We live in a world where the web is literally overflowing with content. Most of them being unfortunately only pale copies of others. It’s hard to discern the real from the fake in this editorial morass. Which author seems more credible than another.
This notion of credibility is not very important to me when it comes to arguing about Semantic Search. Yet this credibility is important for professionals, whether they are independent, craftsmen, SMEs or multinationals.
Without this value, it will be complicated to say the least to be heard, especially when others speak louder, longer and draw attention to themselves. And with the attention economy even more subtle than it was just a few years ago, if our content doesn’t get attention and more importantly isn’t believed, the life of a company can quickly become difficult.
The question then is how can we contribute to the credibility of our website ? Should we engage in large communication actions or is the credibility played out in detail?
Well, to be completely honest with you, the credibility of your website will be played on small details but which, put end to end, represents a significant effort on your image.
I present here a list of elements (10 in total) whose presence must be certain to strengthen the credibility of your website.
Make sure that the veracity of your content can be verified.
For any content published on your site, you can reinforce your credibility by associating it with different types of information sources:
You have the choice to support your argument by integrating these sources of information directly into your content or by creating links to redirect users. And in case people don’t follow your links, at least you’ll have presented some evidence of what you’re saying.
Prove that your company does exist
The credibility of your website also depends on the information you share about your company. Its history, its values, the highlights, where it is located etc…
It may seem sensible at first glance but I assure you that many sites today, especially sites of artisans and small businesses neglect this aspect.
Showing that your company exists is as much an element of credibility as it is an element of reassurance. Who here would want to buy or contact a company of which one knows absolutely nothing from a legal or historical point of view.
Put forward your expertise and your business vision
To become credible in a web full of Hercules, you should not hesitate to put forward what makes you a must-have. Share your best customer references, highlight some of your most reliable providers or partners. If you donate a part of your profits to an association, make it known. Show that your company lives and is recognized for its various skills.
Who are the actors of your company?
Your site should be used to sell as well as to expose the men and women who make up your company. Besides filling your site with contextualized photos of your employees in meetings or in front of their screens, you can also use each face to create a story.
Getting people to see your employees’ point of view is a good way to connect with them and gain credibility points. But be careful to respect a certain privacy.
Are you easy to talk to?
The simple fact of having difficulty contacting you can damage your credibility (and your sales and your reputation and…). So try to have on your website, all the useful information to get in touch with you, in any way:
- an address
- a switchboard number
- a service number
- an e-mail
The more detailed this information is and the more it is assigned to a certain person or department, the better. Because waiting 10 minutes on a voice server and getting directly the person you are looking for, the experience is quite different.
Have a « professional » website
When designing your site, pay attention to the layout, typography, images, consistency issues, etc. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like apple.com. The graphic design of your site must correspond to its objective.
The more your site will be neat, the more it will give desire to consult it, think above all about the coherence of your site, as for its beauty, tastes and colors are discussed.
Your site must be pleasant to navigate
In the marketing/web jargon we easily talk about user experience. If you want to gain credibility points with your audience, I recommend that you make your site easy to visit. A simple structure, buttons and content that are readable and accessible on click. The user who walks on your site must do so without a rock in the shoe.
Avoid for example all kinds of effects, great videos (which will slow down the navigation of your site), the superfluous is certainly pretty to look at in most cases but it does not help to navigate from page to page with a fluidity of figure skater.
Is your content updated?
People give more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or revised. An environmental standard has evolved, a logo has changed, some of your partners are no longer? Some articles deserve a readjustment of information following the present context? Here again, do not neglect any detail even if it seems trivial.
Moderate the presence of promotional content
In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having a site that looks like Las Vegas. However, if you still want to promote some content, through Display ads for example, make sure you do it with extreme parsimony. This kind of content, when they are omnipresent on a website, have for only benefit to disgust the Internet users because they slow down their navigation (the human eye being easily attracted by the animations of these ads).
If possible, avoid having ads on your site. If you must have ads, clearly distinguish the sponsored content from your own. Avoid pop-up ads, unless you don’t mind annoying users and losing credibility. As for writing style, try to be clear, direct, and sincere.
Banish errors on your site as much as possible
Bad typography, blank page, hypertext link that sends back to a 404 (inaccessible page but content is gone), a call to action button that doesn’t work, a slowdown in navigation because the page is too heavy, the examples of errors that can be found on a website are legion and all of them, even the smallest ones, have an influence on the credibility that you send back to the Internet users.
Therefore, make sure that your site is accessible at all points, without any broken branches that could affect the fluidity of navigation.
All this information that I have shared with you seems to me to be common sense. It is supposed to have a site that responds quickly and well when you browse it. Just as it is supposed to share information about itself (its business) with people who are most certainly interested in what it offers.
Before I leave you, I want to give credit for this article to Stanford University who engaged in research involving 4500 people over 3 years to provide this guidance on how to improve the credibility of one’s website.
While I am familiar with these points, render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.