If you are selling products and services on your website, then conveying an air of authority and trust to your visitors is vital.
Even if you are just sharing your thoughts and offering advice via your blog, an inability to portray a level of credibility and trustworthiness can turn readers away before they’ve even read their first post on your website.
If you want to increase the chances of your visitors adding an item to the shopping cart, getting in touch to procure your services, or subscribe to your blog, using the tips and tools below to boost your credibility is a great place to start.
Why Add Trust Building Factors to Your Website?
As you will see there are lots of ways you can establish a level of trust and display social proof to help remove any concerns, doubts, and final objections your visitors might have when visiting your website.
Some of the options are easy to implement, while others might take more effort and financial investment. However, many of them have been shown to improve conversions and increase sales and revenue on a website, making them a worthwhile use of your resources.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to improve the trust factor of your website today.
A Professional Looking Website Design
Let’s start with the basics. A professional looking design for your website can go a long way towards making the difference between your visitors thinking you are a fly-by-night operation, and someone who has invested time and effort in their project.
With high quality premium WordPress themes available for as little $49, there is no excuse for using a shoddy design on your website. A modern, clean, and responsive design can display to your visitors that you are serious about your website, without the need to break the bank.
While it might be tempting to hire someone from Fiverr.com to design you a logo on the cheap, or dust off that copy of Photoshop you downloaded a few years ago, you could be doing your website a big disservice.
If you can’t afford a premium logo from a skilled and professional designer, you are much better off going with no logo to start with, and just spelling out your brand name in a nice, clean typeface.
Luckily flat designs and lots of whitespace are very popular right now, saving you the need to get too fancy with your website theme and logo.
Add Those Essential Pages to Your Website
There are a few pages that every website should have. In all likeliness you probably set some of these pages up when you first started work on your website, only for you never to return to them and give them the attention they deserve.
One of the essential pages all websites should have is an “about” page. When a new visitor arrives at your site, if they aren’t immediately repelled by bad design or sloppy copywriting, then it’s likely they will click through to your about page to find out more about the website and who is behind it.
Your about page is your opportunity to win over first time visitors, differentiate yourself from the competition, and explain the benefits on offer to the reader.
As this could be one of the most visited posts on your website, it’s well worth taking the time to make sure it’s a good representation of your values and what you have to offer your audience.
Remember, the reader doesn’t really want to know about you, but what you can offer them and why they should stick around. So make sure you frame the content of your about page in that context.
A contact page is another essential feature for all websites. While a contact form is a good place to start, providing other options can also increase the chances of your visitors getting in touch, while also giving you another opportunity to build trust with your audience.
Taking the time and effort to setup your email for your domain name helps portray a much more professional image to your readers than using a free Yahoo email address.
Adding a physical address and phone number can also help improve your credibility rating and conversion rates. This is especially true if you are selling products and services, even if you don’t have a physical store.
If you really want your visitors to get in touch via your contact forms, they are another area of your website that can benefit from split testing and experimenting. For example, removing a phone number field has been shown to improve form completion rates. So if you don’t need that information, don’t ask for it. Once again less is definitely more when it comes to contact forms.
Reveal Yourself and Share Your Story
Another great reason to have an about page on your site is that it gives you a good platform to introduce yourself to your visitors.
This goes beyond explaining the concept behind your website, and involves revealing something about yourself and your personality. This will help your visitors forge a connection with you and put a face to the name behind the brand you are building. Just remember to make sure anything you share can also help let the reader know how they will benefit from what you have to offer.
Testing has shown that displaying “real” human photos can increase conversion rates on websites. However, it does depend on the photo so don’t forget to split test your photos to find the perfect pose for your website and your audience.
Leverage Social Media
Linking out to your social media profiles is another way to show the personality behind the brand and help your readers get to know you a bit better. Although it’s a good idea to ensure that the social media profiles you do link out to convey the appropriate image, in line with the goals and values of your website.
