From dodgy design, to a lack of information, instinctively when you land on a website you will know whether it feels like a website you can trust.
Subtle cues as to whether you can trust a website become even more important if you are considering parting with your cash.
As a business owner, it is vital to use these subtle cues, also known as ‘trust signals’, to your advantage. Not only does it boost conversion rates, but it can also help you rank higher in search engine results.
Google puts a lot of emphasis on user satisfaction and experience. If a searcher has come to your site to purchase something, and they jump straight back out because they do not feel comfortable with using your site, then Google considers this “bounce rate” as an indicator that you shouldn’t feature high up in the rankings.
Digital PR Agency, Reboot Online, has identified the 10 signals you need to send to users and Google alike, to gain their trust.
1. Good UX and design
The very first impression you give a web user, is how your site looks at first glance – this is followed quickly by how good the user experience is.
An unprofessional layout that makes it hard to navigate your website, or pages that are slow to load, give a bad first impression. In fact, Reboot Online’s ‘Trust Signal Survey’ found that 38% of web users believe a professional site layout was crucial to the success of a business.
Don’t forget that studies have shown it takes a user around 0.05 seconds to decide whether they like the look of your site or not- so you will want your site speed to be optimised too as it plays a very important role in good UX.
In fact, you might be shocked to see how long your site takes to load when you try loading it without cache enabled. Optimising your website for speed can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve user experience, however, it can be hard to diagnose what is causing a sluggish site in the first place.
Some common reasons for a poor page speed include:
- Large files that aren’t compressed
- Issues with caching for returning visitors
- A bad hosting solution
- Bloated code
- Images that aren’t optimised or served in next gen formats (e.g. WebP)
2. Having an SSL certificate
It may only be one letter, but the difference http and https has on both users and Google is huge. In fact, it was discovered that 43% of internet users find a website with a secure connection (https) to be much more trustworthy. To get that handy ‘s’ at the end of your http, you will need an SSL certificate.
Not only does the big warning that your website might not be secure affect the trust of users, but it can really hit your rankings hard. Verification of your website is serious business in Google’s guidelines, and with the increasing importance placed on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), you’ll want to get a redirect to a https page pronto.
3. Social media presence
Not only does it make good business sense to have your brand on social platforms, especially if you are targeting a younger audience, but having those little social icons on your site also sends out a signal of trust.
Almost half of web users identified social media presence on a website as THE MOST important trust signal.
What’s more, 45% of potential customers would back out of a purchase if they couldn’t see social media activity – meaning it isn’t enough to have social accounts, you should also be posting on them frequently.
4. Visible address and telephone number
The mention of an address and phone number help legitimise your company in the eyes of a potential consumer – it reassures them that, should something go wrong, you would be available at the end of a phone line. Having an address and phone number on your website was voted one of the top trust signals for 40% of web users.
It is also a good thing to have from a rankings point of view too – making your name, address and phone number visible helps with geo-specific searches, and can help you rank locally.
5. Having an ‘About Us’ page
Much like having a physical address on display, having a page about yourself, your staff and the company, humanises your website and lets visitors and Google know that there are real people behind the business. In fact, 3 in 10 online users felt it was important to see an about us page before making any purchase decisions.
6. Unique imagery (no stock!)
If you have your address, social media channels, and about us page all sorted, then you wouldn’t want to depersonalise your brand with an overuse of so-called “stock imagery”.
You can spot stock images a mile off, and they can give the impression that you are not upfront with what is going on at the company, and who actually works there. 15% of internet users believe that the use of stock images deters them from trusting a site.
Google also doesn’t trust stock imagery – according to a study, websites that use unique imagery are more likely to rank higher over those that don’t – so it’s a great way to stay ahead of the competition!
7. Trusted payment methods
If you have managed to get someone to the point where they have their card out, ready to make a purchase on your site, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with an unfamiliar method of payment.
A very good payment option to have is Paypal- not only is it a household name, but buyers will know they are protected should something go wrong.
Around 25% of online browsers worry about security when it comes to making an online purchase, so if your website sells something, then familiar payment methods should be a top priority.
8. Legal documents
The mere act of having these policies in place shows a new visitor to your site that you take these things seriously – it will help to establish some confidence in what you do and who you are.
9. Recognisable trust seals
Displaying a seal from a familiar and trusted site like McAfee or TRUSTe will help 47% of web users feel more comfortable on your site, according to research. It helps your site come across as more legitimate, and will convince around 56% of visitors to move forward with a purchase.
10. Affiliation with trusted websites
Having some sort of connection with another website, much like with trust seals, will help your brand become more trustworthy by association. Affiliation could come from having your items stocked in a more well-known store (and having their logo on your ite) or a simple collaboration with a well-known brand.
Out of all web users surveyed, around 45% said that they’re more likely to trust a website that had connections to a bigger, more well-known brand. After all, if that other business can trust you, they can too.
It is important to remember that it is not just picking one or two trust signals from this list that will make your website give a great first-impression to users, but by using them all in tandem. Checking these subtle little signals could make all the difference from someone ready to bounce back to the SERP, to someone ready to purchase your goods.
More on promoting your business
ByteStart is packed with help and advice on promoting your small business and reaching more customers. Try these for starters;
- Optimise Your Website In 3 Easy Steps
- Turn Your E-Commerce Website Into a Deadly Selling Tool With These 5 Steps
- Getting Started with Google AdWords – A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Harness the Power of Google for Your Business
- 5 Ways You Can Use Emotion to Connect With Customers & Get More from Your marketing
- PR Tips for StartUps