SEO · WebMaster Resources

50 Questions to Evaluate the Quality of Your Website

I know, it has been a while since my last post, but I was crazy busy. I have something else that I plan to write about in my queue, but it is not finished yet. But I have something else ready that is also fairly useful in my humble opinion.

Here is a long and pretty detailed list of questions that a website owner should asked himself about his own website. If the answer to every question that follows below was answered with yes, you can be very pleased with yourself and consider yourself the top of the crop, because most websites have flaws for a number of different reasons, mostly related to the limitation of resources and sacrifices that must be made as a direct result of the shortage.

This 50 questions long questionnaire might trigger something here and there for some of you or maybe brings some forgotten item from the long to-do list back into your mind. In short, I am sure that the list benefits a number of different people.If you think that something is missing or not clear, let me know and leave a comment to the post in the form below.

Accessibility

  1. Is content structurally separate from navigational elements?
  2. Is the website cross-browser compatible?
  3. How compliant is the website with W3C coding standards? Valid HTML/CSS?
  4. Are ‘alt’ tags in place on all significant images?
  5. Are text-based alternatives in place to convey essential information if this is featured within images or multimedia files?

Navigation

  1. Are links labeled with anchor text that provides a clear indication of where they lead.
  2. Depth – what is the maximum number of clicks it takes to reach a page within the depths of the site?
  3. If a splash screen or navigation feature is provided in a Java/JavaScript/Flash format, is a text-based alternative also available?
  4. Responsive on Click feedback – Is a response given immediately (0.1 seconds) after a click is made on a hyperlink?
  5. Do clickable items stylistically indicate that they are clickable?
  6. How intuitive is it to navigate? Are signs obvious or obscured? Buttons/Links Like Text, that are not clickable and vice versa, links/buttons that cannot be identified as such
  7. readability (somewhat addressed already), type face, font size
  8. clear statement of PURPOSE of the site? Purpose must become clear within a few seconds without reading much or no text copy at all.
  9. Call to action on every page, no dead ends
  10. Is a logical site map available?, If not, is a keyword-based search feature available? Note: Large (multi-thousands of pages) sites should have a search form.

Design

  1. Is the site’s design aesthetically appealing?
  2. Are the colors used harmonious and logically related?
  3. Are the color choices visually accessible? (For example high enough in contrast to assist the colorblind and visually impaired in reading the site appropriately)
  4. Is the design audience appropriate?- The standard text size should be readable, for visitors who don’t know how to adjust their browsers.
  5. The fonts should be easily readable, and degrade gracefully.- Should look OK on various screen resolutions.

Content

  1. Is the website copy succinct but informative?
  2. Does the copywriting style suit the website’s purpose and ‘speak’ to its target audience?
  3. Are bodies of text constrained to <80 characters per line?
  4. Can text be resized through the browser or do CSS settings restrict size alteration?
  5. Is the contrast between text and its background color sufficient to make reading easy on the eyes?
  6. Is text broken into small, readable chunks and highlighted using headings, sub-headings and emphasis features where appropriate to assist in skimming?
  7. Within articles, there should be links to more detailed explanations of subjects, or definitions of jargon terms. Are you doing that?
  8. Do you have an “about page” that identifies the author of the content, credits to source for content that was not written by the site owner himself
  9. Do you have testimonials and publish them on the site?
  10. Do you update the content regularly and don’t live by the phrase “set it and forget it”?

Security

  1. Any obvious security flaws?
  2. How resilient are forms to special characters?
  3. Private directories password protected via .htaccess?
  4. Are public non-document directories (cgi-bin, images, etc) index able or are blank index.html pages or appropriate permission settings in place to block access?
  5. Is customer data stored online? If so, is this database appropriately safeguarded against external access?

Other Technical Considerations

  1. Does the site load quickly – even for dialup users?
  2. Are all links (internal and external) valid and active?
  3. Are scripts free from errors?
  4. Is the website free from server side errors?

Other Marketing Considerations

  1. Is the website properly optimized for search engines (essential text emphasized, title tags relevant, title text presented in H1, outbound links reliable and contextually related, etc)
  2. Does the index page entice a visitor deeper into the site or shopping cart?
  3. Does the website contain elements designed to encourage future or viral visitation (i.e. a contest, newsletter, tell-a-friend feature, and forum with subscription option, downloadable toolbar, RSS feed or similar)? – Different Title for every page that start (or at least have it as 2nd or 3rd word) with the single most relevant key phrase that describes the content or function of the page the best. (if you have to explain what the page is for and can only use 1-3 words as Keyword or Phrase, what would it be?)
  4. Robots.txt configured?
  5. Site Map available?
  6. Is every page accessible at least via a single plain HTML Link (no JavaScript or Flash Link)?
  7. Does every page have at least some text in the content? (How much Text remains on the Page if you remove all Images, Videos, Flash, Java Applets and JavaScript Code? Anything? Is the remainder still states the pages purpose?)
  8. Is every individual page only accessible via a single URL or are several URLs available (and worse, used) to access the same page? Duplicate Content Issue, Canonical URLs.

Legal Stuff/Re-Assurance/Legitimization

  1. Contact Page with Real Address, Phone Number (Toll Free for Business) and Contact Form or Email available, basically a clear and easy to use feedback/contact mechanism? A visitor might not assume webmaster@ or you might want them to write elsewhere, or you might prefer to give them a form to structure their communications.
  2. DMCA Notice up? Terms of Use page available where you specify what you do and why and what visitors have to agree on if they want to use your site? This is to protect yourself from complains or worse regarding things that you cannot control properly, such as links to 3rd party websites or Ads from automated systems such as Google AdSense etc.
  3. Privacy Policy up (especially if you collect data, email, names, and web analytics tracking cookies)?

