A key component of a positive user experience is credibility. Thanks to the Web Credibility Project we are beginning to understand the factors that make a website feel credible to visitors. People are more likely to engage with and complete actions on a site that they feel is a credible website.
These ten guidelines are based on three years of research that included over 4,500 people.
Verify the information on your site
You can build your site’s credibility by supporting the information you provide. By using citations, references and source material visitors can view the research to support your claim. Even if people never follow these links or read the evidence you are showing confidence in the credibility of your information.
Show that there is a real organisation behind your website
Displaying that your website is for a legitimate business or organisation will boost your credibility. Listing a physical address that people can look up is the best way to achieve this. Go even further by showing images of your workplace and listing any local organisations that you are a member of e.g. Chamber of Commerce, Local Business groups.
Promote the experience in your company
Shout about the experts on your team and their credentials. If you are affiliated with any trusted organisations then display and link this clearly. Don’t link to external websites that are not credible as your site becomes less credible through association.
Show the trustworthy people behind your website
Communicate that there are real people behind your business and website. Using profile pics and staff bios on your website builds trust and boosts credibility.
Clear contact information
A straightforward way to enhance your site’s credibility is to ensure that all your contact information is clear, easy to understand and easy to find.
Research shows that people quickly evaluate a website by visual appearance alone. Ensure your website design is consistent. Pay attention to layouts, typography, image quality and accessibility. Ensure your website content displays correctly as it responds to different devices.
Easy to use and useful
Research shows that sites improve credibility by being both easy to use and useful. You may want to impress with a complex feature, just don’t forget about your users who desire simplicity and speed when completing tasks. Provide useful instructions and information where necessary to avoid people having to guess or ‘figure it out’ for themselves.
Regularly update your website content
Visitors give more credibility to sites that have been updated or reviewed recently.
Keep promotional content to a minimum (e.g. ads offers)
Avoid having ads on your site. If external ads must be included then clearly distinguish between these and your own content. Avoid pop ups, although common they are annoying and you will lose credibility points. When promoting your own offers do so sparingly in places where they are relevant.
Avoid errors of all types
Any typos or broken links reduce a site’s credibility more than most people think. It’s also important to keep your site up and running and ensure any integrations are up to date and working.
If you feel your website lacks credibility you can contact Dmac Media for a free assessment and recommendations.
Fogg, B.J. (May 2002). “Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.” A Research Summary from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. Stanford University. www.webcredibility.org/guidelines