Thursday Learning: Characteristics of Good Websites

Today’s Thursday Learning was led by our Founder and Executive Producer Mahmood Al-Yousif who spoke about the characteristics of good websites. He based his talk on his experience which extends from 1986 when he launched his first electronic communications platform, Stray Cats BBS, through to the present time where he runs and manages many acclaimed and award winning websites.

In his talk, Mahmood emphasised the immense value of good content which he believes is of paramount importance and transcends SEO methods or the “gaming” thereof. To him, and in no particular order, here is the list of characteristics which he feels are the hallmarks of good websites:

characteristics of good websites mind map

If you incorporate most of these, you’ll have a stellar website:

  1. Create rich and interesting content
  2. Infuse your site with media; photographs, graphics and video will make the site much more interesting and entice visitors to stay on your site longer, adding to its “stickiness”
  3. Publish content frequently so that the site remains fresh
  4. Be aware of your audience; publishing for 5 years olds is very different from content created for  50 year olds!
  5. If you can, get an indicative URL
  6. Create a good platform for visitors to interact on the site; comments, like buttons, etc would allow for the required engagement which is the first step in creating a culture for your site and company
  7. Provide visible real-world contact information
  8. Spend some time on your About page and provide information about the company and the people behind it
  9. SEO will take care of itself if all of these conditions are met, but it doesn’t harm to ensure that you tag the posts appropriately and enter the correct meta-data for the pictures and videos you post
  10. Social media integration is important, but remember, almost all activities outside of the main site are there to drive traffic and eyes back to the mothership
  11. Make sure that you have a consistent identity for the site (this is why dynamic websites win hands down as they divorce content from aesthetics)
  12. Sites are viewed on multiple devices: laptops, desktops, mobile devices like iPhones, other smart phones and tablets as well as modern television sets. Make sure that your site will display correctly on all of those devices
  13. Creating an excellent user experience is an absolute must if you want people to stay on your site longer and hopefully drink some of your cool-aid
  14. And interface design and clear navigation will help too
  15. Now that you’ve created this uber dynamic and beautiful website, make sure that it’s served from a capable and powerful enough server
  16. Don’t compromise on security. Ensure that you have the required monitoring software and plug-ins to audit your installation and flag any inconsistencies. Also check your configuration files, those are important and often neglected. Protecting sensitive information like users and their passwords is key to keeping the trusting relationship between your company and its clients and visitors.
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