Though this idiom makes sense when it comes to prejudging books on their appearance, the advice doesn’t quite work with websites.
When you visit a website that looks unprofessional and a little off, you probably have good reason to be suspicious. Phishing scams and malicious websites are all over the web, and the folks behind them are targeting anyone who has their guard down.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and that’s why your website’s credibility is so important. With a well-designed, trustworthy website, you can make customers feel welcome, build trust, and—if all goes well—close sales.
Most online shoppers are savvy, understanding that they need to be cautious when making online purchases. When you run into a website with red flags, it is generally a good enough reason to look for a substitute vendor.
Don’t give your customers—and potential customers—a reason to mistrust your website and find an alternative. Make it more credible by following these eight strategies.
1. Limit advertisementsHave you ever clicked somewhere on a webpage, and—instead of reaching your desired destination—you were redirected to a different page showing an advertisement? This is just one reason why most web users find ads irritating.
Another reason is that a known hacker tactic for stealing user information is to trick website ad networks into running infected ads. Unless advertisements are your main source of revenue, avoid them if possible or at the very least limit the number that you run to increase your website’s trustworthiness.
2. Showcase security badgesAdding recognized security badges to your the website will improve its status. Let users know which security measures your IT team has implemented to protect website visitors. Here are some examples of security badges.
3. Provide contact informationIncluding basic contact information makes your visitors subconsciously aware that there is a legitimate business behind your website and that there are people with whom they can go to and address their concerns, if necessary.
To improve your website’s reputation, include basic contact information, such as:
- Physical address
- Phone number
- Email address
- Links to your company’s social media accounts on channels like LinkedIn and Facebook
4. Prioritize designProfessional design makes a website look more trustworthy and supports your perceived expertise. When your website is designed thoughtfully, you’ll benefit from the strategic advantages that come with this credibility.
According to research by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, about 46% of the customers commented on website’s design (look and feel) more than they commented on any other factor, making it a primary influencer in determining a website’s credibility.
5. Include clear FAQs and policiesWhen you have FAQs with answers to common inquiries on your website, your users will have an easier time finding the basic types of information they might be looking for and this means they won’t have to contact someone from your company to get answers to their simple questions.
When you feature your company policies clearly on the website, this also adds to your credibility. For example, if your company has an e-commerce website, you should state important information, including refunds, exchanges, and money-back-guarantee policies. Providing and sharing these policies on your website may also prove helpful in the case of any disputes.
6. Eliminate technical issuesMaintain your website regularly to minimize technical issues, such as broken forms and incorrect links. The page loading speed is another important technical issue to pay attention to. Very slow loading websites are irritating. For a good conversion rate, your website should load fast. Find a good hosting service that can provide fast loading and very little downtime, if any.
7. Focus on grammar and typographyNo one wants to read huge blocks of text in hot pink script type on a red background. Choose typefaces that are easy to read, and set copy in colors that also support legibility. Here are a few more tips about typography to take into consideration when designing your website:
- Size matters: Don’t go too small. Many users struggle to read type when it’s too small.
- Keep it short and sweet: Whenever possible, write copy that is brief and format it with subheads and bullet points to make it easy to scan.
- Pick pleasing colors: Opt for color combinations that are soothing to the eye.
No one likes to see grammatical errors and typos on a website. Before publishing, don’t forget to edit, edit, edit.Tweet this
8. Incorporate staff detailsBuild a page on your website with more information about your company’s leadership and other key staff members to add credibility. The inclusion of a team page shows that your company is real, it has real employees, and that it is not a fraud.
Your website should support your business, not detract from it. As part of your larger digital marketing efforts, a credible website will make a difference by strengthening your brand, whereas a bad website will only hurt your reputation. Take the time to follow these tips for building your website’s credibility.