Is Your Website a High-Quality Site?

5 Website Quality Litmus Tests for Expert Authors
By Vanessa, Editorial Manager

Every day, the EzineArticles team of editors reviews thousands of articles. Every link in each of those articles is also reviewed to ensure the author’s credibility isn’t damaged by a poor user experience. That’s a lot of links.

Along the way, we’ve noted trends that work and trends that don’t that have helped us make accurate recommendations to Expert Authors and also provide this warning:

Everything you gain in your efforts can be lost in a flash by linking to a poor-quality website or blog.

So before you worry about link building and invite readers or visitors to your website or blog, make sure you test your site with these website quality litmus tests.

1. Originality Test

  • Does the site provide unique tips, strategies, techniques, case studies, analysis, opinions, or commentary?
  • Can the information or content on your site be found on another site?
  • Is the content on your site fresh, e.g., not derivative of other pieces on your site?
  • Is the content substantial by providing information beyond generalizations or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, congratulations! Your website is well balanced with fresh, informative content, which will help you build toward becoming a leading authority.

2. Quality Test

  • Is your website free of spelling, grammatical, stylistic, or even factual errors?
  • Is the content on your site informative as well as unbiased and provide multiple perspectives?
  • Does the website have clean formatting, e.g., no overlapping text or tables, no excessive bolding, etc.?
  • Would you trust the information presented on your website?
  • Would you share your website on a social media page, bookmark it, or recommend it?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, congratulations! Your website contains stable elements that maintain your credibility.

3. Relevance Test

  • Is your website relevant from the visitors launching point, e.g., if your reader clicked on a link in an article to access your website, does your website relate to the article?
  • Does the content on your site reflect your visitor’s needs, wants, and interests?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, congratulations! Your website’s relevance and the extension of value invites your reader to stick around and discover what more you can offer.

4. Navigation Test

  • Is the navigation from page to page easily achieved, e.g., no dead links, no circular linking, etc.?
  • Is the visitor-benefited content clearly the main focus, e.g., not cluttered with ads, flash, images, etc.?
  • If exit-pops are used, is it limited to one?
  • Is navigation clear, simple, and accessed easily, e.g., it does not take more than a few clicks to access any particular part of the site?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, congratulations! Frustration as a result of poor navigation erodes the visitor’s attention on you and your products or services. Easy navigation keeps all eyes focused on you and your authority.

5. Transparency Test

  • Is your personal or professional brand clearly linked to the website?
  • Is your presence established on the site, e.g., you feature an “About Me” section that provides a little personal information, including who you are and what you (and the website) can do for visitors?
  • Are your intentions 100% clear throughout the website?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, congratulations! Your presence shows ownership and accountability in the information you present, which builds trust and reinforces your credibility!

Take an honest look at your website using the above litmus tests and even ask a peer to provide suggestions for improvement. Ensure your website upholds your brand before you invite visitors in order to build upon your efforts instead of leveling them.

What elements would you add to the above tests? What do you do to ensure your website is high-quality and welcoming to visitors? Share your comments and suggestions in the comments section below!

50 Comments »


1
Chankey Pathak writes:

Really great article. I have a site on technology and I just came to your article and performed all the steps which you suggested. Found some low quality sites were linking to my content. I have filed a DMCA complaint. Thanks for this article :)

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 9:41 AM

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Chankey, I am curious about what you wrote about people linking to your content. If you are not linking to their content or website, what difference does it make? I come across sites all the time that post my art, poetry and articles, and as long as they credit it me I have no complaints as it only benefits me by giving me exposure. Isn’t that why we write and post articles? If I were to post their link on my website and it was a low ranking link, then that would drag my ranking down, but otherwise no. Am I wrong about that? Anyone?

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Chankey Pathak writes:

No problem in linking and giving credits, but some people were copying the complete article as it is, that is not fair right? That’s violation of my copyrights.

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Chankey, you mean they are doing that w/o giving you credit? There is a site that has copied ALL my writings and “infers” that he wrote it, that is a violation big time so I get that protest. Is that the kind of thing you are talking about?

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Chankey Pathak writes:

Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. You need to complain Google regarding this.

