You walk into a restaurant. Every seat is empty, two staff at the grimy counter are deep in conversation, scrolling through their phones, ignoring you completely. The furnishings are a mish-mash of disorderly rickety tables and spindly chairs, complimented by fraying posters on the walls hung slightly askew.
Would you eat there?
Nope! You’d be afraid your chicken might actually be mystery meat.
The place looks sketchy, and the business does anything but build confidence within you.
These days for both purely online and brick-and-mortar businesses, our websites are our first impression. The last thing we want to do is give off a feeling similar to that invoked by walking into the hypothetical restaurant.
If you’re selling products or services purely online and don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront, then of course your website looking legit is important as that is your store storefront.
Even for those doing sales offline, 81% of consumers are doing research online before visiting a store.
In short, the vast majority of your potential customers will visit you online before ever stepping foot in the door.
OR they won’t step foot in the door at all if your online presence isn’t up to snuff.
Your website building trust with your potential customer is vitally important. So now, let’s go through exactly how to look legit and credible online.
(I should preface these by saying, if you don’t have these credibility builders yet, don’t wait for them to fall out of the sky. You’ve got to go after them!)
The websites that look legit and are peppered with these credibility builders didn’t have it happen by chance. It’s very likely the website owners cut time out of their day to guest post, enter submissions into contests, count up statistics, etc.
So you should too!
Just having testimonials is only half the battle.
How do your viewers know John Smith really said that?
Get your testimonials to really build trust by including a photo of the person who gave the testimonial. As well, have their full name, plus any impressive credentials beside it (eg. M.A., PhD, best selling author, etc). You also want to link to them somewhere they can be found online; their website, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Lastly, if the testimonial was given on Google Places, a Facebook business page, TripAdvisor, etc., also link to the original page the testimonial was given.
Have all of these parts of a testimonial presented together, and then there can really be no question of the authenticity of the testimonial.
If your business has been featured on other websites, podcasts, blogs or print articles, be sure to have a press page.
If your business hasn’t been featured somewhere else, it’s well worth investing the time and effort to get featured somewhere, not necessarily for the potential traffic or email list building opportunities, but just to prove you’re legit online. Take the increased page views and social/email building as a bonus.
On your press page, list out all the places you’ve been featured, along with a link to the relevant article. (I call boloney if I can’t click a link to the relevant page!) It’s also a nice touch to also have the company’s logo featured on your press page.
Here’s an example from a Vegan Cheese shop website I designed. Yep, even Vegan Cheese shops have press pages.
This is massively popular in the wedding and photography space, but can be done by any type of business.
Take all those awards you’ve racked up and place the award images on your about page, home page, etc. If you’re swimming in awards, list the most prestigious ones, and add + X number more!
I would however make just one exception to listing awards. That’s for the Liebster award in the blogging world, (if your business website also has a blog). Unfortunately because just about every blogger out there has gotten the award, it really holds no weight, and is known to be a chain-email type thing with more experienced bloggers. Sorry!
If a few thousand people follow your business or have subscribed to your email list, it must be good, right? If you’re looking to collect email addresses from potential customers, list the number of subscribers.
If you have 2 subscribers, wait until you’ve built up the list a bit more before mentioning this.
Are you a travel agent? How many kilometres have your customers flown with your services? Do you sell baby socks? How many baby toes have you kept warm? Are you a website designer? How many lines of code have your written?
Show your experience by listing specific numbers related to your field.
And, because helping people book 10 flights doesn’t sound as impressive as helping people fly 10,000 km, maybe get creative with how you present these numbers if you’re just starting out.