What Makes a Good Website? – 9 Critical Elements

what makes a good website

Creating your own website is easy these days.  Twenty years ago you would've had to hire someone with HTML knowledge or skills in web development.  It would cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to make a good website.

Nowadays, anyone can start a very professional website for as low as $3.95/month.

Although it is easy to CREATE a professional website with WordPress, that doesn't necessarily mean you will have a GOOD website… There's a difference between a site looking good and being good.

You can learn all about starting a blog or website in my free course How to Start a Blog!

In this post, we are going to learn about the 9 Critical Elements that make a good website.

There's a lot more that goes into a good website than just a fancy WordPress theme and some content.  There's strategy and thought that goes into a good website and you'll learn all about it in this article.

Let's jump right into it!

*This post does contain affiliate links to products I use and recommend!

#1  – A Good Web Hosting Provider

Every good website needs a good hosting provider.  I'm going to assume you already know that a self-hosted website is essential.  The fancy platforms coming out like Wix and Squarespace are very user-friendly and have some nice little ads on TV, but the bottom line is WordPress is still the way to go.

And you'll need a good hosting provider for WordPress.

There are A LOT of hosting providers out there!

Webhosting Info claims there are over 330,000 web hosting companies worldwide.

I obviously haven't tested all 330,000 so I can't say which ones are good and which ones are not, but I can speak for hosting companies I have personally used – Bluehost & SiteGround.

I personally still run sites on both of these hosting providers and to be 100% honest, I've had good experiences with both of them for years now…

You'll probably find your fair share of “hate” articles online bashing one hosting provider or another, and you'll usually find an affiliate link to their preferred provider at the end.

Are those people wrong? Probably not…

I don't think that every experience with hosting applies to everyone.  Some people have bad experiences and some don't.  Some people hate McDonald's and others love it!  So is McDonald's good or bad?…

Of the two hosting providers I use I can say this with confidence:

  • They both have a really good price for beginners.
  • They both have great customer service.
  • They both have great uptime.

If you're reading this article, you're probably someone just like me.  Someone looking to start a website or blog and you just need a good hosting provider to get started.

There is absolutely ZERO reason to go out and spend ridiculous amounts of money on “exceptional” hosting when you don't need it yet…

“Only bite off what you can swallow.”  Get the BEST hosting that you can for your needs.

I don't like officially recommeneding two different products (although they are both good) so I recommend in my free course How to Start a Blog SiteGround hosting.

Wordpress

#2  – A Good Website Platform

Every good website needs to be built on a good platform.  Like I mentioned in #1 there are other platforms out there offering their services for building a website.  They are fancy and easy to use!  I know because I've personally used them.

However, none of those platforms give you the control, capability, and performance that a WordPress website gives you.

WordPress is the best CMS platform for building a website today.

Over 30% of all websites on the internet today are built using WordPress.

WordPress is an open source software used to build websites.  Many of the biggest websites in the world are built on WordPress.  This website you're reading right now is built with WordPress.

I could go in depth on why WordPress is better than those other platforms, but I've already created other videos that explain why:

You can find many more videos about WordPress and competitors on my YouTube channel.

#3  – A Good WordPress Theme

Now that you've got a WordPress self-hosted website, you need a good theme.

Themes are pre-built layouts for your website so you don't need to write your own code or CSS to make you website look nice.  There are a lot of free themes in the WordPress database, but there are also a lot of really good third-party themes that you can buy for anywhere from $30 to hundreds of dollars.

There isn't one golden theme that is the only one you should use.

Imagine if every website on the internet looked exactly the same? That would be extremely boring.  The fact that we have so many different looking websites is what makes them special.

You will start to notice similarities on different sites and you may even notice different sites using the same themes! (That's when you know you're a WordPress nerd)

I will throw out a few ideas for Premium Themes if you're interested:

  • Highend – I personally have used this theme and it's got some really cool homepage features and it's not expensive.  $59 one time fee when I bought it.
  • Thrive Themes – This is a very popular “all in one” theme that includes a lot of really powerful plugins and bonuses that will really give your website a WOW factor.  I do believe they charge a monthly subscription now.
  • Divi – They claim to be THE most popular theme in the world.  It's very popular in the blogosphere. I think they charge around $89 per year.

Divi theme

Those are 3 solid options for premium themes.  Those themes will get you good websites.  There are obviously other themes out there, but those are some that I'm familiar with and feel comfortable recommending.  They also won't break the bank for what you're getting.

You can test out live demos of almost any premium theme to see if you like it.  If you decide you like the look and feel you can always unlock the full features later.

#4 – A Good Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the idea that you'll use content to promote your brand or business.  Instead of using paid advertising to attract an audience or customers, you write blog articles, post videos on YouTube, or use other social media platforms to organically promote your brand.

Most good websites have a blog.

Blogging is one form of content marketing.  It helps attract users to your website by giving them something to read (whether that's informational or educational).  Blogging helps with SEO as well.  Search engines like to see fresh content uploaded to websites.  It helps show that your website is relevant and being updated on a consistent basis.

