The features that make a good website are largely dependent on the site's purpose. Personal pages, company sites, and sites for schools all have different criteria by which their quality is judged, but there are some basic characteristics that define whether a site is good. Here they are:
- The provision of valuable and credible information. No matter their purpose, the information on the site should be useful to visitors. If there is outdated, incomplete, or irrelevant material, visitors and readers will look for other sources of information. Another thing that sets a good website apart from a mediocre one is the citation of sources. While people are all entitled to their opinions, giving credit where needed is a great way to improve upon a site's legitimacy.
- Good usability and accessibility. It doesn't really matter how good the site's information is, if the reader has a hard time finding it. Higher numbers of links, disorganized pages, irrelevant articles, and other aspects can make a site harder to navigate, therefore driving visitors away.
- Simplicity in design. Flashy graphics can further alienate site visitors with slower than normal internet connections. Animations, music and colors can be useful tools when used properly, but too much can be a sign of a poorly-built site.
- Domain naming. Good sites usually have memorable names; a complex domain name or one that is obviously utilizing a free host may not provide the most professional image.
- A clear purpose. Whatever your site's purpose may be, it needs one! If your client knows what they want their site to do, you're halfway there. However, many sites lack a clear focus, which can confuse visitors and dampen their confidence in what's being sold.
Many people think a site has to be slick and complex to be good, but there's nothing further from the truth. Sometimes, the simplest web pages are the most effective in encouraging repeat visitation and conveying the client's message. When judging the quality of a website, remember the old adage "Simpler is better".