How to Evaluate a Website
It can be hard to tell if a website has good or accurate information. How do you know if you should trust the information you find on the Internet? Here's some tips for how to weed out the bad sites and keep the good websites:
Who made it?
- Look for information about who created the site - is there an email or postal address, "About Us" on the navigation bar or a biography about the person/s responsible for the site? Does the individual or group have authority about the subject/do they have education or experience in the subject?
Click "more info" or see below for all the tips.
When was it last updated?
- Look for a "last updated" note on the bottom or top of the homepage; sometimes interior pages may have different dates. Signs that a site is regularly updated is especially important if information is time sensitive or if you want the most current or up-to-date information.
Is it clear what it's about?
- You should be able to determine a site's purpose readily from the homepage, and the organization's purpose should be clear. "About" or a site map will often provide more information.
Are there a lot of ads?
- Ads can be annoying, but they're not necessarily bad; sometimes they're necessary so that a site can support itself. Look at who's advertising and see if they benefit from this website.
Is it easy to find the information you need?
- Good organization is important and so is well-written content - beware of typos, and contradictory information. Navigation needs to be simple, and functionality somewhat intuitive (something that's easy and obvious to you).
As well as knowing if a website's information is reliable, it's important to be safe on the Internet. Check out this article for more information on Schlow's Internet policy and some suggested Internet Guidelines.
Thanks to Laurina Cashin, We Love Children's Books, for this information from the PALINET Education Program, March 2007.