A website can be the biggest weapon in the arsenal of an entrepreneur when it comes to generating new sales for their business, especially for those who are attracting thousands of engaged users to their site off the back of their SEO or PPC efforts.
However, if your website fails to display a trusting image to those landing on it, then those sales are going to fail to materialise and worse still, those engaged users will flock straight to your competitors.
After all, it’s no secret that a user will spend only around 50 milliseconds to decide whether or not they like a business website and whether or not they will stay on the site any longer.
So how can business owners be sure that users will trust their website and the content displayed on it. Well there are hundreds of different factors on this, but in this blog we’re going to examine some of the more basic steps you can take, along with a few more complex solutions to generating trust through your website.
Ensure you have an SSL Certificate
Okay, this is super simple but something that still many businesses neglect to implement on their website. In simple terms an SSL Certificate on the website makes the site more secure and ensures that users data is protected.
This could be anything from bank details at checkout to an email address being signed up to a newsletter. But – you can be certain that if the site is flagged as not secure, people are not going to feel comfortable entering any information on the site at all.
Most browsers will now direct users away from non-secure sites with a warning that actually warns users of the site not being secure. To put it briefly, if you’ve no SSL certificate you’re certainly not going to be trusted online.
If you’re unsure, the difference between your website showing HTTPS instead of HTTP, or if you’re uncertain on that it gives your website the small padlock displayed next to your URL when viewed on most browsers
Thankfully, this fix is incredibly simple as nearly all web hosting companies will offer SSL certificates and installations, so if you need one, contact whoever hosts your site ASAP.
Be sure to keep mobile users in mind at all times
Given that 85% of people believe that a business’ website should look as good, if not better, on mobile than it does on desktop, having a responsive and attractive site on mobile is key in generating trust.
People are now immersed in their phones more than ever before and this will almost certainly be where users first encounter your website, and they’re certainly not going to come back to their desktop hours later if they weren’t impressed with the mobile version.
Creating a mobile-friendly and responsive website is at the forefront of all great web design projects, but if it’s a while since you’ve had a new website then you should definitely be checking how good the mobile version is against your competitors.
The main metrics to observe on this is Content Display (does everything still fit on the screen on mobile and is the site easy to navigate/use) and the load speed of the site.
Fixing these can be a bit of work, especially if your site is way behind the competitions, so depending on your level of experience alongside the time you have to spend on the site – it may be worth contacting an experienced web designer to help with these issues.
Integrate your company’s reviews from other platforms
Normal customer testimonials displayed on websites are becoming less and less effective in establishing trust with the users. When a business displays this kind of information on their website there is often much more scrutiny placed upon its authenticity.
The best way that businesses can combat this in 2021 is to integrate reviews from other sources such as Google, TrustPilot, GlassDoor or other feedback based sites. Whereas users can question the source of a traditional testimonial, the same is not true for reviews that have been left by others about your business in other places.
These can be tricky to implement for those with less web design experience but if you’re aware of the basics then you can find a range of plugins and widgets (take a look at this list) that can be installed which will pull through your latest reviews on other websites.
Extra Tip: When you do look to integrate additional reviews onto the website, be sure to check through to see if you have any recent negative reviews. Whilst these may have been responded to in a professional and courteous manner the response may not be pulled through and this would not want to be displayed on the site.
Back up any claims and awards with links
In a world where every business is ‘award-winning’ or a product is ‘as seen on TV’ consumers will scrutinise these claims almost to the degree that they will be scrutinising the authenticity of your testimonials.
That means that by backing up any/all of your marketing claims with the evidence in the form of a link can be crucial in establishing trust with your target audience.
For example, if your business has been positively mentioned by your local press and you shout about it on the website – then have a link back to the original article as part of this content.
There’s a reason why university professors require students to reference in their essays, and it’s simply about trust. The same is true for any business’ website, if you’re backing up your claims right there in front of the user then you completely eliminate the option of them choosing not to trust your business.
Demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility
Arguably we saved the most difficult until last. Although, in truth this is also one of the easiest for businesses to adhere to when they want users to trust and connect with their website.
An article published by scholars of Auburn University’s Marketing Department has found that a customer’s perception of a company’s business ethics behavior will have an effect on their attitude toward the overall brand.
This suggests that establishing clear evidence of a social purpose that your business has is vital in establishing higher levels of trust among your ideal consumers online.
Think about any work you’ve done with local charities, non-profit or community interest companies (CICs) and how you could best encompass this to the content on your website. If you’ve sponsored a local charity then contact them to see if they’d be happy with you writing a blog on this or displaying their logo on your home page. Chances are that they’ll bite your hand off when you consider that it’s also free marketing for them too!