Website Credibility

The average user knows within a couple of seconds of landing on your site if they want to stay. That’s the harsh reality of trying to attract today’s attention-challenged web surfers.

Often, the reason they’re clicking away is because they website doesn’t feel credible.

In order to even have a chance of getting a site visitor to share an article, fill out a form, or make a purchase, your website must first be credible. Let’s take a look at four ways to increase a website’s credibility.

Design

The look and feel of a website is the most obvious place to start. That’s because people are wired to process visual information much faster than written content.

Images, colors, fonts, and icons are essential in helping users quickly determine what a site is all about. The trick is to keep things simple and obvious. It’s always preferable to have fewer elements on a page – say 12 to 15 – rather than overwhelming a site visitor with hundreds of tiny pictures and buttons.

Take your Home page. A common mistake is having too many visual elements on the page. The most common reason for cluttering up a Home page is because the you’re worried if you don’t tell a site visitor everything about your company, they might click away without finding it how great you are. The opposite is true! Instead, think of your Home page like the lobby of a building: give users a directory of what’s within your site and simple directions on how to get to their final destination.

The goal is to make your site “usable”. In other words, write simple headlines and use obvious buttons or links to guide visitors to the information they’re looking for.

And don’t forget to maintain the consistency from page to page. Don’t overdo it with too many font styles, sizes or colors. If you aren’t consistent you’ll increase the “cognitive load” – a fancy web designer’s term for how much a user has to think in order to decipher what you’re saying. By paying attention to the design of your site, users will – on an intuitive level – grant you “credibility points” because you’re showing that you understand how to clearly and simply present your products or services.

Content

While the visual aspect of your website is important, it really all boils down to the content.

Simply put, content should be useful. For example, if you have an online store, make sure you’re very detailed in your product descriptions. And by all means, be organized. Sort information into tabs – one for the product overview, another for features, another for technical information, etc. Sorting information into chunks allows users to enjoy discovering about your company and it’s products instead of being overwhelmed.

Another key to building credibility is to ensure your content is accurate and current. Nothing kills credibility faster than inaccurate or out-of-date content.

Social Proof

The whole idea behind social proof is we buy from people we like. Your business can gain trust when you highlight your relationships with your customers, prospects and other companies. The “company you keep” is all part of providing social proof that you’re a likable – and credible – company.

Some common forms of social proof are:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Social Media likes, mentions or shares
  • Industry awards
  • Press reviews

Links from your website to your social network pages allow users to connect with your brand. Another way to increase your credibility is to embed feeds from one or two of your social network on your website – like your the latest Tweets or Instagram posts.

Although you don’t need to have all of these forms of social proof on your site, the more social proof you provide, the more your website will improve your company’s credibility.

Security

Nowadays users are becoming more and more aware of electronic fraud and security breaches. It’s up to you to make sure you reassure site visitors that your site and their information is secure, particular if you’re an online store.

Even if you don’t have an online store, Google recommends you enable HTTPS for your site. The HTTPS system uses SSL encryption to create encrypted links between the server and the user. In this way, the data entered by the user cannot be intercepted by third parties, even for something as simple as filling out a contact form on your site.

If you have an online store, be sure to include security certificates to give your users peace of mind. These are logos or seals from companies like Verisign, Norton, TRUSTe, and others that you can place in your footer or on checkout pages.

Finally, if you don’t already have them, be sure to include Privacy Policy and Terms of Use links in your footer to assure users you won’t share their personal information.

In conclusion…

Contrary to what you might think, the credibility of your website isn’t just about security. It’s about simple, easy-to-understand design, thorough content and social proof. All four factors influence how a site visitor feels about your brand and company, so it is important that you consider them in order to gain their highest level of confidence.

Let Rushminute Help

There’s a lot that goes into creating and maintaining all of your digital properties. We know. We’ve helped dozens of clients in the U.S. strengthen their brands with website makeovers, social media management and digital marketing. If you’re in the process of updating your site or need a “go to web guy” to help you manage your digital properties, Rushminute can help. Contact Rushminute or schedule a virtual cup of coffee and we’ll talk about your vision and how a great website can help you achieve your business goals.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.