What is a good website made of? What are the signs of a low quality website? Below is a list of some things to look out for, these are things that anyone can check. I have included a check-box ( ) so you can tick each one off as you go.
Here are some signs that a website is a quality one:
- It loads fast – If it doesn’t, it’s a non-starter and visitors will get annoyed or leave. It’s also a sign that it was poorly designed.
- Important information is easy to find – By important, I mean things like contact details. Most people come to your website with something specific they are seeking, and a well thought out website helps them find it easily.
- Title tags have been used well – If you see a title tag (in the tab of your browser) that just says ‘home’ or ‘about’ for example, it shows that the title tags haven’t been used properly, which are important for SEO and usability.
- It’s responsive (works well on different sized screens) – A modern website should automatically change layouts to suit the device it is being viewed on, whether it be a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Note: This page is responsive, change the size of the browser and see what happens!
- It has a favicon – Every site should have a small generic icon that the designer has made, known as a favicon. This appears in the browser tab next to the title, and sites that don’t have one just look plain wrong!
- It has a robots.txt and sitemap.xml file – These two files are meant for search engines, but they also show that the whoever created the site knew what they were doing. Just go to the root of a website and type in ‘robots.txt’ or ‘sitemap.xml’ after the address in your browser’s navigation bar. Examples of mine here: http://www.shemethy.com/robots.txt & http://www.shemethy.com/sitemap.xml
- There are no broken links – If the webmaster isn’t regularly checking for broken links, it’s probably a sign they don’t care enough!
- It has interactive elements – There are a number of ways in which a website can be interactive, for example when you fill out a contact form you should be thanked. Another thing that many websites don’t do is use simple hover effects when you place your mouse over links, small niceties like that make for a much better experience overall in my opinion.
- RSS feed on the blog – Every site with a blog should have an RSS feed, eg. http://www.shemethy.com/feed …If it doesn’t it shows laziness by the developer.
- It has a site search function – Searching within a site can be very useful to the end user and it should come standard with all quality websites. Example of search on this site: http://www.shemethy.com/search
- No file extension – I’m talking about dot.something at the end of a page name, eg. .html/.asp/.php etc. These are a bit of a relic of the past and new designs should do without them.
- It has been updated recently – If I see a car parked in the same spot for more than a couple of weeks I start to worry, as I do with a website that hasn’t been updated for a couple of years! It indicates that the either (a) the owner is lazy, or (b) it has been set up in such a way that it’s too complex to update.
If you have any questions about these, feel free to contact me.