Back to Basics: What Makes a Good Website?

David Lindop   0

If you ask 10 people “What makes a good website?” — you’ll receive 10 different answers.

Some people focus on what makes a “good” website from the perspective of a web designer, a business owner, or a content publisher, while others equate a good website with the needs of the visitors.

Let’s see if we can pin this down once and for all, so you can build a successful website for everyone!


What Makes a Good Website?

William Shakespeare once said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

And, while I respect Will, he never tried building a successful website. He’d probably use Flash and GeoCities.

There are definitely ‘good’ and ‘bad’ websites... and some very clear guidelines to making sure your website lands on the right side...


Visitors can find information and content quickly.

Search engines can understand which keywords relate to your content, and can show your website in the search results.

Content is easy to add and maintain.

Your website looks amazing on all devices with different screens... computers, tablets, and mobiles.

Your visitors find your content interesting, valuable, relevant and timely for the challenges they’re currently facing.


Visitors struggle to navigate your website, leading to high bounce rates and lower conversions.

Search engines get frustrated with slow loading, buggy pages, and choose to show competitor websites instead.

Adding content is a convoluted mess of frustrating CMS options and unintuitive code.

Visitors have to pinch-zoom (the horror!) or scroll horizontally on their mobile, and your navigation menu doesn’t work with fat fingers.

Your content is dry, self-indulgent, spammy or disrespects your readers’ time.

While there are some elements of running a website that are more subjective (design for example), I think it’s clear that it’s possible to objectively build a good website... or a bad website.

Let’s dig a little deeper, looking at what makes a good website from a technical, design, and user-experience perspective.

The Technical Aspects of a Good Website

Behind the curtain of all websites you’ll find the nuts, bolts and bare wires that are required to keep it working online. This tech stack includes things like your hosting, content management system (CMS), and the code your website uses to show your web pages and content.

Fast Load Speed

Did you know that 1 in 4 visitors abandon websites that take more than 4 seconds to load?

Or that each 1 second delay leads to a 16% reduction in customer satisfaction?

The implications are clear for your business: good websites load fast, and the faster the better. This offers a better experience for your visitors and encourages the search engines to show your website in their search results.

On the flip-side, websites that load sloooowly lead to a higher visitor bounce rate (around 38% at 5 seconds!), fewer conversions, and potentially stunted SEO performance.

SEO Friendly Technology

It’s no good publishing amazing content if the search engines can’t access or understand it. Your website needs to be built with widely understood code without any barriers or obfuscation.

Here’s just a few examples of issues that can limit the technical SEO performance of your website:

  • Using layers of unnecessary technology like frames, Adobe Flash, or navigation menus that rely on Javascript
  • Complicated URLs, such as those containing excessive user or session IDs
  • Pages hosted across multiple domains
  • Incorrectly configured server responses, like providing a 200 instead of a 404
  • Incorrectly configured redirects
  • Duplicate pages

There’s a loooong list of potential issues waiting to trip up beginner website owners, so it’s usually best to stick to proven solutions that come mostly pre-configured for success... namely WordPress in combination with a reputable web host.

You’ll be happy to hear that all the tools inside Thrive Suite are highly optimized for SEO visibility too! Not only do Thrive Architect and Thrive Theme Builder create clean code behind the scenes, they also create super fast loading pages thanks to Project Lightspeed.

Website Security

Do you know what doesn’t make a good website?

A hacked website infected with malware, spam links, and stolen customer data.

I’d definitely put any and all of those in the bad website category.

Website security is a critical component of building a good website, both for you as a website owner, and for your visitors... especially if they are sharing their personal information like email or payment details.

For you as a website owner, good security means you can rest easy knowing your site is safe from nefarious hackers. This will save you tons of time and money fixing malicious code, and repairing the massive damage done to your brand and SEO performance.

For your visitors, good security means their email address and login details remain private. Proper HTTPS and encrypted integrations with checkout tools also means your visitors’ payment information is secure, so you don’t get into legal trouble by opening up your customers to card fraud.

Content is Easy to Add and Maintain

Bad websites make adding content a frustrating experience, using a convoluted mess of frustrating CMS options and unintuitive code.

Sometimes it can take hours to format and publish even the simplest content... and you still don’t get it looking quite right!

Do you find yourself writing HTML? Wrapping text in SPAN tags just to add simple styling? Maybe the content in your CMS looks totally different to the published version?


Your time as a website owner and content creator is worth so much more.

A good web page builder like Thrive Architect should be WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). It should mimic the published page as closely as possible. And it should feel like you’re writing directly onto your website... not into an abstract text box.

The Design Aspects of a Good Website

The visual design of your website plays a huge role in its success... whether that’s choosing a logical layout, using readable color palettes, or ensuring it adapts to fit different screen sizes. Good design alone doesn’t guarantee a good website, but it’s still an important part of the overall mix.

