Your Internet Presence

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 good website.

1. 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 If the material is outdated, poorly edited, or incomplete, readers will feel cheated and will most likely look for an alternative source of information next time they are reading about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 website from a bad one. While anyone is entitled to their own opinion, giving credit where credit is due is a great way to augment the respectability of a site.

2. 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.

3. Design. Simplicity is key in a good website. Too many 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.

4. Domain name. A good website is usually one that people can remember off the top of their head. A complicated domain name or one that is clearly hosted on a free server does not convey the image of professionalism.

5. 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.