Have you ever wondered what makes a great website? You know things like content, videos, and images are all important, but there has to be more to it, right?
There is! For example, 79% of people scan web pages, so if you don’t know how to make your page optimally scannable, it won’t do well.
Another key factor of a quality website is credibility. Without a credible website, you’ll struggle to get more customers and increase conversions. Plus, credibility shows you’re trustworthy. If you’re offering something without a trusted name or brand behind it, people will be hesitant to buy what you’re selling.
Why? Well, with so many other options available on the market, it’s too easy for people to find what they’re looking for somewhere else.
This goes for ecommerce stores, blogs, or any business that has a website. If a visitor sees a red flag on your website, they will leave. It’s that simple.
Some of you may not even realize you have components on your site that drive people away. Even if you don’t necessarily have elements driving people away, you can always add more components to improve your credibility. And that’s just the tip of it… there are a ton of small things you need to do in order to create a high quality website.
Here are the top 22 key elements of a high quality website that you should be sure to consider:
1. Relevance and context
Developing well written and informative content for the user is one of the biggest key factors in creating a high quality website.
Quality content is original, purposeful, and correctly optimized information that people and search engines are driven to read, view, and share.
According to SearchMetrics, Google’s algorithm recognizes high quality, relevant content, and rewards it with higher rankings.
Focus on creating only the best high quality content that you can. It will help you rank better and delight your customers.
2. Content length
Focus on developing longer content. The ideal blog post length from and SEO perspective is between 2,000 and 2,450+ words long.
However, the ideal blog post length from a readers perspective is only 1,600 words long.
Sites with more words in the copy occupy higher ranking positions but it is important to find a balance between SEO and user readability.
The perfect blend will vary depending on your niche, competition, and audience.
3. Grammar and spelling
Ask yourself this question: Why would a search engine show a page of content with grammar and spelling errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist?
The answer: They won’t!
Grammar and spelling mistakes make you look bad in the eyes of your customer, and the search engines may even penalize you for it. Always read your copy at least 2 times before you publish it or hire an editor to proofread and edit your post if you need help.
Flawless copy makes your website look professional and will earn you better rankings.
Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood.
Use shorter sentences, paragraphs, and active web forms. Remove all clutter, unnecessary words and limit the use of adverbs and adjectives.
Use the Flesch reading ease formula to determine the readability of your text before publishing.
79% of users always scan web pages, according to a Nielsen study.
Not only that but visitors are less likely to read a post with poor formatting. High quality content is easier to read, and suitable for scanning and skimming.
Use H1, H2, H3, etc. tags, number lists, and bullet points to break down your content.
Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use bold and italics to highlight important parts so that they are highly visible as people scan.
6. Images and video
Include images or videos in every piece of content that you publish.
Web pages with images and videos are more engaging for visitors and rank better in Google too (according to SearchMetrics).
Keep in mind that web pages in top rankings have an average of 7 images on their page so be sure to use at least a few.
High quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic.
The expertise of the author is a critical factor for any content to be considered high quality.
People want to read posts from experts that can dig into a topic and explain it. Focus on writing detailed, well-researched posts and give examples to support your points.
8. Social media shares
High quality websites have social media buttons present on their pages.
Place your social media sharing icons visibly on the page and include call-to-action for people to share.
9. Internal and external links
Linking to valuable internal and external resources not only delights your readers but will also help you rank better.
9 out of 10 sites at position 1 in SERPS have at least one internal self-referencing link.
Focus on building a nice internal link architecture. The URL that you link to and the anchor text need to be relevant to your content.
Never link to unrelated pages or you may be penalized by Google and it leads to poor user experience overall.
10. Quality of comments
Content with a high number of comments is perceived as high quality.
On the other hand, spammy unrelated comments might hurt your rankings and make you look bad in the eyes of your visitors.
Make sure you moderate your comments and leave thoughtful responses to engage your users to do the same.
Quality comments help you rank better and engages your readers with the content.
11. Limit advertisements
While advertisements may be a nice form of income for you, they aren’t popular with your visitors.
How much do you rely on ads to make a profit?
If it’s just a small percentage, I recommend getting rid of them altogether.
If you’re an ecommerce site or have a website that makes money from other revenue streams, ads aren’t always necessary.
But say you run a blog and ads are your primary income. In that case, you’ll need to keep them as limited as possible.
Take a look at the types of ads people dislike the most:
Take these numbers into consideration.
Avoid popup ads, and use minimal banner ads.
Although 43% of customers still dislike banners, it’s not as high of a number compared to some other options.
