The Current State of Hotel Websites (September 2017)

At the beginning of 2017 I wanted to do a very specific analysis of HermesThemes client websites. I was curious to see how many customers keep their WordPress websites up to date.

One thing lead to another and I ended up creating my very own search engine that is able to achieve some interesting things.

During July-September 2017 I have analyzed over 705,000 hotel websites from 150+ countries.

I am publishing the results of my research ~2 months ahead of the Digital Strategies for Travel Europe 2017 conference that will take place in Amsterdam (29-30 November), a conference that I will be attending. Get in touch if you would like to meet and have a quick chat there.

 

About This Research

Who Is This For?

I believe that this data will be mostly useful to the following categories of people:

  • IT and Marketing people working in/for the lodging industry;
  • Web developers and web designers;
  • Hotel owners and hotel managers;
  • Social Media Experts;
  • The Search Engine Optimization Community.
 

Content Management Systems (CMS)

There are a lot of ways to build websites: static HTML files, free content management systems (CMS), licensed content management systems, proprietary (custom) website engines, etc.

This research includes data for 8 popular content management systems that are available to the general public:

  1. WordPress (we sell WordPress Themes for Hotels)
  2. Joomla
  3. Drupal
  4. TYPO3
  5. Wix.com
  6. Weebly
  7. SquareSpace
  8. BookingSuite – a service by Booking.com
 

Additional Research Metrics

This research includes data for additional metrics that are relevant to web developers, marketers and SEO’s:

  • Percentage of hotel websites that link to their social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Percentage of hotel websites that link to their TripAdvisor listings.
  • Usage of Google Analytics.
  • Usage of Facebook Pixel.
  • Percentage of hotel websites with <meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX" />.
  • Stats about the Homepage <title> tag: average length, most used words, etc.

I’ve also wanted to gather and analyze data specific only to WordPress hotel websites.

  • Usage of the WooCommerce plugin.
  • Usage of the WPML and qTranslate plugins (for creating multilingual WordPress websites).
  • Usage of Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com.
  • Usage of Yoast SEO plugin.
  • Usage of Visual Composer plugin.
  • Usage of Slider Revolution plugin.
  • Usage of WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache plugins.
 

Country Differences

Some countries have a larger impact on the total numbers for certain metrics.

For example here are the top 15 countries (~73% of the total) by number of websites analyzed:

  1. USA: ~100,000
  2. Germany: ~92,000
  3. Italy: ~76,000
  4. France: ~51,000
  5. United Kingdom: ~37,000
  6. Spain: ~23,000
  7. Brazil: ~22,000
  8. Austria: ~18,000
  9. Poland: ~18,000
  10. Australia: ~17,000
  11. Canada: ~17,000
  12. Netherlands: ~13,000
  13. Greece: ~12,000
  14. India: ~11,000
  15. Japan: ~10,000

Because of this difference in volume, if you care about raw numbers, then a 10% share for the USA represents the same number of actual websites as a 20% share in France.

The purpose of this research is to study percentages and not just the raw numbers.

 

Before We Begin

It took almost 3 months to gather and analyze this data, the results of which I am giving away for free.

The intention is to update this data every 3-6 months and analyze the monthly/yearly changes across all these metrics.