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I know.. I’d have to hunt them down again. Artists have real problems with their images most especially. It is way too late for me to add watermarks on a lot of my stuff. People copy your art, make their own products with it all the time. It is really hard to keep up with it all. Mega sigh.

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Chankey and Kathy, I have run into this, too, because I have Google Alerts. When someone posts an article with certain key phrases I am notified. When it looks strangely familiar (as though it’s mine) I stroll over and take a look. I have had blog articles and EzineArticles copied and, sometimes with poor, tiny changes of a few words, posted on other article submission sites.

Note: This has never been a problem with EzineArticles articles that were written by me…unless I submitted them. :)

In each case, I contacted the article submission site and let them know. Some are easier to work with others to correct this but as soon as I provide information that documents my earlier publication, they remove the article. Sometimes they ‘invite’ the ‘author’ not to return.

Also, Vanessa, in Point 1, 2nd bullet point, I suspect the correct answer is ‘no.’

Thank you!

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Chankey Pathak writes:

Thanks but what if the hosting/articlesubmission service doesn’t reply?

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Chankey Pathak writes:

Including watermark is not a solution Kathy, people nowadays know photoshop and they remove the watermarks. No proper copyright solution is available for images.

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I thought that was the case. Chankey. I have a very successful artist friend, who lives off royalties from her art. She has spent the last couple years, not doing art, but studying law for artists regarding images and plans on suing Photobucket, etc. She seems to think watermarking protects her but I figured photoshop could remove them. I am shying away from prints, concentrating more on original work and sales so I am not all that worried about it anymore. I think I could spend my life running it all down , as my friend is doing, so my mantra is “onward”. I think for me it is more important to establish a name in the art world, which is why my new site and the suggestions given here are so important. I realize my biggest issue is navigation w/my newer site and I need to clean that up.

Kathryn, Google alerts would be near impossible w/my images. It might work for some artists who paint dogs w/bunny hats, something that can be defined, but it is hard to put some art into a niche. I have tried w/the text on my first and better website kathysart.com but really my art is not defined in the keywords given, it was just as close as I could get.

Humm “Onward”

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Chankey Pathak writes:

You are really thinking good but I would suggest not to go against those people, that would be just a waste of precious time. Try something else which these stupid people can’t steal.

BTW I guess it’s the first time when I’m having a good and lengthy discussion on an article. Keep up the good work! If you find some time then I would love to have some of your articles on my site, your writing skills are really good :)

Have a good day!

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Chankey Pathak writes:

Someone has deleted my comments! :/

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rkinfo writes:

The purpose of “Panda” last big change I make Google in their algorithms was the removal of the first places the index low quality sites and otherwise present at the top high quality sites. But what is a high quality site? Google gives us some clues on his blog in the form of questions one should ask about your site:

Do you think the contents of the site are reliable? For example, if you want to read about a disease, do you trust the information that is written on this disease?
Are the contents of the site are written by experts in the field or the result of the work of an editor instant content? Returning to the example of the article written about a disease, many sites offer information on diseases, but only few offer information written by doctors.
Does the site offers several articles on the same topic but with minimal changes in the code?
Do the content on the site suffer from grammatical or spelling errors?
Do the content on the site represent the topics that interest or site users represent an attempt to write on keywords they believe are them rank well in Google search results?
Do the content on the site represent original material, a new research, a story first introduced or are recycling materials from other sites?
How editorial control exists on the site?
What added value has the site compared to other sites in the same industry?
Do you consider the site as an expert in the field?
Is the paper and filled with commercial advertisements in a way that distracts the user to read well?
Do you consider the site as one that had marked as favorites or sharing with a friend?
Do you think the secure site to pay for it with your credit card?

Reading these questions / clues we can not help but think of those article directories (or content farms) aimed at ranker fairly well in the results of search engines to generate traffic (and that indeed contaminated the Google index). Finally, these sites were the most commonly affected with the update.

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Cheryl Veon writes:

Thank you Vanessa for the Quality Litmus Test! I write original articles and use Copyscape to check.

Have a great day!

Cheryl Veon

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2

I have a feeling this tread is going to get a lot of comments. I hesitate before posting mine because that means a lot of emails, but I think the feedback will be worth it. I am going to be combining my 2 websites soon and want to make it the best I can. I see a few things that I need to correct/add/delete on my new site in this blog, so cool on that.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM

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3
Edward Biernat writes:

Great post. And timely. Like Kathy, I am consolidating sites so this is a great checklist to follow. I do have a questuon regarding exit popups. Do people still do those? They are very annoying. I am surprised you allow even 1!

