Trust in a website is essential for an online business to flourish. Whether your website can be trusted will be your audience’s first thought on whether they’re looking to purchase something or work with you.

People are more well-versed about the internet than ever before, and in-turn more knowledgeable of what to look out for as signs of an untrustworthy business. Make sure you look the real deal with these steps to build trust for your website.

Build a professional website

The biggest asset an online business can have is a professional-looking website. One that looks up to date and is easy to use should be the first big investment your business makes.

Online audiences have become accustomed to seeing well-designed websites that appeal to their needs and browsing habits. Bad design is more obvious and unforgivable than ever. If your website is clunky and dated it will be ridiculed and marked as untrustworthy.

Think about how your audience will use the website and what they’ll be looking for as a template. Once you’re invested in a quality website your audience will feel at ease browsing it. Build something that elicits trust as an automatic response. And don’t forget to make sure it’s mobile compatible.

Professional presentation

Take a look at the websites you want to emulate. Chances are they’re well laid out with fantastic imagery and clear presentation of company assets.

Many businesses with fantastic products or services will fall down because they aren’t presenting themselves as legitimate. Especially not to the level of quality their products suggest. What assets do you need to improve on legitimacy?

A professional company logo can make a huge difference: it helps people recognize your business and is a crucial foundation of your branding. The photography you use should go under the same consideration. Stock imagery and photoshop cutouts are fine for a certain level, but they’ll also make you look unprofessional and cast doubt in your audience’s mind.

Take the time to make sure visual assets are well done and reflect the quality of your business.

Reviews and testimony

Presenting customer reviews is a must for any online business. Social proof is a huge part of how we choose who we buy from, sell with and trust online. Although people are more familiar with the internet than ever, they still know what can happen on it.

One of the few things they do trust is customer reviews. Be seen encouraging your audience to leave reviews when they use your website or work with you. When you have these reviews, don’t hide them. Make sure you present them on your homepage with a link to the independent review website that captured them. If you run an e-commerce store include them throughout such as on product pages.

Remember to never pay for fake reviews. Not only does this obvious ruin any trust you had to begin with, but it will tarnish your reputation with a potential audience.

Provide quality content

Filling your website with content gives it life, helps draw in users and makes you appear as a thought-leader in your field.

Having good content doesn’t just mean writing engaging blogs, it’s about producing something useful, relevant and written with a web audience in mind. This not only helps your audience determine what your website is for and what you’re aiming to do, but it gives people confidence that you understand the industry.

Think about how you present your content and how it will be navigated. The presentation of the content will add to people’s perception of you as reliable and something worth investing in.

Awards and certifications

Just like reviews, if someone has something good to say about you make sure you’re showing it off. Other than reviews nothing catches a cautious observer’s eye more than certification and confirmation that you are not only who you say you are, but that you’re good at what you do.

Award logos are a good way of adding some shine to your website. Make it part of your presentation, many of the websites people trust already do. If you’re an official seller of a product, make that part of your branding. Don’t hide away the biggest assets that make you legitimate.

Make your website secure

If you’ve managed to earn enough trust to get someone to a checkout page, don’t throw it all away by not having the right security. If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate then not only will Google not help it rank properly, but no customers will trust it. This is essential for businesses and websites of all kinds.

If you do find an issue with your website make sure it is dealt with quickly and responsibly. Don’t be afraid to explain when a check is happening. One incident people don’t know about can brand you as untrustworthy.

Be active on social media

Despite living in an age of bots and fake news, people still put a lot of trust in what they see on social media. For brands and businesses, this means making sure you’re active on these platforms. It can be a window for your customers into how brands and businesses feel about them.

Much of your audience will make a point of checking social media before investing their trust in a business. They’ll want to see a well-developed page and interaction with other customers. Social media can help confirm you are who you say you are and make your business seem more like a group of people than a faceless enterprise. Include links to your social media account on your website so people can easily start browsing.

Trust is important in every business relationship, from customer to partner. Your website is the centerpiece of your business. Don’t let an oversight or easily fixable error lead to you losing the trust of your audience. Follow these steps and see yourself gain the reputation you deserve.

Rodney Laws is an e-commerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio

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