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Characteristics of Successful Web Sites

The three main characteristics of successful web sites are:

1) Content
2) Community
3) Usability

Content

Original content is the most important by far. The original content could consist of articles written about a particular subject, reviews of a class of products, pictures of a event or activity, information about products or services your company is selling, etc. It is ideal if this content is updated on a regular basis. Frequently updated sites get visitors to come back repeatedly.

Community

Whatever the topic of your site is, there will be other people using the web with the same interests. With a message board (or through a mailing list) your site visitors can start communicating with each other. Building a sense of community through a web site is no easy task. It requires a site with a lot of content to keep people coming back time and time again. The site content also gives them something to start discussing with each other. After a while the message board can take on a life of it's own, as the regulars start taking to each other about many different topics.

Usability

Regardless of how much content is on your site, or how often your site visitors return to talk to each, it is still important that your site be easy to use. Although the content is more important than the medium it is presented through, the content must be presented in a manner within the limits and capability of the medium. These limits and capabilities include such factors as usability, assessability, as well as optimization for search engine indexing. For example, if you had a very long article on your site that was divided up onto many pages, you can't assume that people will read it through from the beginning to the end like a book. Web sites are different. People may enter your site from any one of it's pages through search engines. If they enter on the last page of your article, it is important that there is an obvious way to navigate through the site and get back to the first page. See 'Web Site Usability - What to Avoid' for more information.

Other Factors

Successful sites also tend to have a more professional look to them, rather than looking like someone's personal home page. It's graphics don't have to be extraordinary, but the quality should be good and most of all they should be relavant to the site.

A site hosted on it's own domain is also more likely to do well. In part because it will be easier to remember.

See Search Engine and Directory Optimization, Effective Web Site Organization and Three Ways You Can Help Promote Your Site for more information.


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