While internet transactions become more and more prevalent, consumers still remain wary of the internet for certain activities. A recent study revealed that over 25% of American households have refrained from making a purchase online because of concerns over privacy or security. Building website credibility and maintaining a trustworthy brand online is a critical component for making sales. Beyond direct sales, website credibility makes your customers more likely to recommend your business and stay loyal to your brand. The potential negative repercussions of having an untrustworthy website include shopping cart abandonment, loss of credibility, and and a high bounce or exit rate. If left unchecked, these repercussions can hurt your businessâ€™ bottom line.
There are many actions you can take to build credibility that will ensure that your customers trust your brand online. This article outlines 10 things you should do to improve the credibility of your website.
1. Design for the Audience You Want
Even if you donâ€™t want to reinvent your style to adhere to trendy minimalist aesthetics, making your site clean and easy to navigate is crucial. The functionality of your site is also a fundamental aspect of building trust. Ensure fast loading times and remove broken links or missing pages so Â your site will seem more secure and trustworthy. Taking these steps will reduce the likelihood of visitors exiting or bouncing. Above all, pay attention to detail. Make sure that your site is free from grammar errors and spelling mistakes.
Example: Appleâ€™s website is clean and minimalist, just like their products. Theyâ€™ve organized their navigation bar by product, and give â€œsupportâ€ a prominent position to help visitors find what theyâ€™re looking for quickly. Careful site design helps Apple attract the kind of customer that is most likely to buy their products.
2. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
Even if your product offerings and company information donâ€™t change frequently, itâ€™s a good idea to keep your website up-to-date and looking current. A regularly updated blog and a seasonally updated hero image can help keep your site fresh and activeâ€”even if your core product doesnâ€™t change much.
Example: Starbucksâ€™ retail offerings donâ€™t change too frequently, but they keep their website looking up to date and current by featuring prominent seasonal offers on the landing page. This dynamic landing page keeps visitors engaged and helps them feel like Starbucks is engaging with them on a personal level.
3. Set Up Security Protocols
Demonstrating that youâ€™re serious about your customersâ€™ security can go a long way toward proving your credibility. SSLs and TSLs provide a layer of protection for customer data. Invest the time (and, in some cases, money) needed to set these up, and display any security certifications on your website so customers can be assured that they have a secure connection.
Example: CRM giant Salesforce has dedicated a whole section of their website to security and trust issues. This section features real-time updates on the status of regular security checks of their system, as well as bulletins about any potential breaches. By staying as transparent as possible about their security efforts, Salesforce can provide both customers and prospects with the assurance that they will keep sensitive business data safe and secure.
4. Provide Real-Time Support
Consumers want to know that no matter when they need assistance, they wonâ€™t have to wait very long. Customer support platforms like Intercom and UserVoice, which plug into your website and provide an â€œonline nowâ€ indicator, help sure users that youâ€™re available to assist them whenever they need help. Depending on your target audience, having a phone number and not just an email address for contact can be important, as it conveys a sense of immediate and personal access to your business.
Example: While Zappos predominantly relies on internet traffic to fuel their pipeline, they know that some customers will want to talk to a real person before (or after) they make a purchase. They provide a 24/7 customer support hotline phone number with prime placement on their website, in the top left corner. No matter what page a visitor navigates to, the phone number is always present.
5. Highlight Success Stories
Case studies and testimonials should have a prominent place on your website — theyâ€™re one of the most powerful tools you have to prove that you are a trustworthy and valuable business. Press coverage is another indicator of success and validity, so make articles and reviews of your business accessible on your site as well.
Example: Real estate community BiggerPockets puts customer testimonials and press coverage on their front page, at or above the fold. This reinforces their claims that 510,000 real estate investors are already using the platform. By highlighting success, BiggerPockets lends credibility to their business model and assures potential users they can Â benefit from joining the community.
