Whether it be a friendship, a family relationship or a business partnership, all relationships are built on trust. Without it, there is little hope of moving the relationship forward. The same holds true with your website. With trust, your website can be successful. Without trust, you have nothing.
Top 10 Tips to Build Website Trust
The entrepreneurs who work most effectively, are those that work consistently to get the job done. What job, you say? The job that you have advertised to your potential clients. The promises you have made are those jobs to an entrepreneur. If you advertise on your website that shipping is free, for example, you better believe that your potential customers will leave your website if they see shipping fees.
This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. When you, the entrepreneur, advertises to provide a product or a service, you either get the job done or you let your customer down. When people honor each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy. When people don’t, well, you have lost one relationship with a client that could prove to be detrimental to your business.
1. Website Design
If your website is trapped in time due to a terrible website design, from the minute a visitor lands on your website, you are telling them that you do not mean business. Your website is usually the first impression that people experience with your company. If you do not care about your own credibility, then what should lead your potential customers to believe that you care about theirs?
What is a bad website design? There are many bad web design examples on the Internet (and no, I don’t mean the dark web). The worst one that is quite common is lack of mobile functionality. With up to a third of Internet users browsing the net with their mobile phones, a website that is not "responsive" can not only be the most costly for a business owner, it can also be one of the easiest to fix. By choosing a website theme that is responsive, the design will respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. In other words, if your visitor is browsing your website on an iPhone, the usability of your website will not be negatively affected. Websitez – Create a mobile version of your WordPress website instantly with this plugin!
Other bad web design examples include high-contrasting colors, multiple calls-to-action, no information hierarchy, complete overload, and design over function. Clean, minimalistic web design is often a safe bet to ensure visitors turn into customers. It takes much less planning, too. Design trends come and go, but a minimalistic design is one web design trend that is here to stay. Less is more!
- Minimalistic design is good for business:
- Since there’s less clutter on the page, you have a chance to make your USP (Unique Sales Proposition) stand out and shine.
- Less clutter = better conversion
- It’s so much easier to make minimalist sites responsive.
- Better user experience – A site that uses whitespace effectively conveys that sense of calm and authority.
- Remember these minimal web design points:
- White space
- Simple navigation
- Personal About Us page
- Contact information
- Call to action
- Search function
- Informational footers
- Styled buttons
- Custom imagery / iconography
- Attractive typography
If you are planning a minimalistic website, consider choosing a color scheme that is simple and cohesive. The Canva blog lists over one hundred strikingly beautiful color combinations . Websites that are more attractive create a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in consumers.
2. Website Speed
A sluggish website can lead a potential customer to re-think their business relationship with your company. Internet users almost expect a web page to load within 2 seconds (or less). Nearly half of all Internet users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. A faster website can result in a better customer experience.
Additionally, Google will reward your website if it loads quickly. If a website loads slowly, is sluggish, or has frequent downtime, your SEO (search engine optimization) will suffer. Some web design firms will sacrifice speed to accomplish better aesthetic design. But keep in mind, users care more about speed, than they do aesthetic design. One example that pops into mind is a background image in the footer of your website. While this type of design choice can make a website look more cohesive and interesting, by substituting an attractive, unique color in the footer, you can increase load time.
- Website speed tools:
- WPPerformanceTester – WordPress performance plugin
- Blitz.io – Test static caching of your WordPress site’s home page
- LoadStorm – Stimulate user loads to check performance and speed
- WebPageTest.org – Test the speed and performance of your website
- Uptime Robot or Pingdom – Test and monitor real-time uptime statistics with an external service
Also consider the WordPress hosting services at a Tier-1 data center with multiple backbone providers. Your website will be able to better handle large bursts of traffic. It’s great knowing that your protected with a near 100% uptime guarantee and data centers that are located in the United States.
- Remember these website speed points:
- Use caching (W3TotalCache plugin)
- Optimize images (WPSmush plugin)
- Remove unnecessary plugins
- Minify code (Better WordPress Minify plugin)
- Adjust the placement of your scripts (WP Optimize plugin)
3. Website Obstacles
The goal of any website is to provide a seamless user experience so that users will enjoy your website and perform your most desired action (MDA). Whether it be completing an e-mail opt-in form, calling a telephone number, or purchasing a product or service, your website needs to be designed such that the user has few, if any, obstacles.
