Picture this: you walk into a poorly-lit shop, looking for milk. A salesman leaps out and tries to sell you a used car, won’t direct you to the milk and barely speaks your language. If the shop next door was well-staffed, well-organised, and had a trustworthy atmosphere, you’d be out of there pretty fast.
Websites are the same. It is important to engage the visitor, help them to their destination and gain their trust in the process.
Impress and engage
First impressions are everything. When choosing a website out of a page of Google results, there’s nothing stopping potential customers from exiting straight back to the list if your page isn’t appealing.
This means a modern, up-to-date design, high-quality images, good grammar and spelling, and no clutter. It’s all about creating the impression that your website is trustworthy and engaging the user enough that they stay.
Show them you’re trustworthy
It’s not just the website that has to look good – your company does too.
Have you ever been to a website where everything looks great, then suddenly it’s asking for personal information in a pop-up window and the company’s contact details are nowhere to be found? Both you and your website need to be trustworthy.
Clutter, like having too many unrelated claims at once, (ever met a guy who claims he’s a doctor, pilot, policeman and kickboxing champion?) is a good way to destroy visitors’ fragile trust.
Pop-ups quickly accomplish the same thing, as well as obtuse navigation circuits that confuse and mislead users.
User reviews are helpful, especially with photos, when proving the people behind the website are trustworthy. They show you’re real people who deal with real people.
Social media is good too, once you have a decent follower base.
Keep it simple
When landing on a page, visitors need to quickly know that this site is what they are looking for. If what they need isn’t on the homepage, they also need to know they can quickly navigate there. Consistent design and layout throughout the site help with this.
Infomercial language is a no-no – clients want the facts, and numbers if you have them, not vague promises designed to lure gullible viewers into inadvisable purchases.
Make sure your website works on a variety of systems. Incompatibility is a great way to eliminate large chunks of potential visitors. This doesn’t just mean complete inability to load the site – slowness is even more infuriating than a dead end.
Don’t make users go through complicated sign-up processes, or require email addresses without telling them what for. They’re probably on your site to complete a simple task and won’t appreciate being forced onto a spam list. If your site is engaging and useful, the signups will come without you requiring it.
Availability also extends to customer service: have someone on your staff to answer questions; have emails and phone numbers available.
Keep it up-to-date, keep it real, and keep it simple.