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November 11, 2008

Characteristics of a Good Website

Michael Hyatt, the president and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers has an interesting blog post about websites. He ran several author websites through WebsiteGrader to see how their websites performed.

I scored an 84, which shows room for improvement. I lost marks for too many images. Mr Hyatt’s post is very interesting and concludes that a slick website doesn’t necessarily equate to more traffic.

This test made me think about the characteristics of a good website. I did a little online research and came up with the following list:

1. Good keywords – these are words that describe your site and what you do. For example I’m a romance author.

2. A simple design – nothing too complicated. Keep your page simple and on topic.

3. Easy naviagtion – don’t confuse your visitors. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.

4. Fresh content – update on a regular basis and give your readers something new to look at. Give them a reason to come back. Keep the content short and organize it.

5. The Wow factor – make your page different and original. Make it stand out from the crowd.

6. Optimized – make your website search-engine friendly by using page titles and meta tags.

How did you do with the test? Do you have author websites you return to time and time again? What keeps you going back?


  1. J.K. Coi

    I put mine through the grader too and found ways for improvement that I wouldn’t have suspected on my own. My problem is that I’m handling this website stuff on my own and the learning curve is still pretty steep.

  2. Leah Braemel

    Good link, Shelley. I put mine through it and was surprised at some of the things I found lacking, especially considering it was designed by someone else. Guess I may have to go back to the designer and start asking some questions.

  3. Karen Erickson

    So interesting. After adding a bunch of meta tags and an extra long description (I was told to do both to improve my stats, etc), I was told by this site that I have too many meta tags and my description was too long! LOL

    I found it informative. I scored a 68. Not horrible but definitely room for improvement.

  4. Amy Ruttan

    I scored an 85, there are some search engines to be a part of and some redirect thing. I think 85 is not bad. :mrgreen:

    Very cool.

  5. Alice Audrey

    I’m still waiting for my score to come, but suspect it will be low. I’ve been trying to get it fixed, but don’t really have the kind of money or know how I need for what I want to do.

  6. Sandra

    I don’t agree with Mr. Hyatt. I like your site and would have given you higher marks.

  7. Shelley Munro

    It’s an interesting site, and I’m not sure I agree about the images. It’s difficult for a prolific author not to have images.

    Sandra – thanks. I like my website, too. :grin:

  8. Christina Phillips

    Wow. that was fascinating. I don’t understand half the stuff I’m supposed to do to improve my ranking (which was pretty dire!!) but I’m about to enlist the services of my techno-savvy daughter!!! Thanks for the link, Shelley! :grin:

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