When users open a website, their trust verdict will be built in just a few seconds. Getting that trust is vital for making the visitor keep browsing the online store... But the effort must be even more cautious if you want them to stay.
Advice on what makes a website credible isn’t a simple recommendation, but a responsibility that the brand assumes towards the market and its customers. It’s the definitive welcome to those who had a half-formed idea about a brand or product, and the way to convince indecisive users. More and more e-commerce pages are hidden behind a mask of credibility, very easy to falsify. Making your website totally truthful is the best investment against price competition and for your future projection.
BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist at Stanford University, highlights four different types of website credibility checker:
- Presumed (the general idea about a brand, based on its popularity).
- Reputed (third party references, by professionals and personal acquaintances).
- Surface (what inspires the website at a first glance).
- Earned (the personal experience of each user).
Achieving credibility in these four areas is essential to save your clients the time dedicated to investigate your brand before buying any product. And to win it, follow these 3 golden rules as a website credibility checklist.
The gateway of what makes a website credible is a minimalist and modern design, with no badly designed elements or copied and pasted templates.
Avoid visual harassment through ads, pop-up or flickering CTAs. Clients don’t need to read that you are the best or the cheapest: they will not believe you anyway, and nobody likes to feel like a piece in a crowded market, but as the visitor of an exquisite Harrod’s counter.
The content of your website must be free of typos: spelling and grammar errors affect the credibility of any e-commerce website. Also, product data must be uniform in all sales channels, and all the product pages must show the same type of updated information in each category: equip yourself with a Product Information Management system (PIM) to automate this basic task for website credibility.
Other elements that must be included without exception in a website credibility checklist:
- 256-bit SSL encryption, secure and purchase verification seals, like Verisign, BBB, McAfee, PayPal... 71% of customers trust them. They should stand out especially in the payment process, and never hide them at the bottom of the page. Offer multiple and trusty payment options (Visa, MasterCard, PaylPal, Apple Pay… ).
- Company data: Terms and conditions (in several languages), address and telephone number. Remark privacy issues where necessary ("no registration necessary", "We don’t share your email with third parties", "We don’t see or keep your bank details"). Add a detailed privacy, shipping, returns and changes policy (the conversion rate increases up to 32% if you offer free returns).
- Total guarantee: Offer the possibility of returns, changes and resolution of complaints due to defects or transport issues. Highlight these data on the homepage, next to the "Add to cart" button and in the payment process: secure purchase, shipments in 24 hours, lowest price guaranteed, 30 days free returns...
- Original seals: Show if your brand belongs to any e-commerce trade or organization, a guaranty seal of original products, participation in events, prizes and awards, sales figures of the previous year...
- Contact form and FAQs. Social media buttons and a help chat (but not intrusive) should appear on all pages and be easy to find.
- Updated date of the site’s copyright
- Reviews: 57% of users prefer websites with reviews from previous customers, and 70% of mobile app users feel more inclined to buy if there are reviews in sight on each product page. To encourage the number of reviews in any e-commerce channel, it’s important to send personalized e-mails where you thank the user for the purchase and kindly ask them for their collaboration, highlighting how valuable it is for the brand to have their honest opinion.
- Real product images: Show real images of users who have purchased your products, such as a feed taken from Instagram mentions or associated hashtags.
- Testimonials: From professional third-parties, brands or prestige media, which are a better source of credibility than paid traffic campaigns: the conversion rate increases up to 58%. Highlight the logos of your important clients on the website, and add testimonials that explain how you have helped them, emphasizing the emotional part.
- Google ranking: Take care of where and how you appear in Google searches and your position among the first results. Fight to be on the first page (and ideally, among the first 5 results) and take care of that SEO.
Although it may seem a bit cheesy, what makes a website credible is the emotional story, told through people from the company and not from paid influencers.
Tell how is your team, why its members are part of it and why you devote yourself to your niche. The most effective resources are case studies with clients, taking a look back to your first products or services, making clear the purposes and objectives of the company and participating in charitable or environmental campaigns. A brand must demonstrate through its website that it hasn’t born to sell anonymously, but to build a relationship with its products, the market, the client and the planet.
For this purpose, social media is also useful to share the daily life of the team and office through pics and videos. Tell when new members come in and share your presence in private and public events or activities. Respond to users' doubts publicly and take part in debates to have a presence in your industry or niche, for example through guest posts on other websites with good credibility.
And we can’t forget the fourth golden rule, which stands out above all others: do what you do and sell what you sell honestly. Sooner rather than later, the main website credibility checker would be the prestige that you have gained through a great customer service, tailored product content and a high quality tradition.