11 Ways to Make Your Small Business Site More Trustworthy

There are a lot of scams online. This makes people cautious. If they are going to buy from you, or give you their contact info, they need to overcome this caution.

So you want to generate as much trust as possible.

11 Ways to Generate Trust

  1. A Decent Base – Anyone, even a scammer, can easily have a nice website. But if your site looks like it was created 10 years ago, who’s to expect you put any more care into the way you do business? The site should look nice, with intelligent-sounding, error free text. Get your own domain name, preferably yourcompany.com, and use that domain for your email addresses as well.
  2. Customer Testimonials – People love to hear that others had a good experience with your company. Be sure to place testimonials in areas that people will see (not hidden away on a separate page).
  3. Off-Site Reviews – Although testimonials on your site are great, people may place more trust in reviews from places such as Yelp or Google. You can link to these, or bring them onto your site (Expand2Web has an interesting WordPress plugin for this). You may need to go out and encourage online reviews first. If you got a great review on a magazine or newspaper site, highlight that!
  4. The Real You – People realize you run a small business – don’t hide the fact behind generic stock photos. Display pictures of your office, trucks, employees, even yourself. Let visitors see the real business, and they’ll know there is a real presence behind the website.
  5. Blog/News – Very similar to the above point, you want to let people get a better feel for your company. A blog or news area can show some of your company’s personality, and let people see what’s going on behind the scenes. You need to update it at least monthly or the site starts to look abandoned.
  6. About Us – The “about us” page is expected, and will be visited by a surprising number of people at your website. Make sure it exists and provides some real information (and again, those pictures!) about your company.
  7. Social Proof – If you have fans on Twitter or Facebook, proudly show them off! You can easily include social proof with buttons and widgets.
  8. SSL – If people are buying on your site, this is necessary. It’s what allows for the little lock symbol on most web browsers – talk to your web designer about it.
  9. Trusted Symbols – The BBB, a local chamber of commerce, even credit card logos are all familiar symbols that people will recognize, and some of that familiarity rubs off on your site. Those that speak to your authority or trust (associations, certifications, etc.) are especially valuable.
  10. Contact Information – Make it easy to get in touch. For any local business, the phone number and address should be displayed somewhere on every page – this can help your local search rankings as well.
  11. Be Responsive – Finally, once someone has trusted your website enough to get in touch with your business – don’t blow it! People expect to hear back from you soon, so have a strategy for quickly noticing and responding to email/online inquiries.

Many of these suggestions are easy changes to make, so take a look at your website, try a few of them, and hopefully you’ll be converting more visitors just like that.

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5 Responses to “11 Ways to Make Your Small Business Site More Trustworthy”

  1. Allen Kelly June 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Great write-up Chris.

    Regarding #9 – Trusted Symbols and familiarity…

    The VeriSign seal is seen up to 650 million times a day and SMBs can try out the VeriSign Trust Seal on their web site FREE for 60 days.

    http://bit.ly/TrustTrial

    • Chris June 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      Glad you liked the article. The Verisign seal is certainly something companies can try, although I think most local companies would best start with the BBB or local organizations.

  2. Dan June 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    These are great points thanks. You’ve inspired me to do something better with pir testimonials. Numbers of clients can be a good one too. I like http://xero.com as a good example of ‘proving’ their USP. They have numbers of clients, numbers of countries, screenshots of their software and real testimonials (with pictures) that reinforce it.

    • Chris June 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Thanks for the comment and addition to my list – Xero does do a good job showing how happy their customers are.

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