We’ve all seen them, the kids sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall with fear in their eyes and lips quivering on the edge of screams. Why do parents inflict this terror on their kids? Because as soon as Halloween is over, kids begin begging to go see Santa to ask for the latest toys and gadgets, but a white beard and a red coat doesn’t make you Santa Claus. And kids can sense a phony the second they see his big, round beer belly.
The same way kids judge Santa at the mall, consumers judge the credibility of websites within seconds of being on the page.
Ever heard of bounce rate? If not, learn-up because bounce rate is a good indication of how credible your websites seems. Like kids run away screaming, so do consumers when they see a site that they don’t believe is credible, and that sends your bounce rate soaring. A high bounce rate is not good, and Google rewards sites that users want to explore, aka low bounce rates.
Want to make sure your website isn’t the equivalent of having a greasy, red sweater, and a beard tied loosely around your neck?
Here are 5 ways to make sure your website looks — and is — credible:
Good website design matters.
A user’s first impression of your website will be based on how it looks. Cluttered pages, outdated templates, and missing files all devalue the look and feel of your website. No matter how informative the content may be, if your site looks messy or dated then users are less likely to trust your content. For further design tips, check out these four things to consider when designing a website. Need an example? Here are some of our favorite websites.
Use real images to display your credibility.
Quality images are a huge part of good website design. Not only are images ascetically pleasing, they can also provide the user with important insights into your company. We’ve all seen it, the suit-clad men shaking hands in a stock image. That image tells us nothing about the company and does not add any credibility. Anyone can find and use a stock image.
So, how do you make sure your website reflects your business? Use real images and videos of your company and products. People want to connect with real people. By displaying real images on your website, people will feel more connected to you, but don’t comprise quality images by simply capturing iPhone photos at your next office luncheon. Spending the time and money on real images for your website will payoff as more consumers become personally connected to your business.
Always have contact info easily accessible on your website.
Just like your customers want to see real people, they also want to be able to contact a real person. A well-converting contact page will not only have a form where users can submit inquiries (and you can build your email list), but it will also have basic contact information such as phone number, email, and address, if applicable. In addition to a contact page, it’s good practice to have your contact info in the header and footer, because every user has a different way of traversing a website.
And don’t forget social media links! Social media has become a big influencer in consumers’ perceptions of a company. Not only are they checking your social sites to see what your company is all about, some would even rather send you a Facebook message or tweet at you than contact you through traditional means.
Poor grammar, incorrect spelling, and irrelevant content harm your credibility.
Your website content should not only be relevant to your business, but it should also be carefully reviewed for proper grammar and spelling. Nothing is more confusing than misspelled or misplaced words. And users may question your intelligence if you use the wrong “there,” “they’re,” and “their.”
Website copy should not only be thoroughly reviewed for grammar and spelling, it should also be reviewed for readability. Using overly technical terms and complex language will turn customers away.
External links, testimonies, and case studies demonstrate external credibility.
An external link to a site that mentions your company is a good source of credibility. It shows consumers what other people have been saying about you – hopefully all good things. Testimonials also demonstrate credibility. Ask a few of your past customers to give a short testimonial about their experience working with you, so that potential customers know what others think about your product or service. Additionally, case studies can give users an idea of what it’s like to work with you as well as your capabilities while illustrating which companies you’ve worked with.
Bonus tip for E-Commerce sites:
With Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and hundreds of large retailers all selling products online, there is a lot of competition in E-Commerce. Having a unique or highly-sought product won’t guarantee customers will be stuffing their online shopping carts on your site. In addition to the credibility tips above, there are a few extra that E-commerce businesses should use to increase the credibility of their website.
1. Prices – Consumers today spend a lot of time research products before buying. If you don’t list the prices on your site, they are less likely to trust what you are selling and will instead head over to Amazon or another retailer where they can get all of the information upfront.
2. Customer service contact info – By having your customer service contact info easily accessible, it tells customers that you care about their satisfaction, while also letting them know that your company has real people ready to help.
3. Customer reviews – Increase the credibility of your product by including customer reviews. Buying online often means customers can’t see or test the product before hand. By including past reviews, potential customers are more likely to trust your product and want to buy.
If you’ve seen the movie Elf, or if you’ve ever been the parent of one of these kids, then you know the consequences of a phony Santa. Don’t let the same situation unfold on your website. Utilize the tips and tricks above to increase the credibility of your site and to decrease the bounce rate.