A new website evaluation report from Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab suggests that usability problems like broken links, slow pages and accessibility problems can have the same devastating impact on a website as poor design and faulty navigation.

The Stanford study created a rank-order index of factors that undermine a website's credibility. While the inability to distinguish ads from content proved most damaging, broken links, slow to download pages, stale content and links to external sites that lack credibility also rated very poorly with users.

The implication for website managers is to remain ever vigilant, and to minimize usability problems of all types, no matter how small they may seem.

The good news is that a SiteTechnician website evaluation can diagnose and identify many of these problems for you. SiteTechnician's Load Time and Broken Links reports analyze page download times and identify broken links, respectively. Furthermore, SiteTechnician's Old Pages report pinpoints stale content while the External Link Catalog creates an index of all links to external sites to enable you to quickly evaluate the appropriateness of these links. Additionally, SiteTechnician pinpoints website Accessibility problems, identifies Search Engine Optimization incompatibilities, and provides 5 additional reports that can help you manage content changes over time.

website credibility  

  Read the full Stanford report, What Makes Web Sites Credible? A Report on a Large Quantitative Study.