Credibility. When it’s on the Internet, it must be true, right? In a recent Harris Interactive surve, roughly 94% of Americans believe “bad things” can happen as a result of using the internet. Whether it’s getting a computer virus, being phished for money, or scammed for identity fraud most people are understandably cautious when it comes to safety and security of websites.
That’s why is’ so critical to have a website that is professional, trustworthy and has authority. If a visitor to your website gets the impression that your organization is not professional, then that visitor will leave.
You know that dress that you bought that you will never wear? You liked it and bought it because it was a designer that you love, and it was on sale. But the reality of it is that if you never wear it, then it was a wasted investment, regardless of the price you paid, it was too much.
A website is like that. It’s an investment, and while there are many guidelines for what you should pay for a website, the old adage, “you get what you pay for” may still hold true. A beautiful designed website that gets no views is useless. A website that gets a ton of traffic, but few, if any conversions, is equally a tragedy and a bad markerting investment.
A credible website it obviously important, then, to being able to do business in today’s world, where so many potential customers seek information by Googling it.
There are a few mistakes that will cost your website credibility. Some of these will affect your search engine rankings, and some will impact the customer experience when they visit.
These are easy to see, when you know what you are looking for.
- Website Page Load Time. Before anyone even gets on your website, you should evaluate how long it takes to load. A long load time is not only penalized by Google, it also affects visits – after a few seconds, if your page is not showing, many visitors will bounce and leave the site. Load time can be tested using Google’s tool: Google Page Speed Test
- Grammar. Sure, it helps to be able to write well, but it’s even more important to have a website where the grammar makes sense. Unfortunately, some websites that are developed overseas have some less than perfect phrases, which can be humorous to the reader, but which can undermine the credibility of the website owner.
- Professional Appearance. Lots of moving parts, and complex graphics tend to make a website look unprofessional. Using too many crawling images and rotating graphics or blinking text is distracting and looks amateur. Ever notice that the most expensive items have adds with a lot of “white space”? That white space gives the illusion of grandeur. Don’t be in a hurry to cram images into every little corner and remember that sometimes less is more!
- Clear delineation of services. Trying to be too cute and using numbers instead of words, or clever headlines that may be unrelated to what you are offering may seem like a good idea at the time, however these tend to be confusing to your propects. Better to be direct and clear and share what the value proposition is, than to obfuscate your message with cutesy stuff.
- Old word SEO and Black Hat practices. In the old days (yes, like last week) we were optimizing pages for specific keywords and keyword phrases. To some extent, this was evident to a human who came to visit your website and saw the same words repeated several times on the page. We worried about things like word density and optimizing for keywords. Today, in the world of semantic optimization, the search engines have gotten smarter, and the old practices will actually work against you, in addition to making the site feel amateurish and hokey.
If you want visitors to your website to feel that they are dealing with a credible resource, present professional materia, and give the impression of being trustworthy. Some methods are through the use of testimonials, by having a site with littler or no code errors, having an SSL certificate or sharing privacy trust seals (especially for eCommerce).