As content marketing increasingly becomes the standard avenue for building trust and gaining credibility with customers, your website is going to have to keep up with the trend. Heavy-handed and ‘salesy’ strategies that may have worked a few years ago in order to get email opt-ins or conversions just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
Consumers are looking for someone they can trust – period. And trust isn’t something you can fake.
So for business owners and marketers looking to succeed in this age of inbound marketing, having a website that conveys trustworthiness, credibility and authenticity is going to be paramount.
So how do you do this? How do you make sure your website stand out among less credible resources online?
5 Ways to Increase Your Website Credibility
1) Show Who’s Behind Your Business
Let’s face it, your business’s biggest asset is you. Don’t hide behind your logo or business name. Let your website visitors know there are real people behind your business and/or brand.
You can do this in a variety of ways, including:
Prominently display your contact information (refrain from using general email addresses like email@example.com when possible).
Display photos of your business and location (if you have a brick and mortar storefront, public office space, etc.).
Profile employees (if you’re more than a “one man band” in business).
2) Show Who’s Writing Your Content
This is, I believe, going to be a make it or break it proposition for businesses in the content marketing age.
Don’t assume that your audience demands your personal involvement in all areas of your content marketing such as emails, blog posts and social media updates. Most will understand that you simply don’t have time to do it all.
If you have staff to perform these functions for you, be transparent by having them include their names and credentials.
3) Show That Others Like You
Offering social proof on your website is a not-so-subtle way of saying, ‘Hey, others like me, why don’t you?’ Help alleviate fears your website visitors may have about connecting with you by showing that others have done it before.
You can include social proof on your site by using social media counters, showing the number of email subscribers you have or by displaying verifiable testimonials.
4) Show That Your Content is Current
There are obviously some sites and types of content that are, by their very nature, timely and up-to-date (think news sites, travel booking sites, shopping sites, etc.). But if it’s not immediately obvious that your content is fresh and timely, you may be losing credibility without even realizing it.
Make sure your blog posts are dated, and that any ‘newsy’ type content is clearly labeled as current. Of course, if you’re not regularly updating your website, this is going to hurt your credibility, so be aware of this up front.
5) Be Clear About Your Biases
Whether you have an eCommerce site, a content-based site or a site that simply represents your online and/or brick and mortar business, be clear and transparent about the purpose of your site and any potential conflicts of interest that could arise.
For instance, if the ultimate goal of your website is to sell your web design services, don’t masquerade your site as something else. Be up front about what you do, why you’re doing it and if or how your content may be affected.
In a time where content needs to be reliable and authentic in order to stand out from the pack, content marketers are going to need to be diligent about conveying this credibility to their website visitors.
By following the general rule of being clear and transparent about all aspects of your site and business, you’ll be well on your way to gaining the trust and respect of your website visitors both now, and in the future.
What tactics do you use to establish trust and increase your website credibility?
Suspiscious Photo via Shutterstock
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Most people think that creating great content is just all about churning out great articles. But they often forget the personal side of things. In this time where more and more people are in touch with social media, there is an even greater need to get personal. I like how you give some tips on getting yourself out there through your content.
Increase your website credibility can make good a business in the age of content marketing. It has to be searchable by Google which is the dominant search engine.
Content that’s the first thing you have to keep in mind when you’re in the online marketing world. Social media and other mediums may be able to deliver your content to the right audience yet if it’s unsatisfactory, your marketing efforts will be wasted.
I’d like to add one more thing: Reputation rocks – so having top biz influencers’ guest post published on your blog can boost your credibility.
You are correct, Ivan. Can’t believe I derped on remembering that bit of information. Thanks for commenting!
Drew, thanks for expanding my horizons. I wonder how many times I’ve “derped” without realizing it?
I like sites with a sense of humour. I’m not saying all businesses should do this or that I’m put off by those that don’t — but I find copy with a sense of humour draws me in. That’s one of the reasons I like companies like Virgin and Nandos.