I think the brand is a critical part of the website experience. I am glad it made your list.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 10:37 AM

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omg.. I HATE exit pop ups! When websites have them I decide right then that I hate them too. In a loving, sweet kind of way of course.<3

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4
JoeTranscriber writes:

This really is a great article. I had never known this before, so it’s great that you’ve put it out there so we, your readers, can have a sense of what would really work and what would not in terms of reader’s overall website experience.

I think this is relevant to what Google is doing at this moment, if I’m not mistaken, the whole website visitor’s experience on the website itself.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM

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5
Opal writes:

Good article because it brought questions to my mind. My web site is two pages, full of several niches that I can fiil because of a lifetime of experience. I wonder if that isn’t too much. Would it be better for me to develop a special website that would be set up the way the article suggests with my priority niches – writing and public speaking. I have such a vast experience in many fields so that I can write articles about history, education and other niches. Should that be in this special website?
Thanks for any comments from you technologists I have just recently set up as business page on my face book called “Opal’s Mosaic of Life” and I plan to send my articles there. Any comments are appreciated.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

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Hi Opal,

It’s too much if you put all of your info into one site. It makes it harder for search engines to know what your blog is about. It’s apparently best to focus on your primary interests to start. That way you will not be overwhelmed trying to keep up multiple websites right off the bat.

Best of luck on your new endeavor!

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6
Ahmed Ali writes:

Now thats what we call 5 steps for quality assurance for content. Thanks for the post :)

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

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7
Mick Malkemus writes:

As part owner/developer of an eCommerce platform, and holding multimedia degree, I’d say that the first aspect of a quality website is usability. This might be a combination of #4 and #5 in your blog. Let’s face it, you can have the best content/product/service int he world, but if a user can’t figure out how to use the site… next.

Thanks for the great post.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 2:01 PM

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8

Yep makes sense.. this is pretty basic stuff really. Keep it original, interesting, relevant and mistake free.
Show who you are what you’re about and make the site easy to navigate around.. I would also add..
make sure to provide privacy policy, sitemap and other legal terms etc..
and.. make sure the site loads well; is fast.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM

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9
Randall Magwood writes:

These are some good points. I think my website satisfies the “high quality site” conditions mentioned above. Right now my visitors get free information on the topic that i am teaching them about. Most are enthused about my information.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

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10
John writes:

Nice piece of information.
Thanks.

Comment provided August 15, 2012 at 11:54 PM

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11
Vijay Mishra writes:

Hello Vanessa,

You have given very helpful information who works Onsite website optimization. It’s very important that take care of these things while working on page.

Comment provided August 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM

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12
John Russo writes:

My first site was a train wreck. It had all the makings of an amateur affiliate marketing site. I spent a lot of time getting an education and have since remodeled the site. All five areas talked about were planned out. I recently had a friend visit the site and was very pleased with the simplicity of navigation and some other designs. Guess I’m on target with your article. Feels good to read to be able to say yes to your questions.

My articles are all a product of personal research, experience relating to products and a promise of educating and informing any visitors to my site. Stealing copy is an act of desperation by a person either incapable of writing or too lazy to do the work.

Comment provided August 16, 2012 at 12:50 AM

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13
Albert writes:

After reading this article I come to know the right way of analyzing a site thoroughly. All described 5 points are worthy. Cheers!

Comment provided August 16, 2012 at 1:07 AM

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14

Thanks for your unique advice to manage a high quality site. I think it will helpful for all quality Blogger. I wish your advice Dear………..thanks once again.

Comment provided August 16, 2012 at 1:53 AM

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15
Mohammad Usmani writes:

Exit-pops are really frustrating. There must not be any single exit pops on quality site.

Comment provided August 16, 2012 at 4:28 AM

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16
Matthew Ronn writes:

Thank you for the points on a quality website. I am trying to keep my blog high quality. I can only do a few of the recommendations. By the way, I hate exit popups, too, but they are effective given the research.

Comment provided August 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM

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17

Great article and the comments are enlightening as well. Thank you for a valuable read.

