I know it's not easy to start an online biz. You have to pay attention to so many things: build your brand, your website, create products and promote yourself on social media.
When you plan your blog or website, it's essential to focus on building your long-term reputation and outline and use the tools you can build trust with.
You'll earn more if people trust you. More attention, love, and more money.
In this post I listed 30 tips to enhance your online credibility.
Disclaimer: you might not be able to use all of them right from the start - make sure you rethink what you can do to build trust on your website and grow your arsenal of tools.
1. Have a pro design
You won't believe it if I tell you that you have 5 milliseconds to make a good first impression with your website and brand identity.
Whaaaat? That's a tiny little piece of a second, right? So make sure you have a website that's visually engaging to your audience.
With so little time to persuade somebody of your worth, you should also create a website that's functional. So before starting your biz, go and plan your online strategy (I have a gorgeous and free workbook for that).
Think over what's the purpose of your website and what is the goal you want your visitors to reach. (Hopefully some kind of conversion - at least an email address or an order.)
2. Register your own domain
Having your own domain name instead of a free subdomain (like yourname.freeprovider.com) makes your biz more serious.
Registering a domain doesn't cost much, so you should definitely own one right from the start.
3. Pay attention to your site's load time
Slow means go. If your site loads slowly, people won't wait. So choose your hosting company wisely - cheap rarely means good.
Optimize your site (if you have WordPress, have a caching plugin) and optimize your images too.
A one-second delay in your load time means about 7% drop in conversions. Yeah, I know, right? That's a lot. So have a fast loading site, promise?
There are free tools that help you check this, I recommend GTmetrix.
4. Make sure it's personal
Make it clear the first minute who's behind your site. Have a photo - an amazing one - and have an About page where you share some personal info about yourself.
If you have a team, show everybody's face with a short bio revealing their expertise.
When writing the content, use your own voice. Even a serious biz can be humorous too at times.
5. Talk to your audience
Use language that's appropriate to your audience. Tap into their problems, talk about them and, of course, offer solutions.
If you did your homework (planned your online strategy), you know who you are talking to, you know what they're influenced by.
Use the terms they use and they understand. Answer the questions they often ask - e.g in blog posts, Q&A sessions, on Periscope.
6. Add new content regularly
Not only new but useful (tips, how-to guides).
Offer free cheat sheets, checklists, workbooks - anything that sounds useful to your audience. (This has an amazing power to grow your email list too!)
Solve problems. Again sayin'.
Make sure you write to real people and not to search engines. SEO is important, but today's SEO is mostly about people and not about keywords.
7. Allow people to comment
What's more: ask them to comment. Ask a question at the end of your posts, ask about their opinion or other solutions they have for the problem you're writing about.
Seeing previous comments skyrockets your credibility: there are people reading this, people who like this site, people asking questions and getting answers.
Don't forget to answer comments on your site. Use the person's name to make your answer personal.
If you get criticism: support your own point of view without putting down the author of that comment.
8. Link to trustworthy external sources
Are you afraid to link to external sites? Don't be. It's good for SEO - just make sure you link to trustworthy sources and authors. 1-2 external links per article can't do any harm.
Set the target attribute to _blank so that the link opens in a new tab. This way people can navigate back to your site if they click on the external link.
9. Show your experience
If your business isn't new or you have some experience in your field, show it to the visitors with an effective tagline: proudly serving creative women since 2008.
You can also display the number of your customers.
If you achieved quick success and you managed to grow since then, share that.
10. Share the number of your followers
Social media following can serve as a great proof of your credibility.
Share the numbers on your site together with the number of your email list subscribers or members your Facebook group, if they're high enough. (If you've just started, don't - be patient and focus on growing your list and your club.)
11. Testimonials and product reviews
Put testimonials and/or positive product reviews on your site. I mean real ones. Better if you link to the person's site if they have one. Ask your customers to allow you to use their photo too.
You can embed tweets with a positive opinion.
Ask people to send you a video review.
If you want to sell something on your page, these are a must to establish trust.
12. Mentions in the Press
Have you published articles in magazines or on famous sites connected to your topic? Of course, show these to your audience.
You can place the logos on your site or have a page where you link to your publications if you have more.
Did you win awards? Be proud and display them on your site.
It depends on your biz whether it should be in a prominent position - a young biz should show off their awards.
