If you have a website, you realize that it’s a living, breathing extension of your business. Unlike offline advertising media, you can continuously monitor advanced statistics and improve the performance of your website, making changes instantly whenever you see fit.
But if you create a simple website and don’t touch it after it has launched, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build trust and a loyal customer base.
Given my years of handling client websites in various niches along with my own personal experience as a user, here is my ultimate list of ways to build customer trust on your website.
If you have a well designed logo, it will immediately set you apart from the bland websites and text logos that most of your competitors use. The more eye-catching it is, the more you will create a brand that customers know, love and trust. Don’t forget to use your high-quality logo across all your marketing materials!
Badges, Certifications, and Custom Graphics
Along with a great looking logo, you can really make your website pop more if you add graphics to highlight the most important details of your company. This can include a badge denoting how many years you’ve been in business, manufacturer certifications you’ve acquired over the years, or simply a great looking photo on every page/blog post of your website to draw more attention to your message. Don’t underestimate the visual appeal of great looking pictures and graphics.
Anyone in business knows that the best source for new customers is your current customer base via referrals. When they give you glowing testimonials that you can post to your website, every new potential customer can associate with their situation. The more personal and specific a testimonial is, the better your chances of demonstrating your fit to the prospective customer.
Logos of Your Most Recognizable Clients
If you have done work for clients or brands that other people know, don’t hide it! Add the logos of these brands to your website so people know you aren’t some amateur without experience.
Credible Organizations and Associations
Are you a part of Better Business Bureau? How about Angie’s List? Or better yet, what about local clubs or meet-ups you attend where people can actually meet you face-to-face? If any of these are applicable, please put them on your website!
Fix All Broken Links on a Regular Basis
If you’ve been around for years, there’s a decent chance that a website or page you’ve linked to in the past no longer exists or has a new URL. Make sure you use a broken link check tool every now and then on your most popular pages to ensure they always stay fresh and relevant.
Avoid Grammar and Spelling Errors
I feel like this is something we all learned if we put together a resume – the details are that important. If you cannot spell something correctly, it gives the impression that you are messy with your work. Take the extra couple of minutes to proofread whatever you’ve written, especially on more critical service and sales pages.
Intuitive User Interface
When designing your website, don’t just throw it up there without thought of your ideal user. What are they thinking? What kind of information will they look for if they don’t have a clue who you are? One of the biggest ways to make things straightforward is to create an easy-to-use header navigation menu that makes all pages of your website accessible with one click. Always think about how many steps/clicks it takes for them to get to your most important content, and find ways to get them there faster.
Contact Page with Your Physical Location or Service Area
Even if you are an online business, people want to know where you are located. If you don’t want to divulge your physical or home address, setup a PO Box. For local businesses, you can also setup a service area that extends through a few counties or states, instead of listing a central location.
About Page with Your Team Members (and Their Faces)
People like doing business with other people, so make sure you put a little bit of personality into your about page. When folks see that your team members have similar interests to them, you create a deeper human bond outside of business. This will build you massive loyalty in the long-run and you will become the known “guy” or “gal” for your specific expertise.
It’s great if we can put all of this trustworthy content on our website to show our prospective clients that we mean business. What’s even better is when other people share your services, stories or content on social media. It provides several benefits, the most important being free advertising and social proof to all website visitors that people like you enough to share your work with their friends. That can be a powerful statement.
You’ve heard it before, and it’s true. If company A is selling an item, and company B is selling the same item with a guarantee, all things else being equal the latter company will have more sales. Think of a way that you can reduce the risk of your customer so they feel more comfortable giving you their hard earned cash. Some examples include a money-back guarantee, lifetime replacement, reproducible results if they follow your system, etc.
Secure Checkout or Website
If you expect a customer to give you their credit card online, you better be encrypting that data using https instead of plain http. Likewise, Google is recommending that all websites begin to shift towards encryption to protect your website traffic.
People are more likely to revisit your website if they know they are going to find something new each time they come back. This doesn’t mean you need to become a news service or make daily changes, but make sure you are finding time to create new, relevant and popular content centered around your niche. Also be sure to promote user generated content, whether it’s them submitting blog posts or simply commenting on your articles.
