Building Trust & Credibility with your Website

When you are looking for a new place to get a fish fry, do you ask your best friend or the first person you meet on the street? Most likely your best friend. Why? Your friend has credibility and your trust.  While the stranger doesn’t. The same concepts apply to websites. If you trust the business and the site has credibility, then you are more likely to do business with them. Here are eight simple things you can do to build trust and credibility with your visitors.

Make your site look professional and clean
Would you buy your groceries at a store that had dusty items and sticky floors? Of course not.  If your site is cluttered and unclean (Unclean meaning graphics are fuzzy or distorted, colors of site and/or text hard to read, etc.) then visitors are going to move on to the next website. People do "judge a book by its cover" and most people decide whether to stay at a site within twenty seconds of getting there. So you need to capture then quickly. Invest the time in learning how to create a professional looking website or invest the money in hiring a professional. You wouldn’t hire anyone but a professional to rewire your house, so why would you settle for any less in the marketing of your business?

Use correct grammar and spelling
Nothing says, "Unprofessional" more than misspellings and grammatical errors. To prevent this from happening, use your spell checker and then have several people read through your site.  Reading pages backwards is another great way to proof.

Make contact information easy to find
Have you ever been at a site ready to buy but could not find their phone number?  Frustrating wasn’t it?  On-line businesses come and go so quickly today, that if contact information isn’t easily found it puts up a red flag for most people. Your phone number and email address should not be more than one click away at any given place on your site.

Tell people who you are
An "About Us" page is the best way to accomplish this. This page should give a brief history of the company and a little bit of background about you and the members of your staff. I recommend including pictures of yourself and staff, if that isn’t possible, at least include photos of the people answering the phones and email. The "About Us" page helps to personalize the impersonal world of the Internet. Plus, the more people know about you, the more willing they are to trust you.

Use Testimonials
Testimonials are proof that you not only have clients, but that you have successfully completed satisfactory transactions.  For testimonials to be most effective, they should be factual, as specific as possible, and include the person’s name.  

Offer a guarantee on your products or services
Offering a guarantee with "no questions asked" will do two things for your site: First, it will remove risk for the visitor, so they have nothing to lose in trying your product. Secondly, it builds trust with the customer, because if you are willing to give them back their money, then you must believe in your product.

Publish a free E-zine (newsletter)
It’s been proven that a customer must see your business name seven to twelve times before they remember and recognize it. They must recognize the name before they will buy. By offering a free newsletter, you decrease the time it will take for them to start to recognize your business name. An added bonus is that the subscribers of your newsletter will start to see you as an expert. The thing to remember here is to offer valuable and useful information. Give your readers something they can turn around and use right away.

Be Honest
Tell your visitors what you will accomplish for them and how it will benefit them.  People are tired of the hard sale and want answers to their problems. Tell them exactly how you will accomplish this. Sometimes you might even have to tell than how to do something for free and run the risk of losing a few bucks. However, this will gain their trust by showing them that you are more concerned about their business then you are about your own.

Respond to requests for information
Just as you return phone calls in a timely manner, you should also respond to e-mails quickly. One thing about the Internet is that people use it for instant gratification: they want information and they want it now. You should be answering e-mails within 24 hours.

May 1, 2000

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