Web Design Trust - Jan 2008

Web design Sunshine Coast

In January 2005 we published a newsletter on "How To Get Your Customers To Trust Your Website by using professional web design". 3 years on and still growing our web design Sunshine Coast business; allow us to provide an update.

Yes, the internet and web design have moved on and no, one size does not fit all! We belong to Business Network International where "givers gain" and we focus on trust, integrity & relationships. I see web design as being all of these.

How many chances to you get to make to make a positive first impression? Building trust for your online visitors cannot be achieved by just a single action. Trust is achieved by many little actions you do throughout your website and when these are taken together, give users a sense of stability, honesty and legitimacy for your business and services you provide.

If you do it well, it can become a real and sustainable competitive advantage for your business especially in a small market place like the Sunshine Coast.

Here are some simple points to consider.

1. Your website design is the first impression. Make sure it is , functional, professional and relevant to the subject matter. More on web design function.

2. Navigation must be an intuitive part of your web design. If visitors can't find what they are looking for easily, they will question your competence in providing what they want.

3. Make the website personal by giving it its own tone and voice. People buy people.

4. Follow the HEART rule of creating online content. (Reminder: HEART stands for Honest, Exclusive, Accurate, Relevant and Timely.)

5. Use language that is appropriate to the audience. It will build empathy.

6. Regularly add new content to your site. It shows that the business is alive and kicking. We have delivered online newsletters since 2003 to our Sunshine Coast audience through a web design that is able to be expanded upon easily More on our web design checklist.

7. Review all links. Doubts will quickly form in your visitors' minds if links don't work or, worse still, take them to error pages.

8. Good grammar and spelling matter. Errors give the impression of sloppiness and carelessness.

9. Don't make outrageous and unbelievable claims, like "Read this blog and you'll be a millionaire by the end of the week." People are used to scams, get-rich-quick schemes and rip-offs. More from our 2003 article on fast profit or fast loss.

10. Publish REAL testimonials and third-party endorsements. Try to always use real names and link to websites where possible. Some sites show images of letters sent by happy customers. We certainly encourage this to our sunshine coast customers.

11. Publish case studies about customers you have helped, who use your product, etc.

12. Don't put down or insult competitors. It's unprofessional. It is better to offer an objective comparison of competitive services or products. See how we handle web design research.

13. Focus on building your long-term reputation, not on making quick sales.

14. Write articles for humans, not search engines.

15. Make your 'About Us' page personal and comprehensive. It plays an important part in making visitors feel comfortable that real people are behind the site.

16. Ask your web designer for the ability to publish your photo or the photos of the key people involved with the website. Again, this reinforces the fact that there are real people behind the screen shots.

17. Clearly identify who is behind the website. Nothing creates more suspicion than a site that tries to hide the identity of its publishers.

18. On the 'Contact Us' page, provide an email form, telephone number, fax and address of the company. In Europe, it is a legal requirement for web sites taking funds, but even sites driven by advertising will benefit from openness. Smart web design will allow for a contact form as people may contact you from their work computer, an Internet Cafe or any computer other than their own.

19. Provide a telephone number that people can call and talk to a person.

20. Provide Web addresses linked to the website domain, not addresses from free web mail services such as Hotmail and Gmail. Check if your preferred domain name is available.

21. Think carefully about reciprocal links. If your site is about organic food and you have links to Party Poker, people are going to question your integrity.

22. In most cases we do not recommend our Sunshine Coast customers advertise on their website. You spend a lot of time attracting customers to have they go off to some advertisment? If you choose to display adverts on your website, ensure that they are relevant to your subject and audience.

23. Write and publish your privacy policy. Be clear about what you will and will not do with any personal data you collect. State that you adhere to all data protection laws. Make it easy to read and don't use legal gobbledygook.

24. Write and publish a security policy. State what measures you take to ensure that all transactions are secure as well as how well you handle customers data.

25. Ensure that you have a security and privacy policy which is linked from the footer on every page. Make the link more prominent on all the order pages.

26. Clearly publish your guarantee. I would recommend making it a 100% money-back guarantee if possible.

27. Clearly state your refund and returns policy.

28. If you use PayPal, put the PayPal logo on your site. If you have a merchant services account with a major bank like Westpac, Citibank or HSBC, put its logo on your site. Your web design should allow you to use SSL - the secure web pages you see with the "locked padlock".

29. Use Google search on your site for two reasons. First, it is a great search solution which will help your visitors find what they are looking for. Second, having the Google name on your site instills trust.

30 If there are well-known industry associations for your subject, join up and put their logos on your site. With a content management system integrated into your web design, you will be able to do this or have a contract with your web designer where they can do this in a timely fashion.

31. Evaluate a forum carefully and include this if it would benefit your website and you have the time to maintain it! If you choose to have a forum on your site, respond quickly to questions. Have the attitude that you are happy to help others without receiving immediate reward. As the old saying goes, 'Givers always gain.'

32. Allow people to comment on articles. Interactivity and an exchange of views build community and a sense of involvement.

33. If people provide constructive criticism or comments in the forum, don't delete them, but respond with your point of view.

34. Use the words 'secure website' whenever you try to get any information from visitors, including newsletter sign-ups, forum input and payment. Ask your web designer for the ability to use SSL pages on your website.

35. On every page, state, "We take your privacy and security very seriously." Link the statement to the security and privacy policy.

36. If you are selling a subscription, offer a low-cost, entry-level option. This could be a one-day taster, 'a week before billing starts' or a monthly trial.

37. Only ask for information from customers that you really need. For example, for an email newsletter sign-up, the only information you REALLY need is an email address, so that is all you should ask for.

38. If you have pricing on your website, make it transparent. I recently went to buy a book which was advertised for $10. When I checked out, they added tax, post and packaging, and the final bill was $19.50. I didn't buy it as I felt they had deliberately tried to mislead me.

39. Start a small newsletter of your company/services & circulate it among your clients/employees. Also, publish it on your website regularly. Our Sunshine Coast web design allows us to publish our newsletter and provide an archive which again promotes longevity.

40. Allow people to “unsubscribe” from your mailing list. This may sound very obvious, but I have found that many websites still don’t follow it.

To ensure that you are continually improving your trustworthiness, every time you go to a website, ask yourself whether you trust it or not. Then ask yourself why you have formed the opinion you have.

Make sure your site meets the entire above curriculum, and you will have yourself a great foundation for profitable web marketing. More on web design keywords.


12website.com has prepared the supplied information as a voluntary service to the online community. The information is necessarily web design and small business in nature and is not intended to be relied upon other than as general background material. This should not be used as specific advice, recommendations or guidance, and specialist assistance should be sought by anyone in need of such help. 12website.com accepts no liability under any circumstances for any loss, expense, damages or costs whether direct or indirect (including loss of profits / damage to business) which may be incurred by any person as a result of relying on or using in whole or in part any of the supplied information.

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