What makes a good website?

People often ask us: What makes a good website? Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all answer. As with many things SEO, the answer is: it depends. What kind of site do you have, and what do you want to achieve? Who do you want to target? There are, however, a few best practices that help you get underway. In this post, we’ll list 7 elements that can help every site become a good site and a better search result.

Holistic SEO

The number one thing you should keep in mind is something that we advocate a lot at Yoast: holistic SEO. Essentially, holistic SEO helps you strive to be the best result. This comes down to optimizing every part of your site on all levels; from satisfying user intent with your content to offering a stellar user experience. If you combine all these things in a solid SEO strategy, implement the enhancements, and keep an eye on the results, then you’re on the right track!

7 elements of a good website

Many things we deem important for a good website are hard to quantify. There’s a lot of talk about quality in SEO, for instance. Even Google has been saying for years that you should focus on the quality of your site and content. After every algorithmic update that Google implements, the answer for those who lost rankings is the same: it might not be your fault. Other sites might seem to be a better fit for this specific query. Nonetheless, you should work on the overall quality of your content

People flock to the Search Quality Raters Guidelines for input on how to improve their quality. Now, you shouldn’t take everything that Google says as gospel, but in this case, they are right. You should improve your content — always! Make sure to look at user intent and the behavior of your potential customers. Periodically redo your keyword research. And check your niche. What’s happening in your part of the market? By continually evaluating your SEO strategy, you’ll get a grip on the changing market and find new opportunities.

1. Your website satisfies user intent and has a clear goal

Why should anyone come to your site and do business with you? It’s not because you think you have an awesome product — that just doesn’t fly anymore. “Build it and they will come?” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You need to have a clear mission and goal for your website.

What does your audience need?

If you want to succeed, you need to know your audience. You have to uncover everything about them. You can probably find out what your audience says they want, but is that the same as what they really need? Does your product or service offer a possible solution to a problem, or does it make your customer’s life genuinely better? Are you selling a drill or a hole in the wall? 

Focus on your site’s search intent

Your story has to be right. It has to align with what people want and need. This means you should nail your site’s search intent. Uncover all the different ways of how people can end up on your pages, then tailor these to answer their questions. Map out your user journey from A to Z and place your content in strategic spots. Also keep a close eye on the way you formulate your answers. More often than not, a conversational style will turn out to be what you are looking for. 

2. Your website has technical prowess

A good website is easily crawlable, and shows search engines what they can and can’t index. Good sites don’t have a huge amount of errors. A good website loads super fast, from anywhere in the world. Make sure you do everything you can to get your pages to load as fast as possible.

Technical SEO is incredibly important, but you can get ahead of the curve by getting the basics right. Thoroughly think about which CMS you’re going for and how you’re going to run it. We may be a bit biased, but WordPress has given us everything we need. It’s solid, flexible and has a huge following. WordPress is pretty SEO-friendly, but with a bit of help from Yoast SEO, you can get your WordPress SEO going in no time. Also make sure to pick a reputable hosting company; one that’s flexible and helpful.

3. Your website is trustworthy, safe and secure

Both search engines and users are looking for signals that signify trust. Things like regular downtime might be an indication of sloppy maintenance. A missing green lock icon can mean you don’t take security seriously. But why is this important?

Best result

Search engines like Google want to give searchers the best possible result. Increasingly, if a search engine doubts the claims you make, or if you use sketchy ‘experts’ to validate your content, search engines will not show your content. Instead, they’ll pick a result that has proven to be a good and trustworthy result. That’s why you need to work on your trustworthiness on all levels, both technical as well as in content.

Safe for visitors

In addition, your site should be a safe haven for visitors. You need to have your security in order. A hacked site isn’t getting you anywhere! And a hacked site is easier to prevent than it is to fix. Use up-to-date software, have your SSL in order, create strong passwords and use tools such as Cloudflare to protect your site from DDoS attacks. 

