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6 Trust Factors Your Website Needs

May 13, 2020

by Kayla Matthews

Digital Marketing Journalist, Productivity Theory

Your web presence is a vital reflection of your brand. Learn how you can use your site to build trust in your company, giving you a valuable advantage over the competition.

Put yourself in the shoes of the average consumer. You wake up because your phone dings from a text telling you something is on sale. You turn on the radio and hear an ad for a local car dealership. When you sign online, you see ads on social media, your email inbox, and on search engines.

All day, every day, a consumer sees marketing from hundreds of different companies. Some make promises they never keep, and others say things that just aren't possible. Consumers have no reason to trust what brands say — unless those brands prove themselves.

In 2019, Edelman conducted research across eight different countries to gauge the trust of consumers across different markets, ages, gender, and income levels. More than 80% of those surveyed said they had to trust a brand to do what's right before they make a purchase. Yet brands are failing to establish that trust.

Graph titled "brand trust ranks as a top buying consideration." The attribute "I must be able to trust the brand to do what is right" is highlighted, 81% of respondents identified this as a deal breaker or deciding factor in their decision process.
Source: Edelman

As a business, how do you build trust online with consumers who have never heard of your brand? Trust factors give visitors to your website some assurance that you will do the right thing. You can show that you know what you’re talking about and you have customers that can speak to your credibility.

6 Ways Your Website Can Build Trust

  1. Testimonials

  2. Certifications
  3. Web design
  4. Policies
  5. Links to reliable sources
  6. Videos

1. Testimonials

Studies show you have around six seconds to make an impression on your site visitors and another three seconds to engage them. People are much more likely to believe what your current customers have to say about you than what you say about yourself.

Gather testimonials from some of your top clients and share them front and center on your home page. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as rotating different testimonials or offering a link to a testimonials page. The key is to make sure they are relatable and real to your users.

2. Certifications

Have you attained any specialty certifications for your industry? If so, display the certification so that users know you have repeatable processes that work time and time again.

Certification indicates you meet certain standards in your industry and you've taken the time to prove it. Highlight facts such as that you're more efficient due to your certification and thus costs are lower. 

3. Website Design

If your site is unappealing to look at and interact with, potential customers aren't likely to trust that you know what you're doing. No matter the size of your business, it's vital to present a professional image in every aspect of what you do, from your website to your social media pages.

Create a website that shows what services or products your business provides. Ensure that you communicate why yours is the top choice among the competition. Adding elements like call-to-action buttons, eye-catching graphics, or even a clean website layout can make the difference between an unattractive site and a competitive one.

4. Policies

You don't have to offer a money-back guarantee, but you should clearly list your policies for returns, exchanges, and protecting user information. New laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union (EU) impact anyone who does business with people in EU countries.

It's smart to have your policies clearly outlined and easy to locate. Learn how to write terms and conditions in a way so that your users don’t need a lawyer to understand how your services work. Using a sitemap can make it simple for users to find the exact page they’re looking for. 

Offering policies that inspire trust in the first place is another step you can take. A money-back offer, for example, shows prospective customers that you stand behind your product or service, encouraging them to take a chance on you.

5. Links to Reliable Sources

Your site users should trust that any link they click on your site goes to a safe source with high-quality content that answers their questions. 

Think about the sources you trust as a consumer. Utilize those types of links in your content marketing. Reliable sources include government agencies, educational institutions, and research firms without an underlying agenda. About 65% of adults online trust traditional media sources such as newspapers while only 43% trust news from social media.

A graph that shows the change in survey respondents' trust of certain media channels (traditional media, search engines, online-only media, owned media, and social media) annually from 2012 to 2019.
Source: Statista 

Be careful about which sources you choose for your statistical data. Avoid linking to your competitors or their partners. Businesses often team up with research companies to produce information for their industry — beware those hidden agendas.

Your sources should also be as current as possible. Trends and information change as technology advances. Seek out data and information from the last year or two whenever possible. (At the very least, note that this is the most recent research as things haven’t changed much since the last study.)

This applies to your internal links as well as your external links. Make sure that any links that go to your website are relevant, secure, and usable. Plan your internal linking strategy and monitor your backlinks to make sure your leads can trust your content. Bad backlinks can risk penalties from Google.

6. Videos

The first time someone comes into contact with your website, they probably don’t know who you are, what skills you have, and how reliable your services are. It’s your job to convince the buyer that you are an expert.

One of the best ways of showing your knowledge is by adding videos that no one else has. If a competitor talks about the best air filtration systems, take it a step further and talk about the best system for different scenarios, such as if you own pets or have an asthmatic in the home. Upload the videos to YouTube for more traffic to your site and embed them on your own pages.

You can go even further with your video marketing strategy. Informational videos and Q&A sessions can round out your website and establish you as the number one authority in your field.

A screenshot of the "People also ask" section in a Google search.

Answer the questions that people are asking using search engine queries. Enter a common question about your industry and then look at related searches. Google’s “People also ask” sections provide excellent insights as well.

Using Your Web Presence to Build a Trustworthy Brand

In times of great uncertainty, portraying your business as solid and reliable can take you far. As customers learn they can trust you, they'll tell others about you. Your reputation as a trustworthy partner will only grow — so long as you continue to prove you’re worthy of that trust.

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