Articles from July, 2010

Five Ways to Improve Website Credibility

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Establishing the credibility of an organization is one of the key goals for any website. It doesn’t matter what type of organization your website represents: business, government or non-profit entity. In all cases, credibility counts.

Why website credibility matters

In order for people to be willing to engage with you – share personal information, consider using your services, etc. – they have to be persuaded that:

  • You have expertise in your field.
  • You can be trusted.

This means you need to design your website to emphasize the above two qualities.

How to build website credibility

Here are five strategies you can use to improve website credibility.

  • 1. Ensure your website has a professional-looking visual appearance.
  • Research shows that you have only 10 seconds to engage new website visitors before they click away. In that short 10-second interval people decide to stay or go based largely on the impression made by the visual design of your website.
  • This does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on multi-media slide shows or other expensive custom graphics. However, it does mean you should not let your 13-year-old nephew design your website. Find room in your budget for a professional-looking color scheme.
  • 2. Describe your expertise
  • Include website content that indicates the knowledge and experience you have in your field. This can take various forms. For example, consider including pages in your website such as:
    • A page that describes your unique value proposition, which is why someone should select your organization over another.
    • A page that describes the qualifications of the principal contributors of your organization.
    • A page that describes the history of the organization, along with any awards, professional affiliations, etc.
  • 3. Provide useful information on your website.
  • Websites that are too overtly designed to ’sell, sell, sell’ without offering any real content can alienate people. Such sites may even be interpreted as something more nefarious such as a phishing site.
  • Provide relevant information that will assist website visitors in some way. Visitors remember sites that are useful. Even if they don’t engage with you themselves, they may refer your site to someone who will.
  • 4. Let your customers speak for you
  • People recognize that any organization will attempt to present itself in a positive light. However, seeing evidence that your organization produced good results for someone else can be quite persuasive.
  • You can include customer results in your website in different ways, for example, providing:
    • Customer testimonials
    • Case studies and success stories
  • 5. Ensure the copy on your website contains no errors
  • Many people are surprised to learn that typographical errors have a significant impact on credibility whether the error appears online or in printed material. If your website includes errors, website visitors can easily draw unfortunate conclusions about your organization. Adopt a strict policy for typographical errors. Use a spell-check utility or find someone to proofread your website copy.

In the sales and marketing world there is a well-established saying that:

“People buy from people they trust”.

Try applying the above strategies to your website and observe how they work for you. They should help build your credibility and gain the confidence of website visitors.

NOTE: For more ideas on establishing website credibility, check out these guidelines from Stanford University.

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