Website Trust Factors

Website Trust Factors

I was curious how long I have been shopping on Amazon so I just checked when I made my very first purchase on Amazon.  It was 2002 and I bought Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance dvd.

I was curious what else I purchased in following years.  In 2003, I didn’t make any purchases from Amazon.  In 2004, I made five purchases.  Fast forward to 2016 – I made 173 purchases in one year.  Amazon has earned my trust over the years and I now don’t hesitate to buy from Amazon in a heartbeat whenever I need something.

If you are marketing online, it can sometimes be challenging to earn trust from visitors coming to your site especially if they are new prospects.  I’ve been to websites that did not have any information about the company or any of its employees, nor had any phone number or physical address.  Good luck earning my business.

It’s hard to earn someone’s trust and confidence over a website – but there are certain elements that can help build them faster:

  • Showing name, picture and bio of owner and/or employees
  • Having links to social media profiles
  • Showing phone number and address
  • Having history of business
  • Displaying customer testimonials
  • Integrating with 3rd party reviews

Website trust factors is something you should consider when building a new website and is part of the Build stage of the Digital Marketing Framework.

Name, Picture and Bio

At the least, your website should have your name, picture, and bio.  Remember that your website is not only for close associates whom you’re doing business with – it’s also for people who have never heard of you – maybe they heard about you from somewhere, saw your ad, or somehow landed on your site from Google search.  If you are looking to buy products or services from a website you’ve never been to, don’t you want to know whom you are doing business with?

Website Trust Factors - name picture bio
From LNI Digital Marketing About page

When I visit a website to do any type of business, the About or team page is the first page I check.  I want to know whom I am doing business with.  If you want to earn my business, at least tell me about yourself.

Links to Social Media Profiles

Social media industry has come a long way since Facebook and Linkedin first opened for business.  They are not just for connecting or staying in touch with other people – they are also used for providing security to other sites.  All major sites now allow you to log in with Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Linkedin.  That’s how much we’ve come to trust these social media sites for providing security and authentication – if anyone is real or not.

That is why if you have links to your social media profiles from your bio page, it will further help prove that your business is real and boost that trust level between you and the anonymous visitor on your site.  Before I do any business with a company, I always check the owner or leadership team’s information Linkedin.  It’s especially true if it’s a company I’ve never heard of before.

Website Trust Factors - social media profiles
From LNI Digital Marketing About page

You should know the differences between these social media pages however.  Linkedin is primarily used for business-purposes and is a must-have on your bio page.  Facebook is more for personal use and may not be a good fit on your website.  Twitter is somewhere in between.  Some use it for personal and some use it for business.  If you are a developer, have a link to your Github page if you have one.

Phone number and Address

I come across many websites that do not have any phone number or physical address of their business.  They just have an email or a contact form on the website.  I don’t know about you but when I see a website with no phone number of address, I get suspicious.  Is this a real company?  Are they here in the states or overseas?  Did they go out of business?  What if I use their service or product and run into issues?  Will they be responsive in email responses?

Having phone number and address lets visitors know that you are real and that you can be reached instantly by phone.  A good practice I’ve been doing is showing phone number and/or address in header or footer of a website so it’s shown on all pages.

History of Business

While personal bio emphasizes your experience and professional accomplishments, how the business was started and how it came to what it is today takes visitors to another level of trust.  Make it an honest story and you can win visitor’s trust.

Check out the below About page from a local dessert shop in Virginia:

Website Trust Factors - Example
From Sweet Signatures website

Monica is a colleague of mine and the owner of Sweet Signatures dessert shop in Sterling, Virginia, and she does a great job of building trust on her website.  I want to highlight a few things from the page:

  • Monica shows two pictures side by side that show her shop before the construction and at the ribbon cutting ceremony.  These pictures alone tell a powerful story.
  • Her “IT WAS JUST  A DREAM…” is another powerful statement that engages visitors to want to learn about how her dream came true
  • And she tells the story of how her dream came true starting in 2008 and until today

What are you doing to tell a story about you or your business?  Check out Monica’s website and think about what story you can tell about you.  Her website is also very well made!

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonial is another effective tool that shows that your customers stand by the quality of your services or products.  It’s many times more effective than you saying your own services and products are the best.  When having customer testimonials on website, try to have at least the name, business, and location (if you serve local markets) information in testimonials.

I’m sure you’ve heard “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  If you can show a picture of customer in the testimonial, that’s a huge plus.  If you want to take customer testimonials to the next level, consider creating a video.  Take next three minutes to watch below testimonial video from a technology company, MarkLogic:

What did you think?  Did you feel that the company, MarkLogic, is now more trustworthy after watching the video?  Did you notice Mr.Pelizzoli’s (man in the video) eyes, tone, facial expressions, and gestures and how they help to communicate that the product is the best and that he stands by the product?  I don’t know about you but I was completely sold when I watched the video.

Integration with 3rd Party Reviews

Platforms like Google and Yelp allow you to retrieve and show reviews and ratings on your website.  This is a great way to let visitors know that you are already doing business with people and that your customers are happy with your products and services.

There are some restrictions with this though.  Google and Yelp APIs only allow retrieval of three latest reviews.  Also, be mindful that even the bad reviews will show on the website if they are the latest reviews.

Your website can serve many purposes – check out my blog post on Digital Marketing Framework for three primary categories of websites – but I think where you get the most ROI from your digital investment is when you are able to generate high traffic to your website and they convert to sales.  In order to do so, you have to earn the trust and confidence of new prospects coming to your website.  It may take time to earn that trust but you can definitely use some or all of above strategies to shorten that cycle.


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