Trying to sell products or services goes swimmingly when your target customers trust you, while that may be conventional wisdom; it’s still something that’s often overlooked. When you look to conduct business online, trust establishes itself as even more of a driving factor. Unlike running a small shop, the personal interaction can often be enough to convey trustworthiness. On your website, however, you don’t have that luxury. While “trust” may entail a wide range of interpretations, in the online world, it can be narrowed down to be pretty straightforward.
Build Trust Signals
In terms of website effectiveness, trust can be measured by the willingness of visitors to interact. It’s having them believe the information presented on your website, and lead them to act on it. In this age, when skepticism is the first one to meet online business proposals at the door, it’s important to understand the concept and use of trust signals on your website.
A singular trust signal can seem as trivial as a little badge or a button that suggests that a site is safe. But when added together, the proper mix of trust signals can go a long way, not only toward building lasting trust with your customers, but more importantly, loyalty to your brand. Its importance is further heightened when the goal is to convert first time visitors. Current subscribers look for trust signals to persuade them to keep doing business with you; first time visitors need visible trust signals for you to even catch their attention.
1. Straight-shooting Domain Name
For anyone to even click on your site, your domain name has to make sense. Finding something that simply describes what you do is not only a great starting point, it readily allows you good branding potential.
2. Website Loading Speed
A reliable host is as vital a trust signal as any. However trustworthy your website actually is won’t really matter if it can’t be trusted to be up and running at all times. Website loading speed is important, both as a trust signal, and as a way to keep your visitors from leaving your page. It’s also one way to keep visitors on your sites longer, and a means to convert first timers.
Call-to-action buttons are also vital when looking to convert visitors. When you get a visitor to do something (adding to cart, download, request information, or virtually anything else), they’re kept engaged and stay on your site longer, leaving them open to discovering other internal content.
Improving your website call to action (especially when thinking conversion) is often as simple as ensuring that your site offers is visible to new visitors. Continuously testing where it works best is also key.
4. Internal Linking
The more relevant things a new visitor finds on your site, the longer they will stay, increasing the chances of conversion. Promoting your site’s other content through internal links and making these links extremely visible increases both your average page visits and site visit duration. You can funnel visitors toward subscribing to your site when they see more of your other content.
5. Web Content
While there’s a whole plethora of web content you can use to build trust as well as relationships, it’s important to look at your business model to guide you in pinpointing which types you use. Each type has its purpose in trying to get to your end goal.
- Index / Introduction
- Sales Copy
- Product Descriptions
- How-to Information
- Topical Discussions
- Contact Information
- Site Map
- Policies / Agreements
6. Social Proof
The social activity of your brand, and displaying it with visible social badges, attract your visitors and lead to more interest on what it is you can do for them. With social media becoming a powerful marketing tool, making first time visitors see the amount of people subscribed to you (and interacting with you) on different social platforms makes for a sure-fire proof that people trust you as a business entity.
Look at the example image above, SEOmoz shows the volume of people following them on different social platforms it can simply prove that people trust you as a business.
Showing customers your business credibility and giving them and idea of what you can do for them fosters user trust, and providing user testimonials is a great way to do this. People tend to want to be involved with companies that other people like; they feel better about themselves when they’re connected to popular things. You can entice them to be part of your business by nourishing that vanity; building lasting partnerships, as well as creating new ones along the way.
8. Trust Seals
New visitors are motivated to find out more of what you can offer when your brand’s accomplishments, customer testimonials, media coverage, company awards are made visible to them. Emphasis on these lifts your brand’s importance and establishes trust and enriches interest.
Business owners would be served well to take their cue and understand the basics, benefits, and proper execution of building trust signals to facilitate first time visitor conversion. Building your brands trust signals fosters the current business you have, and presents your brand as an inviting entity to conduct business with to first timers.
About the Author: +Nikko Marasigan is a one of the Web Mercenaries for Xight Interactive – a team of highly-competent SEO specialist for hire that specialize in developing creative, scalable and adaptive SEO .
He blogs at Nikko Machine and shares SEO tips on Twitter: @nikkomarasigan