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Article is syndicated from Web-Source.net.
Syndicated articles are written by independent authors and the contents represent the author's views. The content of the article does not necessarily represent the views of Company Web staff and management.
Credibility: 10 Simple Guidelines
By Ethan Woods Copyright
Take a moment to picture the following
scenario. Youre looking online to
purchase a DVD player. You type DVD
Player into your favorite search engine
and the result is a list of thousands of
companies that sell DVD players. You click on
the first link listed and are taken to an
online merchant selling the very DVD player
you were looking for. The price is reasonable
and shipping is included; however, you decide
to check out another merchant to see if you
can find a lower price. You go back to your
search engine results and follow the second
link listed. Again, youre taken to a
merchant selling the DVD player youre
looking for, but this time the price
(shipping included) is $50 less.
How do you choose between the two merchants?
All things being equal you would choose the
merchant offering the lower price. However,
what if the lower-priced DVD player was being
sold on a web site that just didnt look
very professional to you? What if you found
the layout of the web site to be confusing?
What if you noticed a lot of misspelled words
in the text of the pages? What if many of the
links were broken and images were missing?
What if you couldnt find any contact
information for this merchant? Would any of
these issues influence your decision to buy?
Research shows that in this case the majority
of online buyers would purchase the more
expensive DVD player because the credibility
of the merchant selling the lower- priced
product is in question. Consequently, you see
how crucial it is for your web site to be
perceived as credible.
Guideline 1: Make it Easy to Verify
Content on your Web Site.
If your web site makes the claim that you
provide excellent customer service, provide
quotes with identifying information (with
permission) of past buyers or clients
speaking of your excellent customer service.
If the local newspaper voted your business as
best online merchant in 2003, then provide a
link to the article or cite the newspaper in
which the article appeared. The basic rule
here is to be able to prove to
your visitors that the information shown and
claims made on your web site are real and not
just fictitious marketing ploys.
Guideline 2: Show that a Real
Organization Exists Behind your Web Site.
Visitors to your web site want to be assured
that theyre not dealing with some
shadowy figure who may run off with their
money. Would you feel comfortable submitting
your credit card information to a merchant in
which you couldnt track down? Increase
the credibility of your web site by including
the physical address of your business,
including telephone number.
Guideline 3: Highlight Expertise in
Convince visitors that you and your
associates posses the know-how and skills
necessary to provide the products or services
you offer. If you or others in your
organization have specialized training or
education thats related to your
products or services, make that information
known on your web site.
Guideline 4: Show that People Stand
Behind your Web Site.
With todays advances in computer
technology, it isnt uncommon to come
across a fully-automated online business.
Whos doing all the work? Being able to
show that living, breathing humans are behind
your web site will increase the credibility
of your web site (and business). You might
add a page to your web site that features a
particularly hardworking employee each month.
At the very least, you might want to list
department heads or supervisors (with
pictures) on your web site contact page. This
guideline is perhaps most important if you
have a web site that is fully- automated (or
Guideline 5: Make it Easy to Make
Dont give visitors the impression that
you have something to hide. Make your contact
information available and make it easy to
find. At a minimum every web site should have
a contact page that lists your
physical address, telephone numbers, and
Guideline 6: Design a
Professional-looking Web Site.
This is a very common mistake for many small-
and medium- sized businesses. Typically the
web site is designed and maintained by the
office manager or other employee with little
or no real experience in web design.
Theyre told to purchase a popular web
design software package, learn how to use it,
and design the company web site. Often the
result is a vertically stacked
web site that features lots of animated gifs,
randomly placed images and flashing or
scrolling text. Dont be lured into
thinking you will save thousands of dollars
by designing your web site in-house with
novice web designers. Lost
revenue and sales leads from visitors who
left your web site because they did not
perceive it as credible will far exceed your
Guideline 7: Make Your Web Site Easy
Visitors to your web site are there for a
reason; they want to purchase something or
they want to learn more about your products
or services. They will become irritated (and
leave) if they are forced to figure out how
to navigate your web site. Keep the web site
layout consistent and clear. Avoid moving
your navigation menu to a different location
on each page of your site and avoid changing
the look of the navigation menu from page to
Guideline 8: Update Content Often.
This is another common mistake made by small-
and medium-sized businesses. Because business
owners know their business should have an
online presence, they quickly have a web site
created and uploaded to the Internet.
However, they rarely (or never) keep the web
site content updated. This lack of concern
over the content on your web site makes
visitors perceive you and your business as
Guideline 9: Use Promotional Content
Web sites filled with advertisements are
viewed as less credible than web sites with
little or no advertising. In an attempt to
increase search engine rankings and generate
additional revenue, many web site owners join
referral programs. The result is a web site
inundated with banner ads cluttering your web
site and linking your visitors to other web
sites. If your intent is to generate revenue
through referral programs, you should create
a web site separate from your company web
site. The goal of your company web site
should be to sell products or services and
market your business.
Guideline 10: Avoid Errors.
It doesnt seem like a big deal on the
surface, but errors seriously detract from
the credibility of a web site. The most
common errors are typos, misspellings, and
broken links. Remember, your web site is an
extension of your business. If grammatical
errors and broken links reduce the
credibility of your web site, then the
credibility of your business is also reduced.
Research studying what makes web sites
credible to the online public has become
increasingly important to wise business
owners (and good web designers). If visitors
to your web site do not perceive it as being
credible they will not perceive your business
as credible. Web site credibility is an issue
that precludes thousands of online businesses
from reaching their online sale and marketing
About the Author:
is a Creative Director with Optic
Fusion Design Group, a web design and
marketing firm providing
solutions. Optic Fusion Design
Group helps small, medium, and
emerging companies achieve their
marketing potential. Ethan Woods can
be contacted at email@example.com or