Ten Ways to Improve Your Website Credibility and Why It Matters
Credibility matters. Your website is the only connection your prospects have to you. They don’t know if you are trustworthy. They don’t know if you know what you’re talking about. Yet, when you can establish that you’re a credible company and resource, then you’re golden. Why? Because people buy from companies they trust. They recommend them to others. They become loyal customers and visitors.
Here are ten ways to improve your website credibility:
#1 Facts and data – Demonstrate your credibility by backing up the claims you make with hard evidence. Cite statistics and data that support your statements.
#2 Let your customers do the talking – Testimonials, reviews and endorsements go a long way toward convincing others of your credibility. In addition to strategically placing testimonials, reviews and endorsements on your landing page, consider creating a separate page, too. That way, visitors can click on the ‘testimonials’ page and read all the wonderful things people have to say about you.
#3 Simple navigation – If a website is confusing to navigate we tend not to trust the source. However, if your website is streamlined and designed to enhance the visitor’s experience, then prospects can tell you’ve put them first.
#4 Clean look – Have you ever landed on a web page that was so cluttered you didn’t know which way to turn? These pages are often littered with advertisements. It seems the only goal is to get you to click on something so they can earn a nickel in PPC revenue. Make sure your website doesn’t give off this vibe, even if your primary source of income is PPC. There are better ways to earn the trust of your prospects and thus earn a click.
#5 Quality information – One of the best ways to earn a reputation for credibility is to consistently provide quality content. Share information that matters to your prospects and visitors. Show them why they can trust you. Be a source of information.
#6 Quality companies – Represent or endorse companies that make you proud. Whether it’s an affiliate relationship, a partnership or you’re simply trying to provide a benefit, make sure you’re sending customers and prospects to websites and companies that you respect.
#7 Organizations and affiliations – Join organizations that have earned credibility and respect. For example, become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Join DMA if you’re a marketer. When visitors see logos and know you’re a member of a reputable organization, you earn credibility.
#8 Win awards – Awards provide instant credibility. Find awards in your industry to apply for and make sure to post any wins and logos on your website.
#9 Contact information – Make sure that your contact information is easy to find. In fact, consider placing it in the footer of every web page. Then also create a separate contact information page. IF a prospect or visitor cannot contact you, they’ll wonder why you’re hiding.
Finally, make it easy for visitors to find the answers to their questions. Provide a FAQ page and a contact form or customer service system. When you’re completely transparent and up-front about your business, you earn credibility.
Optimize Your Website – Test Early, Test Often, Test Variety
Testing is one of the most overlooked business tasks. Without testing, you cannot know what tactics and actions are most profitable. Testing tells you which headline works best. It tells you which ad delivers targeted traffic. Testing tells you what your prospect’s priorities are. It tells you where to place you most important information on your website. In fact, testing can tell you just about anything you want to know.
The great news is that there are some truly amazing tools and services. They enable you to test many things before you implement them. You can also test your competitors’ sites using these same tools. This means you can learn what they do well and where you can improve.
What to Test
There are more things to test than you have time for. However, when you create a system to test and track any new feature or idea you can be sure you’re making the most of your efforts. Make sure to:
* Test your headline
* Test your call to action
* Test your opt-in form copy
* Test your opt-in form location
* Test your anchor text
* Test your ad placement
* Test your ad copy
* Test your benefits, promise and proof
* Test your opt-in offer
* Test your bonus products
* Test your pricing
* Test button elements like shape, font, and formatting
* Test how people use your site (and why)
* Test new designs
How to Test
Once you’ve made the commitment to test, the simplest way to test is called a split test. This can be used for many of the elements of a sales page, opt-in offer or advertisement. The strategy simply requires you to create two versions of the page. Only the element you’re testing will be different. For example, if you’re testing a headline then you’ll create two identical pages. Each page will have a different headline. The headline with the most conversions or actions, wins.
If you’re testing for design elements or visitor use, then you can use more advanced technology to help. For example, 4Q by iPerception can help you figure out why people are using your site.
A new design can be tested with a service like Feedback Army or FiveSecondTest. You can also test your competitor’s sites with these tools. And you can test load times with a program like Keynote.com.
For real insight into your visitor behavior, consider a tool like UserTesting.com. You’re provided with a recording of people visiting your site.
