Don’t think your website’s appearance matters?
According to a study by Taylor and Francis Online, it takes a person less than a second to form an opinion about your website. If they get a good impression, they’ll consider browsing it. If not, off they’ll go.
The scrutiny doesn’t stop there.
If a visitor stays on your website, they’ll continue to judge its overall appearance during their visit. If people feel your website’s content or layout is unattractive, 38% of them will stop browsing. That’s a lot of lost traffic.
Many articles on the internet address how you can make your website look more beautiful, but very few discuss making your website look more trustworthy. Since it’s common for people to use professionally-created themes to build their website, most sites look pretty good already, so we’ve decided to take a different angle.
We’ll cover how to make your website look more trustworthy, so it appears to be a safe online destination.
Unless your visitors feel safe on your site and trust what you have to say, you’ll find it difficult to turn them into customers. A trustworthy website, on the other hand, can help you make more sales, and customers will feel safer about entering personal information, such as their email address, credit card number, and home address.
According to research, 54% of customers return to make a purchase from a familiar marketplace. That statistic shows that the only way to get people to buy from you, again and again, is by making your site trustworthy.
7 Ways to Make Your Website Look More Trustworthy
There are many ways to demonstrate your website’s trustworthiness, and not all of them are related to improving its design.
1. A Reputable Domain
The very first thing your visitors will see when they get to your website is your domain name, i.e., your web address. You should make your domain name as memorable as possible.
Here are a few useful tips on how to do that:
- Include your main keyword in your domain. For example, if you sell clothes, a domain like ‘www.marksclothing.com’ would be a good choice. It would instantly make it clear to a new visitor what your website is all about. Plus, it’s branded with your business name.
- Choose a high-quality domain extension. While there are many wacky extensions you can choose, sticking to simple extensions like .com, .store, and .io is a good idea.
- Make sure your domain name isn’t a copycat. Before using a domain name, make sure it isn’t already trademarked. If it is, you may get sued and have your website shut down. Even if you don’t get in trouble, customers will figure out you’re using a copied name, and that will make you seem less trustworthy.
These are the three main things you should consider when selecting your domain. In addition, keep your domain name short and symbol-free.
2. An SSL Certificate
Installing an SSL certificate on your website is extremely important. There are three reasons for this:
- It creates a secure connection between your hosting server and your visitor’s web browser. This means any data exchange that takes place remains completely safe.
- It increases the trustworthiness of your website. Once the SSL certificate is installed, internet browsers will show a green padlock next to your web address, and that tells them that your site is secure.
- It improves conversion rates. If you don’t install an SSL certificate, your visitors’ browsers will label your website as “not secure.” Even if there’s no security risk, that doesn’t look good. It will affect how many sales you get on your website, plus it will affect your Google ranking.
3. Proper Ad Placement
Ads are a great way to monetize your site, which is why it’s tempting to go overboard with them.
Don’t do it.
While you may gain some ad revenue, placing too many ads on your site can drive customers away, meaning you could lose more money.
This problem is especially common for site owners who have decided to use pop-up ads. Those ads can slow down browsers, and they’ll really annoy your visitors, so much so that they’ll leave your site.
If you don’t want that to happen, use ads on your website in a conservative way that shows you respect your visitors. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Less is more. The more ads you place on your website, the less space there will be for the content your visitors actually came for. Instead of placing ten ads on your site and scaring your visitors away, place two to three ads.
Doing so will make your ads draw the right amount of focus compared to your content, and your visitors won’t be annoyed. That’s a win-win!
- Don’t blend in your ads. On many websites, the ads look just like the site’s thumbnails or headlines. Sometimes, this confusion is created on purpose, so visitors don’t know if they’re clicking on a content link or an ad.
Nobody likes getting tricked, and when it happens to your visitors, they won’t want to visit your website again. Make sure you visually differentiate your ads from your content by using a different color or a wider placement.
- Clearly mark your ads as ads. Label ads on your site as ads. For example, if there’s a video or blog post on your website, make sure to identify it clearly as a promotional video or sponsored post.
With these three tips, you’ll create a website that makes you money from ads without violating your visitors’ personal digital space.
4. High-Quality Web Design
According to Adobe, most people prefer a site that’s designed to be beautiful over one that was designed for simplicity.
This means a beautiful design does matter, and it’s something you should want for your website.
After all, the first impression your business makes comes from your website’s design. Bad color combos, illegible text, and excessive ads are a few things that can negatively impact a visitor’s impression of your site.
Here are a few things to focus on that may help make your website’s design more beautiful:
- Unique images and illustrations. Nothing creates mistrust faster than stock photos. That’s why you should always use high-quality, original photos and illustrations on your website.