12. Customer service that’s easily accessible
If someone visiting your site has a question or problem, they shouldn’t have to hunt for customer service options.
This should be readily available.
When customer service is unreachable, it makes the visitor feel uneasy.
Especially if it’s during normal business hours.
Note how Apple Support gives customers a variety of ways to reach customer service:
They even have a recommended option.
People love to have choices.
Not everyone wants to pick up the phone.
It’s great when companies have customer service available via online chat.
If you can swing it, give it a try.
13. All your contact information
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often I can’t find contact information on websites.
When I see that, I think it’s sketchy.
What are they trying to hide by withholding their phone number?
Make sure your site has:
- physical address
- email address
- phone number
- links to social pages (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn)
Failure to do so will make your page appear untrustworthy.
14. Reviews and testimonials
Showcasing customer testimonials on your website helps generate social proof.
This is especially true if you can get a testimonial from an expert in your industry.
You should also have a place on your site where customers can leave reviews.
While good reviews are obviously what you’re looking for, some unfavorable comments may actually boost your credibility as well.
If all customer feedback on your website is positive, it may appear fake.
Even if some people didn’t have the best experience with your business, allowing them to leave a review for others to read will establish trust.
It also helps prove you’re an actual business and not a scam.
Interact with the customers who left a review on your site.
This will help build credibility as well.
15. Security badges
What kind of security measures are you taking to protect users who visit your website?
Showcase those badges on each page.
Studies show that people trust the Norton AntiVirus seal the most compared to other badges.
If you use Norton, proudly display that badge on your site.
If you’re looking for services to improve your site security, Norton may not be a bad place to start based on this information.
16. Validation from other media sources
Have you been featured in a magazine, newspaper, or on a website?
Any positive press about your company should be proudly displayed on your site.
If established media sources have verified your business, it will increase your legitimacy in the eyes of anyone who visits your website.
Find a good spot on your page to add any videos, screenshots, or links to all those stories.
17. Awards and achievements
Your website is a great place to show off any awards or achievements.
Whether it’s local, regional, or national, anything helps.
Even if you won an award a couple of years ago, put it up on your website.
Showcasing awards from the past shows you’ve been credible for a while.
It establishes your company’s history over time.
Companies that have been in business for longer periods tend to be well established and appear more credible than those that just started.
If you’ve been operating since 1950, don’t be afraid to plaster that fact on your website.
18. Ease of navigation
Customers shouldn’t struggle to find what they’re looking for on your website.
The menu options should be limited so it’s not too overwhelming.
Adding a search bar so your readers can look for something specific is a great way to improve your navigation as well.
All of this helps enhance the user experience, which helps with your credibility score.
19. Page loading speed
The faster your page loads, the higher your conversion rates will be.
It’s that simple.
Don’t try to find the cheapest web hosting service on the market. You get what you pay for.
It’s worth it to pay a little extra to avoid technical glitches and always have fast loading times.
20. Clearly state all policies
Don’t assume website visitors know your company policies.
All of these should be clearly stated on your website.
This will help you from a legal perspective as well in case there is a dispute.
Make sure things such as your return policy or money back guarantee are outlined in detail.
If you’re an ecommerce business, consumers may be hesitant to shop if they don’t think you stand behind your product.
21. Be upfront about your prices
Don’t try to sneak hidden fees past your customers.
Let’s look at the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:
Don’t wait until the last minute to tell customers you’re charging them tax, shipping, or other fees.
You should have all your prices clearly listed on the website.
Adding extra costs in the shopping cart could make the customer think you’re trying to sneak one by them.
It’s just not good business practice.
You also shouldn’t say things like “Contact us for pricing.”
Why wouldn’t you just list your prices?
What are you trying to hide?
Those are questions that will go through the customer’s mind if you do that.
22. Secure the checkout process
Refer back to that graph we just looked at regarding shopping cart abandonment.
Note 18% of those respondents said they didn’t trust the website with their credit card information.
In addition to adding security badges to your page, you have to make sure your checkout procedure is secure.
Look at this example from Dick’s Sporting Goods:
The secure link will make their customers feel comfortable about entering their personal information, including a credit card number.
I wish I could tell you that if you just picked a few of the key elements above, you’d have a great website. But the reality is, you won’t.
It’s a total package type of thing, and you need to work on all of the elements listed above.
Sure, implementing a few of them is better than implementing none, but the goal is to make your website so great that people would want to come back and buy from you.
If your site looks incomplete or untrustworthy, it can drastically impact your traffic and conversions.
Make sure you do your best to create a high quality website by using as many of the 22 key elements that I described above.