“If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” ― Zig Ziglar
What does it mean? It could be a person or a group you have confidence in.
Reliability is also a concept not far from trust. We want to rely on whom we trust. You see, trust is an important word. It is an important characteristic we want people we engage with to have, we look for it in a community, specially in a brand.
Trust is very important to consumers. We can never emphasize that enough. We want to get involved with people and brands that we trust.
Because we rely on them, it is important that we do TRUST them.
It’s the same with a brand’s website. It represents the business. A page that emulates trustworthiness is something that people look for.
We engage in e-commerce websites, and there is a need to share personal and confidential information about us. Credit card details, home addresses, and such – we don’t want to share them too easily and have syndicates siphon all of our savings.
However, consumers want convenience and technological advances, whether we like it or not online transactions are inevitable. What users want is to have access on entities that they truly trust with their information.
But wait that’s not all we have in mind when we are writing this article. There’s a lot more at stake when building a website and marketing it.
We’ve prepared a number of factors in understanding trust in the eyes of users that can guide you in creating your own websites.
With a lot of years on our backs creating web designs in Ireland, we believe that we are ready to give you an idea of how important is trust in a website.
But first, what scares online users the most?
Phishing scams – Most probably, you are already aware of phishing scams. Unfortunately, it is still a thing done today. Criminals faking websites, passing it as a legit one, baiting people to input their personal information. In turn, they use this stolen information to make unauthorized online purchases.
Malware – malicious programs that silently creep into innocent people’s computers. At first, they aren’t even aware that their computer is affected. Malwares infect personal computers, creating problems for the user. Virus, worms, trojans, you name it – people who know the internet shudder with the mere mention of these words.
With these unscrupulous internet behaviors, people are becoming wary. They want someone guarantee that they can trust a website.
So what does a trusted web page mean for users anyway?
Rule #1: A website protects their customers. – When a company includes measures to secure their website, it gives their users a feeling of confidence. They know and understand that the company protects them, and it encourages users to trust these companies more.
They believe that the safety of the consumer is their main concern. People will be more likely to trust them with their personal details.
For example having an SSL on a website’s url, where you can see the green lock image on the URL is essential for the user’s protections and peace of mind.
Plus having an SSL certificate also helps your website rank higher in Google.
Rule #2: The website offers quality products or services – When you do online transactions, you don’t get to physically inspect what you’re buying. Or even if you’re availing a service, you are not seeing face to face the person who provides it. You just have to trust the brand that they will provide you quality products and services. (Example: Amazon)
When a company starts with a website that looks trustworthy, customers will tend to believe more that they are advocates of quality because they start wth the quality of their page. (more on this later)
You would expect the same in the products and services that they offer. They would trust the brand to provide them quality products and services too.
But what does quality products and services mean? Quality would mean that the product has been tested to work and they are transparent with all the conditions being applied when you purchase it.
Another measure of having a quality product is with its refund guarantee and oftentimes a 30 day money back guarantee. 24/7 support and chat ready system is also an added plus.
Rule #3: A company with integrity through security – You know a company operates with integrity when they consider security as paramount. They follow the law and secure customer information at all cost.
Rule #4: A company that offers correct and complete information – The users trust the information the company offers. They trust the about us section and privacy details pages on the website to be correct and caters to what they need.
Rule #5: A company that follows through – Some people have been burned several times on online transactions falling through. The absence of a physical transaction makes some people less trusting. However, when they trust the page, they know the company will follow through the transaction. It will be done, from start to finish by having a well-trained support system in place.
What can we learn from here?
Customers want to transact with a trusted page. Online safety is a major concern. It’s understandable because you are practically handing over your credit card details, home addresses, and other sensitive information. You would only want to share that with a company you trust.
They also want a brand that can provide what they want. Doing an online transaction is tricky. It really involves a lot of trust. You don’t see the person you’re talking to (unless it’s a video call). You don’t get to physically check out the products. Again, everything’s built on trust.
But when you trust the website, you trust that they provide you quality products and services. You are confident that you will receive such.
A brand that has an online presence, that’s what you should aspire for. A web page that people find trustworthy. It draws users to your page and make them stay. Make it a website worthy enough for people to go back to again and again. Repeat transactions should be guaranteed.
Now that we have emphasized the importance of page trustworthiness, how do you apply these on your web design?
Today, we will share with you how to build trust on your page. We are sharing tips to make it more reliable. So how do we start?
