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Web Site Credibility

By TLS | November 15, 2007

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking to make my sites seem more credible. Why? Because I believe that the more credible a site is perceived to be the more successful it will be. And let me be clear, I am only interested in making sites truly credible - no smoke and mirrors.

Credibilty is the result of “perceived trustworthiness” + “perceived expertise”. If your audience thinks you are both trustworthy and an expert then you are credible. If you lack either of these two components then you cannot be credible.

Here is an interesting slide show outlining a Standford Univerisity report on the 10 Guidelines for Increased Web Credibility (Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab 2002). Check it out:

10 Guidelines to a Credible Site
In summary, here are the 10 guidelines for making your website credible:

1. Professional-looking design
2. Make information easily verifiable (quotes, references, etc.)
3. Show that the site is backed by a real organization or individual (include addresses, photos of officers, etc.)
4. Highlight your expertise or the expertise in what you do (credentials, affiliations, associations, etc.)
5. Show that trustworthy people are behind your site (management bios, etc.)
6. Make contacting you clear and easy
7. Make site easy to use and useful
8. Update content - keep it current (or at least show that it has been reviewed recently)
9. Limit promotional content and ads
10. Avoid errors of all types (broken links, spelling, etc.)

Obviously, to good online marketers and business people this list is pretty self-evident. But it is nice to see this information in list form. How many potential customers do we lose because of a lack of credibility? I personally can’t stand sites that don’t clearly describe who owns or backs the site or sites that won’t provide an easy way to contact a real person.

Does your site pass the test?

Topics: Interactive Marketing, SEO |

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