You put a lot of effort into attracting visitors to your site. But you probably have bigger goals than attracting attention. Most website owners want their site to be:
- Engaged with
- Purchased from
- Referred to
If you expect a customer to give you their credit card information, they are going to have to feel a strong level of trust in your business. Showing a high level of professionalism is vital to the credibility of your website.
A few years back Stanford University compiled a list of 10 guidelines for building the credibility of a website. These guidelines are based on three years of research and on several studies about that topic. Although the information is not new, it is still very important if you want to be successful with your online business.
Guidelines for Credibility from Stanford University
What Makes a Website Credible? (PDF)
Increase your site’s trustworthiness and credibility
Consider the look and design of your site
It may not seem fair, but people really do judge a book by its cover, and by extension, a website by its design. Studies have proven that many people look for visual cues when assessing a site’s credibility. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and style because these all affect how users perceive your website and what kind of image you project.
Make your site easy to use
Sites that are easy to navigate are perceived as being more trustworthy. Keep your navigation consistent throughout the entire website. The functionality of a site also contributes to the overall trustworthiness. For example, if the site is down, links are broken, or search features are not helpful, it can hurt how people perceive your site. Check regularly for errors such as broken links, bad grammar, or pages that don’t display correctly.
Make it easy to contact you
If the only contact information you supply is an email address or a contact form, it is unlikely that a customer will give you credit card information. Consider including a ‘Contact Us’ page on your website, not only for the convenience of your visitors, but because it’s a tool to convert visitors into customers. For visitors to identify your site as a legitimate business, your Contact Us page should include:
- Company name
- Your name
- Phone number
- A physical address
- A business email address
Protect your customers’ privacy
Federal Trade Commission’s Guide for Business
OECD Privacy Statement Generator
Display a trust seal
Display seals and badges that help instill credibility and confidence. The Community Trust Network trust seals show visitors to your site that it is trusted by the WOT community. If you are a member of the Better Business Bureau, or your local Chamber of Commerce, put that badge on your website too.
Please share other reputation building tips below.