What steps should we take on our website to establish credibility and build trust with our visitors and prospective customers? The reliability of our website affects whether a visitor takes the next step to contact the organization, make a purchase or just leave our site and go on to the next.
Website modernization is a must, because Visual Credibility Matters – the way we dress, smile and the landing page of our site matters for a 1st impression.
According to a Stanford study on web credibility, credibility is “perceived trustworthiness + perceived expertise.”
Why is establishing our website’s credibility so important?
- Our websites are frequently the first stop for a prospective customer
- We will ask, can I trust this business? Is this company up to date? This question is at the forefront of the minds of prospects when they arrive on our website via search engines, directories or social media
- The credibility of our website has a direct impact on our bottom line and our ability to generate leads and sales
It is up to us to take all the necessary steps to ensure that we are creating a website that makes users comfortable enough to consider doing business with us. In other words, create a website that shows our business is trustworthy.
There are Four Types of Credibility
- Presumed credibility – A belief based on general assumption. E.g., we see a .org website and believe it is a non-profit or charity that we count as trustworthy. What would we think if we were sending messages to an AOL email address? The company comes across as less credible.
- Reputed credibility – A belief based on someone we view as authoritative or credible, e.g., Gary Vee’s recommendation of a product. Someone tells us of a bad experience with a company, and we are less likely to view that company as credible.
- Surface credibility –A belief based on our first impression. E.g., a website that looks professional is credible, but a website that looks confusing comes across as less reliable.
- Earned credibility – A belief based on experience with the site. E.g., a website that is easy to use increases credibility. A website with broken links is less credible.
We are here to help:
Concept@2completion or 480-886-8066
C2C Website Credibility Checklist
We should build trust and show trustworthiness on our sites. We will start with some simple and easy to fix suggestions:
List a physical street address on our website
Listing a physical street address on our website helps establish our trustworthiness, not just to our website visitors but to search engines as well. A physical address tells visitors that we are a real, established business. It also gives them peace of mind when doing business with us. The ideal place to list our physical address is either in our website’s footer at the bottom of the site or on a dedicated contact page.
Make our phone number highly visible
A prominent phone number on our website not only tells our visitors that they can reach us, but it also shows them that we want to connect. Sites that make visitors search for their phone number or hide it sends the wrong message. Place the phone number at the top of our website. Period. The key is always to make it easy for our website visitors, prospects, and customers to contact us.
Use trust seals that are verified by third parties.
Trust seals are especially necessary for websites that collect sensitive information such as credit card information. A trust seal tells website visitors that our website is legitimate and a third party has verified it. Hacking of data is becoming an increasingly severe problem for businesses of all sizes. These seals can make it easier for customers to hand over sensitive information knowing that we are taking extra steps to secure our website.
Ensure our website is visually appealing – THIS IS HUGE
A study by the University of Melbourne shows that “prettier websites gain trust.” This is further backed up by a study by One Poll that found “that 70 percent of people claim they would not buy from a company with a badly designed site.”
This statistic is real; we can just look at our google analytics bounce rate to prove it.
Testimonials and reviews are a critical factor in the prospects buying decision. A study by BrightLocal found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. “72% say that positive reviews make them trust a business more.” Ask current customers to provide feedback and testimonials. Testimonials and reviews make great sales messages. An effective testimonial shares a relatable or similar experience a prospect may be having and how we fixed it. We can also make our testimonials more effective if we include a photo of the customer or have it in a video. The video is king, but that is for another post.
Highlight professional affiliations and memberships.
Do we belong to any professional organizations that are recognizable in our industry? If so, highlight our professional affiliations and memberships by displaying their logos on our website and linking to their site. By aligning our company with other well-respected brands, we can boost our reputation, credibility, and trust.
Put a human face on our business.
Putting pictures of our team members on our business website helps prospective customers get a better idea of who is behind the company and adds a personal touch. However, don’t overdo it. Beer drinking ping pong is so 2009. Keep the photos professional and sprinkle in a little fun.
Consider publishing a guarantee
Guarantees are a great way to make it easy to persuade prospective customers to do business with us. It sets us apart from our competitors and lowers the risk for the prospect. There are several ways we can offer our customers a guarantee such as a refund, a lifetime warranty, satisfaction of product or service.
Show social proof
Do we have social media accounts with sizeable followings? Publish social media feeds on our website that shows the number of followers we have, helping create instant credibility.
Have we been featured or contributed to notable news or industry publications? If we get a lot or a little media coverage, make sure we brag about it. Create a press page or highlight the logos on our website to boost our credibility. Press mentions are great for demonstrating expertise.
Keep our website content updated
Have we been to a website where the information is outdated? Past promotions or event dates still appear on the site even though they have expired, or content that is no longer relevant for today still exists? This does not reflect well. Ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our website content fresh and updated. It is suitable for our visitors and search engines.
Keep good company
Websites that we link to from our site can affect our website’s credibility. Ensure that we are keeping good company by paying attention to the place that we link.
Improve our website load time
Websites that take a long time to load give the wrong first impression, according to an NY Times impatient web users flee slow loading websites. A study by Kissmetrics found that “47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and every second we shave off of load time we will tend to boost customer confidence and trust in our site.”
In conclusion, Fogg says, “to improve the credibility of our website, find what elements our target audience interprets most favorably and make those elements most prominent.”
We hope you find this website credibility checklist valuable.
Planning a Website update or redesign? We do this and Branding all in one.
Call us or send us an email:
Concept@2completion or 480-886-8066
2018 – Protect Your Brand, Project Your Brand