Website Credibility and Your Business Success

With the advent of the Internet came ecommerce and the expediency of doing business online from a simple website. Many entrepreneurs and small business no longer had to worry about renting a physical space to sell to consumers. From this revolution in moving goods to market came online giants such as and eBay. But with all the advantages and convenience that online shopping provides for both merchants and buyers consumer trust is still a major stumbling block.

Brick and mortar stores have one direct advantage over online stores since buyers can often see, handle and test the goods they are about to purchase and expect the store to be there if they have a problem with an item and need to return it. This physical immobility of the store builds instant credibility that a website cannot claim. Anyone can post a website and remove that site within minutes of posting. Online merchants therefore have to take intentional steps to instill trust in website visitors.

Here are a number of ways that online merchants can build credibility for their businesses.

1. Include an ‘About’ page. An About page gives the merchant an opportunity to share the resume of the business with website visitors. The information that can be included on this page is company history, qualifications of the founder of CEO, a picture of a physical office, contact information and the company objectives.

2. Post your privacy policy. Current research shows that consumers are becoming more wary of how their sensitive information is used and this makes it imperative for you to provide a page with your privacy policy. At the bare minimum this policy should include how you use the information that is collected, how to opt out of your list, why you track their IP address and if and how the information is shared with third parties.

3. Include a link to your contact information and physical address in every page. This gives your virtual presence on the web some real presence in the physical world and says that you are a real business even if you operate out of your bedroom. The more contact information you can include such as phone numbers, fax number and support email address the more transparent you’ll appear to your website visitors.

4. Use still photos or audiovisual presentations. The human face and voice are still effective in creating bonds with other people. This bonding process may explain the effectiveness of TV ads over just simple print ads. If you can include photos and videos on your website then visitors are less likely to think that you will scam them out of their money and are more likely to buy from you.

5. Use past customer testimonials and case studies. The inclusion of customer testimonials is also an effective way of not only proving that you deliver on your promises, but in instilling customer trust. These testimonials should be accompanied by the contact information such as website and full name of the customer. The less information you give about the customer who is providing the testimonial, the less believable it will be to the prospect.

6. Use trust seals. In a recent survey, over 80% of online shoppers said that they were more likely to buy from an online merchant if the website displayed trust seals. Trust seals or marks are little buttons displayed on a site to show that the business was verified by a third party. These seals fall into three classes-privacy, security and identity. A privacy seal says that you have a legitimately compliant privacy policy, a security seal says that your website is secure and safe for your users and an identity seal says you are who you claim to be. The use of trust seals not only boost your credibility but can dramatically increase website sales as well.

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