Web credibility: The basics

by Trenton Moss on 1 January 2004

What is web credibility & why is it important?

Web credibility is about making your website in such a way that it comes across as trustworthy and knowledgeable. A credible website can reap huge benefits on to your website and your business.

Just 52.8% of web users believe online information to be credible (source: UCLA).

You must prove there's a real organisation behind your website

Anyone can put up a website promising to deliver the ‘best service at the lowest prices’. Web users must be able to believe there's a real organisation behind your website. A few things you can do are:

  • Link to external websites that reference your organisation
  • Provide staff bios
  • Make it very easy to contact you
  • Show photos of the office, staff, products etc.

Can you think of other ways you can prove your organisation's real? Have a look at a website you visit quite often - what is it about this website that you trust?

Your website needs to provide ‘sensitive’ information

A website is akin to a one-way conversation between you and your site visitors where you have 100% control over the dialogue. As such, you must ensure that you answer any questions that site visitors may have, for example:

  • What is the purpose of your organisation?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What happens if ... ?

All statements should be backed up by third-party evidence

“We helped our clients achieve an average of 70% growth last year.” Really? Well prove it! 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? If you've won any awards then make sure you proudly display these too.

There has to be proof that the organisation is growing and has clients

An organisation that can prove it has clients and is experiencing growth instantly achieves credibility. By showing you've offered your services plenty of times before, and expect to do so in the future, your organisation comes across as being firmly established within your industry. You can prove this by providing:

  • A client list
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies of your work
  • A latest news section

Your website needs to have an air of professionalism and confidence

Your website is your organisation's online representation - it's essential that it matches up in quality to the rest of your marketing materials. Even if you don't think your website's important to the success of your organization, (potential) clients will make judgments about your organisation based on your website.

Studies have proven that the most important criteria of web credibility is the way the website looks. This is perhaps due to the short amount of time we spend on websites so we rely on initial judgements. Create a great first impression by having a crisp, professional layout with sharp graphics. Other good things to do are:

  • Provide some free information to prove your expertise
  • Ensure that there are no dead links
  • Send out an automatic confirmation e-mail when someone contacts you

There are many more! Just visit any website you perceive to be professional and confident and see what they do.

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