When you are a small business owner, building credibility around your website can be a daunting task. Online trust is necessary for getting your site visitors to become customers and visit your website again.
First, you need to think about what makes your brand and website credible to kick-start your reliability campaign. Draw inspiration from other companies and what makes them believable and find a way to differentiate yourself.
- Make your site look more direct and personal. A typical mistake that new companies and website owners make is that their site doesn’t look personal enough. If you go the easy route and use standard copy & paste templates with stock photos of people and places that everybody else seems to use, your site will look impersonal and lack originality. Instead, you can take pictures of you, your business partners, your colleagues, your offices, seminars you teach or attend, videos of you and anything that shows the real working force behind your business. Additionally, craft the story and idea behind your brand, where did you start, and where are you now. The more personable your content looks, the more reliable and honest you will look.
- Showcase all your contacts details. If you fail to display all your essential contact information such as phone, e-mail, social media accounts, contact forms, and possible live chat apps, how do you expect for customers to reach you out? All of these must be shown clearly and distinctly on the main contact page of your website. Also, it would be wise here to only mention the ones that you operate the most–if for example, you are not able to answer phone calls most of the time, highlight other communication methods people can reach you like e-mail or social media.
- Respond to customer requests fast. They say time is money and this couldn’t be truer in this case. In fact, if you fail to respond promptly, you’ll lose a significant amount of business as your clients will start looking elsewhere because they didn’t get a timely response from you. We live in a fast-paced online business world so if you don’t catch up that will not help your business at all.
- Make your website count. Of course, your website is there to showcase your brand and products or services, but you have to provide some value to your visitors to establish credibility and make them come back. Instead of just filling your website’s content with the absolute basics like your about us page, a list of products/services, and contact details also offer blog articles, podcasts, videos, guides, and downloads, with additional free info relevant to your brand that provides purpose to your customer.
- Establish yourself an authority in your field. If you want to appear more credible, you have to stand out as an expert who can offer real solutions to people visiting your website to find out more on how to solve their problem. Your content should always reflect that–articles, personal advice sessions, online video seminars, and your credentials should be a part of your website. Additionally, besides crafting content for your website, you should aim to write and publish your articles and reviews in authority websites and insert an author bio as well as links back to your website. That way, you can help both attract more traffic to your website as well as build credibility around your area if expertise.
- Make your website appear professional. If we had to name the top 5 reasons why your site doesn’t look credible, a poor design would certainly be one of them. If you crowd your website with cheesy, stock graphics and menus or content that look like they are all over the place, you will most likely give the impression that you are an amateur or lack any good taste. Instead of making experimentations and make everything yourself, hire a seasoned professional website designer and developer or team to help you out.
- Show client testimonials. People will always look for the validation of others before deciding whether to buy a product/service or not. If you already managed to gain a few satisfied customers, ask them to provide testimonials reviews or ask for their permission to post in public their positive remarks about your business. You can also help and give direction to your clients without actually telling them what to write, e.g., ask them what they like best about your product and service and what how your product or service has helped them.
- Become a member of trusted organizations and associations. If you are truly a qualified and licensed professional, e.g., NYC therapist and counselor, joining relevant organizations and associations of your area of practice, automatically gives you more credibility and people will know you are a real professional and not someone pretending to be so.
- Test your website’s functionality. Website issues like pages failing to load in time or at all or have web hosting issues these will inevitably make visitors leave right away and buy elsewhere. Nobody has time to hit the refresh button multiple times. You must check the functionality of your website with the help of an expert and solve any issues fast before you start losing valuable business.
- Ask your clients to provide you with honest and constructive feedback. It may sound a bit harsh, but just because you think your website is great, it doesn’t mean that everybody else has the same opinion. Successful online businesses are the ones who can examine customer reactions and feedback and use it to improve themselves. Tell or encourage your clients to provide you with some feedback to see what they like best on your website and what areas might need improvement.