January 10, 2017 by Andrew M. Warner 8 Comments
website credibilityYou know if you’re not a big name online you’re constantly battling website credibility issues, right?
Because every time a reader visits your site, there’s visual cues that helps determine if you’re a credible business.
What are they?
Well today you’re in for a real treat.
I’ve put together a complete list of 53 website credibility factors that helps take your influence to the next level.
Some are backed by data.
Some are proven.
But all are worth paying attention to.
Check it out.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that will show you how to amplify the 10 most important website credibility factors listed here.
website credibility infographic
1. Updated Contact Info: In a recent survey, 54% of individuals said that a lack of thorough contact information on a website reduces credibility — and causes them to leave the site.
Interestingly enough, 44% of visitors leave a site when there’s no contact information/phone number.
What this means is your contact information is more important than you think. In fact, according to this study, contact information is one of the top signals when determining website validity.
2. Displaying Your Phone Number: According to CopyHackers, displaying your phone number increases trust.
An easy-to-find phone number can boost conversion because people feel comforted that, if they need you, they can call. It’s not that they will call. It’s that they can call.
The presence of a phone number is the presence of assurance. It’s a cue to trust you.
– Joanna Wiebe
But if you want to 2x your website credibility, including your company address sends an extremely strong message too.
3. Easy To Contact: Contact forms actually work. And having a link to that form visible at all times lets visitors know (1) you’re a real person / company and (2) they can actually get in touch with you.
4. Detailed About Page That Expresses Yourself: At the end of the day, people do business with people. That’s why having an about page that describes your background and displays your personality is best.
Team bios are a bit different. Although you don’t have the luxury of providing a detailed description of each person, sharing some skills, unique abilities and interesting tidbits makes you connect with them more.
That’s exactly what Convince and Convert did on their about page:
Don’t be afraid to show your audience who you are and various sides of your personality. The more personal information you share, the greater the connection you’ll have with them.
5. Real Image of Yourself: Bright Local’s 2014 study showed that an image of the business owner proves to be a powerful trust factor to readers:
6. Using Your Actual Name: Seems pretty obvious, right? But many site owners still publish content under the author name “admin” or “guest author” leaving visitors guessing who wrote it. Avoid doing that at all costs as it shows you have something to hide.
7. Domain Name: Whatever name you choose as your domain is not very important BUT certain domain extensions portrays a higher level of trust and credibility. And if you’re in a different country, using extensions like (.co.uk, .de, etc.) may help you rank better in that country.
8. Portraying Yourself As An Expert: Here’s the definition of the word ‘expertise’:
The more of an expert you are on a subject the more credibility your website gains.
9. Having A Good Reputation: You ever heard that saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it?”
Your reputation is so important. Building a good one can help to increase profitability, establish your brand, not to mention build and solidify your credibility with customers.
11. De-cluttered Sidebar: A site with too much going on with their sidebar eventually falls into the deadly “sidebar blindness” trap. And according to the Nielsen Group, the best way to combat that is to feature content that’s relevant and helpful.
Here’s an example of how Brian Dean did it:
Both useful things for his readers.
12. Easy Website Navigation: This has a MUCH bigger impact on website credibility than you think.
The ease and great experience you can provide readers navigating can make for an unforgettable experience. That said, Orbit Media concluded that the structure of your navigation can have a huge impact on results.
As little as this may seem, it makes a huge difference.
13. A Clear Site Purpose: If you have trouble answering what your site’s purpose is then how can your expect your audience to possibly know? Generally, if your content doesn’t clearly show what your purpose is within the first few seconds, your credibility takes a hit — and visitors will just leave.
14. Web Design Is Too Important to Ignore: Stanford researchers state:
We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.
In other words, the better the design, the more credible you actually seem. And according to this research study, it only takes 0.05 seconds for visitors to decide whether they’ll stay or leave.
Nope. But it goes to show you that content alone can’t help you to get visitors to stay on your site. Investing in design (time or money) is a must.
15. Sites Affiliated With: This one is tricky. Whether through guest posting or interviews, it’s important to be strategic with the sites or companies you’ve been featured in.
While it does work well for social proof, it HAS to be a name your readers would know and trust.
In fact, business & publicity strategist Selena Soo, displays that perfectly on her site:
16. Showing Social Proof: The biggest misconception about this is that you can share any number. But what if you don’t have a lot of subscribers? What if you don’t have a large number of followers? What if you don’t have a lot of shares on your posts?
