Gaining website visitor trust

Monday, June 22, 2015 by Richard Howe

Gaining website visitor trustFirst impressions count, and in website terms it’s those first few seconds that will make all the difference as to whether visitors trust your brand. In this blog post, we look at a few areas you can focus on to ensure that you immediately build up user trust.

Look and feel

As soon as a visitor lands on your homepage, various things will grab their attention and give an overall sense of what your company does and what kind of ethos you promote. It will also demonstrate who your target audience are, and they will be able to judge whether or not they fit into that category and if your site is for them.

Therefore, always pay particular attention to your overall layout and what your visitors will see straight away. Things to consider include:

  • Colour scheme
  • Page layout and element positioning
  • Relative sizing of elements
  • Typography
  • Use of images
  • Believability

One of the very first things that a user wants to know is whether you’re a real, bona fide company and that you’re who you say you are. So including your address and contact numbers is a must, and testimonials pages add credibility and context to your brand.

Including images and videos of your company is also a strong technique for fostering early trust in your website. If you can incorporate introductory or ‘About Us’ videos where users can see a face speaking directly to them, trust is magnified several times over and people can really buy into your message. 

If you have business credentials, are a certified member of a particular professional body or other relevant association, these are all things to include on your website to help build that all-important trust.

Ecommerce website trust

Trust is a particularly important factor for eCommerce sites and visitors want to feel safe shopping on your site. 

A prominent green bar SSL certificate applied to your secure pages instantly let's people know their sensitive credit card information is being handled securely. 

Displaying the credit card options you offer, along with your payment gateway supplier's logo at the point of checkout is another simple but important step to create familiarity and affiliation with well known financial service suppliers.

Additionally, if your website has passed a PCI compliance test, ensure visitors know about this and display the qualification logo at the point of checkout or throughout your site within the footer. If you haven't completed any PCI compliance tests yet, it is recommended you do so to discover any unknown vulnerabilities. See Trustwave's PCI compliance for more information. 

Regularly updates

It’s clear after just a few seconds of visiting a website whether it’s well maintained and regularly updated or not. From the design to the actual content on the page, people need up-to-date information if they are going to trust your site, revisit it and recommend it to their friends. 

Keeping your site up-to-date also has the added benefit of increasing your search engine page rankings, so it’s a win-win situation. If your website looks like it was designed a decade ago and the date of your last blog post was sometime in 2013, people won’t waste their time on it.

Consistency and accuracy

As users delve further into your site, any inconsistencies will be picked up and could sow doubt in a user’s mind. So it’s important to ensure that your branding, design and overall web site message are clear and consistent throughout your website. If you state in your ‘About Us’ page that you are based in Oxford and yet your address shows a Manchester location for example, people might be understandably confused. Keep everything open and transparent for your users.

Similarly, accuracy in spelling, grammar and graphic elements isn’t just about professionalism but also helps to promote trust in your brand and help people to see that you a company who knows what they’re doing.

By keeping in mind the above points, you can ensure that users of your website feel safe and secure. If you get it right, they will stay for longer, revisit and hopefully become clients, recommending others to your site and acting as brand advocates. 

As with so much in the design world, if you look at your website from your audience’s point of view, you won’t go too far wrong and building up instant trust will be well within your reach.

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