5 Guidelines for a Trustworthy Website

You finally took the leap and created your own website. Congratulations!

As you built your site, you carefully crafted dynamic landing pages using compelling copy and stunning images. Once your website was up and running, you focused on your marketing efforts and on growing your social media presence. Then, like most online business owners, you turned to advertising in order to boost traffic and increase revenue.

It's all about trust

Despite your best efforts, you’re not getting the results you had hoped for and you have no idea why. As far as you know, you did everything right. What could you possibly be missing?

TRUST.

Although difficult to quantify and often only experienced on a subconscious level, trust is a deciding factor in the majority of business decisions, both on and offline.

When someone visits your website for the first time, they decide in just 3 to 8 seconds whether to stay or bounce (leave). The decision is based, in part, on concrete, measurable elements such as load time, website design, and a clear value proposition (or lack thereof). The potential customer may also base their decision on perceived attributes, such as whether or not the website is trustworthy.

 

How trustworthy is your website?

If you’re struggling with low conversion rates and sluggish sales, your website may be suffering from trust issues. Quickly improve your website’s integrity with these five tips and convert those first time visitors into loyal customers.

 

1. Win them over with words

Although great website design can help grab people’s attention, it’s the words on the page that will keep them on your site longer and it’s those words that will ultimately convince them to make a purchase.

“Good words are worth much, and cost little.” -George Herbert

The best way to instill trust in visitors to your website? Win them over with words. Start with well written content on your website, blog, and social media pages. Then carefully check that all content is clear, concise, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Give them the facts and keep those facts quick and easy to find. Research shows internet users prefer down-to-earth, conversational language, short sentences, and short paragraphs.

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” -C.S. Lewis

Take the time to proofread ALL text on your website, blog, and social media pages thoroughly. Once you’ve proofread it, have at least two other people proofread it. If you do not have access people who can help, consider an online service like Grammarly.com which can help out on that front.

Grammatical and spelling errors on your website tell visitors that you’re not taking their time seriously. If you didn’t take the time to proofread your content, why should they take the time to read it?

If you don’t have a native English speaker with strong editing skills on your team, outsource it. With a variety of freelance websites out there, it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to outsource proofreading and editing tasks.

When your content looks professionally written and edited, your site will seem exponentially more credible. It also helps if you know what you’re writing about. Content on your website, blog, and social media pages should not only be well written, it should be accurate and authoritative.

Back up statements and claims with facts and references when appropriate and when in doubt about your own writing abilities, outsource content creation to actual experts. Invite your business partners and networking contacts to contribute content to your site. Know someone who works for an SEO and marketing firm? Perfect! Invite them to write a blog post about the latest algorithm update.

 

2. Help them put a face to the name

A quality “About” page is an excellent way to establish credibility with new visitors to your website. Help them put a face to the name by including photos of yourself, your team, and your company’s offices if applicable. Accompany photos with brief bios and social media contact info for your team members.

About Jimdo Founders

Clear, correct, and easy-to-find company information also goes a long way to ease a potential customer’s concerns. Company info may be added to your “About” page, your “Contact” page, or elsewhere on your site. It should include a brief history of your company, your physical address (with an interactive map if possible), as well as contact information and an online contact form. When customers want to confirm the authenticity of your site, this is often the first thing they’ll check.

 

3. Show them they’re in good company

Help visitors feel safe and secure by showing them they’re in good company while on your website. Display partner logos, trust seals, awards, press coverage, and credentials prominently. Doing so lets you leverage the brand power and good reputations of other companies to help establish your site’s credibility.

Media coverage

Was your site, service, or product mentioned by or reviewed on a blog or other publication? Congrats! Share those press mentions on your website. Use the logo of the publication if possible and link to the article or review.

Encourage press coverage with a media kit either on your site itself or mentioned on your site and available by request. Include your contact info, logo, screenshots, photos of yourself (and your teammates if applicable), a brief bio about yourself (and teammates if applicable), a brief company history, and any press releases you may have. Once you have a press kit, reach out to relevant publications to request coverage.

Security and good practice badges help customers on Zappos.com shop with confidence:

Zappos security badges

And the Young Entrepreneur Council proudly displays their partner logos and accolades on their homepage:

Young Entrepreneurs Council trust

Prominently display any guarantees you offer, money-back or otherwise. Guarantees not only help to ease any potential concerns visitors may have, they have also been proven to dramatically increase revenue.

 

4. Disclose your data privacy policy

The protection and use of people’s personal information is one of the hottest issues in website management today. As a website owner, you should already be protecting your visitors from identity theft and misuse of their personal data. Tell them how you’re doing so by outlining your data protection policies and usage. You can do so either in your Terms of Service or on a dedicated Data Privacy page.

Tell users what data is collected, how it is collected, and what you are doing with it. If you share customer information with any third parties, explain what information is shared, why it is shared, and how it may be used. Also tell users how they can modify or delete their data.

This guide from the Better Business Bureau can help you write a thorough and effective privacy policy for your website.

 

5. Go ahead, brag a little

Although it’s rumored that the meek will inherit the earth someday, being modest about your products or services won’t do much for you here and now. Go ahead, brag a little. Heck, brag a lot if you’ve got the proof to back it up.

What to Brag About and How to Do So Successfully

  • Testimonials and Reviews.
    Share testimonials and positive reviews loudly and proudly on your site. They are a great way to show that not only did other people trust you enough to give you their business, they were so pleased with your product or service that they actually took the time to send you their feedback. Add photos of customers with their text testimonials whenever possible and encourage video testimonials.
  • Noteworthy Numbers.
    Paint people a picture of your awesomeness with numbers that prove it. People pay attention to numbers. Numbers are concrete and measurable and sharing them demonstrates your integrity. Did your amount of visitors, customers, or revenue suddenly surge? Show off those numbers!
  • Stellar Social Stats.
    In addition to the noteworthy numbers above, also share your social statistics. Don’t just link to your social media pages, show off how many Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and RSS subscribers you have with counters. If you have a blog, include social sharing buttons with counters on your posts as well.

It’s been said that a little trust goes a long way. That’s certainly true when it comes to doing business online. If people don’t trust your website, they’re not going to stick around, and they’re definitely not going to do business with you.

By following the above suggestions, you will establish your website’s trustability, thereby encouraging visitors to stay longer, and return more often. And when the time comes, they will feel more comfortable giving you their contact info, and their money.

Got any trustworthy tips to add? Please share them in the comments below.

 

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Dawn Bowman

Managing Editor at KillerStartups
Dawn is an American artist and journalist currently living in SE Asia. She is the Managing Editor at KillerStartups, an online publication which focuses on tech startups, website development, and entrepreneurship. Dawn is passionate about travel and committed to the location independent lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter @DawnEBowman.
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2 Comments

  1. Absolutely true, to build trust, you have to create a sense of personally knowing your customers and About Us section, social media platforms can be best utilized. Be as personal as possible as the customer is looking into your personal profile rather than a website. Be clear , be concise with your message to your visitors.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback, Parvesh. Do you have any tips to add?

      Reply

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