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Ten Tips To Building A More Credible Website, And Making More Conversions In The Process

Apr 10, 2008
Marketing your products or services online is like applying for a job. You've got to have all cannons firing. You've got to grab people right up front and never let them go. You've got to say and do all the right things to show you are far and away the best choice, and that by not selecting your company your prospect will be missing out somehow. One of the strongest ways you can do all this is by establishing your credibility.

The Stanford University Web Credibility Project performed extensive research and discovered 10 guidelines for building the credibility of a website. Before reading these, think for a moment of your own experiences. Have you ever been searching online and been to a website rife with the following mistakes?

1) A broken link (its job should be to provide more information or supporting detail, but the link didn't work)

2) Unsubstantiated claims of impressive results

3) Anonymous testimonials: "The best book ever!" Tom Tuttle, CA

4) Misspelled words, poor use of grammar

5) No company info or physical location (info@mysitedotcom does not go far in building credibility)

All of these mistakes eroded your confidence in these sites and caused you to question the company's credibility. Don't let the same thing happen to you!

Our web design and marketing teams find these mistakes daily, on most websites we are asked to work on. Often there is no telephone number listed, no email address or physical location, just a contact form to fill out and wait for a reply. Some have hyperlinks that don't link, portfolio links that don't work, and missing pages.

So, besides avoiding these mistakes, how can you build credibility into your website? After a 3-year study involving 4500 people, Stanford researchers compiled a list of the top 10 factors that build website credibility. You can find the complete list by searching for "Web Credibility Project" in Google.

Here is a summary of their advice:

1. Make it easy for your visitors to verify the accuracy of the information on your site (links to websites, testimonials, before/after photos).

2. Do all you can to demonstrate that there's a real organization behind your site (list your address, bios, photos, etc.)

3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide (college degrees, endorsements, awards)

4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site (bios, photos, hobbies)

5. Make it easy to contact you (contact forms, phone numbers, email addresses, brick and mortar addresses)

6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose)

7. Make your site easily navigable (not flash heavy, not overly-technical)

8. Update your site's content often (at least show it's been reviewed recently)

9. Use restraint when posting any promotional content (like google ads, banner ads, pop ups, offers).

10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem (spelling errors, typos, spacing errors)

Visit the Stanford University website for more. They have plenty of backup documentation to support their finds.
About the Author
Richard Cagney heads the SEO/SEM division of the affordable custom website design firm All Access Unlimited (http://www.allaccessunlimited.com), in Stamford, Connecticut. AAU provides high conversion marketing to companies aiming to expand and grow in the American and world markets.
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