Easy do-it-yourself website builders have made it possible for anyone with even limited web skills to create a website for their business, while web development agencies are able to create fully functional, beautiful, even elaborate sites. However, there’s a lot more to your web presence than having a fancy website. Any business needs to have a website that's credible.
It's a known fact that websites play a large role when it comes to consumer trust, especially when so many businesses are originally discovered online by their customers. Whether your site has been created by an agency or done DIY, follow these steps to make sure it builds credibility (you should also avoid these common mistakes with DIY websites).
Why it’s important to have a credible website
Credibility shows customers that you’re safe and trustworthy. It’s impossible to generate more leads, sell more products, or attract more visitors without it. There’s a lot of businesses out there (especially new ones) who struggle with this. Website visitors are skeptical and they immediately look for trust factors before they engage. If they don’t see credibility in your website, they simply won’t do business.
Now that credibility is in your mind, fixing your website right away should be next on your to do list. Here are important areas that should be in place:
These keep your customer data private. Using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates, protect highly confidential information like credit card transactions, data transfer, and account logins. This certificate is a must have for online businesses and for any business in general who wants to prove their authenticity and credibility to their visitors.
To apply SSL, you just have to buy, activate and install the certificate to your website. You can do this or simply let trusted web agencies to do it for you.
If you don't have an SSL certificate, web browsers will flag your website as not secure - which is a red flag to visitors.
Social proof – testimonials, client logos, reviews...
In the age of social media, what others are saying about you is the ultimate proof of your credibility. Social proof is what consumers are looking for and it’s an important website element that influences conversion and trust.
Include logos and testimonials on your website, so that visitors can see who you work with and what they say about the experience of working with you.
External sites can add even more credibility, because your audience can see that you haven't posted them yourself. To help you apply reviews and testimonials to your website, consider integrating Google Reviews or Trustpilot reviews.
Include your social proof section in your website close your products and services. This increases your credibility and adds more buying confidence to your visitors.
Including a case study section in your website gives prospective clients an idea on what it is like working with you. Showing your readers how you approach challenges, how you come up with solutions, and what the results look like speaks a huge deal about your company. With case studies, you don’t just have something to say, you have something to show. Keep it detailed and keep it impressive.
If you offer a variety of services, you should try and have case studies for each of them. Show people what to expect from you, and demonstrate what results you've been able to achieve for your clients.
Numbers and statistics are important parts of case studies, and using graphs and charts to demonstrate them creates visual impact that's easy for your visitors to digest.
Contact details and about page
A common website building error is focusing too much on how the home page looks, while overlooking the importance of the contact page and about page. There's nothing wrong with impressing your visitors right away, but these two are important pages that add credibility and conversion opportunities.
Your contact details should be visible right away. There are times when visitors are straightforward with their intent and want to get in touch with you as soon as possible. Make sure you include your phone number and email address in your header so if someone just wants to call you, they don't have to click around to find what they need.
Having a physical address on your contact page is a huge credibility factor - people want to know who they're dealing with, and a physical address suggests that your business is legitimate. The same is true for a geographic phone number, or at least a landline number, rather than a mobile number.
About pages are one of the most clicked pages in websites and this is where visitors get to know about you and your company. This valuable space is where you can tell your story and where your journey is leading to.
Including real pictures of your team adds credibility because it puts a face on your company - people like to know who they're working with. The most important credibility factor here is authenticity - don't fill your about page with corporate jargon, make it real. If you have a mission, or company values, include them - just so long as you actually embody them and they're not just fluff!
Regular updates – blog/news
Whether you are a small business or an enterprise, blogging is essential to your website. Consistent publishing of informative articles positions your brand as an industry leader. Search engines reward websites that regularly update their blogs with fresh content and it important your website has one.
Blogging is also one of the most effective content marketing tactics around. It’s where you explore your audience's issues and concerns and provide content that they find useful and engaging.
From a credibility-perspective, regular updates show that your business is active. A blog with one or two posts from years ago may imply that the business is no longer operating, or at least suggest that you're not concerned about your profile and your audience.
Certifications and awards
If you have certifications and awards then you should feature them on your site. Use graphic icons like trophies, ribbons and medals to illustrate achievement. You can also post conference pictures and online class certifications. Don’t be afraid to highlight your success. Tastefully done, this increases confidence from visitors while also adding confidence to your team.
Different types of award or certification should be highlighted on different pages, so you don't necessarily want to limit them to an achievements page (although this is a good place to include all of them).
If you have industry certifications that are required for what you do, these should be included on your homepage and your website footer, so that they're always visible.
Consumers are looking for businesses that they can trust and rely on. Including all of these elements on your website provides the credibility you need to make your audience comfortable in doing business with you.
Missing any of these elements can reduce how trustworthy your site and business could be perceived to be, creating a barrier to conversion.