You want to make your website so that it stands out and looks pretty, but more than that, it needs to look trustworthy. You need to show that you’re a great person to work with, someone they can trust to solve their problem, and someone who’s not going to run away with all their money!
*This website contains affiliate links for products and services, which means when you click on a link that I recommend, I may receive a commission. Not every link is an affiliate link, but some are.
Websites are an investment, of time and / OR money
A professional website can cost a lot, but it’s well worth the investment. On the other end of the scale, if you’re starting a business with zero budget, you can create a website yourself very cheaply but it’s a big time investment.
It’s not always a case of slapping on a template and off you go! You need to think about how to portray your brand online, whether the colours and fonts on the site match your brand, the text that’s going to go on the website, how to structure the navigation, the layout of the pages. And, depending on what platform you use, you’ll have to learn how to do all of this!
If a website looks like something you’ve put together in 2 minutes, then it’s going to have less of an appeal than a website that looks professional and like it’s had a lot of hard work go into it.
Keep your site fresh
An out of date website, however professional, can look untrustworthy. If you’ve got outdated information (e.g. a coupon code promoted on the site that went out of date in 2014!), this can make visitors wonder whether your business is still active and, if it is, then why you haven’t updated your site.
This doesn’t mean you have to redesign the whole site, just keep on top of content and update it as your business develops. Keeping a blog also helps to show that your website is still active (and its great for SEO).
It should go without saying that contact details should always be kept up to date and clearly visible on your site!
To stock photo, or to not stock photo?
Stock photos are great. There’s a photo for everything out there! BUT too often you can spot that it’s a stock photo from a mile away as it looks staged and fake.
Photos from free stock photo websites are even worse. They look lovely until someone visiting your website has already seen that same photo on three other sites.
By taking the time to create your own photos, whether it’s taking them yourself or hiring a professional, your website can look unique and on-brand. It also means you can make the photo fit your business exactly, rather than using a generic stock photo that doesn’t really show what you do.
If your business is focused around yourself, include photos of you on your website so potential customers can connect with you as a person.
I’ve written a post before about stock photos vs. professional photos vs. DIY photos that’d be handy to read!
What do your existing customers think of you?
A great way to build trust in your business and show just how fabulous you are, is to get other people saying so! Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a testimonial or a review, and make sure you display them clearly on your website. Visitors to your site will trust the opinion of someone who’s in the same position as themselves – “well, they bought the product and loved it, so I think I will too!”
Another thing to shout about on your website is whether you’ve been featured in the press or have won any awards.
Get an SSL certificate
As well as good design and well-written content (with no spelling mistakes!), your site should indicate that it’s secure by using an SSL certificate.
Have you ever noticed the little padlock in the address bar, to the left of a website address, and ‘https’ rather than ‘http’? This indicates a site with an SSL certificate.
SSL means Secure Sockets Layer. The description from SSL.com says it best:
“SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.”
By having an SSL certificate, your website is secure and your connection is encrypted, and it makes your website much more trustworthy!
Check with your hosting provider to see if they offer SSL certificates or use Let’s Encrypt to secure your site for free.
Provide valuable information
Give your potential customers an inside view of what you can offer them by giving away free information. Share tips, tricks and helpful information freely on your website and this will help establish you as someone who knows their stuff!
Also, share your processes and information about your business. The more transparent you are, the more trustworthy you will be to your website visitors. In an age full of scams and Nigerian princes, being truthful and honest about what you can offer, with testimonials to back it up and helpful tips here and there, will do wonders for your credibility!
Summary – how to make your site more trustworthy:
- Install an SSL certificate
- Make sure the website is easy to use
- Work with a professional website designer if you don’t have the skills or the time to create a good website
- Check and re-check all your spellings
- Include testimonials and reviews from existing customers
- Spend time updating your website to include the latest information and keeping it looking fresh
- Use original photos wherever possible, and if you have to use stock photos, use the ones that best portray your business
- Make sure your website matches your existing branding – same colours, same fonts, same style…
- Keep the layout and navigation simple and easy to use
- Display your contact details clearly
- Share information about your business and what you can offer. Blog posts with helpful and relevant information, as well as free downloads or tips, can help customers get to know you and your business before they commit to buying
- Read my blog post ‘top tips for creating a website that gets more customers’