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What Makes a Good Website Good?

Updated on May 20, 2013
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While I'm not one to call myself an internet junkie, I do my fair share of surfing the web from time to time. Whether it's to look up how to make or fix something, to catch up on the news, to find a recipe for something to cook, or to shop for something, one thing I've noticed is that there are certain features used on good websites, and there are certain things that will have me calling my wife over to point out how bad they are. So what makes a good website good? Here's what I think.

Design

Good website design means that the layout is clean, the colors aren't too jarring, and the fonts and images aren't outdated. When it comes to graphic design and logo design, it's easy for websites to go overboard with the way their site and logos look. If the site looks too busy, it can be frustrating to stick around and find what it is that I'm looking for. It's also important that the flow of the pages makes sense—you wouldn't want to read a news site where article comments were off to the side instead of just at the bottom at the end of the article, right? The design has to make sense in order for the website to be a good one. Any decent website design company has experience with creating a look that both suits the company and will be appealing to its clients or visitors. Depending on the industry, the design will vary wildly, and it's important that the design reflects the tone of the business, organization, or person who is updating the website.

Marketing and Advertising

I don't like when a website has a ton of irrelevant ads. When I'm checking out sports scores, I don't want to see ads for things like fashion tips. It's important that a website utilizes the best possible advertising tactics, lest it becomes annoying to visitors. Web site owners need to take into account who their visitors are or figure out a way to market to them, if there must be ads. Furthermore, the type of ad should be considered—pop-ups are extremely annoying, as are the kind that when you accidentally roll over an image with your cursor, music starts playing, a video starts, or someone starts talking at you through the screen. Simple display ads may seem a little boring, but trust me when I say that they annoy your visitors far less.

Content

Of course, what makes a good website great is what's on it—the content. Content on a website is what makes any visitor want to stick around for any length of time. Whether it's great articles, an effective sales strategy and links for purchasing a product, or cute cat videos (hey, we've all got our guilty pleasures, right?), what's featured on a website is what keeps me there or makes me click away. A friend who has worked at various jobs pertaining to website building, including spending time at a Chicago website design company, says that a lot of companies aim for creating viral content but fall flat, since there isn't a hard-and-fast rule for what makes content go viral. The key for good content on a website is simply making it engaging to your visitors. This means knowing who your visitors are and what they'll be interested in reading and watching.

Navigation

This sort of ties into the design, but navigation is key for making a website functional. Being able to find what I'm looking for or even browse efficiently hinges on how the website is laid out in terms of navigation. If I can't find a certain product because there's no search bar, or I can't find the section that has sports news on a news site, I'll probably just click off that site and go somewhere else for what I want. If you're not sure if your website is laid out in the best way possible, have a friend who isn't too familiar with your content try and navigate around it and find things. If they have trouble, you know you'll need to do some tweaking.

Social Involvement

While I may not be the most Facebook-savvy guy out there, I like the idea that I can keep track of some of the websites I like most by "liking" them on there. A website's social involvement is important since it extends their reach and also makes them more accessible to the average person—I may not visit every website I like on a regular basis, but I like being able to keep up to date with the goings-on by way of checking in on my social networks. The inclusion of links to social sites is important, but it shouldn't be too intrusive. It's also important for websites not to press the issue. There shouldn't be pop-up ads on every new page asking you to follow the site on Twitter or Facebook.

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    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

      Very good introduction and guide, sir, especially to those who are about to build their own website but don't know yet where to start. Up, useful, interesting and shared.