Size matters in the online world where bigger is better

Size Matters - bigger is better online
Size Matters - bigger is better online

Does size matter? Sorry chaps – yes it does; big time. Human beings are programmed to believe that bigger is better. A great big fat encyclopaedia is bound to be more informative than some slim volume, isn’t it? And those lovely big country houses are just so much better than a little two-up, two-down farm worker’s cottage. As for Presidents of the United States – well, yes, mostly the tallest one in the contest wins. Even the electorate appear to cast their vote in terms of size.

Now, some new evidence, shows that this preference for “bigger is better” is built into us – babies choose on the basis of size, according to researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Harvard in a joint project. When presented with a choice between two conflicting individuals, the babies selected the big one was the winner. The study suggests that in terms of social dominance, size matters.

Online this is reflected in website choice. Even Google behaves like a baby in this instance, frequently ranking a site that has more pages higher than one with only a handful of them. In search engines, big is often perceived as best.

The same is true for humans – show them a website that has a few pages and they say “there’s not much here”. Show them a site with thousands of pages and they go “wow, what a lot of information”. Of course they don’t read it all, or even look at it all. But they literally “weigh up” a site.

If your site has more pages, it is perceived – albeit in a rough and ready fashion – as potentially more valuable than a smaller site. It’s yet another reason as to why you need to be adding as much content to your website as you possibly can. If you have more pages than your competition – assuming those pages are relevant, of course – your potential customers will weigh up your site as being better than the alternative.

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