(Note: This podcast was originally published 1n 2006 under another domain name – bastioninternet.com/blog. In 2010, the blog was later migrated to this site. Some links may be outdated or there may be issues with RSS feeds)
Continuation of episode #9 – Techniques to build trust and credibility on your web site.
Trust and credibility translates into website conversions. Here are 50 tips to help you build your web siteâs credibility rating.
Suggested Tags: web design, website design, web site conversion, online sales, ecommerce, internet marketing, web marketing, trust, credibility
The 50 tips are separated into 9 categories
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Read a full transcript here â¦
Hi and welcome to Drive It – Convert It!, for July 21st, 2006. This is episode #10: Converting Web Traffic â Part 4 â Building Trust â 50 Tips in 20 Minutes.
Drive It – Convert It! is the podcast where Small and Medium Sized businesses learn the marketing strategies and tactics behind Driving More Traffic to their website and Converting that Traffic into qualified leads and sales.
Drive it, convert it.
The more people trust you, the more credibly you come across, the more likely people will be to do business with you. Your website is no different.
Iâm John Boulter. Iâm the president of Bastion Internet. Podcasts, show notes, and transcripts can be found at BastionInternet.com/podcast. Thatâs B A S T I O N internet.com/podcast. Email your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This podcast is a direct continuation of episode #9. I would definitely recommend you listen to it in order to get some background to the subject of trust on the web. However, if your like me and donât mind diving right in without all the background â they I say keep listening and catch up later.
Today, Iâm going to give you 50 tips in 20 minutes. As you can imagine, I wonât be going into a lot of detail on each one. Thatâs okay though. The real objective is to get you thinking about your website and the trust and credibility it invokes. Each specific tip is just one more thing you can do to throw the odds in your favor.
Now Iâll be surprised if anyone agrees with all of my tips did. Trust is typically based on past experience. Weâve all had different experiences, so the factors that trigger our trust (or lack of it), will be different for each of us.
I compiled my list from my own experiences of 20 years in technology marketing and customer interaction – the last 10 of which have been in the Internet marketing space. I regularly talk to other industry experts, I research and read reports on the subject and have also done a fair bit of research in general psychology.
Even with that impressive background Iâll miss a few things. If you think you catch one I didnât, or you vehemently disagree with one â drop an email to email@example.com. Iâd love to hear from you.
And remember, not all tips will apply to all sites.
Iâve separated the tips into 9 different categories. Nothing special about the number 9, just happened that that is how they seemed to split out.
So letâs start our clocks and let the tips fall where they may:
Category 1 â Stay current: If you look old and outdated your credibility suffers. This applies to design trends and content – so:
– Update your copyright year: nothing spells old and outdated like a 2003 copyright in 2006. Change it each year.
– Update your content: Go through your site every 6 months and freshen up your words a little. It might help your search ranking, too.
– Donât use old-style technology and techniques: Get rid of anchor pages, animated .gifs, frames. They are all from a bygone era.
– Donât have a âreset buttonâ on your forms: Oh my gosh, if I can reset a form on your page, I am so out of there. It just smells of a site that hasnât been updated in years.
– Donât have anything that blinks: blinking bad, blinking bad, blinking bad. Not blinking good.
– Avoid âclick hereâ: The words âclick hereâ used to be instructive, now they are just unimaginative and annoying.
– Avoid being too trendy: Trendy is not current. Itâs doing stuff for the sake of newness.
– Be trendy: I know I just said not to be trendy, but go ahead a be a little trendy here and there. It shows youâre paying attention. Just donât be too trendy.
Category 2 â Pay attention to detail: If youâre sloppy on your website, itâs assuming youâre sloppy in your business, too. Here come the tips:
– Use proper grammar: For people that notice bad grammar, it will stand out like a sore thumb. Writing for the web is more conversational then writing for your English teacher, but watch the sloppy stuff. Donât just do it good â do it well.