Comment provided August 22, 2012 at 4:01 AM

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18
Tony Parker writes:

Real smart way of describing the ingredients of a good website! I loved the way it is written…kudos!!

Comment provided August 24, 2012 at 2:21 AM

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19
Hayden Alerte writes:

Great article, and great tips. Food for thought.

Comment provided August 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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20
Irsah Imihar writes:

Wow, quite a long thread. Great tips, easy and straight forward, very much appreciated Vanessa. For us coming from Malaysia, we always have hard times regarding originality, as heavily burden with copy paste problems, what a shame. It’s better to submit here in Ezine as I always tell my friends. :)

P/s: good pointers on the exit pop-ups though. I think by now people should know when to use or not. (I choose NOT)

Comment provided September 15, 2012 at 2:07 AM

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21
Nature Bumz writes:

Exit Pop-Ups are very annoying. I tend to never browse a site again that has them.

I would love a little more information regarding the Relevance Test. Anyone have any good blogs or tutorials regarding this?

Comment provided September 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

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22
Daniel K writes:

Thanks for the tips.
Another factor to consider closely related to the easy navigation, is that the length or article/information posted in a website.
Readers are usually lazy to read too long article.
What I have learned is 500-700 words articles would be fair for SEO purpose.
But I have no idea about what the most-liked length of article from reader’s point of view? What would you recommend?

Comment provided September 17, 2012 at 7:34 AM

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John Russo writes:

I can’t speak for others but much of what i read is informative material for various areas including medical. i almost always find that very short articles in these areas merely touch upon a subject and leave me searching for a better information source. I will read many pages of information until I have my answers.

It depends on the person and how much they need to know. I can tell you that when questioning some women shoppers i learned one important fact; they don’t care about reading copy about products. they want pictures, product and prices. A description with prices and a good deal is all they want to see.

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23
Yvette writes:

building a high-quality website is a long-term work.

Comment provided October 16, 2012 at 7:50 PM

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24
Lisa Swartz writes:

Nicely written article. Thank you! We give clients the same advice…although, I like how you have broken down what exactly relevant and quality content is.

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

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25
sheryl writes:

I am an online retailer and we have suppliers who insist we use their product descriptions without alteration. We also have a number of products which are similar and need to be described in the same way eg. curtains in different sizes, colours and patterns, but the description of the product is very similar with repeated phrases.
There is no way of getting around these problems when building a retail site, google is a monster with a one size fits all mentality. suggestions anyone?

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 4:41 AM

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26
Eiza writes:

Thanks for this great article, simple things that can be easily checked and implemented separately by web designer and content creator.

Comment provided February 10, 2013 at 3:42 AM

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27
Roger Grice writes:

I agree, focus on quality content and an interface that is easy for visitors.

Excellent, concise article. A reminder list for anyone serious about producing a useable wesite.

Comment provided February 11, 2013 at 1:29 PM

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28
Roger writes:

Useful article. Too few pay any regard to quality. An easy list for anyone wanting to improve their site.

Comment provided February 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM

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29
Gracious Store writes:

These are very good check-list to use to see how “user-friend a website” is

Comment provided February 11, 2013 at 9:53 PM

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30
life quotes writes:

All this information really is much needed for all site builders. I am always looking into the some little details not to be some mistakes or incorrect. Need more attention really this and thank a lot again.

Comment provided April 5, 2013 at 6:05 AM

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31
AJay Korekamane writes:

I bought my website so that I could make some money in return for the money I spent and time and effort exerted. I would like to have a high quality website. This information is invaluable. Thank you.

Comment provided April 6, 2013 at 4:21 AM

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32
phuong zee writes:

buiding a best website is very harf, and long-term work!
this information very important with me, thank you

Comment provided July 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM

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33
tom jaey writes:

Chankey, you mean they are doing that w/o giving you credit? There is a site that has copied ALL my writings and “infers” that he wrote it, that is a violation big time so I get that protest. Is that the kind of thing you are talking about?

Comment provided February 6, 2014 at 11:56 AM

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34
tom jaey writes:

Nicely written article. Thank you! We give clients the same advice…although, I like how you have broken down what exactly relevant and quality content is.

Comment provided February 6, 2014 at 11:58 AM

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