Obtaining customer testimonials and portfolio building – People are always interested to know how the experience is for other people. People tend to pay attention more if they hear or read about actual testimonials of previous customers.
Obtain testimonials for the business and post them on the page. When people share their positive experiences on the page itself, it adds to the credibility of the brand. It is saying that people are confident in the products or services offered. Reading the testimonials will encourage potential customers to trust the brand.
Don’t forget about building a portfolio too. If you can provide a list of their previous work, then include it as well. If the website has worked with other known brands, mention them in the portfolio section as long as it’s fine with them (ask permission first!) Remember, customers are also interested to see who you’ve worked with and what you’ve done for them. Checking out the website’s portfolio is like an indirect testimonial.
Listing press mentions and accolades – If the brand has been featured in articles or have been given awards, why not post them on the website? If they have earned them, why not? Similar to testimonials, if they are known in the industry and have received honors for it – share it! People would want to know that a company is trusted in the industry and have received recognition them.
Show them that you are valued. It will surely increase their trust rating. People like to be assured that the company they are dealing with are duly-recognized. If the brand has certifications, make it known as well. It’s always good to know that a company continuously improves themselves and regularly get certifications to be on top of their industries.
Professional web design – This point covers a lot of aspects. Your design actually sends a message to the page viewers. So you have to make the design, a strong one. It should send a message of trust, and encourage user confidence.
In writing, in may sound a little too broad and vague so let’s point out several examples. If you are to be presented with two web designs, one with clean and legible typefaces.
Headers, subheaders, and footers are not crowded, they are fitted perfectly. You could easily zero in on the point of the website. It’s easy to navigate because of the clean and efficient design.
On the other hand, you would be presented with another layout. You will see that every white space is filled out. You will see tons of ads. Every corner of the page is fitted with information. You ask yourself: “What is this page about again?”
Before you even start scouring the page, you’re already greeted with an obtrusive pop-out page. It is coaxing you to join their community when you don’t even know anything about them yet.
No space is left un-utilized. Every corner of the page has information. In short, too much is going on. But hey, you want to use all available space so why not?
If you were to be asked, which page would you trust more?
The answer would be easy.
Of course, you would go to the page with the more powerful and simple easy to use design. It may appear that it has less information on the landing page, but it does its job.
It highlights what you need to know right away. It commands authority by not looking too desperate. Desperate meaning, offering too much information at every corner of the page. You don’t even know where to start at all because it has too much clutter. Keep in mind that you need to think of a design that works, a design that screams “trustworthy”!
It should be a design that sends a message that you mean business. That you exhibit professionalism and it speaks to the client through the website. It is what the design should convey.
Provide up to date business information – It is important for potential customers to know that a company with an online presence can actually be reached. And if the brand has a physical space, put it up on the website (better if you anchor it with a Google local map listing).
Being transparent with this important information sends a message that a brand is open and available. The brand is accessible to its clients, that they are not a fly-by-night company.
They have nothing to hide and customers can contact them. Should they have any concerns and issues they feel safe because the company can be reached. Being reachable is a security blanket for customers.
Make sure also to provide several options for customers to contact the website. Provide a physical address, a phone number, email address, and even social media accounts (more on this later) the business may have! The business has to keep up with the times. Understand that people have several preferences for reaching out, so give them choices.
Also, pages usually have an “About Us” section. Utilize that section properly. It is your chance to show potential customers what the brand is all about, what it represents, the brand’s company values, and what they can offer.
Write a company description that compels people to do business with you. Of course, you have to be honest when you list down what the company offers. Also, explain to them why they need the brand’s products and services. Establish that it is a company they can trust.
Update your content – There’s nothing like a neglected website to put-off potential customers. The work isn’t done once the website is up and running. A web designer may have done a great job in putting up a website, but does it really stop there?
Eventually the websites content will be out of date, the security measures installed will turn obsolete, and so on.
An out-of-date web page screams neglect. Worse, people would even think the brand is already out of business. It’s not enough to put up a website just to say you have a website. Putting up a page means it has to be maintained. A lot of people go online to search and if they chance upon your neglected website, chances are – they won’t even give it a second look.
They might think: “If the site is neglected, is this how they treat their customers too?” That’s a message a neglected website sends across. Before you can even establish trust with the customer, they have already left the page.
Be active in social media – Build an active following in social media. It’s undeniable that this is the language people speak nowadays. People are interested to know if brands have a social media account that they can connect with.
Actually, social media is a good place to interact with customers as well. People would like to know that a website can engage with them.
