How to Add Trust and Credibility to Your Website

Written by Wholegrain Team - May 1, 2016

Imagine you’re walking down a road in a quiet part of town when you stumble upon a little cookery store. The windows are cracked and dirty, and the sign is handwritten, but you need a new frying pan and you’re tired of wandering around. So you step inside.

Once in the building you’re surrounded by so much junk you can’t walk up to the counter, and you’re accosted by an over-enthusiastic shop assistant who immediately tries to sell you a ridiculously priced food processor by a brand you’ve never heard of before. Are you going to buy it? Of course not. Let’s face it, you didn’t even set foot in the door, did you?

Why? Because your instincts are screaming that this place is untrustworthy.

Trust in the Online World

In the physical world, it’s fairly easy to determine whether a shop is trustworthy or not – you note the appearance and cleanliness of a premises and its staff, can see at a glance which products they sell, and can observe other customers browsing and making purchases.

But online it’s a whole different ballgame. We’re bombarded with warnings about online scams and, with the rise of content management systems such as WordPress, people can put together a simple website in less than 24 hours. While this has its obvious benefits, it can make it difficult for consumers to know exactly who they can trust.

And trust is a critical element of driving potential customers to conversions. When people land on your website, whether they are aware of it or not, they’re immediately looking for indicators of trust before deciding whether to buy your products or services, sign up to your email list, etc.

So it’s essential that your website demonstrates trust and credibility. Here are seven top tips for earning trust and increasing your conversions.

1. Contact Details

In a recent web usability report, the presence of contact details on your website was deemed ‘must have’ or ‘very important’ by 90% of respondents, with 44% claiming the lack of contact details would have them reaching for the back button.

Which is a pretty conclusive message.

Because if you land on a website with no physical address, no email address, no telephone number and a contact form as your only means of getting in touch, it’s only natural that you begin to question why these people are so elusive, and what would happen if you had a problem and needed to contact them.

Including comprehensive contact details demonstrates that you have nothing to hide and that you’re are approachable and trustworthy. And don’t squirrel them away in a dark, dingy corner of your website that’s impossible for people to find, especially on a mobile device. Make sure they’re prominent. If you’re a large company, consider including them on the header of each page, as we do.

2. About Page

People are inherently curious and they love to know who they’re doing business with. What’s more, they enjoy a good story. So your About page is your opportunity to shine.

This is the place to tell your brand story, demonstrate your authenticity, establish a relationship with your potential customers, and show them they can trust you.

Don’t waste this opportunity with a standardised brief section and a picture of your premises – inject some personality and creativity. Include individual bios of your staff, with a picture and their contact details. Show your company culture and your unique philosophy. Include any awards or major accomplishments, membership of official bodies and anything else you think may be of interest, such as the charities you support. And if you’ve been featured in a magazine, newspaper article or mentioned on a well-respected online publication, make sure you include it here.

Natural Force Screen Shot

People like to do business with those they like and trust, so show them the people behind the brand and you’re well on your way to establishing that all-important trust factor.

3. Reviews & Testimonials

Word of mouth is a huge indicator of trust, so including reviews and testimonials from your satisfied customers will give a little reassurance to those who are hesitating over making a purchase.

Try to avoid highlighting expected features and benefits, such as speedy delivery or good customer service, and instead focus on your unique selling points and the things that differentiate you from your main competitors.

When placing the testimonials or reviews on your website, always be transparent about who gave the review. With customer reviews, include the name and location of the person, and if your testimonial has come from a business ensure you include their name, company name and their position within that company. If the person agrees, include a picture and links to their social media accounts for enhanced credibility.

Tsohost Screen Shot

Bear in mind you don’t have to lump all your testimonials and reviews together. By spreading them around your website, especially in areas of key conversions, they will help to expel any lingering doubts and keep your customers on the path to conversion.

4. Showcase Your Social Media Stats

This is only relevant if you have a social media policy and a large, loyal following. But if you do, you can’t afford to overlook it.

If you have a significant following, include those stats – X number of Facebook fans or Y number of Twitter followers – in a prominent place on your website. Many people judge the credibility of a brand by its social media following, so make sure this is one of the first things they see when landing on your site.

Seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and shares demonstrates that you produce good content and therefore must be a good and trustworthy brand.

Even if you don’t have a large following, by making sure you have buttons where people can like or follow you and share your content, you can start to build a following, which will soon gain momentum if managed correctly.

5. Client Lists

Some companies can’t include a client list for reasons of non-disclosure, because their business is in a sensitive area, or because their clients want anonymity. Which is fair enough. But if you can include a list then you should, especially if you’ve worked with some well-respected names.

Once prospective customers can see that big brands trust you with their needs, it makes it far easier for them to decide to trust you as well. And it will convince them that you’ll deliver on your promises.

It’s up to you how you approach this. You can list your clients on a page or include client logos on your page footers. Just make sure they’re visible and easy to find when a prospect lands on your site.

Basecamp Client List

6. Professional Web Design

Much like that small dingy shop with dirty, cracked windows, your appearance is a prime factor in people deciding how trustworthy you are. So regardless of how compelling your copy is, you must ensure that your website looks professional, with high-definition images and user-friendly navigation.

With high-quality WordPress themes available for a wide range of budgets, there really is no good reason for having a shoddy design on your website. And, as we demonstrated in a recent blog, theme modifications are a practical solution to gaining a premium feel at a very reasonable cost.

Make sure you give your content a thorough proofread before going live, and periodically check for broken links, which can suggest a lack of professionalism to your visitors.

7. Ecommerce Sites

Finally, if you’re running an ecommerce site, there are a number of things you can do to add credibility to your store and expel any doubts your customers may have about inputting their personal information and credit card details.

Using respected online payment methods, such as PayPal or Stripe, and including their trust guard seals on your website is a clear indicator that you take your customer’s security seriously, and investing in an SSL certificate shows you’re serious about keeping their data secure.

Trust Seals Screen Shot

Eliminating the element of risk is a key influencer to convincing your potential customers to make a purchase. If a customer knows they can have a refund on the product or service if it doesn’t meet their needs, they are far more likely to go ahead with it. A 30-day refund period is sufficient for most things.

Money-Back Guarantee Screen Shot

Establishing Trust & Credibility

The reality is simple: if your potential customers don’t trust you, they will be reluctant to do business with you. Fortunately there are a number of simple actions you can take to build trust and credibility on your website, and prove your business is authentic and reputable.

By following our tips, you will take valuable steps to make your customers feel comfortable on your website, and confident about doing business with you.

Which factors make you suspicious when landing on an unknown website, and what actions have you taken to build trust and credibility on your own sites? Join in the discussion below…