If you plan to use, write about or publish this data anywhere else, please consider linking to the source (HermesThemes.com) when and where that is appropriate.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Market Share by Content Management System (CMS)
    1. CMS Market Share in Country: USA
    2. CMS Market Share in Country: GERMANY
    3. CMS Market Share in Country: ITALY
    4. CMS Market Share in Country: FRANCE
    5. CMS Market Share in Country: UNITED KINGDOM
  2. CMS Market Share by Country:
    1. CMS Market Share by Country: WORDPRESS
    2. CMS Market Share by Country: JOOMLA
    3. CMS Market Share by Country: DRUPAL
    4. CMS Market Share by Country: TYPO3
    5. CMS Market Share by Country: WIX
    6. CMS Market Share by Country: WEEBLY
    7. CMS Market Share by Country: SQUARESPACE
    8. CMS Market Share by Country: BOOKINGSUITE
  3. Hotel Websites Linking to Social Media Accounts
    1. Social Media Usage by Country: FACEBOOK
    2. Social Media Usage by Country: TWITTER
    3. Social Media Usage by Country: INSTAGRAM
    4. Social Media Usage by Country: TRIPADVISOR
  4. Tracking/Remarketing Tools:
    1. Tool Usage: GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    2. Tool Usage by Country: GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    3. Tool Usage: FACEBOOK PIXEL
    4. Tool Usage by Country: FACEBOOK PIXEL
  5. WordPress Websites:
    1. Top 50 Most Popular (Active) Hotel WordPress Themes
    2. WordPress Versions
    3. WordPress Websites: ACTIVE PLUGINS
    4. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WOOCOMMERCE
    5. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WPML
    6. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: qTranslate
    7. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: Jetpack
    8. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WP Super Cache
    9. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: W3 Total Cache
    10. WordPress Usage Plugin by Country: YOAST SEO
    11. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: VISUAL COMPOSER
    12. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: SLIDER REVOLUTION
  6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics:
    1. SEO: Websites with <meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX" />
    2. SEO: Average Homepage <title> Tag Length
    3. SEO: Most Used Homepage <title> Tags
    4. SEO: Most Used Words in Homepage <title> Tag
  7. Branding: Most Used Words in Hotel Names
 

1. Market Share by CMS

WordPress is very comfortably in the lead with a 20% market share, with Joomla behind it with a 5,1% market share.

It is important to note that ~67% of hotel websites are not powered by any of these Top 8 CMS and website builders.

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1.1. CMS Market Share by Country: USA

Data for 100,000 hotel websites from 2,500+ locations in USA.

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1.2. CMS Market Share by Country: GERMANY

Data for 92,000 hotel websites from 3,000+ locations in Germany.

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1.3. CMS Market Share by Country: ITALY

Italy has one of the highest usage rates for these 8 CMSs combined – 41%. WordPress powers 26% of hotel websites in Italy.

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1.4. CMS Market Share by Country: FRANCE

Wix is larger than Drupal in France.

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1.5. CMS Market Share by Country: UNITED KINGDOM

WordPress powers 25% of hotel websites in United Kingdom and Wix is larger than Drupal and Joomla.

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2. 1. Market Share by Country: WORDPRESS

WordPress powers ~48% (43 out of 90) of hotel websites in St. Lucia, an island country in the Eastern Caribbean Sea.

In Europe, Estonia is in the lead with ~43%, with Lithuania, Iceland, Malta and Sweden with ~36%. Germany and Austria are at the bottom of the charts with 13-14%.

In North America, Canada leads with 22.5%, with USA and Mexico both with only 16%.

In Asia, Japan is close to 15% while WordPress is used only on ~3.3 of hotel websites in South Korea.

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2.2. Market Share by Country: JOOMLA

Joomla is the world’s second most popular CMS. It accomplishes that by being used all around the world, not in just specific regions.

Joomla is big in Venezuela, where it powers ~25% of hotel websites. It is also surprisingly popular in Greece and Kenya.

Even though Joomla powers only 1.25% of hotel websites in USA, that’s still an impressive number: 1,250 websites.

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2.3. Market Share by Country: DRUPAL

Belgium is Drupal’s “home-country”, which could be the reason why it is so strong in the neighboring countries of Denmark and France.

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2.4. Market Share by Country: TYPO3

No surprises here: it is a well-known fact that TYPO3 is mostly used in German-speaking countries.

If you are a PHP developer starting out in one of these 4 countries, then you can try giving it a chance. If you live/work elsewhere – convincing customers to try out TYPO3 can be challenging.

The same thing goes for end-customers: it might be difficult to find a local TYPO3 expert if you are located outside of this area.

I found TYPO3 websites only in 64 countries. In the USA I found only 3 distinct websites running on TYPO3.

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2.5. Market Share by Country: WIX

Wix has the largest share of hotel websites in South America and different island countries.

A ranking by the total number of Wix websites would look like this:
USA, France, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany.

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2.6. Market Share by Country: WEEBLY

Weebly has a relatively good share only in a handful of large countries, all of them English-speaking countries: New Zealand, Canada, Australia, USA.

