How to make a good website - TIPS FOR MAKING A BETTER WEBSITE OR BLOG

I THINK THERE ARE FIVE REALLY CORE PRINCIPLES THAT SHOULD BE THOUGHT ABOUT SERIOUSLY WHEN DESIGNING ANY WEBSITE.



NAVIGATION. 
Viewers should have a good idea of where they can actually click, and what, roughly, they'll be clicking to. Ideally, links should have terse, descriptive text that makes it clear what the link goes to, and if the text is an actual text link and not an image, that's good for search engines as well. Most pages should be accessible from the main page with no more than three, maybe four clicks. Pages should not have broken links if at all possible. I've broken that rule a lot and I'm sorry, it's sometimes tricky to keep up with all of the changes in website structure. If your audience is confused by the layout of your site and can't find what they are looking for, they will leave. Note the emphasis I've placed on navigation in as few clicks as possible on this site, even though there are over 50 pages here, each and every one of them (and more!) can be accessed directly - quickly - from the dropdowns at the top of each and every page!

CONTENT.
They say 'content is king' and it's true. If nothing is on your site, that people want to read or look at, they'll leave. Always try to provide something of value on every site, whether it's humor or pretty imagery or information. Give them something that makes them want to visit your site. And if you'd like them to stay around long-term, do what you can to update the content, adding new stuff every now and then.
One reason YouTube is so popular, is because they have a ton of content for people to look at. That's their strongest point as a website. They may not excel in all five principles but are adequate at least in all of them and amazing in terms of the sheer volume of content they've accumulated.

READABILITY.
Studies indicate that high-contrast sites with white backgrounds and black text, with sans serif text in a simple 12 pt. to 15 pt. font like Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, Lucida Grande or Helvetica, are easiest to read. That's important.
Nobody wants to be on a site where there's a wall of tiny light gray text on a slightly darker gray background. People willl, again, leave.

AESTHETICS.
Websites should look nice. Clean, organized layouts with tasteful and clear graphic design are good. Pages loaded with obnoxious background pop music and randomly positioned flashing GIFs are terrible.
Think about the consistent, clear design of Facebook versus the older MySpace. There's a reason why most people left MySpace. It was frequently ugly.

PERFORMANCE.
If your site takes an hour to load, people will leave. Unless there's a really good reason not to, keep loading times quick and compress your graphics files as much as you can without making them look bad. 
I know, I know, my main page here takes a bit long to load. It's mostly due to the video though - it begins downloading the second the page opens, and I think on a site like this one where the visuals are key to the site's appeal, I needed to grab attention quickly with something visual. If I didn't do that on the main page, more people would leave.
Generally, however, fast loading time is good. Even though I used video, it isn't huge and it IS compressed, so that could've been far worse.
Google became a dominant search engine initially because they were clean, simple, usable, and the site loaded fast. Sites that became successful usually followed all of these rules as well as they could.


IN CONCLUSION:

This is a recurring point I'd like to make - there are hundreds of millions of sites online, and it is VERY EASY to lose people because there are lots of shiny things on the internet that can distract them.

So don't waste their time on a badly designed site or blog. Make yours as good as you're able to. I know that often the need to fulfill one of these five principles will compromise the others. Do as well as you can to balance them all and not screw any of these five concepts up too badly.
Ads on TriumphantArtists.com and other websites run by Matthew Hornbostel, include banner ads from Comic Ad Network [top ad - an unfiltered banner rotation system predominantly used by web comics, art sites, but occasionally some questionable items.] and my own banner rotation system [bottom - anything here is either my own stuff like websites, online shops, or social media profiles, or has been vetted by me and found to be generally legit. I have several cashback sites [all of them are ones I've used and cashed out tens of $ from successfully already] and major online retail stores [Sony, Microsoft, Amazon...] in that mix. Usually they give me some sort of small compensation if you buy from them through the link, which I'm disclosing right now. They're all legit spots, but if skeptical do your own research before committing to anything.]