team. That doesn’t necessarily mean we should.

Don’t bore your users or drown them in the details; the data tells us that they’ll bounce at the first sign of confusion. This may require you retool your site or reconsider the way you share and package your content.

There’s no need to beat around the bush or pad your content just for the sake of it. Consider how Vine videos force creativity and offer something short and sweet. When focusing on written content, be wary of overloading your readers with keywords, needless information or spam. In short, get to the meat of your content as quickly as possible.

Of course, don’t sacrifice quality in the process. While your content should grab your readers’ attention, it should also say everything it needs to say. Don’t skim on the details or be unnecessarily vague; instead, meet your readers halfway by providing something entertaining while still educating them.

Show Me, Tell Me

Visuals matter now more than ever. Think about the influx of memes and infographics which have become all the rage thanks to sites such as Reddit, Tumblr and Pinterest. Whether or not you identify with such niches, you need to accompany your content with some sort of imagery. Is meme marketing for you? Do you have artists on hand to make your infographics? Whether yes or no, consider how you can get creative when it comes to providing something that’s easy on the eyes.

Content that includes imagery always outperforms that which does not. Simply adding an image to a piece of content can take it a long way when it comes to readability and shares.

The Bottom Line

The web may be shrinking, yet there’s no need to fear. Adaptation is the name of the game for small businesses as the Internet continues to condense. As long as you can meet the needs of your users and customers in the process, you’ll only find room to grow.

Megan TotkaAbout The Author

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.