– Spell correctly: Just a sign of sloppiness and another brick in the wall of poor credibility. Spell check, baby, and then proof read. Homonyms can cost you business.
– Check all links: Have you got broken links. Is that the best you can do.
– Check navigation in other browsers and platforms: This is a little tougher, but at least check the most popular browsers for proper display and functionality of your website.
Category 3 â Be easy to read: People that play their cards close to their chests want to beat you in poker. People that donât mind being easy to read are people you can usually trust – so:
– Have shipping rates and policies that are easy to find: Nothing like a nasty $20 shipping charge at the end of my $10 shopping cart purchase to set me off. Iâd like to do a little research before I start a process, so please let me.
– Have tax information easily found: One of the great benefits to buying off the Internet is there is often no tax. Donât make me go all the way through the checkout process to find out if you charge tax in my state.
– Donât be tricky: If I think youâre trying to trick me in one place, Iâll think youâre trying to trick my every place.
– Donât host ads: This is going to be tough for some of you. Is your site a real site or is it just here to get me to click on a Google ad. Is it really worth the money. If youâve got that much traffic that your Ad Sense is paying, youâve got enough traffic to convert a lot of sales in your primary business.
– Be consistent: I donât mind dealing with âcharactersâ but I donât want to deal with schizophrenics. If youâre website is a little wacky, ok. Just be whacky in the same way throughout the site. If it looks like 5 different people designed 5 different parts, your not to be trusted.
– âButâ out: Minimize the use of the word âbutâ b â u â t . Itâs like arguing or hedging your bet. Itâs rarely describes something in the other persons best interest. Replace it with alternatives like âhoweverâ or âalthoughâ. You donât want to be argumentative or manipulative do you.
Category 4 â Give respect: If you respect me, youâll likely do right by me.Â Show me respect by doing the following:
– Have the shortest forms possible. You respect my time and arenât trying to pump me for personal information.
– Minimize your use of .pdfâs. Few things spells disrespect more than enticing me to click on a link and my seeing Adobe Acrobat start to boot up. I hate it. Others hate it.
– Let users know if they are clicking on a .pdf. So if you absolutely have to link to a .pdf, give a warning.
– Donât default to sound. Itâs pretty obvious, however, I want to make sure Iâve included it. If you choose to have sound play, make it the non-default option.
– Know your audience and their tastes. If you have a clear audience, design for them. Make them feel comfortable in your home.
– Write to your audiencesâ level. Do this or youâll either sound pedantic or real real dumb.
Category 5 â Look like a duck: Thereâs an old saying; if something looks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck â itâs probably a duck. Do things like other companies in your space and of your quality (or of the quality youâd like to be), do.
– List your physical address: real companies have one.
– Avoid (dash) having (dash) multi (dash) hyphenated (dash) URLs: I know it sucks that so many people have squatted on all the good domain names, but the spammer sites tend to have multi-hyphened URLs â donât be mis-categorized to be one of them.
– Send order acknowledgements. Immediate order acknowledgements on eCommerce sites are standard for credible, well established Internet commerce sites. Be like them.
– Have a customer login area. Even if it doesnât go anywhere for now. Is this a little deceitful, maybe, but itâs quack has a nice ring to it.
– Have a jobs page: Successful companies need employees, donât you.
– Take credit cards. Well established eCommerce sites take credit cards. If youâre just taking PayPal â maybe your too little, or too simple to do business with.
– Donât have an all Flash site: You want to dare to be different, well dare to have low market share, too. Few flash sites are like one another. Most solid companies donât have them. That doesnât mean that companies with Flash sites arenât solid. It just means itâs not the norm.
– Donât look hokey or too slick: You want to stand out from the crowd, not stick out from the crowd. People donât trust things that are too far away from the norm.
– Have some boring, never read pages (like Our Philosophy, Mission Statement, About Us,). It gives a sense that you have a level of reliable (although boring), people helping to keep your business doing business.