But don't display them if it's a no-name award from another mommy blogger - sorry, that won't build your credibility.
14. Display logos of partners/clients
Have you worked with famous partners or do you have satisfied clients who successfully used your method?
Ask them to let you display their logos on your site.
15. Offer free downloads
Share what you know and offer value to people. If you compile an e-book or worksheets and give them for free, people will come back to you more happily. You shouldn't necessarily ask for even an email address in exchange. (I've written about this technique in more detail in this post.)
Make sure you don't disappoint people: if you promise to tell your secrets about how you improve your photography, don't just offer keyboard shortcuts in your pdf and nothing else.
They won't know what to do with them. If you say "secrets", then tell your secrets.
16. Make unsubscribe easy
As email marketing is still a must-do in the online world, don't let people leave your site without sharing their email address with you. Place your opt-in form in your header, in your sidebar, after your blog posts, and offer content upgrades.
When they subscribe, make it clear that you let them unsubscribe with one click if possible. Don't annoy people with writing you emails or with a complicated process if they want to unsubscribe.
17. Have a Contact page
To be easily contactable is a must if you want to build trust and relationships in the online world.
Have a separate page with your contact info or, at least, a form where visitors can send you a message.
18. Review your links
Make sure you have inbound links from trustworthy sources.
It can hurt your SEO if you have URLs linking to you from sites whose topic is irrelevant considering yours. Be careful with link building.
19. Check your grammar and spelling
I'll tell you a secret: this is a hard thing for me, as English isn't my mother tongue (shhh, don't tell anyone! ;)).
I use Grammarly to check what I write or ask a native speaker to read it.
Always read through your articles or posts before hitting the publish button - a good idea is to do it backward.
You can do proofreading after having a few hour rest or even after a night. With a fresh mind you can spot mistakes more easily.
20. Share how you work
Nothing builds your credibility better than sharing your work process with others.
Write case studies or show how your product is made. (Don't forget to post photos!)
You can share how you take up clients, what questions you ask them, how you help people, what tools you use. The list is endless.
21. Promote your membership
If you're a member of an honorable association or club, show off you're part of it.
You can start a virtual club with your blogger BFFs or your mastermind group to promote each other.
Take other people's personal data (eg. email address) seriously.
Tell people if you share their data with somebody else (don't, if you don't have permission!).
If you are in the EU, you have to follow special regulations.
Place your policy page link in the footer of your site.
Terms are essential if you offer products on your page. Break down the whole process of ordering in a detailed description.
23. Display your guarantee
Do you sell products? Do you have a money-back guarantee? Show it to visitors with a beautifully designed badge.
Do you have a subscription that people can cancel anytime? Tell them.
24. Refunds: make it clear
Do you offer refunds? You don't? Either way, tell people.
They should know what to expect.
25. Make pricing transparent
Some people are afraid to display prices on a website.
Of course you do it when you have a shop but offering a service some tend to hide the price.
Don't. Your prices can even position you - don't be too cheap, respect your value. Attract the right customers who are willing to pay your price.
26. Have a secure website
Do you have an e-commerce site? Make it secure using an SSL certificate and display the seal.
On Squarespace, the e-commerce pages are protected with SSL encryption (to ensure your customers’ credit card data is safe and secure).
27. Payment logos
Alternative payment methods on your site can build trust.
If your visitor doesn't want to share their credit card data with you, the chance for buying is bigger if they can pay using Paypal, Stripe or a similar service.
Display their logo on your site so people see they have a choice.
28. Customer service
If you offer products or subscriptions, have an outstanding customer service.
You can offer a chat on your site or a ticket system if you have a huge number of customers. The faster you answer the more satisfied customers you'll have.
Display the time period within which your customer can expect an answer.
29. Detailed product description
If you sell products or offer courses, make sure you have a detailed description showing every information.
Benefits are important - start with these - but don't forget the features either. If you sell a planner, show the available sizes, the number of pages etc. (It happened to me that I couldn't find these data. It would be nice to know, wouldn't it?)
30. Relevant adverts
If you display ads or affiliate products on your site, make sure they're relevant to your site or topic.
Don't recommend a hosting company if you sell jewelry. You don't necessarily want to display your competitor's ads either.
Do you use these on your site? Can you add any tips to this list? Share it in a comment!