Before your website visitor is persuaded to make an enquiry or buy your products or services online they need to trust you and believe that what you're saying is true. It's easy to achieve this credibility in a store where the visitor can meet your sales staff and shake his/her hand but when you are dealing with a website, you have to look at other ways to achieve the same level of trust and credibility.
Here are 10 most effective ways to build the trust and credibility of your website:
Fast-loading website: Studies show that all web pages should load in 10 seconds or less on a 56k modem, otherwise you will start losing your customers.
User-friendly layout & clear navigation: Don’t try to be unique and quirky with the structure and layout of your website – you'll confuse your visitors. Everything needs to be as simple and obvious as possible. If you want to avoid being like every other website, get your personality across by using your branding, photography and copy.
Professional website design: First impressions are extremely important - if your website looks cheap, you will destroy trust immediately. Always use an experienced website designer - don’t try and do it yourself or get your cousin’s son or even your business card designer to do it!
Testimonials are great for establishing trust and credibility. The more the merrier! Keep them in their original form– don’t fix grammatical errors. Provide contact details for the people giving the testimonial. Whatever you do– NEVER fake a testimonial– it's obvious and you will destroy your credibility!
Case studies are in-depth studies of the successful 'experience' a customer has had with your business. They are powerful trust and credibility builders - particularly for complex products and services.
Awards & certifications: Has your business won an award or achieved some sort of certification? Make sure it's displayed on your website because they can be fantastic for building your credibility.
Partners: Associating yourself with a well-respected partner or affiliate is a great way of building 'borrowed credibility'. You are effectively tapping into their credibility and people will think that if you are partnered with them, then you must be credible as well.
Guarantees are one of the strongest trust and credibility building elements that you can have on your website. A strong guarantee shows that you have a 100% belief in your products or services. Make your guarantee big, bold and even a little brash! Many organisations have reported that the stronger they made their guarantee the fewer claims they received against it. And the increased sales or enquiries resulting from a stronger guarantee far outweighed the one or two extra claims that they received.
A detailed 'About Us' page: This is a biggie. Websites can be very impersonal so the more you can show that there is a real business with real people behind the website the better. Use photos of your business and staff, and include where possible include a bio.
Building trust and credibility is an essential part of any sales process. Implement the above suggestions and you will be well on your way to improving the ‘persuasiveness’ of your website – and it’s ability to increase the level of enquiries or sales that you achieve.