Cheers!
Carsten Cumbrowski
Internet Marketing Resources at Cumbrowski.com including very comprehensive product data feed resources for advertisers and publishers.

e6149739a0ceadb8fde822225838bd26 64 50 Questions to Evaluate the Quality of Your Website
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over 10 years experience in Web Development and 20 years in programming and computers in general. He has a personal Internet Marketing Resources site at Cumbrowski.com. To learn more about Carsten, check out the "About Page" at his web site. For additional contact options see this page.

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78 thoughts on “50 Questions to Evaluate the Quality of Your Website

  1. Oh wait, after re-reading it about 10 times, it dawned on me. That’s a typo and should have been “toll free” not “tool free”, right? That makes it make sense. With tool free, I was trying to figure out if it was some kind of web 2.0 phone service that I’d missed. :)

  2. @ Donna : Thanks for catching that! One of those odd typos which makes it through spell check.

    @ Carsten : excellent write up!!

    I foresee this being quite useful to those inside and out of the search engine and publishing field and a real gem. Definitely in my bookmarks for my own projects and future consulting tips.

  3. I wish I could say yes to most of these but sadly I can’t. I have got alot of work to do.
    No rest for the wicked.
    Thanks for the great list, why am I saying thanks you have give me plenty of work to do.
    Regards

  4. Oops.. sorry for the typo, yeah, it looked all nice and correct in Word :).

    Regarding the list…

    It’s hard to get everything right, but at least you should keep those things in mind and and try to follow as much of them as you can, at least partially. Just thinking about them is a start already and some things are actually pretty simple, just forgotten sometimes :)

  5. An excellent Q&A for those new to web design & development.

    One thing I must point out, though: there’s no such thing as an alt tag.

    There’s alt attribute for an image tag, but not alt tag.

    Major pet peeve of mine…

  6. “There’s alt attribute for an image tag, but not alt tag.”

    Wayne, you are right, but I didn’t want to confuse people and start talking about elements (or tags), attributes, attribute values, non-standard attribute values (e.g. nofollow hehe) etc.

    :) Cheers!
    Carsten

  7. Hello,

    Very nice post, “my Sphinn”! Shared in my blog too, http://www.smarketer.blogpsot.com

    Just 1 question, I think Web Hosting is also a question a webmaster need to look in to, when it comes to specific targetted keywords based on the region,(Keyword + Location) for Search Engines.

    Let me know what is your opinion?

    Thx
    aj

  8. Good point AJ.

    Lenth of domain registration also plays a role btw. domains registered for one year only are less trustworthy than domains that are registered for 10 years right from the start. 1 year is the minimum and not much time to develop a good site, a 10 year registration on the other hand shows that the owner is serious about his site and that he has long time goals with it.

  9. Great list!!As i’m a owner for a site. I launched my site before two months. I beleive my site has most of the qualities as you mentioned.

  10. Great job of consolidating all this information into a concise, usable list. Good questions for web designers, bloggers, and SEOers. Thanks!

  11. These are great questions and this is a checklist that should not be ignored when designing a website (and then performing QA on it afterwards).

  12. Hi,

    That’s a great list of valid Q’s. Worth bookmarking. I have done it.

    Thanks a lot.

    Amit

  13. i got so exasperated at the expression “alt tags” that i stopped reading.
    they’re ATTRIBUTES, ok?
    now i see someone else has commented on this, and you’ve responded.
    you don’t want to “confuse” people?? you talk about robots.txt, .htaccess, (no, still haven’t read it all, just scanning for terms), canonical URLs .. yet you think “attributes” would confuse?? if people know about all these other highly technical aspects, don’t you think they’d already know what an attribute is? all you are doing is perpetuating an incorrect terminology.
    5 bucks says you didn’t actually think about it at all, you typed it like that because you really do call them “alt tags”.
    you’ve used the term numous times in other articles on this site, and so does everyone else here (just search for “alt tags”). you all talk about very technical stuff, hardly the stuff of newbies, and yet YOU ALL SAY “ALT TAGS”.
    totally useless.
    no credibility.

  14. Great point of reference when designing a survey for feedback from users on your web design and functionality.

  15. @David:

    The common web user routinely looks for a sitemap in the same manner someone would look at a table of contents in a magazine or journal.

    Search engines look for a sitemap.xml file which can be listed in Robots.txt.

    Both are of great importance.

  16. Well i asked the above questions to myself when i evaluated the my site quality and to be frank i didnt scored very well. I would start working on it though from today.

    thanks a lot for your eye opener.

  17. Very nice check up list, even tho must of us already know the importance of such factors, it’s nice to have them in one place :)

  18. Came back due too e-mails sent out to me by those still commenting.. and I had to correct Who ever is was Annoyed !!

    If this person could ONLY get off their brains and read to comprehend they might really realize that Alt tags are NOT attributes..

    DUMMY, hohoho merry X-mas

    STRAIGHTALK
    Norman Flecha
    http://www.straightalk.biz

  19. Gracias Carsten. (Thank)

    Justo lo que estaba buscando. (Just I was looking.)

    Saludos (Bye)

    Ernesto
    From Panama.

  20. Firstly of all,you article is really great,among these factors,I think the most important thing is Content.
    But I will take care of other factors.
    Thank you.
    Avery