Every relationship is built on a foundation of trust, and without it, a relationship will be fragile and short-lived. One of the primary objectives of a website is to establish a baseline of trust with web visitors so that they feel comfortable enough to stay on the site and engage with your business.
The challenge is that you only have a few seconds to convey trust and credibility on a website. But you can increase the likelihood of engaging and converting visitors by integrating the following trust symbols into your web design and messaging.
5 Ways to Establish Trust and Credibility on Your Website
- Build visual trust through design
- Establish industry credibility by showcasing accomplishments
- Create social trust through testimonials
- Develop transactional trust by displaying certifications
- Instill longevity trust through experience
1. Built Visual Trust Through Design
Visual trust is formed through a nearly immediate, subconscious response based on the look and feel of the website. When a visitor first lands on a site, they quickly react emotionally to the site. This happens on a subconscious level and it influences whether they decide to stay or leave the site right away.
A high-quality, professional web design can establish visual trust with a web visitor. On the other hand, an outdated website can convey the wrong impression. Today, the majority of people will visit a company’s website before contacting them, even if they are referred to the business.
If your site does not accurately reflect your business and current services, then it may be time to redesign the website.
The colors, font, and imagery of your web design all play a part in creating this first impression. For instance, cliché stock images are often used on spammy types of websites. Because of this, there is a negative association with these images. If you place a lot of cliché stock images on your site, you may instill distrust with web visitors.
2. Establish Industry Credibility by Showcasing Accomplishments
Industry credibility is formed based on your business’ affiliations and accomplishments in your designated industry. A great way to demonstrate this on your website is to add logos of your business’ endorsements and affiliations to the home page.
You can also list or add badges for awards and accomplishments that your business has received.
In most cases, the organization presenting the award or recognition will give your business a badge or image that can be placed on your website. If your business has experience in certain industries, consider creating an Industry page on your website.
It’s best to have a section on the home page with these affiliations and awards. Remember that the majority of web visitors will visit the home page first and may not go to other pages.
If your business has not yet received any industry recognition of this kind, research award opportunities and directory sites. Most industries have directory sites where you can list your business and where it will be ranked based on reviews, company size, or other factors. These directory sites typically recognize the top companies on their lists once a year.
3. Create Social Trust Through Testimonials
Social trust is often referred to as social proof. The easiest way to build social trust on your website is to display testimonials from past clients.
Reviews and testimonials help to create social trust by demonstrating that others have trusted and used your business. You can also add the logos of prominent clients in a rotating slider on the site. Similar to industry trust, it’s helpful to put a few reviews and testimonials on the homepage of the website.
While you want to have a few testimonials on your website, it’s important to request that past clients provide reviews on an online platform such as Yelp or Google. Customers tend to trust reviews more if they are placed on these third-party sites because the reviews are less likely to be fake.
Online reviews are extremely important, even if you have a B2B web design or service-based business. Recent research by Bright Local shows that 91 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and consumers often read about 10 online reviews for a local business before trusting it.
4. Develop Transactional Credibility by Displaying Certifications
Transactional credibility and trust don’t just refer to websites where a customer is making an actual purchase on the site. A transaction can be any interaction that your web visitor has with your site, such as clicking links, finding their way around, starting a live chat, or filling out a form.
Transactional trust is formed based on certain trust symbols that help a web visitor feel like the site is safe. Website security is one of the most important factors for transactional trust. If a web visitor sees a security warning on a site, you can expect them to leave immediately.
Therefore, it’s important that your site has proper security measures and an SSL certificate. If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate and the URLs start with HTTP, the majority of web browsers will label the URL as “Not Secure.”
5. Instill Longevity Trust Through Experience
The last type of trust is longevity trust which is formed based on how long your company has been in business and how many customers you’ve served.
Depending on your industry, longevity may be an extremely important type of trust. For instance, in the web design industry, there is a high level of turnover with companies coming and going. Consumers who are looking for web design resources are aware of this and are often especially focused on how long the company has been in business.
In other industries where there are less turnover and market changes, customers may not have longevity trust at the top of their concerns.
One of the best ways to establish longevity trust on your website is to either state the number of years you’ve been in business or how many customers you’ve served. Similar to industry and social trust, it’s better to place this information on the homepage of the site. You can also expand on the history of your business on the About page of the site. If your business hasn’t been around for many years, place a heavier focus on the other types of trust.
Avoid Any Website Missteps
Although you may not need all 5 types on your website, certain website missteps can create an immediate feeling of distrust. For instance, a slow page load time and website security issues can trigger such distrust in your site that a web visitor won’t stick around. Always address those basic items on your site first, and then tackle the more nuanced types of trust and credibility.