has should have an overarching goal to convert — usually to get people to sign up to a mailing list or buy from you. And for that to happen, people need to trust you. And yes, there is a teachable science to this!
There are countless ways to use your website to build trust and sell more, ranging from design and copy to conversion rate optimization principles. Of course, the very best way is to test, test, test. But if you don’t yet have enough traffic to run valid tests, or don’t plan on testing for other reasons (such as a lack of resources), here are four overarching principles to get you started and going on the right track.
This overview focuses on the easier, more straightforward ways to use your website to build trust and sell more that you can do yourself (DIY, son!) and relatively quickly.
Here are 4 ways to use your website to build trust and sell more
1. Follow design familiarity
Best practices in web design are best for a reason. There’s a ton of psychology behind design and it goes so far as to play into whether people buy or not. Use best practices in your favor by sticking to them.
Design familiarity — like placing the navigation at the top or to the left, buttons that look like buttons, that sorta thing — goes a long subconscious way to develop trust, avoid visual overwhelm, and thus help your users feel comfortable, which in turn lowers the barriers between where they are when they arrive at your website and the point of purchase.
Why? Because then your site will look familiar and easy to use, which is the ultimate goal (don’t blame me, this is according to a study by Google).
For example, make your contact info easy to find in the navigation (you can even stick it in the footer, especially if you have a brick & mortar business).
I know you wanna stand out — as well you should — but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Think of it like this: there’s a continuum between what everyone does (ripping off someone else) and art (experimental design) at the other end. In the middle there’s mainstream.
Taking a little bit of risk keeps you ahead of your competitors, so the sweet spot is to take risks in small ways. Remember that your design isn’t for you — it’s for your audience — so they need to come first.
ASK YOURSELF: HOW CAN YOU TAKE RISKS IN SMALL WAYS WITH YOUR DESIGN TO STAND OUT, WHILE KEEPING THINGS FAMILIAR?
2. Employ clean, uncluttered, attractive design
People determine the trustworthiness of a website and whether they wanna stay or leave in about 50 milliseconds, a.k.a. less than a blink of an eye (I KNOW!). The lesson? Looking good (just like in real life!) matters.
It doesn’t matter whether this sounds like bullshit to you, it is how our brains work — they’re constantly scanning the environment for cues, and looking good helps people trust you. That goes for both you as a person and your website. So invest in professional design as early on in your business as you can, and always stick to best practices (especially if you’re DIYing, as if you’re hiring out your website, the idea is your web designer will be following best practices already).
Again, our goal is for your design to be familiar and easy to use, and we’re elaborating here by adding that to achieve this, it should be clean, uncluttered, and visually appealing.
ASK YOURSELF: WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CLEAN UP & UNCLUTTER YOUR DESIGN, HELPING YOUR BRAND LOOK MORE ATTRACTIVE & PROFESSIONAL?
3. Connect with clear, poignant copy
Know & speak directly to your people. Touch on their desires — what do they want, overwhelmingly? Channel those already existing desires in your copy.
Grab their attention quickly by clearing the clutter (I’m talkin’ both insofar as design and copy here) and get to the point right away, expressing why on Xena’s green Earth your potential buyers should give a rat’s butt and, furthermore, pay you for anything. Let your bold, freaky flag fly here and it’ll help you hook people in because you’ll stand out.
So keep the design familiar… but blow them away with words that show your personality and edge. Check out this post for awesome copy advice from a panel of copywriters.
Be concrete and specific, and it’ll do wonders for your credibility and sales. What hell will you save people from with your wondrous creation(s)? Describe it! Pssst… on sales pages, before and after scenarios are excellent to show people the stark difference you’ll make to their lives.
ASK YOURSELF: WHAT WORDS CAN YOU CHANGE TO BE MORE DESCRIPTIVE AND POIGNANT IN YOUR COPY?
4. Show credibility
Social Proof – People care what other people are doing, and we are all more likely to buy something we see our peers buying and enjoying. Testimonials are gold for building trust and selling your products and services. Make sure they’re good, though: they should focus on the results people got (whether they tell stories or are data-driven), not on how nice you are to work with (as lovely as you may be, and as awesome as that is, such a thing is usually not enough to get people to bring out their credit cards!). Include head shots and full names when possible; URLs are cool but don’t make them clickable.
Case studies – Got numbers to show? Comparisons to your competitors? Get it, superhero!
Authority – Logos are dope for this, as the support of companies works very nicely to convey authority. Feel free to show where you’ve been published or who you’ve worked with using their logo (plus testimonial, where relevant and possible).
Kill your ads – Got ads? Get rid of ‘em. If you’re trying to monetize your blog that way, you’re doing it wrong.
ASK YOURSELF: WHAT CAN YOU TWEAK TO APPEAR MORE CREDIBLE ON YOUR WEBSITE?