Displaying those numbers will have a negative impact on your credibility. That’s why if you have the numbers, don’t hesitate to share it:
17. Trust Seals Increase Your Website Credibility: Ever wondered how to tell if a website is safe to buy from? This is a major credibility factor.
Trust seals automatically helps increase your conversion rate if you’re trying to get visitors to do something. However, recognition precedes presence, according to results from this logo recognition survey:
18. Customer Guarantees: One of the things that gets visitors to open up their wallets are guarantees. Offering up some type of guarantee instantly makes your site more credible.
Point Blank SEO
And the longer you offer the guarantee, the more credible you come across.
19. FAQ Pages Helps Address Trust Issues: This is something that will address any trust issues potential customers have. However, only a few will use this to gauge credibility.
20. Customer Reviews: According to a study, as of 2015, around 92% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews.
So, if you’re selling a product, the reviews that are given have huge implications on your reputation and credibility.
21. Testimonials Actually Work: And the more real they appear, the more effective they are. Here’s a breakdown of testimonials in order of effectiveness:
Name and quote
Photo, full name. and quote
Using stories from existing customers is the best way to connect with potential customers.
22. Detailed Product or Services Page: A site with vague information on the products/services they offer is a red flag. Be absolutely clear and descriptive about what you offer and you’ll boost credibility.
23. Return and Refund Policy Visible: Whether you have a small business, or an eCommerce store, you need to make sure your refund policies are clear.
In fact, according to a survey by Endicia, 89% of shoppers say they’ll revisit an online store after a positive returns experience.
24. Multiple Payment Methods: When you only offer one method of payment, the perception of you instantly changes. Though PayPal is fine, show that you accept other methods of payment as well.
25. Price Information: Because it’s such a HUGE part of any purchase decision, your audience wants to know what your product or service is going to cost them. By purposely withholding that information, you’re forcing them to (1) take up their precious time to search for a price and (2) consider abandoning your site if they can’t find that information.
That’s why displaying your prices should be a practice that’s embraced. In fact, HubSpot shared case study results that showed an increase in contacts after they shared their pricing chart:
26.Clarity Of Total Price: Showing your prices is one thing, but withholding any extra charges until the very last moment is a no-no. And doing so will lead to customers losing all trust in your site.
27. Displaying Your Portfolio: The trustworthiness of your portfolio goes a long way to determining if you’re credible. At the end of the day, talk is cheap. If you want your audience to purchase from you, share some of your previous work.
28. Upfront About Affiliate Commission: Making money is the ultimate goal, right?
And if you’re making money from affiliate sales, the fastest way to lose credibility is to cloak links so readers don’t know you’re profiting off of them.
But, here’s the thing:
If the content is good, readers couldn’t care less about your monetizing efforts. As long as you let them know that there’s a potential you could make an affiliate commission.
A little blurb like this would work wonders:
29. Overall User Experience: Google states that delivering the best possible experience for users should be the main focus of your website.
30. Broken Links Cause Serious Damage to Your Website: A site that has too many broken links takes away from your credibility.
Here are just a few problems broken links can cause:
broken-links-1 – shadeofinfo.com
31. Slow Loading Times Cripples You In the Long Run: A slow loading site raises suspicion in a readers mind. More so, according to this infographic by Kissmetrics, it seriously affects your bottom line:
32. Search Function: Another credibility signal. If your industry is more technical (medical, health, etc.) visitors will use this to perform random searches.
They want to perform their own tests to see how “current” you are on certain topics.
Bottom line? If your industry has trendy topics every so often, make sure you write about it too.
33. Functionality of the Site: You already know how bad broken links are, but if your site is down of offline, for whatever reason, it negatively impacts your credibility.
In other words, choose a hosting company that’s reliable and has minimal hosting issues.
34. Limited Number of Ads: In fact, if your income doesn’t come from ads, they shouldn’t be on your site. A site dominated by ads kills and positive experience your audience would have had.
Not only that, but it indicates to them that you don’t really care about their user experience and is selfishly all about you. Not too many things kill your website credibility faster than this.
35. Popups: Matt Cutts has stated that although Google doesn’t penalize for having pop-ups on your site, having an intrusive pop-up can destroy your credibility and increases the chances of your audience NOT visiting or referring your site.