Ebele, if you’re a Virgin fan, I hope you’ve seen the safety video for Virgin America Airline. If not, you can check it out here: http://bit.ly/17cX4a2. As I read it described somewhere, it’s “a safety video you’ll actually WANT to watch.” Enjoy!
These are great basic ideas to manage your website credibility, I would add one item if your site asks for personal information in the course of doing business such as a shopping cart to buy your goods and services.
Look into getting a certified seal from one of the security firms like McAffee Secure. The addiiton of one of these seals is expected in addition to using HTTPS. This should be on top of a well thought out Terms & Conditions, Privacy, and Email Policies.
Lastly, social media is a surefire way to increase credibility by helping people with questions in your field of expertise and by regular engagement.
By helping others and with daily engagement you will be proving your credibility and sending positive signals to reputation services like Klout.
Also try making ads less prominent until you establish a good base of daily visitors. Nothing screams ‘useless content’ like a big pop up ad before the person gets a chance to even read the posts.
Drew: I don’t really use any special tactics, I am acting in a natural way, being myself.
Btw: Intriguing photo by Shutterstock! 😉
Folks, these are some awesome tips!!! Love them.
Great tips here Drew! Being approachable and conveying a personal quality is paramount when there are so many online websites who don’t go beyond trying to sell you something. One thing you touched on briefly that I find especially important is the necessity to back down from a ‘heavy-handed’ selling approach. In my content writing service Prose Media, I too often find that businesses view content solely as an opportunity to bombard followers and browsers with a targeted advertisement, boasting about the company’s services, position within the industry, and the reasons why they think the customer should be buying their products. This is mistaking the true purpose of content, one of which is as you have said to establish trust, credibility and name recognition, as well as to initiate engagement between the potential customer and the brand. By tuning your content to offer something to your audience, instead of to convince them to buy something from you, you’ll stand out from the pack and establish more of a personal connection that will pay off in the long run.
These are excellent tips and transparency matters now more than ever. People want to know the players who are behind the business. A cute caricature or logo just isn’t enough anymore. Gaining trust is crucial as well as posting meaningful content with value.
Thanks alot for sharing this informative post. Content plays a major role in marketing and it is through the content that we can build its client and market its products or services.
Adding a good looking about me page with owner photo have huge impact on visitors. People want to know who is behind this page or website. And when they got info about that they will definitely be more satisfied and become regular website visitor and most interested in your service or product.
Thanks Drew For this great share.
I absolutely agree, owning a bias is extremely important. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, and if you can’t represent your own influences then what is the point of promoting either side of a topic?
Drew, I’ve heard some people recommend that blog posts NOT be dated. The theory is that current postings are more appealing than older ones, which puts those oldie-but-goodie posts at risk for being ignored. What are your thoughts on that “older is less interesting” argument? What about other commenters – what are your thoughts?
I couldn’t agree more, Drew – it’s important to have a company website that conveys trustworthiness, especially when we ascertain whether or not a site will serve our needs within five seconds. I love your content tips, and I’d like to add another: You’ve fostered a company around something distinct you have to offer. You’re an expert in a given subject and you benefit people with this knowledge, product or service. Shouldn’t your website reflect this? In order to stand out in a crowded industry and set your business apart from your competitors, shape content through matchless branded messaging. Give your visitors a reason to come back again and again to engage with your brand.
These are all good points but being personable has to be the number one thing that will get people to trust you and your site. A little information about yourself and maybe even a picture can go a long way.
Also never forget about the design of your website. If it looks outdated or unprofessional who would like to work with you? It is kind of an online business suit for your company! So keep it smart!
I guess, as the adage goes, ‘trust is earned’. I’m wondering what the trends will be in content marketing this 2014. I’m on the lookout, that is. Your tips make a lot of sense though, especially with authorship. Readers want to connect with a real person, not some ‘admin’.