Every one of your website visitors is unique, and they are likely to have their own ideas about what constitutes a “trustworthy” website. However, there are a number of universally accepted signs that a site cannot be trusted.
These signs can set the alarm bells ringing among your prospective customers and have them leaving your site in droves, never to return.
Lack of information
Unprofessional design and poor content
Broken links and outdated content
Long site load times
Too many ads that pop up and crowd out the text
But by using valuable trust factors on your site, you can positively influence your brand and reputation, and build trust among your users.
This, in turn, can lead to an increase in engagement, a greater conversion rate and a welcome boost to the bottom line. And it matters little if you’re running a large business website or a small site for a “one-man band” business.
So what can you do to improve the trust level on your site? Here are five factors to consider:
As Google forges ahead in its quest to create a more secure web, having an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate is fast becoming the most important trust factor that a website can have.
When a website has an SSL certificate properly installed on the server, a small green padlock icon will be displayed to the left of a website URL in the browser and “https” will also appear in green text.
By encrypting your domain, which installing an SSL certificate does, your website users will be assured that you have their security concerns at heart. It will also encourage them to engage more with your site and it is likely they will spend more time on your site.
Not only does “https” protect the integrity of your site, it also protects your website users by preventing their sensitive information being intercepted by a third party.
Providing comprehensive information on your “About Us” page and listing all your contact details is another way to earn trust from your website. It’s always a good idea to include a brief history of your business, what types of products or services you offer and what your unique selling proposition is.
This creates an identity for your business and adds a personal touch that can make you and your site seem so much more approachable.
Including professionally shot pictures and video of yourself and your team also engenders trust as it gives users an idea of who they will be working with. It tells your users that you stand by your website, its content and the products and services you provide.
The exact contents of your policy will depend on the applicable laws or policies. Also, the definition of what constitutes “personal information” varies, but it often includes names and email addresses, and sometimes IP addresses and browser cookies. The trick is to not make it complicated than it should be.
Just remember that users care about what you do with their information, so being open and honest will help build trust. It goes without saying not to share this information with third parties as your users may go the legal route to seek compensation for the breach of trust.
Other noteworthy documents that should be added to your site include disclaimers, terms and conditions of sale and a returns policy if you have an ecommerce website.
A clumsy site with poor navigation and plenty of spelling and grammatical errors is unprofessional and will result in a large number of users hitting the “back” button. This, in turn, leads to a high bounce rate and an overall poor site performance.
On the other hand, a site that is professionally designed, uses colour intelligently and presents information in a structured way goes a long way to earning a customer’s trust.
In addition, a site that looks good on all devices (mobile responsive), has no broken links and on which the content is updated frequently creates a good impression for users and gives them the assurance that your website - and by extension, your business - can be trusted.
Testimonials from satisfied customers can help to convince prospects that you can be trusted to deliver on your promises. When adding testimonials to your site, remember to include some additional information about the customer, such as a photograph, their company name and designation.
In addition to testimonials, customer logos can also increase the trust factor on your website. This not only shows that you can be trusted, it also shows that you have a track record.
Adding client logos also creates something of a halo effect for your site, because by seeing the companies you have worked with means you must be doing something right in your business! This can be explored further by publishing case studies of how you helped customers solve their problems.
If you are selling anything on your website, you can help ease the minds of users by implementing payment logos. Adding logos that they recognise such as Visa or Mastercard or a secure payment gateway logo is a great way to build trust.
Finally, by including badges that depict a moneyback guarantee or a guarantee that indicates your commitment to dealing with a customer’s complaint can reassure users that should something go wrong with your product or service they have recourse.
As a business owner, you have limited time to convince a prospect that they can trust you to deliver on your promises. By adding the elements mentioned above, you can go a long way in building trust with your website visitors. Remember, that users don’t connect with websites. They connect with the people behind those websites.
- This blog post, written by Gregory Rule (pictured below), was based on a presentation he delivered to the BNI Gateway Chapter. Click here to download the presentation.