6. Prove that Real People Run Your Business
As with providing on-demand support, providing contact information for the people behind the business helps demonstrate your businessâ€™ credibility. Simply including a business address and contact information on the â€œAbout Pageâ€ of your website can have a big impact. To go the extra mile, provide additional information about the real people who run your business and share the story of how it came to be.
Example: Fashion rental company Rent The Runway doesnâ€™t just include standard boilerplate copy on their â€œAbout Usâ€ page. Rent the Runway dives deep into the philosophy that drives the company and provides a peek at what company culture is like with photos of and quotes from real employees. By letting customers see the passion that drives their team, Rent The Runway instills a sense of trust in their commitment to provide high-quality service.
7. Display Policies and Guarantees
Return policies and product guarantees should be clearly highlighted and easy to find, especially before and during the checkout flow. Studies show that 56% of customers would be willing to switch brands if they donâ€™t like the customer service options available, so making your policies clear and accessible is important to building brand loyalty.
Example: Slack helps individuals within organizations communicate every dayâ€”and sometimes those communications can contain sensitive information. Slackâ€™s privacy and security policies are clearly displayed on their website, and they even encourage users to contact them directly about any security breaches. Whether youâ€™re dealing with customersâ€™ sensitive data or asking them for personal information, displaying evidence that you take their security seriously can give them the assurance they need to make a purchase.
8. Be Social
A social media presence is another Â important aspect of establishing business credibility, and being discoverable on platforms like Facebook and Twitter will help you connect with customers (and display how many other customers you have). You donâ€™t have to be active on every single social outletâ€”not every company needs an Instagram accountâ€”but pick the ones that will mean the most to your target audience.
Example: ModClothâ€™s social integrations appear on every product page, and the social sharing options skew towards the clothing retailerâ€™s target demographic. By limiting their social integrations to Facebook, Pinterest, and the shopping app Wanelo, ModCloth avoids overwhelming customers with options and increases the likelihood that they will share their purchases or wishlist on a social platform.
9. Highlight Your Products
Whether youâ€™re an ecommerce site or a SaaS vendor, potential customers feel more secure if they can find ample information about your product. Displaying multiple pictures of your products, technical specs, or any other information that gives your customer a better sense of what you have to offer can be powerful indicators of your ability to deliver a trustworthy product.
Example: Purchasing jewelry can be nerve-wracking in the best of circumstances, and purchasing it online creates an added dimension of stress around whether youâ€™re being taken advantage of. Each product page on the Zales website offers extensive information about the each piece, along with multiple photo angles. Whether youâ€™re a small or a large retailer, providing professional images and detailed information about your products will help assure customers that they will get what they pay for when they shop at your business online.
10. Consider Reducing Your On-site Ads
A study by Nielsen found that consumers tend to mistrust digital ads much more than traditional advertising sources, such as billboards and tv spots. While you donâ€™t have to kill every ad on your site, your website shouldnâ€™t have ads in every bit of whitespace. Limit your ads to increase trustworthiness and give your message maximum impact.
Example: Hipmunk ads for hotel offers arenâ€™t overwhelming and mimic native search results on the travel site. While the ads arenâ€™t trying to trick anyoneâ€”theyâ€™re clearly marked as sponsored â€œdealsâ€â€”they are visually appealing and do not overwhelm the page. Customers are less likely to be annoyed by this style of advertising, compared to websites that are plastered with numerous banner, sidebar, and inline ads.
Strategies for Improving Trust and Credibility
You might not hit on the perfect mix of content for trust and credibility on the first try. Constant testing and iterations will help you develop a site that conveys trust and reliability. Different audiences can respond differently to your website, and you may have to try a few versions before you hit on the one that will be a good fit. A/B testing different layouts, designs, and messaging strategies is essential to honing in on what works in a quantifiable way.
Using Kaizen Platform for Continuous Improvement
Kaizen Platform provides a full-service solution for optimizing your website and improving conversion rates. Â By leveraging Kaizen to improve your websiteâ€™s layout and design, you can find the most effective way to build a sense of trust and reliability with your prospective customers. Contact Kaizen Platform today for information about how to start the journey towards a more credible website.