These days people have a lot of choices for just about everything…What brand of clothing should I wear? What restaurant should I eat at? What TV programs should I watch? The list goes on indefinitely!We’re a long way away from the Henry Ford quote of “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”One important choice that people make, often without realizing it, is the internet browser they use.Think about how much time you spend on the Internet. Whether for work, school or pleasure, if you’re like most people, you log a lot of hours online.A very good friend of mine just got back from Ethiopia this weekend and when talking to her about the accommodations she had while in this far off land, she commented that she had Wi-Fi, but not always running water. Her and I both agreed that was probably more important! :) But, if internet connectivity can trump access to water, then surely the vehicle you use to traverse the world wide web is important.Yet, most beginner computer users still use the browser that came with their computer, which is what helps Internet Explorer hold onto it’s market share. However, if you talk to any more advanced computer user, most will report that they definitely do NOT use Internet Explorer and opt for a browser such as Chrome (which is growing rapidly) or FireFox.My friend, Jason Lawrence, shared a funny picture with me the other day about web browsers that I thought was worth posting here because it was good for a laugh, especially from those familiar with the browser wars and the performance of the lead contenders.[Unfortunately, I don’t know the original author source to give proper credit, but I will update this if I find out.]Even despite poking fun at Internet Explorer, it’s still the most popular browser according to the NetMarketShare.com May 2013 report. Good ol’ IE also took a jump forward when Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (since previously it was only on Windows 8) in late February.It is interesting to note that the “browser usage” varies from website to website based on their target audience.For instance, W3Schools posts their browser statistics and trends based on their log files. This is a website that would be most visited by more advanced users and as a result May 2013 saw the following breakdown:IE: 12.6%FireFox: 27.7%Chrome: 52.9%Safari: 4.0%Opera: 1.6%Here we can see that Chrome (which is also my personal favorite) is running away with it.I took a look at the same report from the Elite Email log files for May 2013, which showed the following:FireFox: 63.42%Chrome: 12.41%Internet Explorer: 11.67%Safari: 8.48%It is interesting to see that the overall internet trend has Internet Explorer with the highest market share, W3Schools has Chrome way ahead, and here at Elite Email we have FireFox with a massive lead.The staff at Elite Email mostly use FireFox and Chrome, but, of course, everyone has to have all the browsers on their computer so they can help customers the best way possible by replicating their steps in the browser that they are using. Sometimes different browsers display content in a slightly different way, so the way you see the web or a cloud-application in one browser could be different than another browser. If you ask our web development team, they can tell you that there have been many long nights trying to get our application to be perfect not just in one browser, but EVERY browser. And, of course, even once they accomplish that feat, a new version is released and our QA team has to spring into action once more.My biggest piece of advice to people is to try out the different browsers and see which one you like. People may argue this browser is better for one reason or another (and I’m probably one of those people!), but I think at the end of the day it is really a personal preference. The problem I see is that people don’t go through this sampling activity to actually determine which one would be best. I’ve seen a person use Internet Explorer to look up 50 different Yelp reviews to determine where he would eat dinner, but when I asked why he was using IE, he said it was on his computer when he bought it!So, take a bit of time and download the different browsers. They are all quick and free to download. Try them out for a few days and see if you’re still happy with the one you’re using or if there’s something better out there for you. Going back to my original point about how much time we all spend on the web… if you read this post and then discover a browser you like a lot more, then it was well worth it!
Robert Burko is CEO and Founder of Elite Digital, a leading digital marketing agency in North America. With 20 years of experience, he currently leads over 95 people across multiple countries and is recognized as one of Canada's chief digital marketing specialists. As a key thought-leader in the marketing industry and award-winning entrepreneur, Burko has appeared on national television, radio, podcasts, and in countless print publications and blogs across North America. He is also a professor of Digital Marketing & Social Media in Toronto.