7 ways to build trust on your website
The online world can feel like the wild west. We’ve all heard horror stories of people who got scammed or paid someone who ghosted them mid-project. No wonder it takes so much time to build trust on the internet.
But when you’re an entrepreneur working closely with clients, trust is an essential part of doing business. You’ll struggle to grow without it.
Let me explain why: have you heard of the Know-Like-Trust factor in business? It means that to purchase your services, people need to:
- Know about you
- Like you
- Trust you
The last step is vital and your website contributes hugely to it.
When people visit your website, they are looking for safety, and signals your business is reliable. Are you sending the right signals?
If you want to find out how to build trust with prospects via your website, then keep on reading.
1 // Show your face
I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who feel uneasy including photos of themselves on their website. And I totally get that. I’m a private person and I don’t like seeing my face plastered all over. But people need to know there’s a human being on the other side of the screen, otherwise they will never enquire.
You might be hesitant because you don’t have professional photography and can’t afford it yet. So I suggest you ask a friend or family member to take a few pictures in good lighting with your smartphone (avoid the dreaded holidays photos, unless you're a travel blogger!). Remember that any photo is better than no photo at all.
That said, I don’t advocate plastering your website with photos of yourself if you don’t want to. One on your homepage and your About page is a good start.
Remember people look for connection and authenticity. In order to feel safe, they need to know who’s behind the business. If you don’t show your face, you are doing yourself a disservice and missing out on client enquiries.
And I’ll be honest with you: the 6 other tips from this blog posts are pointless if you don’t follow this one.
2 // Avoid using jargon
Are you guilty of using jargon on your website? When you’re an expert in your industry, it's easy to make this mistake. I often see 2 types of jargon:
- Insider lingo specific to your industry. For example, if you’re a digital marketing consultant words like ‘KPI’, ‘A/B testing’, and ‘lead nurturing’ are technical jargon.
- Generic business jargon that is so overused it has lost its meaning, such as ‘customer-centric’, ‘results-driven’ or ‘cutting-edge’
A lot of people believe business jargon makes them look more professional, but the truth is no one speaks like that in real life. It makes it harder for people to understand what you do. And confusion leads to mistrust.
Instead, imagine you’re sitting with a friend in a coffee shop and you’re telling them about your work. What words would you use? Write like that.
Let me give you an example. Instead of writing: 'We're a customer-centric business', you can write 'We're a business that puts customers first'.
It’s simple: people are most likely to trust you and do business with you if come across as a human being rather than a corporate drone.
3 // Deliver a seamless website experience
When your website is intuitive and easy-to-navigate, it gives prospects a taste of what working with you is like.
Think of it like this: you’re in a new city and looking for a hotel to spend the night. You’re tired, it’s warm, and you’ve been exploring all day.
You walk into the first hotel and as you enter the lobby, you notice the door is broken. Then you wait 20 minutes for reception staff to greet you. There’s nowhere to sit down and the air conditioning is busted. When you manage to speak with reception, they’re pushing you to buy the most expensive room. Would you trust this hotel to provide you with a comfortable stay?
On the other hand, the second hotel you visit has a secure door, the reception staff greets you immediately, their air conditioning wafts a gentle cool breeze, the sofas are clean and comfortable and there’s even a water cooler and table of snacks. Wouldn’t you feel more confident and trust this hotel to provide you with the best experience?
The same thing happens with your website. When it takes ages to load and you’re missing your SSL certificate which makes your site feels unsafe, your visitor is off to a bad start. Then it’s brimming with technical glitches and broken links. Then you assault visitors with pop-ups and ad banners. You've annoyed them. By neglecting your website experience you might lose prospects before they even think about enquiring with you.
4 // Provide useful resources
Another way to build trust and credibility is to share your knowledge. Starting a blog is a great way to provide free resources, such as guides and how-tos. And being generous with your expertise makes you come across as confident.
Let me give you an example. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was looking for health insurance and had no idea where to start. I knew nothing about the health system and didn’t know what I needed to look for. By chance, I came across an insurance broker with heaps of resources on their website - from how to navigate HK’s public health system, how much dentists cost to articles explaining insurance lingo.
The information on their website helped so much. Did they have to provide all of this information for free? Not at all. But what happened is that I went back to their website times and times again to find information. They became my 'go-to' resource whenever I needed information about the health system in HK. And when it was time to get insurance, who do you think I went to? I contacted them of course because I had no doubt they were experts and I trusted them to recommend the best solution for me.
5 // Include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs are one of the most underrated ways to build trust. Yet, I'm often surprised to see many websites don't include them. Not only are they incredibly simple to put together (you only need to think about the most common questions people ask), they're also great at removing any possible knowledge and trust barrier people have before working with you. It also means the people who enquire with you have already read your FAQs and come to consultation calls fully informed and more likely to commit.
Not only that, but I find that being upfront and transparent enough to answer questions you know are uncomfortable on your website is an amazing way to build trust.
6 // Share testimonials
Another effective way to build trust on your website is to add social proof to your website.
Client testimonials are a must-have. They help you sell your services because they do the convincing for you and they help potential clients understand the value of your services.
One of my favourite ways to utilise testimonials to their full potential is to sprinkle them through your website, instead of creating one single page that groups them all.
Bonus: another way to include social proof on your website is through press and recognition. Have you been featured in reputable and credible publications? Have you won any awards? Adding those ‘trust seals’ can add that extra boost of credibility to your business, although I wouldn’t count solely on them. I consider them more icing on the cake than the cake itself.
7 // Design a professional website
Last but not least, your website needs to look the part so you come across as the professional that you are. Did you know that judgments on a business’ credibility are 75% based on its website design?
What constitutes ‘professional’ design is subjective of course, but there are a number of visual clues people associate with competence and credibility:
- Clear layout and easy-to-navigate
- Readable and harmonious typography
- Consistent visual identity
- High-quality imagery
It's not just visuals though. I suggest you also proofread your website content to ensure there are no typos.
In a nutshell, your website must visually reflect the quality of your services.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Trust takes time to build but is essential if you want to grow your business online. By sending the right signals with your website, you can build that trust factor you need in order for people to hire your services.
So go on. Show your face. Be confident and generous with your knowledge. Let happy customers do the talking for you. And of course, make sure you deliver a stellar web experience that portrays you as the credible and reliable professional that you are.
Now tell me: what are the ways that you build trust with people on your website?
Ready to build trust with your ideal client?
If you're struggling to build the trust factor on your website that's so crucial to get more leads through the door, then then I'd love for you to join me on a free Assessment call: 3 easy ways to improve your website.
During this free 30-minute call we’ll:
- Review your existing website and identify what’s working and areas for improvement so you can understand where your website is holding you back
- Talk about the main mistakes people make on their website and the 3 easy ways you can improve yours to obtain more engagement and conversions
- Leave the call with 3 personalised action items you can implement immediately so you can increase your conversions, feel more confident and ultimately grow your business
Author: Chloé Meresse
I’m Chloé, the designer and web strategist behind Milk Tea Web, a creative studio specialising in strategic branding and website design.
With nearly a decade of communications experience in my back pocket, I help purpose-driven businesses create strategic brands and websites that clearly communicate their mission and everything they stand for.