4. Your website has a great design and stellar UX

Does your website need to be beautiful? Let’s be honest, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You won’t please everyone with your design. You should, however, create a website design that fulfills the goals you set. For example, your message should come across loud and clear. The design should also be on-brand and well-thought-out. But more importantly, your site should be clear and easy to use for everyone. Accessibility is not something you should scrimp on. 

You also need to consider user experience. Which is not only how something looks, but also how it feels. It’s about giving users an enjoyable experience; something they will remember. This means it’s not good UX to let users wait long for your pages to load, or have them become frustrated because they can’t read the text on your site thanks to your color scheme or because they can’t hit the buttons on your mobile site. Ask yourself: how can I turn any possible frustration on my website into happiness? 

And happy users might just have higher buyer intent, so get those CTAs in order!

5. Your site has awesome, user-centered content

Be user-centered, not company-centered. Good content helps your users accomplish their goals. But you want to offer this content at the right moment, while keeping your business goals firmly in sight. To do so, you need to know your user inside out, as I mentioned earlier. Understand your audience, understand their behavior, and focus your content on that. The content you offer should be clear and easy to understand by using language your users know well. Try to bring something unique to the table. Do the research and present original reporting.

Read more: The future of blogging in a video-obsessed world »

6. Your site is mobile-friendly (or rather, designed mobile-first)

For the last couple of years, mobile traffic has kept growing and growing. If your site is not mobile-friendly by now, you should really get to it. And don’t forget to work on your mobile SEO. However, if your site has been mobile-friendly for a while, it’s time to start looking at building your next site mobile-first

It’s not a new concept, but most sites are still being developed desktop-first. After designing the desktop view, the designer crams it down to mobile size, often losing its authenticity and freshness along the way. Adopting a mobile-first mindset helps you focus on the tasks users should be able to perform on your mobile site. It helps to clean up the clutter and, more often than not, lets you come up with a minimal and fully focused design. Less is more, remember? 

7. Your site can ‘talk’ directly to search engines

For years, search engines tried to read content on pages to determine what that page is about. They need that content to be able to match the search query with the indexed pages that give the best answers to this query. Turns out that truly understanding what something on a page is or means is harder than it seems, especially for machines. Search engines need a little guidance to discover the true meaning of elements on a page. Enter, structured data in Schema format

The power of Schema

Schema is kind of like a translator for search engines. It describes elements on a page, so search engines can now say with certainty that a review is a review and a recipe is a recipe. In return, because Google is so certain about your content, marking up these elements can lead to rich results in the search results pages. This includes carousels, nutritional information for recipes, star ratings, FAQ dropdowns, swipeable How-To boxes on mobile and much more. Structured data is one of the areas search engines spend a lot of resources on these days, so make sure to get on board.

We noticed this, and built a complete and fully extendable Schema framework inside Yoast SEO. This structured data implementation builds a complete graph for your site, so search engines not only know what everything means but also how everything is connected to the bigger picture. In addition, Yoast SEO comes with a few structured data blocks and we’re working on adding more in the future.

So what makes a good website?

There’s a lot that goes into building a good website. It’s more than simply buying a domain, getting some random host, installing WordPress and picking a theme that looks cool. When you leave it at that, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You need to plan to get things right. You need a strategy — which is probably the most important element of a good website.

These are some of the most important elements you should focus on while developing or improving your site. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so I’d like to ask you: What is your number one focal point for building a good website?

Keep reading: 4 tips to quickly improve your site in the current situation »

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One Reply to “What makes a good website?”

Creating a captivating and effective website is not just an art but also a science. In the digital age, a website serves as the online face of a business or an individual, making it a critical component of any online strategy. What makes a good website is a question that encompasses a broad spectrum of factors, from design and functionality to content and user experience. In this comprehensive discussion, we will delve into the key elements that define a good website, touching upon essential keywords and their derivatives to help you navigate the intricacies of web development and design.

Website Design: Aesthetics and Functionality

  1. Visual Appeal:

    The visual aspect of a website is the first impression it leaves on visitors. A good website design is visually appealing, with a balanced use of colors, fonts, and images that resonate with the brand and target audience.