What is a website obstacle? Anything that makes it difficult for the user to perform an action on your website can be an obstacle. Is it difficult to find the "contact" link on your website? Is it difficult to check-out? Is your website designed so poorly that users can not read your content? If you answered yes, then as quick as you can, arrange to remove any barriers and other distractions that conflict with cohesive navigation. It is common sense — but the internet is filled to the brim with websites that don’t offer such experiences. Remove any website obstacles that you may have.
- Some typical examples of website obstacles:
- Annoying ads
- Irrelevant content
- Dysfunctional search bars
- Omission of common payment platforms
- Unclear call-to-action
- Multi-colored CTAs (call-to-actions)
- Incorrect implementation of translated pages
- Not using cookies to remember their details
- Intrusive pop-ups (which you definitely need to remove now, for SEO)
- Forcing visitors to register and confirm their details via email before purchasing
- Taking visitors back to the beginning of a blank transaction form if they make an error
- Forcing CAPTCHA (…and asking if they are human, to really make them love you)
- Making them click through 10 unnecessary pages before arriving at their destination
Don’t make it difficult for the visitor to maximize your website’s use. A well designed website should serve as a 24/7 sales person for your business, one that is efficient, easy to navigate, and one that serves the purposes of the intended visitor.
4. Trust Signals
Do your visitors trust your website? Does your website instill a feeling of credibility to your customers? Trust is increasingly important in today’s world of hacking, scams, and thieves. People are more aware now than ever before.
- a SSL certificate – a major trust signal and not just for eCommerce websites.
Not all websites are eCommerce stores. We do, however, recommend a SSL for any domain and you should for your brand. Google has recently made changes to the way Chrome browser labels non-HTTPs sites that transmit passwords and/or ask for credit card details.
Trust is essential online. People like to feel secure when visiting a new site and many visual indications encourage that feeling. One good visual indication a site is generally considered safe to visit is the green padlock in the URL bar. Google recognizes this and gives priority to websites that apply an SSL or the newer TLS encryption (aka HTTPS sites).
5. Online Reputation
A company’s reputation matters. How long has the company been around? Do they have fifteen years of experience or two? How do they respond to complaints? What do other folks say about this company? If any of the answers you find to these questions make you uneasy, you should probably keep looking.
Business owners, get reviews. Ask clients for reviews and make it easy for them to post reviews on Google+ and other review sites, like Yelp. Reputation management online matters. Make it easy for people to post reviews on your company. Listen to your audience to discover the main points and questions that they have. Read your company’s reviews carefully, and pause before responding.
6. Maintain a Blog
A blog is a very important section within your company website. It provides your visitors a section of which can be a go-to for news and updates and it shows your visitors that the website is updated frequently. If your last blog post was dated two years ago, for example, it makes your company look either lazy or possibly out of business. So, if you are not able to update your blog frequently, consider removing the dates from your blog posts.
7. Articles and Offline Publications
Credibility is not only what your website is like, it’s also what people read and hear about you before they get to your site. If they’ve seen or even read articles by you in different magazines or newspapers, you have more credibility. There are many popular online article repositories to which you can submit your articles. In some cases, the article directory will publish your article with a short bio that introduces you, the author, to the readers. And if your lucky, the article directory will also place a link in your bio that directs readers back to your company website.
Here’s an example, GreenHostIt’s founder has published 120+ articles on EzineArticles and earned the title "Expert Author".
8. Display Trust Marks
Take credit card payments? Prove me it’s safe (256-bit SSL encryption etc). Use The Verisign Seal or equivalent. Have people opt-in to your e-mail list? Put a TRUSTe privacy seal on your site. And so on. Find out what’s a known trust mark on among your customers, and use it. Other trust marks include the Better Business Bureau, Dun and Bradstreet and any local organizations that are reputable. The more active and visible you are in your community, the better.
9. Maintain a Social Community
If your company is active on Twitter and Facebook, it instills trust to prospective customers. Furthermore, it shows there are real people behind your organization.
10. Be a Good and Honest Person
If you treat your customers bad, it will come out eventually. Be friendly, generous and honest – always.