Credibility – What is a Credible Website

Credibility is one of the most critical factors affecting your online business success. Before anyone will buy from you, your website or company needs to be seen as credible. This means that consumers can purchase from you and not worry about the safety of their credit card or personal information. It also means that they trust that your product will do everything you claim it will.

Being credible is simply the perception of being trustworthy and believable. While this is important for any type of website, it is especially so for Ecommerce sites. It takes much more to get people to trust in your Sales page’s product claims than to trust what is written on a Content page.

Credibility Indicators

Acquiring the visitor’s trust is not that difficult. It is just a matter of presenting a professional online image. The most powerful credibility builder is a high quality website. Some of the keys to a high quality website that have been discussed already are:

  1. Professional design – Project a high level of professionalism through your site design.
  2. Usability – Make it easy to use and navigate your site.
  3. Consistency – Aim for a consistent page design, writing style and product quality.
  4. Efficiency – Provide fast downloads, page response times, email responses and delivery time.
  5. Lack of errors – Make sure your site code is error free and that your content is spell checked.
  6. Useful – Providing free and useful information will by extension make your products seem more reliable.
  7. Frequent updates – People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.
  8. Brand – A brand represents a level of quality that customers may recognize and trust.

For more information, see this document on what makes websites credible.

Secure Ordering

Your Ecommerce website must offer secure online ordering. If you are processing your customers’ orders online, you need to place the order from a secure server. This will protect your customers’ personal information and give your customers added confidence in placing an order with you. In addition, make sure to let your visitors know that their information will be securely processed. You may also want to register for a security provider, such as VeriSign or Trust-e, and display their logo prominently.

Alternatively, you can let PayPal or similar companies handle your customers’ payments. Through this method you will make use of PayPal’s credibility, so your site will need less trust for the buy. The customer will feel safer to make the purchase since they know your website will never see their credit card number.

Guarantees

A strong guarantee will provide your visitor with greater confidence to purchase your product. Try to make your guarantee simple and without too many conditions. Always honor your guarantee without question or delay and with complete professionalism.

Guarantees can do three things: increase sales, enhance value and reduce returns. They increase sales because they reduce the risks associated with the purchase. The stronger the guarantee the larger the increase of sales. Secondly, guarantees enhance the perceived value of the product by showing that you are willing to stand by your product claims. The third thing guarantees will do is to reduce returns since they make the customer feel more comfortable with their purchase.

The guarantee will not cause you to lose money. People very rarely go to the trouble of returning items they have purchased. You will only have to reimburse a few people, but you will have many more ordering from you as a result of the guarantee. Here are some examples of guarantees:

  • Money back guarantee – If the customer regrets their purchase, allow them to send it back for a full refund within a period of time. The standard is 30 days, but the longer the guarantee is the fewer refunds you will typically receive.
  • Low price guarantee – If a customer buys from you and then finds the product at a lower price elsewhere, offer to refund them the difference.
  • Lifetime guarantee – If the product is not working properly, let the customer send it back for repair free of charge.
  • Upgrade guarantee – If a new version of your product is released within a period after a customer’s purchase, offer to upgrade their version for free.

Testimonials

A testimonial is a statement from a happy customer saying how your product has helped them. They can be a powerful way to generate trust and thus increase sales, because they provide evidence that you have already delivered what you promise to other customers. Be sure to include your customer’s name and location with each testimonial to increase its believability. Another good idea is to post real pictures of your happy customers next to their testimonials.

Getting Testimonials

If you have an excellent product, the chances are high that some of your customers have already sent you positive comments which you can use for your testimonials. If not, there are ways to elicit such feedback. One effective technique is to run a customer feedback survey. In this survey, encourage your customers to describe how your product has helped them in their own words. The survey can also be used to collect other valuable data, such as suggestions on how to improve your product.

After you have run your survey and found some positive comments, ask those customers for permission to publish them. It is great if they allow their full name, location and even a picture of themselves to be published along with their comment, as that increases the testimonials’ believability. If they shy away from this, however, ask to just publish their comment together with, for example, their first name and last initial.

Never make up testimonials to enhance your credibility, as you may be caught out and discredited. If nobody will give you positive feedback, something is wrong with your product. Improve it and try again.

Where to Use Testimonials

Take the time to compile the positive feedback received into a customer testimonials page on your site. This page should be linked to from each of your Sales pages. Prominently display a few of your best testimonials on your Sales pages and even on your front page. Another great place to use testimonials is in areas of your site that are common abandonment points, such as checkout and shipping pages.

If you have gathered quite a few testimonials, you will probably have a different comment to suit all the major Sales pages on your site. Use those that are the most convincing to potential customers. The most effective testimonials are those that describe a specific result your customer has enjoyed by using your product.