For example, for a professional services website, connecting to your LinkedIn profile could be a good fit. While a travel blog might be better suited to your Facebook page or profile, or linking to your Pinterest account to further showcase the products from your store.
Another way to leverage social media is to display your follower counts to your website. Lots of followers on the relevant social networks can do a good job of providing social proof, further helping to increase the credibility of your brand.
Displaying the number of times each post, page, or product has been shared socially is another good way to use social media to boost your trustworthiness.
Publish Testimonials, Reviews, Case Studies, and Citations
Publishing feedback from real people on your website is another effective way to improve the trust factor on your website and help remove any lingering doubts your visitors might have about buying from you, or hiring your services.
While the endorsement from a well-known figure in your niche can do wonders for your credibility, even testimonials from regular clients or customers you’ve worked with can boost the trust level of your website.
Just as was the case with your about page and product descriptions, accompanying your testimonials with a photo of a person can increase their effectiveness, and a video even more so. When it comes to publishing testimonials on your WordPress website, this free plugin gets the job done well, while this premium option gives you some more features to play around with.
With studies revealing “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews” it’s worth taking the time to solicit that feedback and publish it on your site.
If your work has received any citations or mentions elsewhere, then make sure you highlight these on your website and even link out to them where appropriate. The same goes for reviews and case studies from anyone who has had success using your products or service.
If you’ve worked with some clients your target audience will be familiar with, then it’s well worth displaying their logos on your website. There are even some free WordPress plugins for easily managing and displaying them on your blog.
Make Your Website Secure and Show Your Visitors You Care
Making your website secure, and then highlighting that fact to your website is another way to remove a barrier that could be preventing them from making a purchase from your website, or even submitting their contact details, and joining your list.
Investing the extra money in an SSL certificate for your website is one way to show your potential customers that you are serious about their data and keeping it secure. Not to mention the benefits it will have in preventing your website from being compromised.
Other options include publishing trust guard seals on your website in order to let your visitors know they can buy with confidence. While you might have to pay for the right to display a seal of trustworthiness on your website, it can be well worth the money in terms of increased revenue.
As some trust seals are displayed in the search engine results pages, they can also help to increase click through rates, bringing more traffic to your website.
Be More Selective with Plugins, Add-Ons and Other Features
One of the great things about WordPress and other online publishing platforms are the number of plugins, add-ons, and extensions available for them.
With so many additional features you can add to your website for free, or just a small fee, it can be tempting to behave like a kid in a candy store and super-charge your website with all the latest bells and whistles. However, in this case less is definitely more.
While 3D-effect parallax scrolling, auto-playing full-width background videos, animated sliders, and popup optin forms can look great and work well in isolation, adding all of them to your site just because you can isn’t a good idea.
Be strict when evaluating which plugins or add-ons to enable on your website and only choose those which add real value to your visitors and improve the user experience.
Publishing adverts on your website can be a great way to make money online if done correctly. However, if that isn’t the main focus of your website, and it’s instead a blog, an online store, or a tool to promote your services, adding adverts featuring other people’s products is a sure-fire way to cheapen your brand and dilute your message.
If you must endorse other products and services then think carefully how you do it, and consider if the potential quick gains are worth risking your long terms goals for.
Don’t Be Afraid to Offer a Money Back Guarantee or Free Trial
If you are selling products or running an ecommerce store, publishing an easily accessible returns policy explaining how you handle refunds and exchanges is vital. Depending on the purpose of your website this could be another essential page that should not only be easy to find, but also easy to understand.
If you are selling digital products or services, then you should consider offering a money back guarantee or a free trial if relevant to your offerings, as they have been shown to increase conversions, with little risk of being abused.
As you can see there are many things you can do to improve the trustworthiness of your website in order to encourage your visitors to stick around, while also helping increase goal conversions and sales.
Hopefully there a few items on this list that you haven’t yet implemented on your website, giving you some further options for making your visitors feel more comfortable on your website.
What puts you off, or makes you suspicious when arriving at a new website and what you have done to improve the trust factor of your website?