What Makes a Website "Good?"

Diana Bocco

The definition of what makes a good website depends partly on its purpose. A personal page, a company's website, and a school site all need to meet very different characteristics to be considered of quality. There is, however, some basic agreement on what constitutes a quality in website design. No matter its purpose, a site should be useful, easy to navigate, uncluttered, easy to find, and meet its purpose.

A good website should not have a complicated domain name.
A good website should not have a complicated domain name.

Credible, valuable information. No matter what the purpose of the site is, the information contained in it should be useful to the visitors. If the material is outdated, poorly edited, or incomplete, readers will feel cheated and will most likely look for an alternative source of information next time they are reading about the topic. Citing sources when appropriate is another thing that differentiates a good site from a bad one. While anybody is entitled to their own opinion, giving credit where credit is due is a great way to augment the respectability of a site.

Pay close attention to website aesthetics, including layout, color, and fonts.
Pay close attention to website aesthetics, including layout, color, and fonts.

Accessibility and Usability. It does not matter how useful the information on a website is if the readers have trouble locating it. Disorganized pages, too many links, articles that go nowhere, and many other details can complicate the use of a website and turn the reader off.

A good website needs to be user friendly.
A good website needs to be user friendly.

Design. Simplicity is key in a good website. Lots of graphics can frustrate a reader with a slow internet connection. Music, animation, and color can be powerful tools if used appropriately, but they can also be a sign of an amateur website. Moving cursors and cute cartoon characters are out of place on a business page, for example.

Domain name. Websites that people go back to often have names that people can remember off the top of their head. A complicated domain name or one that is clearly hosted on a free server typically does not convey the image of professionalism.

Purpose. Whatever the purpose of a site is, a good website meets it. If an owner knows what he wants his or her website to achieve, half of the purpose is already met. Unfortunately, many websites are too broad and lack a specific focus. This can confuse readers and often leads to a disorganized look that does not inspire confidence.

An effective website does not have to be expensive to build or too eccentric. In fact, it is the simplest of pages that sometimes get the message across the most quickly and effectively.

A well functioning website often begins with the type of coding used.
A well functioning website often begins with the type of coding used.

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Discussion Comments


@sunshine31 had a great point about adding an email address to your site. But I have a question: when the site/business owner doesn't read email, what would you think if you never got an answer back?

I always tell clients in this situation to just put their phone number down for contacting. This sure seems to be the case with guys (as in males) that are in the construction field. They text.

I think this website is very good! The articles are written so clearly and in simple terms. It's easy to understand even the most complicated concepts. I can find information on practically everything. I love this website and use it almost daily for school. Thank you!
Anyone who wants to build a web page should at least use spell check on the content before posting it. If the person can afford a professional editor's services, this would be even better.

Nothing turns me away from a website faster than misspellings and improper grammar. How can I believe a person is an expert on a topic if his article is full of mistakes?

I have seen a lot of this, and part of it is due to the fact that many people care more about SEO than about quality content. It makes me fear that one day, grammar and proper spelling won't even matter.

It's amazing how easy it is to learn to make a web page. I made my own by reading a book about the subject and following along with it.

The book had tips for using good design. The most helpful hints to me were to use a readable font and background colors that wouldn't hide the font.

I personally think that good web page design means not having a bunch of flashing or moving images on the screen. If you know you won't be able to have enough interesting things to say to attract the readers' attention, then don't try to make up for it by bombarding them with imagery.

I often go online when I'm bored at work, and if a site has things on it that jump around and attract attention, I close my browser immediately. I can't risk having my boss walk by and think that I'm playing games at work.

I have coworkers that feel the same way. We only surf when there is absolutely nothing else to do here, but we don't want to be looked upon as slackers if our boss happens to see animated images on our screens.

@sunshine31 – I also think that anyone setting up a web page should remember to include a contact email address on the page. Many people who are looking online for something would prefer to contact the person through email instead of over the phone.

I have been to sites before that only had a frequently asked questions area. If my question didn't get answered there, then there was no other way to find an answer, because the site owner didn't include a contact address.


Citing sources when appropriate is the last thing that differentiates a good site from a bad one. People have a right to their own opinion, so giving credit where it is due is a great way to increase respect for the site.


I once read a book called, Websites That Suck. It did a really good job at analyzing the varying qualities of what makes a "good" website. One of them was how easy the buttons are to locate on the page. Are they at the top? Are they at the botton? It is amazing the difference that even a menu can make to the experience of surfing to a website.

Personally, it isn't the menu system that makes the difference for me. It is all about the quality of content for me. If there is a lack of decent articles, pictures or other useful information, then why I am at at the site?


I just want to add that an informative website that it easy to navigate while being visually appealing is best.

The content should be neatly organized and pictures and colors should be pleasing to the eye and simple. Additional features such as a frequently asked questions section or even tutorials might help a consumer with additional questions.

A good website should always include a toll free number and for retail products a chat line would be ideal. Customers sometimes get frustrated when they have a question and can’t get the answer from the website. Offering a method of contact helps the customer have a memorable experience on the website.

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