Credibility and online conversions go hand in hand. If visitors don’t view your website as being credible, they’ll be reluctant to make a purchase or facilitate the conversion process.
Here are some bad habits of web design and development that can kill a site’s credibility.
Not Using Consistent Brand Imagery
Sally heard about a money saving deal on Nike shoes from a co-worker. She went to the URL given to her and noticed that the colors and logos seemed off. She felt uneasy and decided to shop elsewhere online.
Your website is an extension of your business and its respective brand. When a visitor accesses your site, they should see your brand elements, such as logo, tagline, color scheme, etc.
If you fail to include these brand elements, or if you use unique features that users cannot find in other marketing material, it may have an adverse impact on your site’s credibility. So to make your website more trustworthy and credible, stick with your business’s existing brand elements.
If you use a particular style of logo on your other marketing material (e.g. brochure, social media, physical store, etc.), use the same logo on your website.
No Contact Information
Whether your website sells a physical product, a digital product or it generates “leads” like email signups, you need to include your contact information. A simple “Contact Us” page with your business’s name, address, email address and phone number will work.
Most visitors will never attempt to contact you, but just having this information displayed instills greater trust and confidence, which should prove useful in boosting conversions. Besides, it only takes a couple of minutes to toss up a contact page, so don’t overlook this step of web development.
Long Load Times
How long does it take the average visitor to load your website? If they are forced to wait for five, six seconds or longer, it can kill your site’s credibility. Users today expect websites to load in less than five seconds on average, and if it doesn’t, they may back out without following through with the conversion process.
Whether you are a professional web designer or someone who’s launching their first site, you should check out this CrazyEgg article and the recommendations listed. Implementing them in your site is relatively easy and can make a world of difference regarding load times.
Including photos on your website can improve its aesthetics while keeping visitors engaged and interested. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about adding photos to your site.
Janet needed a particular color of dress for a wedding. She went to several sites but was disappointed with the lack of “real” photos. She knew she was two sizes bigger than most models and wanted to see how the would dress fit for women her size. She found a local boutique website that allowed users to submit actual photos in the dresses. She found a dress she fell in love with and made a purchase within 15 minutes.
Webmasters assume that stock photos are the best solution, simply because they are cheap, readily available and look professional. However, studies show that non-professional photos tend to yield the greatest benefits for websites.
Instead of spending $2-$10 on a stock photo, pull out your camera or smartphone and take your own photos. Even if they look amateurish regarding quality, they will likely have a stronger impact on boosting your site’s credibility than cheesy looking stock photos.
Not Publishing New Content
When was the last time that you published new content to your website? If you haven’t released new material for several weeks or even months, you should probably invest the necessary time and resources to do so.
When a website fails to publish new content, visitors may assume that it’s no longer being maintained by the business, in which case they may stop following it. So, how often do you need to publish new content?
There’s no magic formula, as it varies depending on the niche and purpose. However, a good rule of thumb that works for most niches is to publish at least once piece of new content per week, more if you have the available time.
No External Links
It’s a good idea to include links to other websites and third-party sources to instill greater confidence and credibility. Without external links, visitors may view your website as being a one-way street.
Granted, you shouldn’t link to competitors’ websites, but you can still link to other authoritative sites and sources that don’t directly compete with your business. Furthermore, external links such as this may help to encourage higher search rankings and that alone should make it worth the necessary time and energy.
Using a ‘Free’ Template or Theme
Sure, using a free template or theme for your site’s design can save you a couple of dollars, but you have to ask yourself what it will cost you in the long run. Hundreds, possibly even thousands of other sites are using the same free design, which can water down the quality and credibility of your own site.
This issue is why business owners should invest in a custom, unique design for their website. The minimal investment of a unique design will prove to be well worth the cost in the long run, as it creates a positive image for your brand while helping visitors remember who you are and what you do.
Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Even the most seasoned webmasters and online journalists are bound to make a typo occasionally, but if it becomes a habit, it can reflect poorly on your site’s credibility. Before publishing any new content on your site, take a few minutes to go back over it and check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Browser-based spellcheck tools can help to some degree although you may want to use a separate service like Grammarly. Regardless, the bottom line is that you should check your content for mistakes before making it live; otherwise, it could reflect poorly on your site’s credibility while subsequently discouraging visitors from taking action.
These are just a few bad habits that can kill a website’s credibility.
Which of these habits are you guilty of doing? Let us know in the comments section below!