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2.7. Market Share by Country: SQUARESPACE

Similar to Weebly, SquareSpace is doing well only in English-speaking countries: 1,245 websites in USA, 330 in United Kingdom, 300 in Australia, 200 in Canada.

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2.8. Market Share by Country: BOOKINGSUITE

Croatia is in the lead with over 450 websites powered by the BookingSuite (a service of Booking.com). Most of these are one-apartment properties, which seems to be the main customer base for the BookingSuite.

Taking in account both the market share and the raw number of websites, top countries for BookingSuite are Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Chile, Greece, Mexico, Canada, USA.

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3. Hotel Websites Linking to Social Media Accounts

Over one third of hotels link to their Facebook page, but only 9% link to their Instagram account/hashtag.

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3.1. Social Media Usage by Country: FACEBOOK

How surprising is this chart?

People in Germany are not too excited about Facebook, they are very concerned about privacy.

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3.2. Social Media Usage by Country: TWITTER

A similar situation as with Facebook, just with smaller numbers.

I was surprised to see that hotels bother with Twitter at all, I expected even lower numbers.

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3.3. Social Media Usage by Country: INSTAGRAM

You would expect that hotels in some countries would focus more on Instagram Marketing, but it is what it is.

One explanation for the low numbers in certain countries is the total number of VERY outdated hotel websites. It is normal to find German hotel websites that haven’t been updated in more than 15 years. Static HTML websites with sparkling .gif animations, frames and other good stuff.

Hotels in countries like Madagascar, Romania, Cuba, Austria and even New Zealand should pick up the pace. Even if you think Instagram won’t get you direct hotel bookings, it will at least raise the country’s general reputation and image on the international level.

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3.4. Social Media Usage by Country: TRIPADVISOR

Many hotels use their TripAdvisor page as “social proof” of their good service and quality.

Many industry experts think that sending your website visitors out to other websites (even for social proof) is a good way to decrease your direct bookings and lose customers in the process.

The smaller countries are in a confident lead, with Germany confidently at the bottom of the chart, again.

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4.1. Tool Usage: GOOGLE ANALYTICS

This one was probably one of the biggest surprises for me: Google Analytics is used on only 22% of hotel websites.

In an industry where every bit of intelligence and analytics can be used to improve your business, over 75% choose not to use this free tool from Google itself.

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4.2. Tool Usage by Country: GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Both USA and Germany are at the bottom of the chart.

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4.3. Tool Usage: FACEBOOK PIXEL

The Facebook Pixel is used for retargeting/remarketing (I wrote about it here).

It is somewhat of an advanced tool used by marketers to target and reengage visitors that were on your website in the past.

This is what the big shops use when you discover in your Facebook feed an ad for a pair of sandals that you were looking at only 20 minutes ago.

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4.4. Tool Usage by Country: FACEBOOK PIXEL

This chart is probably a good indicator of the power and reputation that marketers have in these countries.

The higher a country is on the chart, the more effort goes into squeezing every little bit they can via marketing efforts.

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5.1. Top 50 Most Popular (Active) Hotel WordPress Themes

These are the most popular WordPress themes used on the 141,300 WordPress hotel websites that were analyzed.

