Improving credibility; Have you ever wondered why you buy products or services from a particular site, and avoid buying from another site that offers the same products and services.
The answer is credibility.
The website you are buying from exudes a feeling of trust and reliability, which means you feel safe and secure while buying from it. You are not worried whether the personal information (including financial information) that you share on the site will fall into unauthorized hands. You are also fairly sure that the products/services offered by the website are of very high quality.
So, as a small business, how do you ensure your website ranks high on the credibility front? What are the design elements you can use and designing choices you can make to instill your site with the right amount of dependence and integrity?
Let’s take a look:
- Visual Aesthetics
Your website’s looks determine its credibility. Yes that’s right. An ugly looking website looks disreputable, while a good looking website that lays stress on aesthetically delivering its branding message, wins user trust. But focusing on visuals doesn’t mean going overboard and packing your website with striking visuals.
In contemporary web design parlance, a website that is visually appealing is essentially a website that is able to make its point in a quick, clear and convenient manner. For e.g. if you are selling a product, make sure that the visuals draw attention to the product and its functionality, something that the Apple website does to great effect. While there is no doubt Apple is a huge and very reputed brand, its website also does its bit to enhance brand image.
The use of white space and emphasis on the products with the use of high resolution product images enhances the trust factor amongst potential customers. The website also looks professional and comes across as not trying too hard to make an impression on its target audience. This is what works.
- Visible Contact Information
Would you believe it, in this day and age there are still some designers who fail to make the business’s contact details easily accessible on the website. While this information is present on the website, it is not immediately visible. Website visitors have to dig deep into the site, to come across this information. As can be imagined, this does nothing for the credibility of the site.
So, make sure contact information can be easily found on your website. It needs to be a part of your footer, (if possible) the header, sidebar, and even the microcopy. The website must also have a separate contact us page, that offers a huge list of ways, a potential customer can get in touch with your business. It must include telephone number, fax number(s), address, and a Google map that pinpoints the location of your business.
The Welikesmall website has a contact us page that is a text book example of an ideal contact us page.
Combadi’s contact us page is another example of a page that offers comprehensive information about how customers can get in touch with the business. You can also see a telephone number and a Skype icon on each and every page of the website on the top right hand corner. This contact information, which is placed at a prominent location, improves the credibility of the site.
- Trust Marks
As a small business, you must do anything and everything necessary to tell your customers that your site can be trusted. This will help you compete with the big players in your niche. Now, you must have seen, websites of some of the biggest brands using trust marks like The VeriSign seal (if they are accepting credit card payments) or the TRUSTe Privacy seal if they are encouraging visitors to opt-in to the email list on their sites.
You must do the same. It is imperative that people know the data they are sharing on your site will not fall into unauthorized hands. This is where these trust marks enter the picture. Most online users are familiar with them, and trust them. The fact that they find these marks on your site means they will trust your site as well.
- It Must Pass the 3 Second Test
It’s important that your website does not waste your visitors’ time. Remember, irrespective of the fact whether a website visitor is genuinely interested in the products and services on your website or not, he/she will be very impatient. A typical website visitor does not want to spend a lot of time on it. So, if you do not make the information they want readily accessible, your website will make a bad impression on them. This takes down the credibility of your site.
It is therefore of paramount importance that your site instantly grabs visitor attention. As soon as they open your home page, they must believe they’ve come to the right place and should be tempted to go through the website. Otherwise, they will abandon it.
The Pulp Fingers website is a master class in how to grab visitor attention. The use of bold colors, noise texture and visuals give an impression of freehand painting, engage your attention and make you want to spend some time on it.
- Customer Reviews, Ratings and Social Media
There is nothing better than placing customer reviews and ratings on your website’s products or services pages to improve credibility. This reassures visitors that your products/services are being used by other people and most of them are happy with them (provided they’re leaving positive reviews).
What’s more, your website design also needs to incorporate social media experiences. This not only allows your visitors to share website content with their friends and followers on social media but also enables them to interact with your website content. You can essentially convert your website into a social hub where you (your brand), your visitors and their friends can engage with each other and build meaningful relationships. No prizes for guessing, this enhances the trust factor.
These are just five of the many ways you can improve the credibility of your small business websites. If you get these elements right, there is absolutely no doubt, your visitors will have more confidence in your site and its ability to satisfy their needs and requirements.