If Billy the Kid (the American outlaw who lived in the late 1800s) or others like him lived today they’d probably be spammers or malware spreaders instead of robbers and gunslingers. Why? The Internet is a lot like the Wild West of the 21st century. It’s a place with honest businesses, crooks, great brands and fraudsters alike all hanging out in the same Mid-Western saloon (the Internet). This can make it difficult to know whom to trust.
Your users are faced with these types of characters on a daily basis. To stand out, you’ll want a website design that’s personable and builds trust. You see, your website does not need to look like a Nigerian lottery scam for your visitors to click the back button after a few seconds on your website. People have many things competing for their attention. They’re selective who they engage and interact with, and rightly so.
Here are a few tips to create a web design that builds trust:
Be Human And Professional
You can do many things when designing your website that will build trust with your users. At the top of the list is to be human. People want to interact with and buy from other people, not from machines, so make sure this trait is reflected in your website design.
Here are a few ways to go about it:
- Feature an “About Us” page that includes real photos of you and your team. It can be tempting to add stock photos of impossibly beautiful models in plush offices and boardrooms, but rethink this approach. First, you’re lovely the way you are! Showcase real headshots to bring out the lovely and unique you. And second, your audience will not buy it. They’ll figure out that those pictures are not of your business and they may trust you a little bit less as a result.
- Feature a contact form on your website that genuinely encourages conversation and includes the best way to get in touch with you. All of this information and everything else on your website should be wrapped in an attractive and easy to use design. It should look professional and have all of the features that modern website users expect, such as safe and secure ordering.
- If you do any affiliate marketing, make sure that the affiliates you choose reflect the core philosophies of your business. If you run a business that focuses on health or fitness, featuring a fast food affiliate may make people wonder about your intentions. Don’t turn your readers into skeptics. Be true to who you are, and don’t make decisions based on earning a few pennies. Any trust you’ve earned will quickly turn to rust if you’re not careful.
Reputation, Reviews and Comments
The Internet has become great at regulating itself. There are a host of signals that a website can give to show that it’s transparent and that others have had a good experience in the past. When a new visitor sees those signals they’re more likely to trust what you’re offering.
Here are some ways that these signals get conveyed:
- The social media profiles of you, your company or your website are important for this reason. More Twitter followers may signal more trust. But make sure that you’re acquiring the right types of followers. If all of your Twitter followers are from spam accounts instead of real people, this won’t instill trust. Build a following on your social networks over time.
- Allowing users to review your product or service says a lot about your company. But do not be afraid to include criticism. Criticism can actually add credibility, especially if your customer service team responds in a respectable fashion. Showing that you’re actually listening and responding to complaints or problems can go a long way in the eyes of your customers.
- Testimonials from previous customers can be particularly effective if the brand giving the testimonial is trusted and familiar. (A testimonial from your mother or a review with lots of typos will have the opposite effect).
- Feature media appearances your company or product has received. This can convey that your business is a trusted, reputable source.
- Allow people to have open and public conversations with you and your company. That could mean a comment section on your website or through social media.
Building trust for your customers may seem like a lot of work. And building a solid community in the virtual saloons of today does not happen overnight. But the good news is that you can let the modern day Billy the Kid sling his shadiness for all to see, while you sashay your way to more trust and sales over time. Trust the strategies that you set forth today will be well worth it over the long-term.