Have you ever wondered whether you have a trustworthy website (a.k.a. one that inspires trust in people so they’ll more easily buy from you)?
Imagine getting an inquiry from someone who found you via Google, a Facebook group, or a comment you left on somebody’s blog. You get on Skype with her, have a blast geeking out over their project, and then she hires you — for your highest-priced service. B-O-O-M.
Happily, all three scenarios have happened to me. And I can assure you that having a trustworthy website is a huge part of what led them to land here and think, “Wow! Great stuff Nat has here… seems like someone I wanna hire. I’m gonna book a call with this goofy caped superhero who makes bad puns!”
By the time they got on Skype with me, they were already mostly sold on wanting to work together, and before hanging up, all proclaimed they were done looking for their Digital Strategist — they wanted me.
This is the dream: somebody randomly finds you (with little or no effort on your part), falls in big like with your shiz, and almost immediately hires you. Bonus? They want your highest-priced service straight-up — because not only are they ready to level up, but they also trust you and believe in your skills and the value you’ll bring to their business, from the start.
If this hasn’t already happened to you, it certainly can! And a trustworthy website will go a tremendously long way to making this happen for you (most of it, really).
Do this to have a more trustworthy website and inspire prospects to trust and hire you faster
You know what’s gonna make people think you’re a phony/skeezy/sleazy and click away to the nearest cat GIF? If they sense that you’re only looking out for yourself, a.k.a. putting your interests ahead of their user experience (UX).
This largely just means: be generally honest and upfront. A lot of us these days are savvy enough to pick up on bullshit.
- Don’t try to create false scarcity (if you’re selling a digital product, everyone and their grandma knows you ain’t gonna run out, ok?)
- Don’t have your opt-in pop up immediately and ask your visitor for an email before you’ve offered any value to them (in 2016, we all hate pop-ups, so if you’re gonna use ’em, you gotta stay classy)
- Make your contact information easy to find (vital!)
- Generally be as honest and transparent as you can
More ideas to be straightforward on your sales and product pages:
- Got a return or refund policy? Spell it out.
- Don’t be misleading with pricing — note shipping fees or other extra costs upfront
- If your sale was ending today, don’t extend it another day (all right, I’ve done this out of excitement, but turns out it may have been a bad call on my part — learn from my mistake!)
- Selling physical products? Use your confirmation email as an opportunity to communicate estimated delivery dates. Your buyers will appreciate it.
- Don’t lie and say you have 2 left of an item or service and then let a buyer purchase 3
The more you can make your prospects feel like you’re putting all your cards on the table from the beginning, the less apprehensive they’ll feel handing over their money for your genius offerings.
Remember: you don’t want to appeal to everyone anyway, only to the right people. So don’t try to be perfect — be honest instead. This way, the wrong people for you (the PITA clients, the people who always find fault with things, the ones who always end up asking for a refund, and just the peeps who need something else) will walk away early on, and that way everybody wins.
You may have a solid reputation already, but people who are landing on your site for the first time aren’t gonna know that yet. So what can you do to communicate it straight-up via a trustworthy website?
Ways to boost your rep online:
- Testimonials – use photos, full names, and business name when possible, even provide the URL to their websites if you wish
- “As seen in” logos showing who’s already trusted you enough to feature you
- Got a zillion followers on particular social media channel? Stay it!
- Got a ton of subscribers? Tell us how many right on your opt-in form!
- Worked with hundreds or thousands of customers? Give us the digits!
- Media mentions? Flaunt ’em!
- Been around since the days of ? Let us know how many years of experience you bring!
- Won awards? Show ’em off!
- Got relevant academic experience? Tell us about it!
- Have dope reviews on Yelp or other sites? Point that out
- Do you have an SSL certificate on your site to securely gather credit card information? Show the SSL certificate symbol!
- Got case studies to share? Bring ‘em on!