  • 14 out of Top 15 Themes are sold via ThemeForest.
  • 31 out of Top 50 Themes are sold via ThemeForest.
  • 13 out of Top 50 Themes are distributed via WordPress.org.
PlaceTheme NameDeveloperDistributionWebsites% Share
#1DiviElegantThemesIndependent5,1803.67%
#2AvadaThemeFusionThemeForest4,5753.23%
#3EnfoldKriesiThemeForest2,6991.9%
#4BeThememuffingroupThemeForest1,8321.29%
#5Hotel MasterGoodLayersThemeForest1,8171.28%
#6Soho HotelquitenicestuffThemeForest1,5571.10%
#7BridgeQODEThemeForest1,1600.82%
#8The7Dream-ThemeThemeForest1,0390.73%
#9JupiterartbeesThemeForest8980.63%
#10Nice HotelquitenicestuffThemeForest8840.62%
#11BellevueThemovationThemeForest7590.53%
#12Nation HotelraybreakerThemeForest7310.51%
#13XTHEMECOThemeForest6730.47%
#14HotecSmoothThemesThemeForest6490.46%
#15SalientThemeNectarThemeForest6180.437%
#16SydneyathemesWordPress.org6150.435%
#17CustomizrNicolas GUILLAUMEWordPress.org6010.42%
#18VantageSiteOriginWordPress.org5520.39%
#19LeisureCurlyThemesThemeForest5490.388%
#20StarhotelSlashdownThemeForest5310.37%
#21SailingThimPressThemeForest5090.36%
#22VierradesignesiaThemeForest4320.30%
#23The PlaceHotelWPThemeForest4250.30%
#24SKT Hotel LiteSKTThemesWordPress.org4050.28%
#25KallyashogashThemeForest3920.27%
#26TotalWPExplorerThemeForest3720.263%
#27VirtueKadence ThemesWordPress.org3600.254%
#28CallunathemetwinsThemeForest3540.25%
#29ImprezaUpSolutionThemeForest3530.25%
#30ResponsiveCyberChimpsWordPress.org3510.248%
#31HillterawethemesThemeForest3380.239%
#32Anchor InnProgressionStudiosThemeForest3350.236%
#33Zerif LiteThemeIsleWordPress.org3230.228%
#34GeneratePressGeneratePressWordPress.org3210.227%
#35VivaCohheThemeForest3170.224%
#36Welcome InnThemeFuseThemeForest3110.219%
#37TravelifyColorlibWordPress.org3010.212%
#38uDesignAndonDesignThemeForest2900.205%
#39TemperaCryout CreationsWordPress.org2870.203%
#40SpaciousThemeGrillWordPress.org2780.196%
#41CanvasWooCommerce (WooThemes)Independent2770.195%
#42GuesthouseAit-ThemesIndependent2720.192%
#43NirvanaCryout CreationsWordPress.org2590.183%
#44MilanothemoholicsThemeForest2520.178%
#45GenesisStudioPressIndependent2510.177%
#46PinboardOne DesignsWordPress.org2490.176%
#47HeadwayHeadway ThemesIndependent2370.167%
#48ROSApixelgradeThemeForest2230.157%
#49HoteliourAit-ThemesIndependent2160.152%
#50LamoonUXBARNThemeForest2020.152%
OUR WORDPRESS THEMES
#104AmbassadorHermesThemesIndependent950.067%
#106FortunaHermesThemesIndependent920.065%
#186CastelloHermesThemesIndependent630.05%
#223LeonardoHermesThemesIndependent480.03%
#238VictoriaHermesThemesIndependent430.03%

The position of a theme in this table does not mean that it is better (or worse) than the ones above or below it.

Some may want to buy a Top 10 because of it’s popularity alone, but it also means that your website will look the same as other hotel websites.

Some may want to buy a less popular theme just to have a more unique design.

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5.2. WordPress Websites: WORDPRESS VERSIONS

The number of hotel websites using outdated versions of WordPress is astonishing.

Only 66% of hotel websites are using one of the latest 3 major versions of WordPress (4.8, 4.7, 4.6).

At the time of writing this (13/09/2017), the latest version of WordPress was 4.8.1

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5.3. WordPress Websites: ACTIVE PLUGINS

One out of five WordPress hotel websites has WooCommerce installed and activated.

WPML is used on 16% of hotel websites that are powered by WordPress (~22,500 out of 141,300), which is 5.5 times more than qTranslate, a similar (but free) plugin.

WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache have an almost equal market share of hotel websites.

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5.4. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WOOCOMMERCE

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5.5. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WPML

Unsurprisingly, WPML has the smallest share in a cluster of five English-speaking countries that don’t worry too much about tourists speaking other languages: USA, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

On the other hand, Andorra, Estonia, Greece, Mauritius and Italy are putting in the effort to make their WordPress websites multilingual, with most of the other European countries in the top half of the chart.

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5.6. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: QTRANSLATE

The English-speaking countries are confidently at the bottom of the chart, even for a free plugin.

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5.7. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: YOAST SEO

Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO) remains the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites.

Out of 21 hotel WordPress websites in Norfolk Islands – Yoast SEO is active on 15 of them (71.4%).