– Match your industryâs theme: Once again, you want to do it better than others in your industry, not different. Unless of course, your industry is on the low low end of the website quality spectrum.
Category 6 â Show commitment: Committed people see you through the tough times. Non committed people take the money and run.Â How do we show weâre committed:
– Treat images. Pictures should have a border, they should be file-size optimized, preferably theyâll have captions, and maybe have a graphical treatment overlaid on them. It shows you donât mind investing some extra time and money because youâre in this for the long run.
– No out-of-the-box templates: Nothing says Iâll be gone in a week, then a nice purchased template.
– Include âtrustâ logos. They can be a little trite, but they show you took the time. Verisign, Better Business Bureau.
– Show that you do something other than have a website. Talk about events youâve done, articles youâve written, associations youâre a part of. Do a podcast, do a webcast. Write newsletters. You need to show youâre more than just a website.
– Avoid stupid technology (frames, stretching tables, you name it). I have a high resolution monitor. If your content stretches to fit it, I end up looking at a 15 inch long sentence â itâs unreadable, so I donât read it. If you still have a frame based site â you likely donât have commitment to your website. You need to invest to change that.
– Host your own shopping cart. Taking the easy way out smacks of a âproof of conceptâ website. Call me when youâve proved your concept and plan to stick around.
– Properly repurpose other media content youâre using. If you took your old sales letter and stuck it up there as your main converting page, you really havenât invested much time or energy to be here. If you want me to look at some touched up PowerPoint, look for someone else.
– Invest in design. People donât always notice if things donât have gradients, if they donât line up, if pictures and images are low quality, they just get a feeling of walking into an old, shoddy store.
Category 7 â Been there, done that. If youâve done it before, youâre likely to do it again. Show them youâve been there and done that â hereâs how:
– Include testimonials. Hey, customers have dealt with you and like you. That counts.
– Have partial customer lists. Hey, youâve got customers. I guess this isnât a brand new business for you.
– List some Frequently Asked Questions. Make sure theyâre frequently asked questions: This isnât some backhanded type of sales copy page. âHow do you keep your prices so lowâ. This page shows youâve had lots of customers asking intelligent questions and you want prospective customers to get those answers, too.
Category 8 â Watch their back. Hey if someone cares about watching my back, Iâm going to trust them.Â How do we show it:
– Make sure SSL certificates work: I guess it goes without saying that you should have one if youâre collecting sensitive information. Now make sure itâs not expired and that it works for both the www or non-www version of your site.
– Donât ask for Driverâs License, Social Security, and Credit Card numbers unless you have properly protected SSL certificate areas. Enough said on that one.
– Include privacy taglines and information snippets wherever you ask for personal information. Put a little tagline and link beside sensitive areas. For example, on your contact form beside the email box, tell people you donât sell or distribute email address and link to your privacy page.
Category 9 â Have confidence
– Use the word âbelieveâ instead of âthinkâ: I believe youâll find this tip beneficial. Notice I didnât say âI think youâll find this tip beneficialâ. Hear the difference.
– Make the first interaction an easy one. I believe a User will want to come back to your site if you make the first interaction an easy one. That builds trust.
– Write in a conversational style: I donât need to hide behind formality. There are real people behind our website. Real people talk like real people.
For those of you who were counting â I just gave you 52 tips in 19 minutes.
So did my credibility take a hit because I didnât do exactly what I said I would â 50 tips in 20 minutes – or do you trust me more because I believe in under promising and over delivering.
Hmmmâ¦. you may want to think about that one. While youâre thinking about that â consider subscribing to Drive It â Convert It!, and automatically download episode number 11 when it comes out.
You can follow the subscription links on our site. Or, if you use iTunes, do a search for drive it convert it and pick us up there. Iâm John Boulter, for Bastion Internetâs Drive It â Convert It! podcast.
Visit us at bastioninternet.com or Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Iâll get back to you â trust me.