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How to boost your credibility online

Web Bureau

26 November 2013 by Web Bureau

How to boost your credibility online

Because First Impressions Count:

Don’t miss our Top Ten Tips for a Website that Wows!

Your office, restaurant or shop isn’t where you meet your customers any more.  Your website is where they meet you, suss you out and make a decision about visiting to your office, restaurant or shop. Or making an immediate purchase.

With the internet now everywhere, easily accessible from tablets and smart phones at work and at play, it’s most likely that people will visit your website when they’re Googling your kind of product or service.

So that’s where they’ll begin to form opinions about you and your credibility: whether you look like you value your business, if it looks like you have thought about and invested in your brand, if they can trust you, approach you and, ultimately, if they want to have a transactional relationship with you.

Because, when it comes down to it, if it appears to them that you don’t care enough to invest in your online presence, why would they?

The main thing you need to bear in mind when you’re building your website, or any online presence, is how you’re also building trust.  Does it look good? Does it feel nice? Does it do what it says on the tin? And does it go a little further to solve your customers’ problems?

Will it persuade them that you’re the person they want to buy from or do business with? Will it even convince them enough to convince their friends of the same?

Follow our top 10 tips to ensuring your online credibility translates into sales and long term relationships with your customers:

  1. Invest in Good Design - It will be the best investment you ever make. A Stanford Web Credibility Research study of over 5000 people showed that, by far, that how a website looked was the most important factor in establishing credibility.
  2. Think About the Customer - Because your website isn’t about your business. It’s about what your business can do for your customer. Beyond how it looks, how your website feels to use is also incredibility important. A good web designer will take both elements into consideration, building you a site that gives a great first impression and makes the user’s journey easy.
  3. Be Reliable - Build trust by saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Don’t over exaggerate or over-promise. You’re most likely to under deliver and letting them down means they just won’t come back. In fact, avoid promotional or marketing speak wherever you can in favour of telling it like it is. People appreciate this kind of refreshing honesty and are much more likely to trust you.
  4. Be Professional - Looking and acting like you know what you’re talking about is what will set you apart. Just as we can smell fear, we can also easily pick up on passion and enthusiasm – answer queries positively and helpfully, then offer more, position yourself as an expert in the field and show you know your stuff. That kind of confidence inspires the kind of trust that drives sales.
  5. Stake a Claim to your Name - Because judging your credibility starts long before they’ve even landed on your website, buying your own domain name is fundamental. It will help you to do better in search results and people will be more inclined to click through to your site, so creating a virtuous circle.  And make sure your email fits too!
  6. Use Your Reviews - If you’re getting great feedback from customers, peers or industry commentators, use it! Post links to what people – independent, credible people - are saying about you. It may be that you can dedicate a section on your website to your references and testimonials, or simply drop a verifiable, short quote on each page.
  7. Bring your offline assets online - If your business is solely bricks and mortar, create galleries that give a real feel for what people can expect. It pays to invest in professional photography or video to show off your bar, restaurant or shop in its best light. Again, it’s all about good design and making potential customers want to come through the door.
  8. Be People People - If you want people to lift the phone and talk to your team, show them off with flattering pictures and fun bios – add an email address to make it easy to get in touch. It can be a fun thing to do, can give your people a real sense of being part of a great team and so is motivational too, and will really bring out the personality of your business. It’s also a useful tool for positioning expertise: outlining experience, credentials, track records and qualifications will all help your customer to build confidence in your organisation.  If you can also get your team Tweeting and Facebooking, so much the better. Because if people love working with you, your customers will too.
  9. Work it! - Abandoned blogs and websites are ten a penny. And they don’t rank. Make updating your website, twitter, Facebook and blog a priority task, put finding and creating content on your to-do list – and make it interesting, relevant, current, engaging and fun wherever you can.
  10. 10. Make sure it all works together - There’s nothing like a slow download or a broken link to put a stop to a sale. Along with spelling mistakes and awful imagery, you’ll be creating the wrong impression entirely..which takes us full circle to No. 1 - Invest in Good Design!

If you’re still not convinced how a well-designed, easy to use website could make a real difference to your bottom line, you should be talking to Northern Ireland’s Digital Agency of the Year 2013.

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