- Eliminate ads — there are better ways to monetize your blog
By the way, got a negative comment on your blog (that’s not from a troll)? APPROVE that sucker and give a rebuttal! You’ll earn your readers’ respect if you show you’ve got the ovaries of steel necessary to not only approve a negative comment, but also the wherewithal to respond and stand up for yourself (of course, if you messed up, admit to it and do what you can to remedy the situation …and ideally turn unhappy customers into happy ones). Besides, it’d be unrealistic if you only ever got positive reviews and comments (nobody does!) so showing this side lends credibility, like you’ve got nothing to hide (remember #1 Transparency?).
3. Social proof – on your website and beyond
What’s the first thing you do when you’re first checking out someone to hire for your business, or even a vet for your furry bff? If you’re anything like me, you go straight to their Facebook page (or Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, etc.) to continue sniffing ’em out.
Your social media presence matters, and even if you don’t care about it, your prospective clients and customers do — it’s another form of social proof (think of likes and shares). So pick maybe 2-3 social media channels that your prospects are on and focus your energy there.
Further, what you post and how often matters too. Consistency breeds trust and thereby helps put potential buyers at ease. So post regularly and be sure to engage with your audience: respond to comments, tweets, and messages, even initiate conversations yourself.
Psst… this goes for blogging and newsletters too! The more regular and consistent you are, the more trustworthy your website (and by extension you and your business) will appear. Think about it: how weird is it when you hit up a website and their latest blog post is from 8 months ago? Can make you wonder if they’re still around and how reliable they are.
Taking it even further, if you’ve been featured on other websites — via guest posts, podcast interviews, webinars — be sure to link to them via your About page, a Press page, Media kit, blog posts, and/or other ways (I link to mine at the bottom of my About page). “As seen in” logos count too, each one possibly linking to where you were featured. This is powerful because it shows your community that others trust you enough to vouch for you by hosting you on their own platform.
4. Strong, good design
Listen, if you’ve nailed the above points but your website still looks amateurish, it won’t inspire trust in your peeps. It’s as simple as that. First impressions matter, and design = perceived value.
Strong, good design clearly communicates confidence and trustworthiness to your prospective clients (and subscribers too, of course). It communicates that you know what you’re doing, that you’re legit, that you walk the talk. Design familiarity matters too (read this post on how to use your website to build trust and sell more for more on that).
It’s like showing up to a business meeting with a firm handshake, classy outfit, well-done makeup, and steady voice… as opposed to in a tank top, backwards cap covering up a greasy ponytail, spinach in your teeth, and a wavering voice that tells people, “Eh, she doesn’t really seem to know what she’s doing. And on top of that she wants to charge me WHAT? I’m gonna go with so-and-so instead.”
And by “design” I’m not just talking visual branding and identity here (look and feel, colors, typography) — although these are vital because they have a psychological effect and you wanna ensure they help you attract the right people and repel the wrong ones.
Think about the user experience (UX) of your website:
- Is your content organized in a logical, intuitive way?
- Are you using your audience’s language?
- Can your peeps find what they’re looking for easily?
- Are you walking your visitors through your website with clearly labeled calls-to-action (CTAs) that eventually lead them to sign up or buy?
- Is your website loading at a decent speed, or so slowly that people get frustrated and click away?
- Are your links broken and making you look like an amateur?
Strategy is everything! To be perceived as professional and trustworthy (read: worth hiring/buying from), you’ve gotta look the part.
Even if you’re at the DIY stage (hey, that’s cool, most of us start there!) there’s still hope. Check out these resources:
- If you’re not sure you’re giving your people a great experience, check out my free 5-day “Superclean your website” Challenge and I’ll explain step-by-step what you can do in just a few minutes a day to make your visitors happy, so they’ll stick around longer and be more likely to buy from you.
- How to create a superhero mood board for your website to have a cohesive foundation for your visual brand
- How to make your website look professional from the get-go
- 6 web design rules for a website that converts
- 13 things to remove from your website right now