How to make your website more trustworthy: best tools and practices

How to make your website more trustworthy: best tools and practices

Customers do not trust businesses. And why would they? There are reports of new security breaches on the news almost every day.

And more commonly we’ve all experienced the terrible disappointment of opening up an order and not getting quite what we expected. 

The research backs this up. According to Salesforce Research, 59% of customers believe their personal information is vulnerable to a security breach. Furthermore, over half of the consumers don’t believe that companies have their best interests in mind.

How do you stand out from the crowd and convince you’re customers that you’re worthy of doing business with? Your website can be a strong indication of your trustworthiness. In this article, we’ll share five tools and practices you can implement to stand out as a trustworthy online business. 

Why is it important that customers trust you? 

People don’t want to spend money with businesses they don’t trust. This isn’t a crazy idea – if you’ve ever bought a car, you’ve considered the trustworthiness of the person selling it to you. Can you believe what they say? When you give them your money, will you get what you expect in return? Trust is a big factor in our decision-making process. 

For online businesses, this is even more important. In-person you can touch the product you’re buying. You can speak directly with the person you’re buying from. When you purchase something online, you have to trust that it will be in good condition when it arrives. Trust is an important consideration for shoppers across industries; 90 percent of shoppers would only purchase financial services products from a known, trusted brand. The same idea holds true for medical expenses (91 percent), consumer electronics (83 percent), and even lower-priced items, like shoes (66 percent). 

Trust isn’t just important for gaining new customers – it also helps businesses retain the customers they already have. Salesforce found that 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust. Furthermore, 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses. 

5 Tools and Practices to Build Trust with Customers

Fortunately for online businesses, there are best practices that can help you build trust with your customers. The way you design your website can help reassure customers that you’re a legitimate business with their best interests in mind. Read below for five strategies you can employ to build trust with customers. 

Make it easy to contact you

When customers have questions, it’s important that they are able to get in touch with a real human who can help. It doesn’t have to be a phone number. Something as easy as making an email address or live chat available can make customers feel more at ease with purchasing. That way, not only can they get their questions answered upfront, they also know you’re there if something goes wrong (such as a lost delivery). 

Offering live chat is one of the most effective customer service contact channels because it provides immediate, personal, conversational help. Customers feel like they are connecting with a real human, and that makes them feel a connection with your brand. 

In fact, when Intuit launched proactive chat at important decision points on their website, they increased their conversion rate by 211%. 

Show Customer Reviews

Customers trust online reviews almost as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family. If you’re looking to build trust, displaying authentic customer reviews is a great way to do so. 
BrightLocal did an experiment where they created two versions of the same business website: one with customer reviews and one that only included the business’ reassurance that they were trustworthy. Respondents rated the website that included customer reviews substantially more trustworthy than the website without.

If you’d like to display customer reviews on your website, start by either providing a place on your site for reviews to be submitted or ask customers to provide a review after they’ve received the product. Make sure that you have the customer’s permission to showcase any review that you display on your website. 

Display terms of service and privacy policy

Not only does having terms of service and a clear privacy policy present on your website reassure customers that you’re a legitimate business, but it’s also required by law if you want to do business in Europe. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires all businesses to display an easy to read privacy policy on their website that lists the personal information the business will collect and how the business aims to keep that data safe (along with other information. 

Secondly, including terms of service and your privacy policy on the website improves your TrustRank according to Google. What is TrustRank? It’s a link analysis technique used by search engines to separate spam from legitimate content. Having a higher TrustRank can help you rank higher on search engines and also prevent Google from flagging you as suspicious content. 

Pay attention to your content

Which website are you more likely to trust? One that is riddled with typos and grammatical errors or one that looks professional? Your content says more than you think it does. 

To gain the trust of your readers, spend time proofreading or hire a professional copyeditor to look over your site. If English isn’t your primary language, this is still important – your visitors could be coming from all over the world. Having a well-written website makes you look more authoritative. 

It’s also important to provide references for any stats you use and cite any quotations that you’ve found on other sites. Secondly, linking to trustworthy sites (for example, well-respected news outlets) can help boost your TrustRank score as well. When readers know that they can believe what you’re saying, they will trust your sales claims too! 

Consider using a Trust Badge

A surprising 70% of shoppers cancel their orders or abandon their online purchase just because they don’t trust the website. Trust seals or trust badges can help reduce this issue by signifying that your website is committed to the security and privacy protection. 

A trust badge is purchased from a third-party company to indicate a certain level of security. Trust seals need to be earned and verified before they are displayed – you can’t just copy and paste an image from a Google search. 

“A trust seal verifies to visitors that a website is legitimate. Data is collected by the third-party trust seal company that confirms that the business is authentic.” – Marie from CrazyEgg

SleekNote has done a good job of gathering all the data around how adding a trust seal can help improve conversion rates. But the TL;DR is that it really, really works. Clean Energy Experts boosted their conversion rates by 137% with a Verisign trust seal. Blue Fountain Media saw a 42% increase in sales with the addition of a trust seal to their checkout page. It’s worth considering how a trust seal could work for your business as well. 

Conclusion

While all of these tools will help you build a closer, more trusting relationship with your customers, nothing can compensate for shady behavior. Ultimately, your actions will speak louder than your words. Ensure you’re acting with integrity, doing what you say you will and delivering a consistently excellent customer experience. 

While your website design can help build trust, one misstep will result in losing it all. Work tirelessly to deserve the trust your customers put in you, and enjoy a lifetime of success.

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