There’s now more than 100 million websites. This “maturing” web means website visitors have certain expectations—so if your website does things differently, it will turn them away.

Netcraft’s latest survey found 101,435,253 websites in November 2006. The Internet has doubled in size since May 2004, when the survey hit 50 million.

Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen says users now have firm expectations for how a website should work.

“Users’ basic expectations have settled and you should design accordingly, unless you have something that’s substantially better,” says Nielsen. “A small improvement won’t work if it requires an unconventional interaction style.”

Nielsen says you should design a website to work the way users expect things to work. Don’t create an interface that works in an unexpected way.

“Such interfaces serve only to chase users away,” he warns. “The Web is no longer a marvel of innovation, it’s an everyday tool, and you differentiate yourself by providing both better content and better solutions to users’ problems.”