Your website trustworthiness can communicate a lot to your potential customers. In the absence of a clear branding and communication strategy, clean design, useful content, and glitch-free website performance, your traffic is going to slow down to snail pace.
Potential customers want to know if your business is legit and if you’re an authority in the industry. They want assurance that your website is safe – especially at a time when cyber attacks and dedicated cybercriminals are on the rise.
As digital marketers, our focus on building solid partnerships and relationships are based predominantly on online communication. As such, website trustworthiness is a major element of our activities and processes – or should be, at least.
In my years of working as a digital marketer, I’ve learned that purchase decisions and trust go hand-in-hand. That’s why it’s important to build website trustworthiness if you want to stay relevant and increase your conversion rates.
1.Ensure that your website is HTTPS-secure
The moment a visitor comes to your website, if they are greeted with a warning saying ‘your connection to this site is not secure’, you’ve more or less lost them from the get-go.
Would you want your site visitors to be greeted with a warning sign that clearly states you cannot be trusted? Or is it important to you (and your business) that they feel safe and protected and that you communicate that their privacy is important to you?
I’m guessing you picked the latter.
An unsecured site can also impact your search engine rankings and hurt your SEO and business, especially since all HTTP sites are marked as ‘not secure’. If your website is HTTP, instead of HTTPS (indicated by a closed padlock sign to the left), I recommend that you get your site an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate to secure an encrypted connection between browsers and websites.
2.Use a domain that accurately represents your business
A domain, in layman’s terms, is much like an IP address that’s easy to read and remember compared to a 9-digit number, to visit a site.
If your company name isn’t available to be used as your domain, choose a close alternative that accurately describes your business. Use a registrar like ‘Google Domains’ and consider registering with top-level domains like .org, .net, .us, and other similar variations.
Also, remember to avoid the following:
- Confusing domains (e.g. rad.io instead of radio.com)
- Domains that seem like spam/scams (e.g. 123-r2f.com)
- Domains that could result in trademark conflicts (e.g. lonelyplanetinsurance.com)
3.Aim for zero usability issues
If your website loads quickly, is highly responsive, and easy to navigate, you are sure to have fewer usability issues. You only get a few seconds to impress your site visitors and if their very first experience is a negative one, it’s very unlikely that they will return.
According to the pyramid of trust developed by the Nielsen Norman Group, establishing website trustworthiness is a gradual process; one that needs to progress and evolve through different stages of commitment.
So, if your website’s initial interaction with a site visitor is a strained and difficult one, they are highly unlikely to return to your website, engage in purchase decisions, and build trust between themselves and your company. Make sure to review and evaluate your site to see if it’s at an optimal level to deliver a seamless user experience from the get-go.
4.Use high-quality images on your website
It’s common for people to make judgments, simply by looking at appearance. Your site visitors will do the same the moment they come to your website – it just takes just a fraction of a second to impress them with authenticity and authority using your website’s outlook.
The branding and aesthetics of your site must not be poorly presented with low-quality, poorly-sized or generic stock images. Use high-quality imagery to communicate brand quality and leave no room for your visitors to question your standards.
5.Ensure consistency of your brand messaging
Don’t take this lightly because consistency is arguably the most important aspect of branded communications.
Always remember to set guidelines to keep the language style, tone of voice, image style, colour palettes and core messages consistent throughout the website.
These are the core elements that convey your personality and if there are any variations in these elements, it could cause visitors to doubt your authenticity and authority as a brand in the industry. You must, at all costs, avoid making this mistake.
6.Strive to keep the website design clean and up-to-date
In the process of amping up your website trustworthiness, you must also educate yourself and stay up-to-date on the latest web designs to be able to communicate to your audience that you are relevant, legitimate and know exactly what they want.
Think about it, if you see an organisation who cares about how they present themselves, it will indirectly convey how much they care about their products and services and by extension, their customers.
Keep your site professional, streamlined, and clear – a website that isn’t cluttered will immediately draw eyes and make you seem like you care about what you have to offer.
7.Improve the load time of your site
According to Google, 53% of mobile users leave a site if it takes longer than two seconds to load. That’s more than half of your site visitors on mobile and it’s the same for web browsing.
If your site takes a long time to load, your visitors will be frustrated, leaving a dent on your website trustworthiness score. While this seems like it has little to do with trust, every little thing matters when it comes to a user’s experience on your site.
If your site is really slow, it doesn’t matter how rich or important your website content is because your visitor is sure to leave without looking at any of these.
Test the speed of your website and even test how long it takes to load on mobile. Some of the easier steps would be to use the right hosting option, use images with an average (but good) quality, and to enable browser caching.
8.Educate rather than sell
We all know that website visitors engage more with educational content than they do with promotional content. This is one of the reasons why there’s still plenty of demand for blog posts and articles and the reason e-marketers never fail to separate space for such content on their website.
It’s no secret that blogging is still an inbound marketing strategy that has become very important, leading to the creation of helpful and useful content that pulls your visitors in rather than pushing promotional content out.
There’s a reason why we’ve allocated so much space for blog posts on our website.
9.Showcase links to your active social media accounts on your website
I strongly believe that businesses with active social media accounts can position themselves as authoritative, relevant and trustworthy players in the game because it gives stakeholders another channel to engage with you.
Social media is also a great form of word of mouth PR, so, post regular, non-offending, compelling and engaging content on your social media. Let people know you are relevant, updated and are open for business.
10.Make it easy for visitors to get in touch
If you have done everything to link your visitor’s trust with you, they are sure to want to contact you. If you haven’t made it easy for them to do so, however, they are unlikely to move on to the next level in the pyramid of trust.
Being easily accessible positions you as a credible organisation not afraid to answer their queries, which increases website trustworthiness. So, make it easy for your site visitors to get in touch with you and also try to offer them multiple ways to do so.
Trust is your greatest asset
You just learned 10 proven ways to develop your website trustworthiness! While I agree that trust begins with honesty and empathy, it’s rather challenging to do that unless you are face-to-face with a customer. Why wait to create relationships when you can offer your visitors a chance to make business decisions with you offline?
Your website plays a big role in this trust-building journey and the doorway to that path is your website. Assure your site visitors that your business is worthy of their time and engagement by building and developing your website trustworthiness.
Once you have paid attention to that you will be rewarded with more traffic, low bounce rates, more subscribers, higher conversions, and more leads. Put your website in a great position to be considered as a trustworthy supplier to build a relationship with and to do business with.
Put your site visitor’s interests first and help them build a more trusting and meaningful relationship with you.