- Prominent CTAs. Every website page should have one main CTA (call to action)—a prompt to perform a specific action on your site. For example, if you want a visitor to browse your products or sign up for a free trial, place a clear CTA on your website that makes it easy for your visitors to do that.
- Attractive layout. Your website isn’t supposed to be a wall of text. Rather, it should be a multimedia experience that has pictures, video, and images. Adding these elements to your website will enrich it and make it more pleasurable to use.
5. Credibility Through Social Proof
It’s common knowledge that people are suspicious of new websites and are hesitant to use them. If you show them evidence that your site has the approval of other users, they’ll feel much more at ease.
That’s why you should offer social proof to your visitors. It makes them feel more confident about your products or services, because they can clearly see that other people have used them and had a positive reaction.
But how do you provide social proof to your visitors?
Here are the three main ways:
- Get your products or services featured on credible sites. By contacting editors of popular media outlets or by hiring a talented writer, you may be able to get your company mentioned in a noteworthy source.
Not only will this provide you with an excellent marketing opportunity, you’ll be able to proudly boast on your website that your business has been featured on a popular site.
- Post customer reviews and success stories. Another effective step is to post real customer reviews or success stories on your website. Such information will go a long way in convincing new visitors that your website is trustworthy.
- Post testimonials. Testimonials are different than user reviews. They are written by your best customers, at your request, so you’ll have publishable proof that an existing customer loves your products or services.
False testimonials are easy to spot and would damage the trustworthiness of your site, so every single statement your customers make must be genuine and true.
If you can’t get your product or service mentioned on a popular website, that’s OK. Simply adding customer reviews and a testimonial or two will do the trick. Successfully executing any of those marketing strategies will make your website appear significantly more trustworthy, and that’s the result you want.
6. Trustworthy Content
When visitors land on your website, they do so because they’re looking for information. At least in the case of first-time visitors, that’s the main reason they come to your site. Making a purchase or signing up for a service—those things are secondary to them.
If a first-time visitor likes the information you’ve published, they may consider acting on your CTA. That’s why you want the content on your website to be of the highest quality.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can improve the content on your website:
- Hire a professional copywriter. Your website is where you’ll showcase your products and services. To explain all the details to your audience in a clear, engaging way, you may choose to hire a copywriter.
They might be able to communicate your marketing messages better than you, and the result will be more authoritative and trustworthy content.
- Double-check your content for errors. If you have created a blog section on your website and regularly post content, try your best to make it as accurate as possible. Publishing wrong information will only foster mistrust in your users.
- Keep your word. If you make claims or promises about your products or services, or about your company in general, make sure you live up to your word when a visitor does business with you. Misrepresenting your product or failing to honor a guarantee, for example, will alienate customers and tarnish your brand reputation.
7. Transparent Policies
Our last recommendation for making your website more trustworthy is that you clearly communicate your policies to your visitors. This will let them know what to expect from you when they do business through your website.
Here’s how you can state your company’s policies to your visitors:
- State your terms and conditions. The terms and conditions page clearly outlines what your company is and is not responsible for when conducting business online.
- Create an FAQ page. With an FAQ page, you’ll be able to answer all the common questions people have about your business and its products or services.
Openly stating your policies and providing answers to common questions will help drive home the impression that your website is trustworthy and honest and that you run the site, and your business, in a transparent fashion.
You know your website is trustworthy, but communicating that to customers and prospects requires that you make it look trustworthy. That’s very doable, even if you implement just two or three of the tips we covered.
While this article primarily focuses on making your website appear more trustworthy to visitors, you can go one step further and make its inner workings more trustworthy as well.
- Become GDPR compliant. The GDPR is a set of privacy laws that are enforced for any website that deals with the data of EU citizens. It requires that sites make it possible for users to access their own data, delete it, get a copy of it, and more. Becoming GDPR compliant and saying so on your website is a great way to increase its trustworthiness.
- Offer high-quality customer service. Your website should have a Contact Us page that lists the ways a visitor can contact you. More importantly, if a visitor contacts you through your website, be sure to respond quickly and do everything possible to ensure their satisfaction. This will increase your visitors’ trust in your website.
- Link to your social media profiles. Having your social media links on your website further strengthens your online presence, and it helps give the impression that your business is here to stay.
Last but not least, don’t forget to optimize your website for speed and make sure it works on all mobile devices and popular browsers. A high-performing website exhibits professionalism, which, in turn, adds to the site’s trustworthiness.
When customers and prospects feel they can trust your business, that’s the start of a long and profitable relationship. What do you do to make your website look truly reputable?