Website 101 – Your Website Credibility Checklist

 Website 101: These 30 quick tips can help improve your website and exposure online!

  1. Web design counts. Visitors will ‘judge’ your website so be sure to make your website attractive, trustworthy and professional. I liken your website homepage to a handshake – it’s your first introduction – make it count.
  2. Make it very easy to contact you. ‘Contact’ link should be always in your navigation menu as the very last link. If your business depends on incoming calls be sure to have your phone number easily visible as well.
  3. Be relevant and current. A website that displays relevant information to the visitors is instantly more credible. Tailor content to your visitors and consumers and if possible their profile and behavior.
  4. Use simple language. People need to understand what is written on your website. Write how you talk using the same language your customers do.
  5. Correct spelling. Grammar is a must and incorrect spelling certainly makes you seem less credible.
  6. Link to external websites that reference you or your organization. If CBC, the Globe and Mail or the National Post has written about you, link to the stories. Having outlets (even small ones) feature you is always a good thing.
  7. Provide staff bios and photos. People don’t trust anonymous websites.
  8. Avoid cheesy stock photos. Be sure all photos on your website have a purpose.
  9. Visible return and refund policies. What happens if I’m not happy with your service? People want to know the answer in advance before making a purchase.
  10. Don’t ask for too much information on web forms. Web forms are a natural part of a website, but only ask for information you need. Every extra box reduces participation.
  11. Support your statements. Use third-party evidence, neutral experts or verified (scientific) studies. Sources and testimonials are key.
  12. Avoid superlatives. Don’t say you’re the best, no one is going to believe you. Be more descriptive and specific (e.g. “Fastest pizza delivery in town” vs “We deliver your pizza in 10 minutes”).
  13. Explain your products. Make sure visitors have enough information to make a reasonable conclusion about your product and/or service.
  14. Show prices. Many companies decide not to display their prices and encourage customers to contact instead. Prices can help drive sales.
  15. Show your client list. Customers don’t want to be the only one. Numbers and names can help build credibility.
  16. Show a link to a reputable organization. Are you connected, partnered or networked to a university, a governmental agency, a research lab, or another reputable organization? Perhaps you’re service provider, reseller, partner, sponsor, advisor, etc.?  
  17. Testimonials are money. Not literally, but testimonials work well if they’re by real people. This means photos, full names, what they do, and their employer. Celebrities or well-known people are better and video testimonials are the best.
  18. Case studies & portfolios are great examples of your work. Use these to demonstrate your benefits, expertise and explain why you’re different.
  19. Bring on the reviews. People trust reviews and look for them; take Amazon as an example.
  20. Are your payments safe? Provide the information about your secure payment options.
  21. Maintain your news sections and blog.  It shows that you keep your site updated and provide free recommendations and expertise. If you can’t regularly update your news or blog you should either not have one, or remove the dates.
  22. Guest blog. This is basically the same as the previous point. If your users have come across your posts on blogs they read, you’ve more credible to them. Also, you can mention and link to the blogs that have your posts.
  23. Add a career page. A must have if you need new staff, want to expand, or build credibility.
  24. Make sure it works. Dead links, non-functional forms or pages and anything else that might seem ‘broken’ will decrease credibility and the number of visitors.
  25. Build a social community. Use social media and blogs to encourage commenting and conversation online. Having an active Twitter account or Facebook page will show that there are real people behind the organization.
  26. Keep Ads, and blinking banner ads to a minimum. Too many ads kill the experience and make the visitor feel second place. Remember loud sites and pop-ups scary away visitors.
  27. Website speed. If your website is slow and seems to takes forever to load (10+ seconds) visitors will doubt and leave.
  28. Google Counts, Literally. Search engine optimization (SEO) is key. Search yourself and see where you rank with Google. Being on the 1st page counts and so does anything else that comes up about your company.
  29. Don’t put too much content on one page. Don’t describe everything you do, and you can’t optimize more than 3 search keywords per site.
  30. Just don’t overdo it. Keep it simple.