7 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Website

Go directly to the Website Trust infographic!There are millions of reputable businesses on the internet. Unfortunately, there are also a significant number of scam sites, designed for nothing more than price gouging or even stealing. Potential customers have to play detective before they spend any money online. Is your website helping these visitors make the right decision about your company?

If your website is giving out all the wrong signals, it could be harming your business. Users could be visiting your site, and then heading for a competitor’s site because they just aren’t sure about your company.

What Makes a Website Trustworthy?

Any new website will usually be treated with suspicion, because the business has no trading history or reviews. Studies have shown that up to three-quarters of people trust websites more when they see reviews. If you want to enhance trust, this is a no-brainer.

On a scam website, the content will likely be thrown together. Certain information may be missing, like a credible “About Us” page. If your articles are riddled with spelling and grammar errors, visitors will understandably assume that you business isn’t professional.

In addition to quality content, visitors also look for signs that an online business is active. Most legitimate businesses try to keep their website current to reflect their latest deals, and to make sure that they generate fresh content. Trustworthy business and ecommerce websites are constantly being tweaked, and most make an effort to ensure they don’t just look good on desktop computers, but on modern devices like tablets and phones.

If a site has an old-fashioned design, it’s a sure sign that it hasn’t been updated for a long time. And if someone checks your blog, they will be nervous if your last update was posted several years ago. It could be a sign that the business has been abandoned.

Providing Proof

Legitimate businesses are open about who they are. Scammers usually work hard to cover their tracks and hide their identities. They often hide their domain registration details so that they can’t be located. A legitimate business should do everything it can to be available to potential customers: publish its social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and so on), highlight its contact information and location, and be responsive to inquiries. If it doesn’t, it could be seriously harming its business.

Earning a visitor’s trust starts long before they ever become a customer. And many reputable companies harm themselves with their websites. Is that the case with your website? Learn about the 7 reasons people don’t trust your website — and what you can do to fix it.

7 Reasons People Don't Trust Your Website

7 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Website

Users don’t engage with websites they don’t trust, which is why engendering confidence among your visitors is important. Yet there are plenty of ways websites sabotage themselves when it comes to garnering trust. Here are some of the most common mistakes websites make and how to fix them.

Signs of Untrustworthy Websites

Every user has his or her own standards for what constitutes a “trustworthy” site. However, there are some things that most people agree cause them not to engage a website:

  • Little information about who is behind the site (#1)
    • Websites with an absent or skimpy “About Us” page feel impersonal, and thus, less trustworthy
    • No contact information
      • Makes users think the website is hiding something
        • Scam artists will sometimes create fake or misleading websites to get personal information
      • A study from Southampton University found that this is one of the most important reasons people choose one website over another
  • Private Domain Name Registration (#2)
    • Many websites have their domain name information hidden from public view
    • This makes the website look suspicious
      • Reputable businesses are open about who they are and how to get in touch
  • Poor privacy policy (#3)
    • Websites that do not clearly discuss what they do with user information will drive away the security-conscious
      • The National Fraud Information Center performed a survey and determined that:
        • 25% of people didn’t purchase anything online in the last year for fear their information would be stolen
        • People are more concerned with online security than:
          • Health care
          • Crime
          • Taxes
  • Substandard content (#4-7)
    • Unprofessional website design (#4)
      • According to researchers at Stanford University, readers will often make a decision on a website’s trustworthiness based on visual appearance alone
      • A website that looks like it was created in the 90s may not seem trustworthy
        • Signs of poor design include:
          • Spinning, blinking or scrolling text
          • Low-quality images
          • Flashing letters
          • Tiny fonts
          • Unclear navigation
          • Garish colors
    • Infrequently Updated Content (#5)
      • Issues like broken links and “Recent” articles written several years ago signal that a website:
        • Is unprofessional
        • Has been abandoned
          • Visitors may wonder if the site is still in business
    • Too many ads (#6)
      • Readers are unlikely to trust websites where ads:
        • Constantly pop up
        • Crowd out the text on the page
  • Long load times (#7)
    • Websites that load slowly feel less professional
    • Users may think the people behind the website don’t know what they’re doing

Ways to Increase Trust

  • Humanize the site
    • Users don’t connect with websites, they connect with the people behind those websites
    • A humanized website should:
      • Have a robust “About Us” section
        • Tell the story of your business or group in this section
        • Feature pictures and video of people, either other users or employees
      • Offer detailed contact information
        • Generally, you should have a “Contact Us” page
        • Also: provide the basic contact information at the bottom of each page
          • Address
          • Phone number
          • Email
      • Use dates, bylines, and author pages
  • Don’t hide who owns your domain
    • Normally, domain registration information is public
      • Registrars offer products like WhoisGuard which hide the website owner’s contact information
        • Doing this detracts from user confidence
    • Use your business’ public contact information
  • Be conscientious about visitor privacy
    • Users care about their private information, so be transparent about what theirs will be used for
      • A good policy is to collect customer information only as it relates to your services
      • Sharing customer information with third parties may violate consumer trust in your business
      • Users care about what you do with their information
        • Use it wisely, or risk losing their trust
    • Have a prominent privacy policy
      • Don’t make it overly complicated
      • Most users just like knowing that you have one
  • Provide great content
    • Professional website design
      • A website that looks professional will go a long way to earning customers’ trust
      • In particular:
        • Keep your website uncluttered
        • Break up pages of text with pictures and pull quotes to keep things engaging
        • Make navigation easy
          • 40% of users don’t return to sites where they had a negative first experience
        • Use colors well
          • Employ bright colors sparingly
            • Red or orange for CTA (Call to Action) buttons
            • Blue for links
    • Edit properly
      • Take the time to go through and proofread the copy on each page
      • A website that’s full of typos and poor grammar will come off as spammy and untrustworthy
  • Shorten load time
    • Optimize images
      • Reduce sizes
      • Set up caching so static images are only downloaded once
    • Reduce page overhead like unnecessary
      • JavaScript
      • CSS
      • Plugins
    • Get a faster hosting package
    • WordPress users can install
      • The “Google Analytics by Yoast” plugin to see what’s causing their pages to download slowly
      • Plugins like “WP Super Cache” create page caches so that the browsers don’t have to create the page every time they view it
  • Take advantage of social media
    • “Social Proof” is data that shows a site has lots of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and so on
    • Facebook and Twitter are growing quickly as places for people to recommend businesses to others
      • People tend to trust what other people use/read/buy
  • Ask for (and publish) testimonials
    • Videos or written testimonials from people who have used a service, purchased a product, or gotten valuable information from a website increase the trustworthiness of a site in the eyes of other people
    • Be sure to include the person’s name and photo with their review to show that it’s legitimate
    • Use customer reviews
      • 85% of customers read online reviews of local businesses
      • Users are reading fewer reviews before they make a purchase than they have in previous years
        • 67% read 6 or fewer
      • 73% said that reading positive customer reviews made them trust companies more
      • 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
      • 51% of Americans trust user-generated content (UGC) more than anything else on a website

Whether you are running a large business or a personal blog, trust is a critical factor in your success. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 year to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Developing trust and keeping it is worth the time and effort you put into it.

Sources: inc.com, branded3.com, nbcnews.com, mobsyte.com, pixsym.com, websitetooltester.com, shortiedesigns.com, chromaticsites.com, socialmouths.com, baymard.com, blog.kissmetrics.com, searchengineland.com, elon.edu, blog.klout.com, brainyquote.com

Sources

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