Archive for June 15th, 2009

How to Build Trust and Credibility on Your Website

When your business is virtual, your website becomes your “office” and the public face of your business.

However, because it’s virtual, your clients and prospects can’t step into your office to get any sense about the personality of your business and its professionalism and legitimacy… Or can they?

Just because you run an online business doesn’t mean can’t give visitors a helpful and welcoming reception and positive impression as a brick-and-mortar office does.

There are small  details you can provide on your website that have a powerful impact in establishing rapport and instilling trust and confidence in your prospective clients .

  1. Your Name. People want to know who it is they are doing business with. Your name gives them someone to identify with and humanizes the connection. Clearly display your name, if not on all the pages of your site, at least on your Contact and About pages. Lead your business loud and proud and see what a difference it makes.
  2. Address. It doesn’t matter if you use a physical address or a post office box — just have an address of some kind on your website (but don’t use your home address for security reasons). This isn’t a logical thing; it satisfies a psychological need. People are simply more trusting of a business that clearly displays an address. And trust — particularly for online businesses — is the name of the game in getting clients.
  3. Contact Info. Don’t make it difficult for your site visitors to figure out how to contact you. The more clearly you display contact info, the better visitors feel about your site. The best sites not only display at least their basic contact info on all pages of their site, but also consolidate their full information (including hours of operation and other helpful data) on a Contact page of some sort.
  4. Photo. Nothing does more to create rapport than providing a photo of yourself on your website. Make sure you display your photo on at least your Home and/or About and Contact pages. Most of us don’t like our own photos, but you have to tell yourself to get over it. Because it’s not about being the best looking, it’s about humanizing the business and giving your site visitors someone to connect with. Forget the cheesy glamour shots and unnecessary Photoshopping. Don’t use any photo that is more than five years old; better yet, take a fresh, current photo of the real you. Wearing something simple and professionally modest is perfectly fine. The most important, stylish thing you should be wearing in your photo is your smile.
  5. Your Office. If you have a separate office area that is presentable (such as a dedicated room or space in your home that you have turned into your office), take a photo and put that on your site. Prospective clients like to see these glimpses into your operations. It makes it more real to them and they get a sense of who you are as a person at the same time.
  6. Don’t be a robot. Long gone are the days of impersonal corporate-speak and the royal “we.” Speak directly to your site visitor in an everyday conversational way as if they were sitting right there in the room with you.
  7. It’s not about you. Never forget that your site is for your visitors, not an indulgence for your ego. I don’t know how to put this more delicately, but when folks are shopping for solutions, they don’t care about you. They are looking with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. They want to know what you do and how you do it as it applies to their interests, their needs. They want that information provided from their perspective, not yours. That means using lots of “you” in your writing rather than “I” and “we.” If you have lots of “I” and “we” in your copy now, go through and do a more personalized rewrite with a “you” perspective. It will really transform the whole personality of your content–you’ll see.


© Copyright by Danielle Keister for the Administrative Consultants Association. You are granted permission to republish this article only if used without alteration in its entirety with this copyright notice, title, article content, resource, and links left intact.