Are you looking to build your first website? Or maybe you have someone doing that for you now? If your answer is yes to either of these two questions then you need to read the rest of this article. The differences between a good website and a bad website can be subtle to novice website buyers / designers. But the effects that are caused by those subtle differences can be quite noticeable over a long period of time, which is the reason why you need to be able to spot them as soon as possible during the website creation process.
A good website should have useful content that is relevant to the targeted users. If you put a lot of low quality content on your web site your visitors will be leave your website within seconds. If you have an article section then it needs to have up to date information. Avoid using content that you have little to no knowledge of. Ideally, you should create all website contents yourself, however, if the time is an issue, you could try hiring a website content writer to create unique contents for you. Remember, you will be using the website for one or two years at least if it's well designed, so it would be wise to invest some time and thoughts into the content creation part.
If a website is poorly designed and lacks in purpose then it will not be able to do what you want it to do. Every website should have a goal behind it. What do you want it to achieve? Once that's established, you can then design the pages around that. You need to identify one most important element on every page and start designing from that area. This way you will be able to make the pages more focused and targeted.
I have seen websites that use one design style on one page and another on other pages. This is a very bad practice. There are exceptions of course, one of them is when you have an unique section within your website, like special offers, poll, message board etc. Typically, you should keep all sub-pages the same in terms of design.
A visually pleasant good website can give your visitors the impression of ease of use. It's the same reason why people "think" Apple computers are easier to use than PC. Users are more likely to "forgive" a visually pleasant website than an average looking website. Thus, your visitors would be more likely to stay longer if you design your website properly. Make all the important link graphics or text highly visible on the page so that the users can navigate around your website with ease.
These are some characteristics of a good website , if you follow these guidelines your website will be better than at least 50% of the websites out there now.