Provide credible, original content in as many forms as possible.
Original content is the most important trait of a great Web site. Sites that provide only links to other sites are essentially meta-lists (although Yahoo seems to be doing well :), while sites that have some information that’s useful to the user stand out and will be revisited.
Provide valuable, timely information to the user, not lots of data.
Web sites should be updated regularly. Stale Web sites say “been there, done that.” For the information to be valuable it should be well-edited. For external links include only the best sites with concise descriptions. For internal content be like a magazine editor, don’t rush to publish mediocre or incomplete articles.
Share everything you learn
Great Web sites share everything they learn and hear (that’s relevant of course) with their users. Give behind the scenes accounts of your latest site features, go open source, start a newsletter, and you’ll get more than you give.
Be responsive on a 56 Kbps modem (the typical Web user).
Be easy to read.
Make your pages as easy to read as possible. Black text on a white background (as this page is set up) is the easiest to read. I’ve seen some nearly impossible to read pages that use backgrounds the same shade as the text (dark text on a dark background and vice versa). If you use a background, stick with the lighter shades and let the text stay black. Use a wide and short (we use 700 X 16 pixels) background graphic that’s non-interlaced and under 1K or <BODY BGCOLOR=”#ffffff”>now includes style sheets that can control page, link, and text color attributes site-wide, and make maintenance easy.
Be interactive; good interactivity engages the user and makes your site memorable.
Balance the number of levels (the degree of hyperization) with page length to minimize scrolling and display time.
Dominate a subject area; become the site for that subject.
Don’t duplicate a list when you can point to it. Leverage other people’s work to reduce your workload. Let others who specialize in a particular topic keep their list up to date for you. On the other hand, don’t make lists that point to lists ad infinitum, seek out the meat of the site and point directly to the article or resource. Many sites on the Web are just lists that someone else has already done.