A website which attracts more traffic and brings more business
I suspect the OP was looking at it from the other perspective?
The user, not the seller.
Or maybe I am wrong?
Anyway, for me a great site is one that;
1/ loads quickly
2/ doesn't have music as a background
3/ doesn't use fonts that need a telescope
4/ gives me the information I wanted clearly and logically
5/ doesn't assume that because i live in xyz I need my info in xyzese
This is simple... A website that provides me with the information I need to know in order to make a purchase is GREAT by my standards. Most websites are all about 'me, me, me' and doesn't address the needs of the visitor. If a website can pick-up on the dialogue that's taking place in my head when I land on their site, then it's highly likely I'm buying...
I agree with many points mentioned by other authors. My 2 cents is an aesthetic value - we all are living people and always prefer to deal with pleasant for eyes (not only for minds) things and websites. That is why design is becoming more and more important in business as a powerful way to compete and stand out your service or product from the competition. Just remember iPhone or iPad - design definitely helps them to be in great demand.
A great website is one that has a predefined objective then attracts visitors and encourages them to meet the objective. Too many people settle for electronic brochures full of inward facing "About Us" style content that stresses features over benefits. That does little to affect a visitor's buying decision. A great website speaks to a visitor's need, desire, and/or pain point, builds trust and creates some sense of urgency to complete an obvious business objective (make a phone call, fill out form, join newsletter, or make a purchase). It is not uncommon to have multiple objectives and that can be easily handled usually pursuing something like an identification strategy.
Good design is important but a distant second place to intuitive navigation that direct a visitor to what they are looking for and gets them to complete a business objective.
John Wanamaker said "Half my advertising is working. The problem is, I don't know which half" A website solves that problem. Your website designer/developer better be able to tell you how each element of your website and web marketing is working and prove it with empirical (and therefore quantifiable) data.
I agree that you should get a web site designer that can explain things. I am a web designer and i walk my clients through what I code and what is going on,( Sometimes I get I dont care that is whay I hired you to do it speech) But I attempt to try to get them to understand what i am doing. This way i have a complete trust and not just a client
A great website converts browsers to buyers...it's just that simple
What would be the most important quality for a page to have that keeps users coming back to it?
A great website would be defined entirely by the objectives and goal of the site.
A great picture gallery website would have very different criteria than a great theoretical physics reference website, which would be very different criteria from a gaming website, and so on.
I suppose you could try to generalize to cover all cases by saying that a great website is one that gives the visitor what he/she wants and/or needs. But being that broad makes it nearly a useless definition.
For me, the greatest of websites I've encountered have at least one of these 3 qualities:
A great website is EXACTLY like a good book. Good books make the New York Times best seller list because they have some or all of these values: either interesting, informational, entertaining, enlightening, popular, useful, educational and/or illustrative.
What is your reference to a great website?