Mobile Friendly

A good website should look and function well on different screens and devices: desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

Gone are the days of creating different versions of a website for desktop and mobile. These days, fully responsive web design is absolutely expected from any good website. This means paying attention to how the on-page elements adapt to better use the screen space, as well as taking into account the different ways of navigating (mouse vs. touchscreen).

Well-designed mobile friendly websites enable visitors to switch between devices on different sessions, making it easy for them to start their research on mobile, for example, and then make a purchase later that day when they open their laptop.

The Visual Editor that powers Thrive Architect, Thrive Theme Builder, and many of our other plugins, offers a powerful collection of mobile friendly features, such as the ability to quickly toggle between device sizes to see how your website will look on desktop, tablet or mobile. Of course, many of the professionally designed elements and templates are mobile responsive without you needing to do any work yourself.

Professional Visual Design

Good web design is a vital part of a good website.

If your website looks like it was designed in Comic Sans by a committee of Etsy moms, you’re going to struggle to communicate a professional brand to your audience.

If your choice of a color palette involves layers of eye-searing neon, your visitors will simply leave instead of risking retinal damage.

Of course, there’s plenty of room for artistic expression and personality – that’s what makes the internet such a cool place! – but every design decision should be made to improve the user experience and encourage them to take action.

You don’t have to be a designer to build stunning web pages. Use these resources instead...

Choose the Right Tool for the Job

When you think of website ‘content’, do you automatically think of text (like this post)?

Maybe a few images thrown in for good measure?

You have so many more tools in your toolbox!

  • Interactive tabs and toggles that reveal more content
  • Embedded videos and audio
  • Styled content boxes to highlight key information
  • Quotes and testimonials
  • Animated elements that appear at exactly the right moment
  • Image galleries and carousels

Visual page builders like Thrive Architect allow you to create rich content experiences for your visitors, and present information in the best format. Check out the different ways of presenting information we’ve used in this blog post... much better than just a wall of text.

And speaking of formats, good websites understand that video and audio content deserves more than just embedding in a standard text post – they deserve their own custom blog post templates that help to showcase engaging content!

The Visitor Experience Aspects of a Good Website

It’s no use owning a beautiful-looking car if it handles like your Grandad’s Lada. Your visitors need to enjoy using your website, and of course, they need to be able to find the content they’re looking for. If you’re hoping to build a good website, you can’t skip these tips...

What really makes a good website?

The undisputed champion of building a successful website is quality content – interesting, valuable, relevant and timely.

This means publishing content that connects with your audience, and helps them to achieve a goal or overcome a challenge they’re currently facing.

That could be blog articles like this one, videos about nutrition, podcasts about meditation, or printable guides to build a garden shed. Content can cover any topic or format, but it MUST be valuable to your audience.

Bad websites, on the other hand, publish boring, dry or irrelevant content that leaves their audience looking for an alternative source of information. At the worst end of the scale, bad websites publish spammy or misleading content purely for commercial goals.

Clear Calls To Action

The best websites encourage visitors to take an action that achievse a goal or result...

  • Lose weight and get healthy
  • Find the perfect soulmate
  • Train a pet
  • Learn to paint, write, sketch, sculpt, or cross-stitch
  • Speak a different language
  • Build an online business

... you get the point! So unless your website is for purely artistic or entertainment purposes, your call-to-action (CTA) is where you show your audience that you’re serious about their personal growth.

Calls-to-action are important from the perspective of website owners like yourself – they are a key tool in driving conversions, leads, sales and revenue for your online business.

Too many people feel embarrassed or shy about telling their audience to buy a product, sign up for a webinar, or join a premium membership site. But by hiding your call-to-action, you’re actually doing your audience a huge disservice.

They came to your website to achieve a result... don’t let them leave empty handed!

Making a good website is also about ensuring your visitors know what they should do next in their journey to achieve their goals. That’s why it’s important you provide clear calls-to-action to help them progress in their journey.

Logical Structure and Helpful Navigation

As your website grows in terms of pages, you’ll need to think carefully about how you organize your content.

A simple website can start with a handful of pages, but add in new products, landing pages, marketing campaigns, and blog posts, and your visitors will quickly become lost if you don’t guide them with a logical way to navigate.

Thankfully, you have lots of helpful tools to add structure to your website:

Bad websites try to trap the visitor for as long as possible. Good websites focus on getting the visitor to helpful content as soon as possible... and then offering them even more!

Do You Want to Build a Good Website?

Holy rhetorical questions, Batman!

You’d have to try really hard to build a bad website using a combination of WordPress and the professional tools inside Thrive Suite.

In fact, WordPress + decent web hosting + Thrive Theme Builder + Thrive Architect (including our hundreds of mobile responsive templates!) gives you almost everything you need to build a truly great website without writing a line of code... just add your content and personality!

by David Lindop  August 23, 2022


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