When it comes to testing, you cannot test too much. Of course, don’t break the bank testing. However, do keep testing in mind whenever you implement a new feature or design element. Split testing is cost effective. Many times it’s completely free. Other testing can cost you money in the beginning. It can also save you money in the long run. Before you take any major action with your business website, consider what and how you can test it for success
Make It Easy for Your Visitors to Complete Your Website Goals
What are your website goals? Do you have any? Presumably you want to make money, but how? Does each page on your site have a goal? If so, does the goal of the page also support your ultimate website goal?
Your website goals might include:
* To sell a product
* To sell a service
* To motivate an opt-in
* To inspire a visitor to click on an affiliate advertisement
* To provide information and receive ad exposure and PPC income
Any single website page may also have these same goals. They may also be designed to help you achieve other independent goals. For example, one web page may be designed to promote your opt-in offer. In addition to your call to action, there are other things you can do.
Taking a look at your website goals and independent page goals, consider these three points.
#1 Who are your visitors? What content and tools will you need to help or convince them to accomplish your goals? For example, you want them to sign up for your opt-in form. What content and tools are you using to motivate that action? Are you providing them with a sample of the offer? Do you make it easy to opt-in or do they have to jump through hoops?
#2 How does your visitor travel on your site? When someone visits your landing page, where do they go next? Is it where you want them to go? Does it support your goal? Use your website goals to help you create content and determine the path your visitor takes. Each piece of content on your site should influence an action that ultimately leads to your goal. Again, imagine you want to motivate an opt-in.
Each piece of content, form and promotion on your site should lead to that goal. Take a look at your flow of information and the path your visitors take when they’re at your site. Does their path support your goal? When adding or removing something on your site conflicts with your goals, don’t do it.
#3 Include a call to action with each website page. Articles, videos, forms – everything needs to have a goal that supports your end goal. They need to have a call to action that supports your goal and purpose. Don’t expect your users to know what they’re supposed to do next. Tell them.
Finally, make sure to respect your user’s time. Dragging them through an endless process to achieve your goal isn’t going to win you any friends. If you want them to sign up for your opt-in list, make it as easy as possible. If you want them to buy a product, make it as easy.
Analyze each web page, new and old, and determine if it supports your goals or detracts from them. Help your visitors. Make it easy for them to achieve your website goals.
Three Ideas and Strategies to Give Your Visitors a Reason to Return
A website generates two main types of visitors. There are the visitors that stop by and leave. They never return again. Then there are the visitors that stop by. They bookmark your site. They sign up for your opt-in list. They subscribe to your blog. These are the visitors you want. When you can motivate more new visitors to come back, you’re on your way to converting them to customers.
The majority of people do not make a purchase the first time they visit a website. A website has to earn their trust. It has to establish credibility, liking and authority. These are all buying triggers, and for most websites they’re earned over time. They key is to give them a reason to come back. Here are three ideas and strategies to give your visitors a reason to return.
#1 Valuable content is definitely required. If you provide a consistent flow of great content, visitors will come back for more. However, there’s more you can do to ensure their loyalty.
#2 Provide a free membership. Take a look at your website. Why do people visit your site? What benefit can you offer on a regular basis? Now instead of offering that information to random visitors, consider creating a membership site. Membership implies exclusivity. It also implies extra value.
When people sign up for your membership program they will receive “extra” content, products or services. For example, you might create a “Report of the Month” club. The information is free for members who have signed up. Each month you deliver a quality report. You can use the report to promote affiliate products and/or your own products/services too.
#3 Include user generated content. Enable visitors to provide their own content for your website. Blogging is one way to accomplish this. You can include a “blog for us” form on your site. You can also turn the “Commenting” feature on and allow visitors to respond to your content. However, if you don’t have a blog site, then consider adding a plug-in or feature that enables them to add content.
For example, you might include a “Best Tips” category. You can then enable visitors to post or submit their best tips. You publish their information and you now have an interactive audience.
Finally, take a look at your usability features. What can you add to your site or blog to make it friendlier? For example, are other commenters notified when a comment is published to a post they also commented on? Can they forward your content to a friend? Can they print it?
The easier you make it to interact on your site, the better. Provide great content. Enable visitors to receive more via memberships and let them share information. The more repeat traffic you have, the faster you’ll build a loyal customer base.