What Makes a Website ‘Good’? What Makes a Website ‘Bad’?

In an effort to provide value in areas outside of business and marketing, I’ve been participating in discussions in various groups outside of my normal arenas on Linkedin.  In one such discussion in a group dedicated to interior design, a group user asked:

What, in your opinion, describes a poorly-built website? And a really good one?

Characteristics of a ‘bad’ Website

One of the services we offer at Enliven SEO & Design is one where I perform an * analysis of a client’s existing Web presence.  This is usually when a client feels their site is not performing as well as it could be, whether it’s from a sales, conversion or traffic perspective.  When this is the case, we look at a site from a variety of angles, such as page load speed, user experience, layout, visual appeal, content, optimization, etc.  Once the analysis is completed, a report is generated and a list of actionable items is presented to the client for implementation.

Here are some characteristics of what makes a website bad (*every bullet point below was taken from previous reports):

  1. Slow load times;
  2. Poorly laid out content;
  3. Visually unappealing;
  4. Excessive number of slides in rotating slider;
  5. Broken Links;
  6. Out of date copyright date;
  7. Site contains published pages that are ‘under construction’;
  8. No Google Analytics or other traffic tracking code installed;
  9. No privacy policy/terms of service page;
  10. Poorly organized navigation;
  11. Poorly optimized images for page load speed and search engine optimization;
  12. No testimonials (if company sells a product or service);
  13. Site contains excessive amount of annoying popups;
  14. Inconsistent layout between different pages;
  15. External links are not ‘no-follow’ (bad for SEO);
  16. Site lacks content;
  17. Site contains little to no pictures;
  18. Site URLs are not optimized for search engine placement for desired keywords;
  19. Site contains duplicate content;
  20. Site contains excessive amount of ‘self-congratulatory’ copy;
  21. Site lacks content in general;
  22. Site contains copy that is centric to the business and not the needs of the customer;
  23. Meta titles are not written to benefit site from an SEO perspective;
  24. Site contains no blog;
  25. Site contains no RSS feed;
  26. Site does not link to social platforms;
  27. Site lacks calls to actions to improve conversions;
  28. Site contains no FAQ and other value-add content;
  29. Site is not on a content management system;
  30. Site is not optimized for mobile devices.

Characteristics of a ‘Good’ Website

So what makes a website ‘good’?  While good is a subjective concept, it’s safe to say that with bad websites, there is a common thread.  The one thing all bad have in common is that there is generally no planning involved.  Planning comes from goals.  When you outline your goals, you can only then formulate a plan and a strategy to achieve those goals.

Here are some general characteristics of a ‘good website’:

  1. Site loads quickly;
  2. Site contains information that is relevant to the needs of the customer or client;
  3. Site is set up to achieve certain objectives – whether that is sales, lead capture, etc.
  4. Site is attractive in appearance;
  5. Site contains a good amount of content;
  6. Site contains a blog that is updated consistently;
  7. Site is ‘for’ the prospective client or customer;
  8. Fundamentals of search engine optimization such as header tags, page titles, etc. are in place;
  9. Content is written to address the pain points of the prospective visitor;
  10. Site contains links to social media accounts and RSS feed;
  11. Site’s copyright date is current;
  12. Site contains clear calls to action to contact the business, make a purchase, etc.;
  13. Site navigation is well thought out and planned for a good user experience;
  14. Site displays testimonials and other social proof;
  15. Site contains Google Analytics and/or other traffic tracking code;
  16. Site contains faq page;
  17. Site contains whitepapers and other value add types of content;
  18. Site is built on a content management system.

What did I miss?  What would you add to the list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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