What is online trust, why do you need it and how do you define it through your website?
Trust can’t be measured directly through your website and it isn’t something that you can track or measure – unlike everything else in your marketing efforts.
It is the backbone for any content marketing and the foundation of your campaign. Below I have listed what you can do on your website to achieve this.
Trust is equally as important as finding the right traffic, if you can combine these two elements to your website, you will be rewarded by an increase in visitors, leads, customers, repeat business and referrals. Getting this right at the beginning will build the foundation for your success later on.
When building trust online, it’s about the immediate impression a visitor gets when arriving for the first time and how your product or service engages with them. If there is any reason for them to distrust what they see, their first impressions will immediately influence them and the functionality of the site.
Pages that take too long to load, missing images and spelling mistakes are not acceptable, visitors will simply go to another site. It doesn’t take much to lose a visitor, like poor grammar, a bad logo or lazy branding.
Below I have listed 5 ways to earn trust online and 10 very quick ways to lose it.
Images are a great way to visually build or illustrate a point. They can reinforce copy, make it interesting and more digestible. Saving time by using the first image you find or trying to save money using free or cheap cliche stock photography is not the way to go.
Consumers are too smart and will notice if you choose images for the sake of filling space, images need to complement, inform and elevate the copy. Use istockphoto or Getty images.
Choose royalty free images (not rights managed) so as soon as you purchase the image you will own it indefinitely.
2. Social proof
People trust websites where others have shown their approval on the site. If other people like it, then it must be good. I’ll try it as well.
Do you choose to eat in an empty or busy restaurant? The same rules apply online. When was the last time you bought a product from amazon and didn’t read what other people have said about it? Those reviews are the difference between buying the product or not.
Testimonials work in the same way, if you provide a service, people want to read what others have said. The longer the testimonial the better it will be received. If you can, ask customers to go into detail when they leave a testimonial. Ask them to write about how you solved their problem or leave detailed feedback about what they like about you or your company.
Build up enough testimonials for all your service areas, so you can categorise them with the correct service on the correct page. This helps the visitor get a targeted testimonial for the service they are looking for.
3. Be an expert in your niche (A Thought Leader)
If you can make yourself an expert in your field, put a blog on your website and provide content on that is genuinely valuable to people (not just copy and pasted from something you read last week) If you are good at writing content or have someone in your team who likes to blog, then use them.
You can use your years of experience to inform and educate visitors to your site. The content has to use useful and answer the questions that visitors to your website will have. Some of this content will take time to organise and put together, but its worth spending the time to create something valuable to read.
4. Great content
Everyone loves useful content, and this builds trust in your product or service. A first-time visitor to your site who might be at the top of your purchase funnel should be given the chance to download a specifically targeted guide (PDF) in return for their contact details (name, email, telephone optional)
Downloadable content can be case studies, white papers, PDF’s, e-books and infographics for example. Your branding and contact details should also be shown strongly on the PDF. If someone prints it out or forwards on to a contact or friend, you want to get the credit for producing it.
5. Clients logos
Share with others who you have worked with – Add a selection of client logos that you have worked with (if relevant), they don’t need to be big brands that people have heard of, they can be local companies if your business is based locally or regionally.
This shows the businesses that have placed their trust in you, and will make it easier for others to follow suit. If you have multiple logos, these can be added to a slider that will rotate.
…And How To Lose Trust In 10 Quick Steps:
1. Out of date information. Have you checked the Copyright text on your website footer recently? (Does it say 2014 or 2015)
2. A website that is not mobile friendly or responsive (Google places you lower in search results for sites that are not mobile friendly)
3. Update your CMS software (Whether its WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, you should use the latest themes and upgrade every 6 months) The reason most site don’t work or get hacked is outdated plugins and modules.
4. Website Hacked (See outdated software above)
5. Bad user experience and web design – Does it take 10 clicks to proceed through the shopping cart or 5 clicks to access information, that should be available in one click?
6. Website too slow or pages won’t load
7. Missing links, broken links and 404 pages
8. No product reviews or review plugins
9. No testimonials
10. Multiple spelling and grammatical mistakes
11. SSL – From October 17th 2017, Google is putting a ‘Not Secure’ warning on all of its browsers for ant website that are not SSL enabled.