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5.8. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: JETPACK

Jetpack is a free plugin provided by the WordPress.com team. It is a Swiss Army Knife type of plugin, which I’ve written about before.

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5.9. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: VISUAL COMPOSER

Visual Composer is the most popular page builder plugin for WordPress. It currently has over 314,000 sales on ThemeForest. It is also included for free in a great deal of WordPress themes sold via ThemeForest.

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5.10. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: SLIDER REVOLUTION

Slider Revolution is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for creating image, video and content slideshows (sliders). Currently it has 210,700 sales on ThemeForest.

Similarly to Visual Composer, it is included in a good portion of themes sold via ThemeForest.

Back in 2014 a major security flaw was discovered in Slider Revolution, which might have lead to the famous Mossack Fonseca Hack in 2016, also known as #PanamaPapers.

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5.11. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: WP SUPER CACHE

A chart of countries that care the most about caching, which generally leads to quicker loading websites.

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5.12. WordPress Plugin Usage by Country: W3 TOTAL CACHE

The chart looks a little different for this plugin, which is a little more difficult to set up.

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6.1. SEO: Websites with META ROBOTS = NOINDEX

Not the most impressive chart, but the importance is incredibly great: 1% of hotel websites prevent search engines (like Google) from crawling and indexing the website.

That’s almost 7,000 of hotel websites completely block any traffic that could be coming from search engines and most of them are completely unaware of doing it.

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6.2. SEO: Average Homepage <title> Tag Length

Close to 2.5% of hotel websites use a single word as their homepage <title> tag. Usually it is a word like “Home” or “Welcome”.

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6.3. SEO: Most Used Homepage <title> Tags

These are the most popular variations of the homepage <title> tag, and all of them are terrible.

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6.4. SEO: Most Used Words in Homepage <title> Tag

These are the most used words in the homepage’s <title> tag.

Over 6% of hotel websites have the word “Home” somewhere in the title, but only 0.4% target families with the word “Family“.

The word “Boutique” is used by 0.74% of hotels.

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7. Branding: Most Used Words in Hotel Names

If you are looking for inspiration on how to name your property, these are the most used words in the hotel names.

Here’s an example how to better understand these figures:
The word family shows a share of 0.146%. This means that out of 10,000 hotels, 14.6 hotels have the word family in it.

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In Conclusion

There are many interesting takeaways from all this data, especially for web designers, WordPress theme developers, plugin developers, marketers, etc.

It is also curious to review all these stats separately for each country and spot different “weak spots”.

 

It took a lot of time and effort to gather, analyze and present this valuable information.

The intention is to update this data every 3-6 months and analyze the monthly/yearly changes across all these metrics.

If you plan to use, write about or publish this data anywhere else, I will greatly appreciate it if you will link to the source (HermesThemes.com) when and where that is appropriate.

It would also be great to know who found this data useful and used it for an article or presentation, so please get in touch and send me a link to your articles.

Author: Dumitru Brinzan

Founder and WordPress developer at HermesThemes.
With over 7 years of experience in the hospitality industry, it is my strong belief that WordPress brings unprecedented opportunities for independent hotels, B&Bs and inns.
Over a thousand of amazing properties worldwide use our Hotel WordPress Themes on their websites.

 
  • createandcode

    Wow – awesome research! Well done :) Re: Overall CMS market share – the 67.63% representing “Other” – do you know what is in that part of the slice? Are there other big Sass driven platforms for Hotels that explain why the CMS part of the market is so small?

    • Thanks for your feedback :)
      There’s a great deal of static HTML websites, proprietary website engines, etc.
      I wasn’t able to spot a certain CMS that would be worthy of being included in the list.
      There are some country-specific website builders, in Germany, Japan, etc., but nothing global (as far as I was able to determine).

      So there’s a lot of room for improvement for all mentioned CMSs, as at least one half of the pie are still up for grabs :)

  • Hello Dumitru. This is a mind blowing research. It must have been so much work. Visually well presented article. Wishing all the best with all you do!

    • Hi Pavla,
      Thank you, it did take a few months to gather the data and then a few days to create the charts.
      I will probably be updating the stats by the end of the year, especially that the number of websites jumped from 705,000 to 1,100,000 :)