15 Important Characteristics of a Good Website
You might want to create your own site or you want to judge an existing site for its quality. Either way here are the 15 most important characteristics of a good website:
The most important aspect of your website is how easily a user can navigate on the different web pages. The user experience should be the number one priority for any website owner. Some questions you might want to ask yourself is: Can the user easily read the text of your content? The different links for other web pages are working correctly or will he receive an error? Are they too many pop-ups or something that distracts the user too much as he reads content on your site? Are the images on your website of good quality? Is it clear where should he click for ordering your services or products or contact you?
A very crucial step is to ensure that your website is safe for the user. A website should use SSL these days even if it doesn’t sell anything. A site has an SSL when it starts with https:// instead of http://. There is also a padlock left of the URL on your browser’s bar. When you use an SSL the data that is exchanged between a user and your site is encrypted. That way a hacker can’t steal that details during the exchange. These details can be payment ones or your login information.
Site speed is really important since users usually abandon a slow web page and they seek better alternatives online. If they stay the loading speed of pages impacts their opinion for your site and they probably will avoid visiting it again in the future. Even search engines (ex google) consider the site speed as a signal for their rankings.
Many website owners make the mistake to concentrate on fancy web design and they add many videos and graphics to their website. This decision leads to slower loading times if you don’t know what you are doing.
Another thing to remember is if you have visited a site before in the past it will load faster the next times. So you need to clear cookies of your browser to really check the website speed. Browsers save a part of the webpages such as images so they don’t need to re-download the same content when we visit the same site.
It seems that nowadays we use smartphones for everything including web navigation. The website visits with mobile have surpassed the desktop visits and the trend is for that gap to grow. The web design that works for the desktop will not work for mobiles. So the look of a website should be adjusted based on the device of a user.
Google also tests the websites for mobile-friendliness and it is a strong factor in how they rank the different web pages. You can see here how the mobile device website traffic has grow over the years: statista.com
5.)Follows SEO Best Practices
SEO stands for search engine optimization and helps you to rank better on search engines like google and bing. It sounds like a tech term but it is a big part of a site’s success. Although your site should focus mostly on real people since search engines use AI and technology, it should be crystal clear what is your site about and what keywords or phrases best represent you.
Some minimum things you can do is to ensure that you allow search engines to crawl your website, you have submitted sitemaps to them and you avoid duplicate or broken links and web pages. A sitemap makes it easier for search engines to find all your pages and recheck them on a regular basis in cases you added new or updated the existing ones.
If you have never heard those terms, you can check those resources:
support.google.com/webmasters (for SEO)
support.google.com/webmasters (for sitemap)
6.)Not too many ads
It is normal for a site to have some ads so it can provide some revenue for its owner. The problem happens when there are big ads that cover all the screen or pop-ups that disturb the navigation on the website. Whatever harms the user experience makes the site worse in the eyes of the user.
7.)A lot of Quality Content
Even big corporate websites have blogs that post useful content on a regular basis. Search engines prefer to rank websites with updated and good content. People also want to know what is the view of the brand or the website owner’s view of topics related to the targeted industry. For example, if your brand is related to clothes then a blog for fashion and current trends makes sense.
8.)About us Page
A web page that someone expects for a site is the “about us” page. Ideally, there should be two about us pages, one for the organization, brand or company and one for the owner. There can be only 1 “about us” page if it is mostly a blog or if the owner is the only one that runs the business.
This web page is connected to the overall site’s authority. If no detail is available for the persons responsible for the website then credibility for users and search engines suffer a lot. People usually want to know that there is a real person (or a real company) behind the site that takes responsibility for the site’s products, services or content created.
9.)Contact Details or a way to Contact
Equally important to the “about us” page is the contact details somewhere on the site. User needs to know that if he has some question or problem can reach out to someone. At the very least a contact form can be available for anyone to submit.
The ideal scenario is (especially if you a company) for the legal company name, address, email and phone to be available on your contact page. Some businesses are mostly online so it is ok to skip address and phone.
Users should be aware of what exactly personal details your site collects and which third-party entities get that data (if they do).
11.)Terms and Conditions
If you sell a service or product on your site, it is the best practice to have a “terms and conditions” page. This section describes how people can use your product or service and what should be their expectations when they buy it.
If you are an e-commerce site a refund policy is something you should include on your website. Your customers will have questions such as if there is a full or partial refund when they are not happy with the product, how many days the refund window lasts, and in what condition they should return the product and where.
13.)Reviews or Feedback from Clients or Other Users
In real life when we seek to buy a specific product or service we ask our friends or family for its quality. Good feedback from them will encourage us to buy the product or service. In the same way when we see honest online reviews that make us trust more the website.
Try to include testimonials from your clients or some good comments you received on social media or blog posts. It is hard for someone to make a purchase from your site or trust your content if there is no online feedback.
14.)Social Media Links
Social media play a big role in our life and it is expected for a brand to have a presence at least to some of them. It is another form of verification that behind the websites there is a real brand or person. Include social media links on your site and encourage people to follow you and share your content. A big number of followers or shares contribute to the overall site’s success.
Pictures and logos trick our minds better than words. A quality and well-designed logo adds more trustworthiness to a site. We have associated brands or even sports teams with a logo so treat your website as a big brand and use a good designer.
If you are ready to start your own website you will need a domain name and hosting. Here you will read what I use for hosting and why.