It’s not just fake emails and dodgy websites that make the modern consumer sceptical about what they find on the internet. Today, even legitimate businesses can have a hard time convincing customers to trust them or believe what they say about their products and services is true. So, apart from well-known brands with established reputations, how can smaller companies and startups improve customer trust and confidence? Here are some of the things you may wish to consider.
Enable online reviews
Yes, you have to work hard to get good reviews and no, not everyone will give you five stars, but you can’t ignore the importance of online reviews because, if you don’t have any, your business is an unknown quantity and that, for many consumers, is a risk they are not prepared to take.
The searching of online reviews has now become a normal part of the buying process. Over 90% of prospective customers look at what others have said about your business before deciding to spend their money with you. What they say and the rating they give you can have a huge influence on how much custom you get.
A physical presence
The virtual nature of a website can make it difficult for consumers to trust. It would be quite easy for a scammer to set up a website, take payments all day long and never send out any products – many do. For all the shopper knows, what purports to be a genuine UK business could be a fraudster anywhere on the planet. However, when there is evidence of a physical address and a landline phone number, customers are given increased confidence that it is a legitimate business and are more inclined to shop with them. Put your address and phone number clearly on the website and if possible, add other proof too, such as your company registration and VAT numbers.
SSL certificates play two important roles. Firstly, they protect you and your customers by encrypting payment data as it travels from their browser to your server, stopping it from being stolen. Secondly, SSL certificates validate your domain as genuine and as a result, web browsers label your website as being secure by placing a padlock icon next to your URL in the address field. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, your site is labelled ‘Not secure’.
Quite simply, if you are a shopper and you have Google and Microsoft’s browsers telling you a site is not secure, you are going to think twice about trusting that site. For that reason alone, an SSL is essential.
Personal Signing Email certificates
Personal signing email certificates are a little like SSL certificates but they provide security for emails rather than the website. From a consumer trust point of view, they validate to recipients that the email purporting to come from your business is genuinely from you and not from someone carrying out a phishing attack. This helps protect your customers from becoming a victim of email-related crime and helps prevent your company’s reputation from being tarnished by a phishing scam that is aimed at your customers. Email certificates also encrypt the content of your emails and attachments so that any personal or financial information you send to customers cannot be intercepted or stolen.
Trust isn’t just about whether a business is genuine or not, it’s also about whether the customer has confidence in you to provide products and services of a high standard. When it comes to online businesses, consumers expect that websites will always be online when they visit them and that they will perform quickly and effectively. If this doesn’t happen, it gives a poor signal about the quality of the business itself.
Slow websites have, historically, always suffered from high abandonment rates, with customers not happy to hang around waiting for pages to load or respond. When websites go offline, no one can buy and reputation suffers. The key to staying online and ensuring your website performs well, no matter how many visitors it has at the same time, is to choose the right hosting solution from a reliable web host. If you suffer from these issues, it could be that your website traffic has grown and you need to upgrade to a better solution, like our dedicated business hosting plans.
Creating policies is one of the more boring aspects of running a website. However, what they do is provide clarity for customers about how you conduct your business and what they can expect from you. If you run a professional website, you should have clear, easy to understand and simple to find policies published for your visitor. These will cover things like terms and conditions of using the website; deliveries, returns and cancellations; guarantees and service level agreements (SLAs); privacy and cookie policies and so forth.
By providing these, you show your visitors that you are a professional company and in doing so, increase their trust and confidence.
A higher-ranking website
While you’re likely aware that high ranking websites get more visitors, you might not realise the connection between ranking and trust. However, when you look at the criteria search engines use to rank sites, this is plain to see. A search engine’s aim is to provide its users with the best results and this means listing websites that are safe, reliable, relevant and which are valued by others on the internet. High ranking websites also become more familiar to searchers as their brand names appear more frequently.
Improving your search engine ranking can, therefore, improve trust as well as traffic. Using an effective, all-in-one SEO tool, like marketgoo, can quickly help you make the improvements you need.
Today’s increasingly sceptical consumers need to be able to trust a website and the business behind it if they are to have the confidence to give it their custom. Hopefully, the points raised in this post will show you ways to help you achieve this for your own website.
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