9 Easy Ways to Establish Credibility Through Your Website
“Just Google it.”
It’s a common reaction when we need to purchase an item, get information or learn about a topic. And so we search (on Google or another browser), and miraculously we are presented with pages of links to information. Some of the links, we know, are paid advertising. Some of us choose those links with the mindset that if a company has sufficient resources to pay for advertising, they must be reasonably credible. Others skip past the sponsored links directly to the organic (or unpaid) listings. We scan the website urls, the brief snippet of text that’s provided (more in a future blog post about this metatag) and click to a website. What we find there will determine whether we explore or click back to the search engine results pages.
Having a website no longer implies credibility. According to Mashable, some 4.5 million new websites, blog posts, videos, and other bits of media are posted every day, so there’s more than a bit of competition. You need to do all that you can so that a user who finds your site doesn’t click away. Start with adding robust credibility symbols. Here are some tips to instill confidence in your visitor:
1) Show that you are informed about your industry. Memberships in industry groups and certifications demonstrating training in your field distinguish you from the person who viewed a couple of webinars and proclaims himself an expert. Include logos of and hyperlinks to these organizations in your About section.
2) To help ease the uncertainty of a potential customer, share the names and logos of high profile companies that you have worked with. A similar tactic is to include reference to partners or affiliate businesses with whom you have relationships. By aligning your business with those who have well-established reputations, you grow your own credibility.
“64% of customers read customer reviews before purchasing” – The Etailing Group
3) Customer testimonials and reviews are key to instilling confidence in your visitors. Place them logically on various pages of your website to address concerns that a user may have. For example, next to a “Buy” button containing a price, use a testimonial that discusses what a great value your product or service is.
4) Don’t hide your contact information. Despite our cyberspace world, customers want the ability to be able to contact you if necessary. Ensure that your contact phone number and email address is highly visible in your website header and on your Contact page. And while you’re sharing contact information, provide links to your LinkedIn and other social media profiles.
5) Product guarantees are a great way to move an unsure visitor to purchase. Spell out guarantees within the purchase process. Customers taking a chance on a new company or product want assurance that they are able to change their mind about their purchase. Post your return policy or subscription terms clearly; don’t hide termination clause language in hard-to-find pages or in tiny type.
6) Users have become accustomed to 24×7 access. On your Contact page, let visitors know your hours of operation and your response interval. If a visitor sends an inquiry, let them know if they should expect a call back in two hours, two days, or two weeks. If you can accommodate weekend and evening hours, say so – it might be the unique selling point that makes the sale.
7) Slow website performance causes not just impatience, but also doubt in your user. Your site should load quickly and not have broken links. A skeptical user has many other sites to visit; your competitor is just a click away. Keep an eye on site performance and contact your hosting company and developer if you find your load time is slow.
8) Show that there is a real person behind your business. Include a professional photo (or “head shot”) and some explanatory verbiage about the company president and founder.
9) And finally (and most importantly), be sure that your content is focused on solving the user’s needs. It should be keyword-rich to attract the attention of search engines, but user-focused to keep visitors engaged. Showing that you understand the concerns of your customer is vital to establishing your credibility.