Website Crediblity = Trust
Customers tend to buy or hire those they trust most first. Often this is referred to as professionalism, but at its core it is about credibility. Creating credibility should be one of key objectives for your business/website.
Google search is now focusing heavily on this area with its search algorithms. While the complexity of Googles task is beyond this blog many of the credibility basics you can improve on today.
While SEO is in part about getting visitors to your site it is also about converting them. After all what is the point in driving more traffic to your website only to have it all bounce. Once you have a new visitor you need to look credible and be relevant so they stay long enough for you to convert to a customer.
Top 10 tips to improve crediblity
This one I see screwed up all the time. It is very important you display your business on the good side of who and what you are. What I mean here, if I stereo type a little, is if you are a lawyer or a financial planner you need to look like you have authority. Your website should have some permenance to it. It should look like you hire the best website designer and you really invested in the quality of your site.
On the flip side if you are a sole trader tradie you don't want to look like some overly polished corporate. All your regular clients will run a mile thinking you must charge a mint.
Your site should reflect the industry expectation and then lean towards your version of it. For example, Lets take our local tradie who deals with the average Mum and Dad. Client expectation is they want someone professional, stable with good track record. This requires a professional designed website, clean and well organised. Mum and Dad are price senstive so instead of over the top stock photos and showing fleets of late model branded vehicles and corporate logos...we tone it down and include owner photos next to his clean tidy single vehicle. We tone down the polish of site from magazine glamour to homely to more simple clean graphics.
Whether it just a missing picture, a broken link, 404 error or something more major they are all equal in the eyes of your users. Even the simple miss aligned text or image can create doubt and be costing your business.
Most of your users will now be accessing your site or business via a mobile device. Not being mobile friendly, just shows you either don't care, your out of date or your out of business and the site is possibly a ghost. Add user frustration on top and you just lost all credibility. Considering most people who search on mobile normally contact the business they find, your web presence could be the difference between failure and success.
Nothing says amateur more than clipart, free logo maker or a 'fiveer' type logo. Yes everyone can see the difference. While I am all for the spare bedroom startup, it doesn't normally instill trust, credibility and permance in your prospective clients.
Nothing comes for free. Free website hosting is normally conditional upon little banner advertisements hidden or not. Splash out and spend the $50-$100 and get some good professional website hosting. Nothing says amateur like popup/banner adverts for WIX etc.
Like most people if I am ever offered something, whether I like it or not, if I see buymystuff@gamil, @yahoo @hotmail @outlook in the bin it goes. Apart from questions around security, in the digitial world if you can't spend from $40 dollars to setup a domain name and proper business class email you are no where. Real deal business emails and domain names are cheaper than business cards and really like business cards they are one of the default setup costs. Having a gmail or similar email account displayed on your website is an instant fail.
Spend the money a good email system will pay for itself.
Not only is it frustrating for users to contact you it gives them a very valid reason not to do business with you. Often if a user is going to buy something online they will check to see if they can contact you if something goes wrong. I have had man a random call or txt from a potential client, just checking if there is someone real on the other end of the website.
While I understand home businesses don't want to advertise the address online. You are hurting yourself. Look to solve this problem and make your business appear more accessible than others. For example have a clear returns police and procedure, without lots of catches and clauses. Have a complaints@ or resolution@ email.
Try to avoid having *conditions apply on things. Rather create your offers and calls to action without being ambiguous. Be clear and offer something real that has value to your users/clients.
If you have email, contact forms and phone numbers on your website answer the enquries. Answer them quickly and thoroughly. I once had a client who complained the enquiry wasn't very good from his contact form from his website. I check his emails and I see most emails haven't been replied to for a week or 3 days at best. Most are good quality enquires. I ask him why and he says, yes I like to check them in the weekend??? WTF! no wonder he doesn't have much success. Right or wrong users expect a reply within an hour. This is out of step from the realty which is more like 24/48hrs, but if you can meet that expectation you will have the best chance of getting the business.
When replying be helpful and open ended. Quickest way to not get a reply from a client is to send a one word reply. Use a bit of salesmenship:
Client: Do you have XYZ?
Bad Business: Yes!
Good business: Thank you for your enquiry, currently we have 4 in stock at Vincent St. We also find clients interested in XYZ are also interested in YZX. We can have one delivered next day would you like me to put it on the truck this evening?
Website tips extras
Nothing instills doubt more than a crappy small picture of your product or service.
Spend the money and get a photographer or get someone like us to render your product digitally.
Sales talk can be quite off putting for a lot of people. While the local car salesmen maybe able to corner you after a test drive. A user can simple click the browser and be done with your business.
My general rules are:
2)Don't be evasive, either state it or don't
3)Dont Dont do the double or triple positive, such as our New, Wonderfully, Cutting edge, super fantastic widget.
Saying BUY NOW, CALL NOW, DO IT NOW, ACT NOW are not magical. Those words do not instigate a cascade of cognitive activity that leads to mindless purchasing. It might have the opposite automatic repulsion though.
This type of copy will not make people purchase, like mindless sheople. Make your offer or call to action real and compelling enough and you won't need magical words clients will be fighting to call you. It builds crediblity through honesty and no clause realness.