Your web site is the first place your referral partners should send prospects because it helps to confirm everything they’ve said about you. There are many ways your web site can build trust and credibility with your readers. And it’s up to you to ensure you’ve set all those signals up to your advantage.
Your web site’s job is to convince new visitors to stop, look around, and take action. So be sure to use this checklist to ensure it’s constructed to perform its job. If your site is missing any of the following, take the time to fix it up so that visitors take the next step and raise their hand for more information.
A Comprehensive About Us Page
The About Us page is one of the most visited pages on any website. When prospects get to your website, they want to know the background details of the business. This is where every company gets to tell its story. Prospects are interested in how the company came about, details about the key figures in the company, and why customers need you and your products or services.
This page should also contain photographs of you and your team so that the prospects know who they’ll be dealing with. Photographs allow people to put names and faces together to show there are real people behind the business. Headshots and team photos can vastly improve the trust generated by your web site.
Post Your Telephone Number and Make it Easy to Find
Post your telephone number at the top of the page and again at the bottom of the page in the footer and in other places on the site. Make it easy to find. Displaying a phone number in a visible position suggests that you’re accessible. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to contact a business and being unable to quickly and easily find that phone number. Nothing says we don’t care like a hidden phone number or no number posted at all.
For local businesses, having a local area code also helps to elevate the trust factor.
Post a Physical Contact Address
Like the telephone number, a physical address adds to the confidence level a reader has when it researches your business. Prospects want to know where you’re located and displaying a physical address can add further trust because you’ve demonstrated there is a physical entity there as opposed to an anonymous contact form.
A physical address is also both an on-page and off-page SEO ranking factor. Google looks for physical addresses and the best location is the footer of each page. Your address is also an off-page local SEO ranking factor.
Certifications, Associations and the Badges
Highlighting any industry associations and certifications on your website provides another level of assurance that prospects are talking to credible resources. Regardless of the kind of business, there are many, many certifications and badges that can help build trust.
For B2B organizations, look to industry associations and professional organization affiliations. Local businesses should think about using local chamber badges and the BBB (Better Business Bureau), charity affiliations as well as security badges from VeriSign or TRUSTe and the like.
Client Testimonials, Portfolios and Reviews
Testimonials are extremely powerful because they provide information from someone outside the business. That level of objectivity is extremely influential.
When it comes to testimonials and reviews, think about the way you buy and/or shop online. BrightLocal’s 2014 Customer Review Survey revealed that 88% of consumers read and use reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Reviews give you the opportunity to look inside and see what you can expect should you decide to sign on with the business.
Make it a priority to collect and include customer comments on your web site and in your marketing materials. Local businesses should look to the common review sites like Google maps or Yext as these not only provide prospects with confidence but they can also help to improve your local SEO efforts. While this study provides data from consumers, it’s fair to say that testimonials and reviews are also powerful for B2B businesses. In the B2B space, look for industry directories to record reviews to build trust.
Prospects are looking for proof and great proof comes in the form of case studies. Prospects want to know what kind of results they can expect from working with you. Use case studies to tell your success stories to allow prospects the opportunity to see the kinds of problems you solve.
Case studies are most powerful when they follow a problem-solution-results format. Include some background information up-front to set the stage and be sure to quantify the results or outcomes. In most cases, prospects want to know how you helped them save time, money, or helped them make more money.
A Dated Blog
There’s no question that blogging is challenging and it’s even more challenging to do on a consistent and regular basis. But having a blog that is dated and hasn’t been touched in months unfortunately isn’t terribly convincing. When you blog on a regular basis, prospects will see that you know and understand the industry and the challenges. Blogging helps to demonstrate your authority and your willingness to provide valuable and actionable education to your audience that helps demonstrate your trustworthiness.
Active Participation in Social Media
Actively participating in social media is essential today. This means providing updates and engaging with the people who like and share your posts. If you put the social media icons on your site and don’t regularly participate or post, it would be best to remove the icons because it’s counterproductive to developing trust. Social media really is intended to be a two-way dialogue and if you don’t take the time to create a dialogue, it might signal readers that you don’t care.
When you look around online, think about the ways you evaluate who you want to do business with and the signals you look to. Whether we are buying for ourselves or we’re looking for a partner for our business, we look for the same signals. In addition to the list provided here, there are many ways your web site can build trust. If your site is lacking any of the above signals, think about what your prospective buyers need to see in order to take the next step in doing business with you.