A credible and trustworthy website can be central to an organisation’s reputation and communication strategy. This is especially true if sales are involved. Businesses in which web design focuses on credibility are usually at an advantage over the competition. Website credibility can be achieved with some consideration, thought and planning…

The world’s leading expert on website credibility is American behavioural scientist (and author), BJ Fogg. According to Fogg, there are four different types of credibility: reputed, presumed, earned and surface.

Presumed credibility is based upon an assumption. The key is that we view a brand we have heard of as more credible than one we haven’t.

Reputed credibility is the impression we get from third-parties who tell us that a product/service is good or poor.

Surface credibility is what we think of something based upon a first glance. For example, when we first visit a website and scan the page, it may seem confusing/cluttered or alternatively could appear attractive and of good quality.

Earned credibility is the opinion that you form through your own positive personal experience of the service/product.

The following are ways to boost your website credibility:

  • Don’t skimp on web design. People judge your website by its appearance and design. Websites that are aesthetically pleasing seem more professional and subsequently more trustworthy than those that look amateurish.
  • Make your contact details visible at all times. They should definitely be in the footer but also in the header, on the sidebar, and in the microcopy. The “contact” link should be in your navigation menu – ideally as the very last link.
  • Keep the language simple. People trust what they understand. Write in the same way that you talk and try and use the language and vocabulary that your customers do.
  • Link to any websites (especially reputable ones) that make reference to your organisation. If an external company has written something positive about you, link to that on their website and make it visible.
  • Display any well-known clients and brag about them! This is what’s known as social proof. If you have vast numbers of satisfied customers, make sure you shout about it.
  • Show photos of your office. It may seem silly but it is proof that you are real, and that adds credibility.
  • Make your returns and refund policies visible. People want to know in advance what happens if they’re not happy with a product/service.
  • Display customer reviews on your site. People still trust what other customers say.
  • Have a jobs/current vacancies page. This is proof that you are a genuine company – you wouldn’t be hiring otherwise!
  • Keep your website fast. If a website is slow to load, people will be dubious and might even leave before they get a chance to look around properly. This could cost you valuable sales.
  • Achieve and maintain a high Google ranking. The higher you rank in Google, the more likely people are to click on your site and also to see you as legitimate. So invest in strategies that boost your ranking.

These are all worth bearing in mind when using our Website Builder tool to create your own website. But, don’t overdo it – bear in mind that overcrowding your site with too many credibility elements can actually have a cumulative negative effect.