10 Components of a Trustworthy Site

There’s lots of advice out there about how businesses need professional  websites. But what exactly does “professional” mean in this context? Primarily, it means that your site is trustworthy enough for people to make a purchase from. There are certain signals, some overt and some covert that show professionalism in a website and we’ll reveal 10 of them in this article.

  1. Page speedA site that loads too slowly will cause people to leave. Maile Ohye from Google says, “2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
  2. Easy navigationIf your customers cannot find their way through your site they will feel frustration. Avoid complicated dropdowns and nested menus. Make all navigation bars and menu options clear enough that a new visitor could find them and find their way around.
  3. Site completenessCheck your site regularly for broken links. Even if your core site structure is fine, having a broken link in a piece of content marketing going out will make it seem like you’re not paying attention.
  4. Unified look-and-feelAs in the physical world, branding is key to a unified and professional look. Use the same color schemes and site design throughout your website. If possible, use the same look-and-feel in your email communications and even in your mailings.
  5. A complete shopping cart systemDo not have a broken or incomplete shopping cart system. Few things anger a customer more than a failed sale due to technology. It’s even worse if their payment goes through and they don’t get what you offer. Go beyond testing it. Try to break it before it goes live.
  6. Contact methodsSometimes things do go wrong or there’s a question that’s not answered on your site. There must be a way for people get in contact with you in these cases. That information must be easy to find and there has to be someone to respond on the other end. Whether you use a phone number, a web contact form, social media, or some other method, there needs to be one.
  7. Reassurance messages (Thank you, verification emails)This is part of having a complete shopping cart, but it’s important enough to break out on its own. Reassurance messages are our term for any web page or email that tells a customer that something happened successfully. A simple example is the thank you page at the end of a purchase. If a purchase button dumped you back to the main page and there was no receipt email, you might feel that your information was just stolen. A thank you page does more than just show politeness.
  8. Clear CTAsA clear CTA is more than just making a big button. A complete CTA has to promise something, call the reader to act on that promise by performing an action, and then delivering on that promise. If any of these parts are unclear or misleading, trust will be lost and professionalism shattered.
  9. Persuasive copyEven the best-designed site needs to be coupled with persuasive copy to convince the reader to buy. There’s little more that needs to be said on this. Good copy turns a good offer into a great one. Bad copy will kill a great offer.
  10. Delivery on your promiseFinally, whatever you promise to give to the customer must be delivered in the way you say it will. This is the ultimate professional guarantee. If you break this one, you’re no longer in customer service mode. You’re in customer recovery mode.

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