Does your website instill trust in the mind of its audience? A fundamental ingredient of a successful online business is its ability to break down the walls of skepticism and inspire trust that leads to engagement and conversion.

Building trust online goes deeper than a brand name, a beautiful front-end or the use of trending technologies. Today we’ll explore some key website trust factors and how they can be implemented to improve key metrics that lead to higher conversion rates.

Professional Affiliations
People tend to trust businesses who have strong ties to organizations they are already familiar with. A simple and effective way to showcase your professional affiliations, is to add logos or seals to the footer of your website. Some examples are the Better Business Bureau, Dun & Bradstreet and IDC.

Professional certifications are also great ways to show potential customers they are in good hands. Some examples are the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If your industry requires that you maintain one or more professional certifications, consider adding appropriate seals/badges to your website.

Site Security
Security is a major concern for most Americans, especially while making transactions or giving up their personal information online. Sites that collect and store secure information, such as online stores and those with user account logins, should consider displaying security badges such as McAffee (general site security), Verisign (SSL) and (Payment Gateway). Security trust badges have been proven to dramatically increase conversion rates.

Consumer Confidence Builders
There are countless ways for a business to highlight why they should be deemed a reliable source of information. Think about what is important to your audience and what they need to make a purchasing decision. If you sell electronics, customers reviews are a critical trust builder. A surgeon, on the other hand, is only as good as his patient’s “Before & After” photos.

Here are further examples of elements that build consumer confidence:

– Testimonials
– Case studies
– Portfolio
– White papers
– Blog or news articles
– Frequently Asked Questions
– Team page
– Contact information
– Office photos
– Privacy policy
– Terms of service

Press Mentions
As previously noted, people will often let their guard down once they find out you’re associated with organizations they already trust. If your company or product has been mentioned or reviewed by press (on or offline), find a way to post the information on your website. A dedicated press page or logos of those who have mentioned you are great visual trust indicators.

Fully Functioning Site
A malfunctioning website is a sure way to lower trust. Internet users are very picky and demand immediate access to information. It’s very important to perform frequent quality assurance checks on your site to ensure it is in good health. Below are some examples of common website glitches that can do damage to your online reputations.

– Slow page loading speed
– Front-end browser bugs
– Broken links
– Broken images
– Broken videos
– Form errors
– Ecommerce checkout errors
– Typos or grammatical errors

Customer Service
The most difficult aspect of doing business online is the inability to address questions and concerns in real-time, face to face. To combat this, it’s critical to offer fast and easy ways for customers to contact you for support. Here are some examples of features you can add to let visitors know you’ve got their back.

– Prominent phone number
– Easy access to customer support phone or email
– Live chat
– Phone number and physical address in footer and on contact page
– Frequently Asked Questions page

Transparency goes a long way online. The worst feeling a visitor to your site can have is a sense that you’re hiding something. Most people want to know who they are doing business and want the piece of mind that comes with being able to confirm that you are legit.

It’s also important to give people the chance to access the “fine print”. You’ve probably noticed sites that deliver pop ups to let you know they are about to store cookies to track your every move? While it sounds creepy, the great news is these companies are being upfront about what they are doing and allowing you to decide if you’d like to proceed.

Other examples of transparency are letting people know what to expect after submitting an online form (e.g. request a quote, application or registration), full disclosure on what you’ll be doing with email addresses (e.g. making them available to 3rd parties) and detailed auto-emails (e.g. after an online purchase or customer service request).

by Fuze February 4, 2014