10 Steps to Increase Your Site’s Credibility

It’s easy to slap a site together with a bit of information on it and publish it on the internet, but how do you show your customers that you’re not just someone working out of their mom’s basement.

  1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site. 
    This can be done by giving credit and links to third-party sites that support the information shown on your site. If you’re going to use statistics to make your business look professional, make sure you can back them up and know where the information came from.
  2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.
    Displaying an office address, phone number, directions to your office, photos of your office and its employees, and being involved in business organizations like the area Chamber of Commerce.
  3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.
    Be proud of your employees and their years of experience and knowledge. Make sure your customers feel like they are in good hands with an experienced staff.
  4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.
    An easy way to accomplish this is having a staff page that show photos of your staff, lists their biographies, information about their background, education, and work experience.
  5. Make it easy to contact you.
    Don’t make your customers dig for this information. It should be listed on a “Contact Us” page, listed in the footer, or even on your home page.
  6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).
    Pay attention to details on this one. If you are trying to look professional and show people why they should do business with you, you shouldn’t have 30 animated cartoons flashing like a circus on your home page…unless of course you’re a circus or work in the circus industry.
  7. Make your site easy to use – and useful.
    Always remember who is using your site and what your demographics are. If the average ages of your customers are in their 60s, don’t use small fonts and complicated navigations. Keep it clean, simple, yet professional.
  8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).
    If your site never changes, why would anyone need to come back to it? Think of your site as a communication tool for your customers.
  9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).
    While some sites need advertisements in order to fund the site, ads that have sounds, animation, pop-ups, and distasteful content will drive your customers away. Keep it clean, professional, and make sure the ads make sense on your site and to your business.
  10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.
    Poor grammar and spelling errors diminish credibility. No one wants to work with someone that represents themselves with low quality work.

Overall, common sense goes a long way when building your website. It’s always a great idea to have a “test team” go through and use your site before it launches. Remember, the small details matter the most.

* Top ten source: Stanford’s Web Credibility Research, which is part of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab.