Posted on Oct 16, 2019

13 Design Tips to Boost Your Website’s Online Credibility

First impressions are important, especially when it comes to your website. It takes customers or online users just 50 milliseconds to form their first impressions of your website. And once they’re formed, it’s hard to change them. 

According to one seminal study conducted at Stanford, 46 percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criteria for determining its credibility, even above its overall accuracy and functionality. A website’s design can also provide it with a strategic advantage and can change user behaviors and attitudes. In addition, 38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if its content or layout is unattractive.

If you’re interested in boosting the online credibility of your website, here are 13 design tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Improve Your Website’s Loading Time

When you’re adding content to your website, make sure it loads quickly and that images, videos, scripts, or something else won’t bog down the overall loading time. Thirty-nine percent of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. And the same rule applies to other website content, too. Users will not wait more than seven or eight seconds for content to load before they abandon your site and move on.

2. Focus on Site Navigation, Organization, and User Experience

Website navigation can relay your trustworthiness to website visitors. Your website will be more credible if the information is easy for users to find and relevant to what they care about. Be sure to focus on the user experience when designing your website to ensure it provides an overall feeling of transparency and trust. Meaningful and well-organized navigation labels and categories indicate that the website’s owners consider their users’ needs and understand their mental models and vocabulary.

3. Use Design Elements and Logos Geared Toward Your Target Audience

The color schemes and logos on a website greatly affect the perceived value of a business and brand the company for online visitors. If a website is meant for luxury clients who want a spa day, it should have simple and elegant colors and logos. A website for children’s toys should offer bright fun colors and logos. Make sure that the colors and design elements you include on your website match the overall value and sentiment you want to convey to make your business credible.

4. Utilize the Appropriate Background Color and Fonts

Did you know that 80 percent of leading Fortune 500 companies use primarily light-colored backgrounds on their websites? This is because light-colored backgrounds make it easier for users to see what’s displayed on a webpage, especially darker colored text. And speaking of text on a webpage, larger fonts that are easier to read enhance a website’s credibility, too. The easier it is for a reader to parse through information and learn more about you and your products, the more likely they are to trust you and think of your website as credible.    

5. Include Security and Trust Icons on the Homepage

Your website must display notable security icons and trust seals from reputable entities on its homepage, especially if it processes payments or sensitive customer information. Examples include the SiteLock security seal, the Better Business Bureau accredited business seal, and the Norton Secured Seal. Websites that don’t display any seal of security or trust have a lower credibility rating; 75.66 percent of people use trust logos to determine if a site is trustworthy.

6. Highlight Customer and Influencer Reviews

Ninety-two percent of customers regularly read online reviews to determine the credibility of a business and its products. So, be sure your best reviews and testimonials are easy to read and view on your website. You can highlight them in an animated window with high-quality images or outline them in noticeable text boxes on your homepage and relevant product pages. And if a notable industry influencer or reputable publication has reviewed your business or products, remember to also include those reviews or links to them on your website.

7. Add Photos of Staff and Owners

Forty-six percent of people think that an image of a business owner increases a website’s credibility. And sharing staff photos and bios will also increase your website’s credibility and conversion rates.  Why? Because people will trust you and your website more when they can see that real people are behind the operations of your business and website.

8. Incorporate Video Content of Your Employees and Real-Life Product Demos

Another way to increase the credibility of your website is to include real-life product demos via video. Show your website visitors how your products work or look first-hand and they’ll be more likely to believe what you. If your employees can be seen in action in your video, your business and its website will seem even more credible.

9. Offer High-Quality 3D Photos of Products with Great Descriptions and Reviews

Offer your website visitors up-close and detailed images of your products. In addition, include detailed product descriptions so that your website visitors can make a well-informed and confident purchasing decision. And don’t forget to include product reviews that other customers have left, as this will increase the validity of your business, its products, and its online presence.

10. Stop Auto-Play of Animated Ads and Videos

Visitors don’t like blinking ads and obnoxious pop-ups that won’t get off the screen when they visit a website, and they will think your website is less credible if they’re unable to find the information they want right away. If website visitors feel like your only agenda and concern is to “sell” them, they won’t trust you or the information on your website. These types of ads tend to slow down your website’s speed, as well.

11. Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You in One Click

Forty-four percent of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number. Fifty-one percent of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites. And, once on a company’s homepage, 64 percent of visitors want to see the company’s contact information. Therefore, when designing your website, make sure your contact information is prominently displayed on all pages, especially the homepage, and that users can contact you in just one click. Whether they tap on a phone number to dial your customer service line or click on a link to open a chat window, your credibility goes up when you make it easy for them to reach you.

12. Provide Information for Guarantees, Warranties, and Returns

Be transparent about your product guarantees and warranties on your website to build trust with prospective customers, especially if previous customers share reviews about what to expect. In addition, newer customers will feel more confident about purchasing an item from your website when they know how what product guarantees you offer, and how you process returns and that you will honor them.

13. Include Well Written, Up-to-Date, and Highly Targeted Content

All the web copy and written content on your website should be free of grammar and spelling errors. Grammar errors have been proven to decrease a website’s credibility. Read Are Grammar Mistakes Costing You Money? for more details and research related to this.

In addition, make sure every piece of content that’s published on your website is geared toward your target audience and what they care about. And always include up-to-date content. Visitors who see content that’s over one year old and irrelevant are a lot less likely to find it trustworthy and credible.

Bottom line: make sure your website is designed with its intended users in mind, and they’ll think it’s trustworthy and credible.

Feature image: Photo by Sebastian Mantel on Unsplash