Detailed Description of Your Services
The more specific you can be about the type of business you do, the better quality client you will attract. This may mean providing your step-by-step process of how you deal with a customer inquiry and solve their problem. Also, you may want to indicate the types of people who ARE NOT an ideal fit for your business. Even recommend them to people who are a better match to really show that you’re not out solely for money, you really want to help.
Detailed Description of Your Policies
If your business is focused, you probably have the same types of customers that ask similar questions. As you hear repeat questions from your clients, document that Q/A into an FAQ page. Then in the future, instead of repeating yourself when a question arises, you can direct them to your FAQ page to save you time.
Create a Blog or Write Articles
When you have a library of content on a niche and your competitor has a static 5-page website that hasn’t been updated for 10 years, who do you think is going to be viewed as the expert? I think we both know it’s you. Not to mention you will get much more traffic from Google searches. So don’t be secretive with your knowledge, let people know it is what you do and how you do it. There are a ton of people who will appreciate what you do but don’t have the time to implement it themselves. Those people will pay you, and that’s how you have clients come to you. It’s inbound marketing 101.
Be Active in Your Niche
Don’t limit yourself to your website only. Write guess posts for other related blogs, answer questions on forums and sites like Quora. The more you can expose yourself (in a good way) to like-minded people, the more you will diversify your traffic sources and build your website into a lasting asset.
Get Listed on Editorial Directories
I’m not talking about every internet business directory under the sun. I’m talking about niche-focused directories or human curated lists where you feel your website is a great fit. Those are the types of links that will drive very targeted traffic to your website, even if it’s not high quantity. Quality over quantity is the name of the game.
Tell Your Personal or Company Story
This goes back to the people doing business with people theory. When you attach a relatable story to your product or service, people will pay a premium as opposed to the “commodity” business that doesn’t differentiate themselves.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is like a novel. In just a couple minutes, you can do wonders by creating a welcome video on your homepage to introduce yourself and really make your client feel comfortable about calling or contacting you. The same goes for testimonials – seeing a real customer talk about your business face-to-face will greatly outweigh any written testimonial with only a name attached to it.
Add a News Page
Have you been listed in a local newspaper, magazine or other publication? Don’t leave that information on 3rd party websites, collect and link to each on a news page so people can see where your business has been featured or where you’ve been interviewed.
Responsiveness and Mobile-Friendly
In today’s fast-changing world, we are seeing a dramatic shift in how people access the internet. More and more people are leaving their desktops behind and using phones and tablets only. Use Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic and see what percentage of your users are on mobile devices, and make sure your site looks great on any sized browser window.
Build a Community
If you are passionate about a specific topic, you should build a community around it. This can be as simple as a private Facebook Group where you personally invite your friends and business associates, or you may even want to create an in-person meetup where you get together weekly or monthly to discuss ideas. If your website has enough traffic, you can consider adding a forum.
Distill your secrets and processes into quick bites or guides for each specific topic. A great example of this is a coffee roasting company that creates how-to guides on brewing with every type of device like the french press, Aeropress, Chemex, and drip pot.
If there is anything more powerful than a testimonial, it’s a case study. Break down the performance of a client and how you increased their sales/productivity/health/etc. When people see a step-by-step timeline of results, they can visualize exactly how you will improve their business.
Practice What You Preach
If you make any promises on your website, follow through on them. This might include customer support response time, next-day shipping, free bonuses, or something else. Just make sure you stick to your word instead of trying to get more sales by implementing a strategy that you cannot fulfill.
Highlight Your Differences
It’s vitally important to be creative when determining your position in the marketplace. What this means is don’t simply attempt to emulate a competitor by being 10% better than them (and bad mouthing them). Instead, find a unique personal trait or way that you can be different to stand out from the crowd. For example, instead of trying to be an all-encompassing online marketing expert, niche down and focus only on one platform such as Pinterest. By doing this, you become extremely valuable to someone looking to build a brand on Pinterest and you can charge a premium.
I’ve touched on this a few times, but instead of thinking about the trend of the day, put thought into your website marketing strategy long-term. This may mean dividing campaigns into each quarter of the year to test various ideas. Or it may mean offering free value, asking your potential customers what they want to know about, and creating an audience/e-mail list before you even attempt to sell anything.
If you found this list useful, please share the love so we can make the web a more trustworthy place.
This is by no means all-inclusive, so if you have any other ideas on how to improve trust on a website, leave a comment!