The interaction’s more personal, that’s why letting people know that a brand has a social media presence on the website is important. Include social media links on the page.
When a brand has social media and a following, it further sets its legitimacy. It solidifies the users’ trust on the brand. The brand has a community that follows them, an indication that they are known and trusted.
Also make the website’s blog posts shareable over social media. Incorporate into your web design, easy sharing functions. When people share articles, it increases the brand’s authority. It also increases people’s trust because they see that the brand is knowledgeable and their articles are share-worthy.
Offering products/services with guarantees – People expect that the products and services a brand is offering is of utmost quality. When the website guarantees satisfaction on customer purchases users expect to have a sense of security that when something goes wrong somebody can help them.
How is this done? The company may want to put up a statement guaranteeing customer satisfaction with the website. For example, money-back guarantee if customers are not satisfied.
Or let’s say, offering a free trial period where they can use the products and services and they can decide to purchase or not at the end of the trial.
Or they can also state a procedure for returns and exchange, warranty, and such. When a company is confident enough to send out guarantees, it builds up a good reputation among consumers.
It gives customers the impression that the company is offering only the best. Consumers trust more because of the assurance the brand provides.
Third Party Affiliations – If the company have links or affiliations with reputable third party groups, they should also link them to the web site. It allows the page viewers to know that the brand is associated with other known companies in the industry.
It goes the same for links that is shared in the articles on the web page. Make sure the links go to reputable websites as well. You would want to link only to pages that builds the brand’s reputation in the industry.
You wouldn’t want to forward the customers to a spammy website or worse, a shady one. Would customers trust the website after bringing them to a bad website? If you link them to reliable sources, they know they can trust you when they want to get information.
When putting links on the page, always check if those links are clean and can help in trust building. Constantly check on the links as well as some of them may become outdated. Referring again to one of the concerns above, customers do not want outdated information.
Updated security measures – What kind of security measures does the page have? When customers are asked to input their sensitive information on online forms, what assurance do they get that their information is safely stored?
A customer would obviously like to know how their information will be treated. They want assurance that their privacy is maintained. How do you provide them that feeling of security? You have to state how their information is handled on the website. Furthermore, if you have employed third party security services on the website – indicate them.
It would also be great if your website follows the current GDPR rules.
Let’s say you’re using Shopify, you can incorporate the Shopify badge of security. Or if you have Verisign, it would also help to show your badge that you are using their services.
Displaying the security badges from these known companies would establish the trust further between the brand and the customer. It means the company is paying attention to security and they care about maintaining customer privacy.
Incorporating personality in web design. – The thing with online transactions, is there is a trade-off. With transactions done online, the human interaction is eliminated. It’s undeniable that personal interactions establish trust easier.
However, you want this trust even if the communication is done online. How can a brand establish that? The web design should have a personality. When people land on the page, it should evoke pleasant emotions from them.
When a design is being planned, it’s also important to develop a personality for the page. What does the brand want to tell the consumers? What emotions do they want to pull-off? If this is not incorporated, it would just be a flat website, robotic, devoid of any personality.
And if the page has no identity to begin with, people may find it hard to connect with the brand. It does not stir any emotions from them. It’s just a website, nothing else. And why would they trust a page when it doesn’t do anything for them?
Be also wary of using stock photographs exhibiting emotions and such. While using stock images is fine, use photos that closely represent the identity of your brand. People appreciate honesty and it would not be hard for them to find out if you’re misrepresenting your brand.
The inconsistency will show sooner or later. If you have difficulty capturing personality in your design, there are several guides on the internet that can help you with this. Check out other web sites for inspiration, see how it speaks to you.
Content Quality – if your website content is thin, it would show. Your web design could be stellar and you all have the necessary security, but can page viewers see you as an authority? Your articles should be relevant, useful, and as mentioned earlier – worth sharing.
Posting articles for the sake of posting won’t help the website. If people don’t see the articles useful or it does not convince them.
Ask yourself why would they choose your brand? They need content to convince them. They need content that is useful. And if the articles are good enough, they would even share them. With good quality content, a brand’s reputation increases. When the articles become references, more people will come to trust the brand as well.
Maintaining customer privacy has increasingly become a concern lately. People would want to do business with you only if your brand is trustworthy. Of course, we all know that trust is earned. The good thing is, you can establish your trust through your page by incorporating the tips discussed in this article. So remember, it’s not just all about aesthetics. You should find the design that fits your brand and invites customers to trust.