  2. User-Friendly Navigation:

    Navigation should be intuitive, with clear menus and a logical hierarchy. Keywords like «user-friendly,» «navigation,» and «menu» are critical here.

  3. Responsive Design:

    In the era of mobile devices, a responsive design is non-negotiable. It ensures that the website functions seamlessly on various screen sizes and devices, contributing to a positive user experience.

  4. Page Speed:

    Fast-loading pages are essential for retaining visitors and pleasing search engines. Keywords like «page speed» and «loading time» are pertinent in this context.

Content: The Heart of a Website

  1. High-Quality Content:

    Quality content is king. It should be well-researched, informative, engaging, and relevant to the target audience. Keywords like «quality content» and «engaging» are crucial here.

  2. Keyword Optimization:

    Effective use of keywords within content is essential for search engine optimization (SEO). Incorporate relevant keywords naturally to improve search rankings.

  3. Freshness:

    Regularly updating content keeps the website relevant and encourages return visits. Keywords like «fresh content» and «updating» are pertinent in this context.

  4. Multimedia Integration:

    Incorporating multimedia elements like images, videos, and infographics enhances the user experience and engagement.

User Experience: Ensuring Accessibility and Satisfaction

  1. Mobile Optimization:

    As mentioned earlier, mobile optimization is a key aspect of user experience, especially in the mobile-first era. Keywords like «mobile optimization» and «mobile-friendly» are relevant.

  2. Accessibility:

    A good website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Ensuring compliance with accessibility standards is essential.

  3. Page Layout and Readability:

    Proper page layout, clear typography, and adequate spacing contribute to readability, a fundamental element of user experience. Keywords like «readability» and «layout» are pertinent here.

  4. Interactive Features:

    Incorporating interactive elements like forms, chatbots, and comment sections enhances user engagement and interaction.

SEO and Performance: Navigating the Digital Landscape

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

    SEO is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results. Keywords like «SEO,» «search engine ranking,» and «optimization» are crucial in this context.

  2. Meta Tags:

    Crafting compelling meta titles and descriptions is essential for attracting clicks from search engine results pages (SERPs).

  3. Backlinks:

    Building authoritative backlinks from reputable sources is a key SEO strategy. Keywords like «backlinks» and «link-building» are relevant here.

Security: Protecting Your Website and Users

  1. SSL Certificate:

    Implementing an SSL certificate ensures secure data transfer and builds trust with users. Keywords like «SSL certificate» and «security» are pertinent.

  2. Regular Backups:

    Regularly backing up your website’s data and content is crucial to safeguard against data loss due to unexpected events.

Analytics and Optimization: Continuous Improvement

  1. Analytics Integration:

    Tools like Google Analytics provide insights into website traffic and user behavior, enabling data-driven decisions. Keywords like «analytics» and «data-driven» are essential.

  2. A/B Testing:

    Conducting A/B tests on various website elements helps identify what works best for your audience.

  3. Performance Optimization:

    Regularly monitoring and optimizing website performance, including page load times and server response times, is essential for user satisfaction.

Compliance and Legal Aspects

  1. Privacy Policy:

    Including a clear and compliant privacy policy is necessary to inform users about data collection and usage.

  2. Terms of Service:

    Clearly defining the terms of service protects both the website owner and users.

Contact and Communication

  1. Contact Information: Providing easily accessible contact information, including a contact form, email, and phone number, encourages user interaction.

Social Media Integration

  1. Social Sharing: Integrating social sharing buttons allows users to easily share content, expanding its reach.

Conclusion: Crafting a Website that Excels

In conclusion, what makes a good website is a harmonious blend of design, content, user experience, and performance. It’s an ongoing journey of optimization and improvement, informed by data, user feedback, and industry trends. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying attuned to keywords and derivatives like those mentioned above is essential to creating a website that not only meets but exceeds user expectations and search engine standards.


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