Regardless of what your goals are with your website, I encourage you to consider blogging as well.

Blogging is very easy on WordPress websites.  Simply create Posts and you're all set.

Along with blogging, I recommend doing your homework as far as what type of content you produce and how often.  This plays into the “strategy” part of content marketing.  Simply posting whatever you feel like won't do much good for you…

You'll need a good plan in place for what type of content you're going to create, why, when, and how.  Think about all these things when you're planning out blog articles or social media posts.

Everything has a purpose.

#5  – A Good On-Page SEO Strategy

I separated On-Page and Off-Page SEO as two different elements of what makes a good website.  Although they both are important aspects of SEO, they are both different.

On-Page SEO is very easy in my opinion.  It's easy because you have full and complete control of it.

There are some key elements of on-page SEO that you should be doing that are easy but make a big difference:

  • Keyword Reseach – Use Google Keyword Planner, SEM Rush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, Ubersuggest, or whatever tool you want to research keywords to target in your blog posts and on your pages.  You'll be amazed the difference it will make in getting discovered in Google search results.  Simply moving around a few words in your title, headers, and content could be the difference between ranking on the first page and getting burried in the results.
  • Improving Site Speed – Fast websites do better in search results.  Having a reliable hosting provider will make a difference, but so will compressing your images! This is a really simple task that many people overlook that drastically slows down your website.
  • Creating Good Content – There are many off-page signals that are directly affected by your on-page efforts.  Social shares, incoming links, time on page, bounce rate, and other signals are directly affected by the quality of your content.  This could be the most important on-page SEO trick of all… CREATE GOOD CONTENT!

#6  – A Good Off-Page SEO Strategy

Off-page SEO is much more challenging than on-page.  It's more difficult because you don't have much control over it.  You indirectly affect off-page SEO by how you handle your on-page SEO, but it can be tricky to master a good off-page strategy.

“The most difficult things in life are often the most rewarding.”

There is no easy way around it. Links are critical to your success with Google search.

Moz puts together a lot of data about ranking factors and what's important to Google and it always comes down to authority.

How do you build domain authority? Links.

moz domain rank signals

There's a lot to digest on this pie chart, but it clearly shows what's important to rank in Google.  Over 40% of your Google search success depends on the authority of your domain and page which is highly influenced by the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website.

Developing a good off-page SEO strategy will be one of your most challenging tasks, but also one of the most important for your long term success.  Look for ways to promote your content and acquire links from other relevant websites.

#7  – A Good Writer

There's a good chance you are the writer for your website or blog.  You don't need to be an expert or English major to be a good writer.  Just make sure you know what you're talking about and you know how to clearly convey your message.

Want to know the best way to become a good writer?

By writing.

It's the same way people become good basketball players, or pianists, or doctors… They practice.

Don't wait until you're a professional writer to start writing content.  You'll improve over time, and more importantly you'll find your voice.  Writing gets easier the more you do it (just like anything else).  I find myself frequently typing away on my blog and to my suprise I've pounded out 7,000 words!

Let the words flow!

P.S. Don't judge my writing…

#8  – A Good Strategy for Building an Audience

The good websites have a strategy for building their audience.  The “write and pray” method doesn't work that well these days.  There are so many million websites online that it's a miracle anyone ever gets found as it is.

You need to come up with a strategy for building your audience.  I would include in that statement, you need to build a contact list.  

contact list

Notice I said “contact list” and not “email list”.  Email marketing is still relevant today.  It's not nearly as effective as it was 10 years ago, but it still is one way to build your audience and gather contact info.

Some other ways to gather contact info are through phone numbers, Facebook messenger contacts (which is becoming VERY popular), Instagram followers, Pinterest followers, YouTube subscribers (kind of)…

You want people to take some sort of action to commit to your content.

That could be a subscriber newsletter, a freebie, a YouTube subscribe, Instagram follow, etc… Something that gives the user a chance to see your content again and come back to your website.

#9  – A Good Way to Monetize

The end goal of almost any website is to make money.  You may just want a good website to blog and share thoughts and you don't care if you make any money, but it's nice to be compensated for your work.

Why wouldn't you want to make money if you could?

There are many ways to monetize your website.  You could be selling products on your website which is an obvious way to make money.  Maybe you have ads that show up on your pages that you make money from…

There are multiple ways you can make money from your site.  Look for strategies that fit with what you're doing and what your goals are.

Some popular ways to monetize a website are:
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Selling Products
  • Selling Courses
  • Booking Services
  • Advertising
  • Sponsored Posts

Look at multiple ways you can bring in revenue from your website.  The more income streams you have, the more money you'll likely make from your website!

These are the 9 Critical Elements of what makes a good website.

As you master each of these elements, you'll see your traffic and income increase!  Remember… This takes consistency and patience.  “Rome wasn't built in a day!” and your website won't be either.  Committ to it long term and you'll reap the rewards!

Feel free to check out these other helpful articles and resources: