Your quick, 10-step guide to building trust online

Getting your readers to trust (and like) your website straightaway is vital.

Getting your readers to trust (and like) your website straightaway is vital.

When prospects visit your website, they will decide within 7 short seconds whether they want to explore your site further – or if they’ll hit the “back” button and look at a competitors’ site.

A big factor in whether they hang around (or not) comes down to trust: but how do you do that in such a short space of time?

Here are the top ten ways in which you can build trust online:

  1. Full contact details: include ALL your contact details – landline number, mobile number, postal address, physical address and email address.
  2. About us page: this is a vital trust-building page, and should include details of key people within the company (with photos).
  3. Memberships and associations: using logos of organisations you’re a member of (assuming you have their permission) is a quick visual way of building trust and credibility. This includes membership of business groups such as BNI and Chambers of Commerce, as well as any industry-specific associations.
  4. Professional website design: because professional companies need to look professional online. This is about having web pages that are well laid-out, and with an appropriate colour scheme and fonts.
  5. Professional logo design: your company’s logo should appear on the site, so make sure your logo has been professionally-designed. A poorly-designed or dated logo doesn’t help with building trust.
  6. Professional photographs: it’s not unusual to see small business websites that are generally quite decent, but then ruined with amateurish photography.
  7. Well-written content, with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar: when people look at a website, all they can judge your business on is based on what’s in front of them. So the smallest details take on a big significance… and that includes the accuracy of the writing.
  8. Testimonials: client testimonials are a vital tool in building trust. Make sure your website has a top-level page dedicated to testimonials.
  9. Up-to-date content: have you ever looked at a website, and wondered if it’s up-to-date? Don’t let this kind of doubt creep into prospects’ minds. A quick way of communicating that your site is current is via the copyright details in the footer of each page. For example:
    Copyright © ABC Company 1995 – 2012.
    This quickly tells readers that (a) you’ve been in business for a while, and (b) that your site is up-to-date. How easy is that?!
  10. Easy-to-use and logical navigation: make sure your site is easy to navigate. If your website is confusing to use, it may frustrate users and affect your company’s credibility online.