Click “Play” to watch:
36. Auto-play Of Video Content: Having audio or video start automatically can really hurt you — especially if a reader lands on your content and isn’t expecting it.
On a Reddit thread, more than 3,000 users up-voted this thread.
Pretty telling, don’t you think?
37. Misleading Yourself As An Organization: Especially if you’re not one. Though many solopreneurs think that audiences will take them more seriously if they “appear” as an organization, it just dampens your credibility.
If you’re just one person operating your site, cut out the “we” and “us” immediately.
38. Being Authentic: Regardless of what strategies you do or however many trust factors you have, it won’t mean anything if you’re not authentic. Stats, metrics, testimonials, etc. can be easily faked and damaging to your site. But if you consistently show your audience the real you, nothing boosts credibility faster.
39. Showing Transparency: Did you know that being completely open about your business is an excellent way to gain people’s trust?
That’s exactly what Buffer did when they did a break down of where the money goes when you pay for a Buffer business account.
40. Has A Level Of Influence: Want to know why influencer marketing is huge?
Because people want to follow the advice of those with knowledge and expertise. And the more influence you have the more your credibility grows — and people listen and recommend you to others.
And according to a Neilsen study, 92% of consumers say they’re more likely to trust word-of-mouth and recommendations over other forms of advertising.
41. Using Simple Language: It’s important to use the same language your audience does. Because when you use language that’s confusing or hard to understand, it makes it more difficult for them to gain trust.
Henneke Dusitermaat used a perfect example of that in this post:
See the difference?
42. Avoiding Stock Photos: Images make your content more visually appealing. That said, having original photos in your content decreases the chances of it getting ignored.
43. Correct Spelling Still Matters: Do you struggle, at times, with “there”, “their” and “they’re” in your content? Or how about any other words?
According to a 2013 study, 42.5% of people cited “poor spelling and grammar” being one of the main reasons they leave a site.
If you want to position your brand as being a credible one, then pay close attention to this factor.
44. Formatting Will Always Play An Important Role: You can argue that the formatting of your content is one of the most important factors that determines if your content is successful — or suffers.
A few users on Quora shared similar views:
45. Writing Fresh Web Content: Google loves fresh content. Whether you’re posting daily, weekly or a few times a year, how often you update your site plays a role in your website credibility.
46. Consistent Posting: While Google does love fresh content, it favors quality over quantity. And so does your audience.
In fact, the more quality content you share, the more your audience will believe you have their best intentions in mind — thus strengthening your credibility. And according to research from Content Marketing Institute, 57% of marketers thought producing content consistently was their biggest challenge.
While it is for many people, producing quality content should be your main focus.
47. Information Currency: Updating your site with fresh content is one thing, but actually indicating that it’s been recently updated gives reassurance that information is being updated. And that gives your credibility a little boost.
48. Having A Relevant Message To Share: A site that shares information that’s key to their audience may seem more credible compared to a site that doesn’t.
49. Linking Out To Quality Sites: According to Moz, many marketers believe that linking out to other sites in their content helps them improve their ranking in Google. Not only that, but depending on your linking strategy, it can either help or hurt your online credibility.
50. Passionate About The Content They Write About: A Syracuse University study found that readers who expressed that they truly cared about the content they were sharing, were viewed as more credible and trustworthy than those just explaining it.
51. Insightful Content Plays A Role: Interestingly enough, the same study found that content that showed that the author was an expert on the topic increased the views of that website’s credibility.
So, does that mean that if you’re not an expert on a topic you can’t share insights on it? Not necessarily. You can source quotes from experts that may know more.
52. Show Data To Borrow Credibility: Ever heard of data-driven content? It’s a type of content that truly speaks for itself because you’re using data from credible sources to aide your content. And if you compile it correctly it can amplify your credibility.
53. Timely: Want to know how to really boost your website credibility and get readers loving your content? Write something that’s really timely. The more timely it is, the more it shows that you understand their pain points and creates content just for them.
This is the reaction a reader had to a Neil Patel post.
“Great! How Can I Use This Information To Boost My Website Credibility?”
I decided to create a free website credibility checklist that you can use to quickly apply the most important information from this post to your site.
The checklist contains the 10 most important website credibility factors on this list.
Here’s where you can download the free checklist: