There has been an increase in the number of websites over the past few years with recordings of over 100 websites registered and uploaded daily. The problem comes in where not all websites are uploaded with the motives of helping the viewers with rich content, but some of these websites have been for the wrong purposes. This has led to the need to address the issue on how to evaluate these websites and to enable one distinguish between helpful websites from misleading websites. Users have had a problem identifying fake websites from the real websites. This is due to the canning nature of some developers who have gone to the extent of imitating other legal websites so as to attain the traffic they want on their sites. Due to this reason and other reasons, the number of fake and misleading websites on the internet keeps on rising. In this paper, we will address the different approaches that can be used to evaluate the different websites on the internet before relying on the content on the website.
The first thing that helps on identify the originality of the website is by identifying the websites authorized owner. This involves the person who created the website. Most of the legal websites have a direct link to the owner of the site and ow one can contact them. Also, the website contains information relevant to the viewer about the owner. This creates a trust between the viewer of the website and the owner of the website (Thielsch et al., 2013). A good example of this is the About section in most of these websites, the information of the owner is found here where the viewer can get the physical address of the owner if provided or the contact information of the owner. Also, the owner provides his credentials which certify his or her prowess in the field or the subject the website handles. This shows that the owner of the website is competent in his field and the information given on the website is authentic. But when it comes to the other websites with unreliable content the owner of the websites hardly gives any information in relation to them. The website has completely no information that can link the content to the developer of the website and in case one comes across such a website then one should be concerned.
The audience of the website are the people who visit the website. This is an important thing that helps one evaluate a website. The content of the website determines the audience of the website and the authenticity of the website can give enough evaluation content for the site. Website with poorly structured content with less value can be easily associated with few audience and this implies the websites nature. But on the other hand, a website with a large audience implies that the content of the website is valuable and worth looking at. This validates the authenticity of the website as well as the productive nature of the website.
All the content available on a website has a source and the source of this information dictates the accuracy of the content. For the evaluation purposes, websites with sources of their content and links to these sources indicate the reliability of the sources. Information on such a website proves to be more reliable due to this reason but on the other hand, in case the site has information that has been gathered but no sources this leaves the reader in a confused state to whether to believe the information or disregard it since there are not distinctive sources. All so the informations grammar, spellings and other typographic errors are important in identifying the websites validity (Thielsch et al., 2013). For the well-constructed website, the developer takes time to ensure these things are clear of any errors since their intent is to help the viewer and not any other agenda unlike developers of the other unclear websites where the developer is motivated by other goals hence issues such as grammatic errors of the site's content bother them less. This brings us to the point of the objective of the developer. The objective of the developer shapes the website's purpose. Websites developed by a developer who has the intent to help other is more reliable as compared to a website developed by a developer who is entirely behind financial gains or other objectives.
Also, another major thing to observe when evaluating a website is addressing the issue on the website's currency. This involves issues such as the last time the website was updated. A website updated frequently implies that the information on the website is recent and the website is well informed, unlike the websites where information's last update was six months ago. Viewers appreciate recent information since the content covered by the websites is relevant to the issues they are interested in (Thielsch et al., 2013). Also, how well does the website cover the issues it addresses. In case a website's information seems rushed, it implies that the developer did not take enough time to cover all the relevant fields hence working with such a website ends up misleading viewers. But for the sites with an in-depth research shows the dedication the developer which helps a view evaluate the site. The last and the most important thing is the layout and the design of the website. Poorly developed websites have poor layouts and designs since the developer is not after great display of their content but other agendas which is opposite for a website with valuable material (Thielsch et al., 2013). The developer ensures the website has the best layout and designs so as to ensure their content can be easily managed.
Evaluation of websites is critical to many viewers since the content of these sites is to be used in different instances and in case the wrong information is used, then this can result in bad outcomes. With the growing rate of reliance to websites, its important for one to learn how to identify the effective websites from the irrelevant websites on the internet.
Thielsch, M. T., Blotenberg, I., & Jaron, R. (2013). User evaluation of websites: From first impression to recommendation. Interacting with Computers, 26(1), 89-102.
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