Critical Factors In Gaining Online Credibility
"There are about 35 million websites on the Internet - by 2014 there'll be an estimated 150 million, not including personal websites. With so many people online and so many websites competing with yours, if you can't persuade Internet users to be loyal to your website then someone else will. According to BJ Fogg, the world's leading researcher on web credibility, web credibility is about making your website in such a way that it comes across as trustworthy and knowledgeable. His book is so good that even Jakob Nielsen himself dedicated a whole Alertbox issue to it." So what are the most immediately useful actions one can take to improve the credibility of anyone site?
- Make it very easy to contact you
- Link to external websites that reference your organisation
- Provide staff bios
- Show photos of the office, staff, products etc.
- Ensure that you answer any questions your site visitors may have, for example:
- What is the purpose of your organisation?
- How much does your product cost?
- What happens if I'm not happy with your service
- What will you do with my email address once I give it to you?"
All of these are important factors in making your online credibility stand above average. But there are two things, that if done correctly are able to completely transform the number and quality of visitors that you will attract:1) All statements should be backed up by third-party evidence
: Every single point you make on your website must, without fail, be backed up with hard evidence - preferably from a third-party website. How else can a reader know for sure that you're telling the truth?
2) Have a professional, consistent, highly legible "look and feel".
- Use testimonials discretely but extensively.
- Publish case studies of your work.
- Add a latest news section.
- Consider a jobs page.
- Offer a free quality newsletter.
"Studies have consistently proven that the most important criteria of Web credibility is... the way the website looks
. That's it. It's been suggested that this is due to the short amount of time we spend on websites so we tend to rely on initial judgements." Invest therefore not in "looks" or in trying to make your web site look nice, but rather in listening and opening up to the advice and techniques used by those communication experts called Information Designers