10 ways to increase the trustworthiness of your website
Trust is a competitive advantage in business. Clients actively look for reasons not to trust you or what you offer. Here are 10 easy ways to increase the trustworthiness of your website.
1. Be easy to contact
Nothing screams ‘danger’ more than the absence of an address, phone number or email address on a website. If you’re worried about giving out your street address as a solopreneur, then invest in a PO Box.
Hiding your phone number tells people you think you are more important than they are, which is scarcely the way to win business. Answering machines or answering services solve the problem of a constantly ringing phone, while still making you accessible to your clients.
Many small businesses don’t want to include their email address on their website for fear of being spammed. The WordPress plugin Email Address Encoder solves most bots from harvesting your email address, but unfortunately, nothing will stop a person manually writing down your email address the old-fashioned way.
Remember that many spammers will use your contact form to attempt to get your email address from the delivery path. If someone wants your email – they WILL find a way to find it. Just run a high-quality anti-virus program on your emails to minimise potential dangers.
"People like to know that people just like them have used and loved your services. "
2. Make it easy to check your identity
People will check your business identity. By making it easy for them, you are showing you have nothing to hide. Include your ABN on your website in the footer or the contact page. If you hold a license or registration such as a builder’s license, include the number on your site, with a link to the license checking authority to make it easy for clients to double-check your details.
3. Include REAL testimonials
People like to know that people just like them have used and loved your services. Use testimonials from past clients on your website. Remember that testimonials from your mum or your kids, or ones you have made up yourself, are illegal and could see you up for big fines. Keep it real!
4. Guarantee yourself
5. Offer refunds
People are worried that the service or product you offer won’t fit or be right for their needs. By being upfront about when and how they can ask for a refund, you increase trust. Remember to put your refund policy in whole on your website and make it easy to find.
6. Modern website design
How likely would you be to eat in a restaurant that had décor from the 70’s and was covered in a thick layer of dust? If your website looks dated, is not responsive on smartphones or tablets, or is full of bits that are broken or not working, your clients won’t trust you. Invest in a website makeover!
7. Quality content
The words you use on your website can either build or demolish trust. Lose the cheesy lines and all attempts to shove as many keywords as you can onto a page. Offer extensive, valuable content that has correct spelling and grammar. The more useful information you share, the more trustworthy you appear.
8. HTTPS not HTTP
If you sell anything from your website, or have options for people to log into your site, then you must run an SSL Certificate on your website (the green padlock symbol in your browser). SSL is a more secure way of managing information and is so important that from 1 January 2017 Google Chrome browser now displays a warning if the website requires the input of sensitive information without an SSL Certificate.
9. Trust Seals/Trust Marks
A trust seal is a third party verified company that confirms your business is legitimate through adding a symbol on your website. Depending on the seal, it can also verify that a site is free from malware and has strong privacy procedures in place.
Some seals come bundled as part of an SSL purchase (e.g. Norton previously known as Verisign). Others come as a stand-alone service (e.g. McAfee Secure). If you sell anything from your website, then explore adding credible and known Trust Seals.
10. Ask for the minimum you need
Closely aligned to trust is privacy. Many people are afraid of sharing too much information with businesses they don’t know. Keep the number of data fields you need to deliver your service to your clients to an absolute minimum.
Keep strong privacy policies in place, and ensure you have maximum IT security through monitoring and updating your website plugins weekly, and installing a strong firewall and website security. Hacking is on the rise, with many hackers after your clients’ details. Breaching client trust through having your website hacked is hard to recover from.
By actively taking steps to demonstrate your trustworthiness, you demonstrate to your potential clients that you take their business seriously. As a result, the conversions from your website will increase.