When it comes to encouraging potential customers to buy from you, it's actually not as different from the high street as you might think.
When you're out shopping with a friend, you're far more likely to trust the shop that 'looks right'; that gives off a good level of professionalism, permanency and pizzazz. By contrast, you're probably not going to enter the shop that looks dirty, shady and a little like it only moved in yesterday with the shelves half empty!
It's the same with websites. If your site doesn't give off the right impression, it can cost you serious sales; which isn't a good thing at all. In fact, most first-time visitors aren't likely to make a purchase anyway... but that's okay. The important thing is to inspire them to feel safe and secure about coming back; time and time again.
Here are a few pointers on how to create trust and loyalty through your web design.
Get the layout right
According to the Stanford Credibility Project, nearly half of all consumers judge the credibility of a site, based on its layout and aesthetic appeal. That's a lot of people that you need to impress with good visual design! When seeking inspiration for your layout, look to the trusted businesses in your field. Take notes about their designs. You can also look at websites that you trust and buy from. What makes you trust them? Chances are you'll notice certain similarities; well presented information, clear graphics, uncluttered pages, and so on.
If you want to win new business, it's important to demonstrate confidence in your own products or services. Offer a level of guarantee; for example, 30 day no-quibble returns, or complete refund if they're unsatisfied with any aspect of the service. If you think your product is great and you have faith in it, make sure they know it!
It's so important to collect good reviews and testimonials, and to display them proudly on your site. After all, you've worked hard to get positive feedback, and you should use it to let the rest of the world know that you provide a great service. Check out this post on How to get killer testimonials for your busiess.
Get the right tone
It's important to use the right 'voice' on your site. It needs to be friendly without losing any professionalism, approachable without being 'chummy', and authoritative without being bossy. Use of quality images will also make you look more professional. This article will help you: 4 Steps to Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice.
Make sure your website contents are current. If the latest item on your "News" page is 5 years old, you need to dust off the cobwebs.
Show your face
People like to do business with real people rather than faceless entities. People are more likely to trust what you have to say about your products and services if you are willing to show your face.
Don't fall into the trap of copying your competitor or someone famous in your field. Be authentic and be yourself. Share personal stories. How much you share is up to you. Start gently, and experiment with what feels right to you. If you aim to never betray your instincts or try to be someone you're not, you'll find that your clients respond positively to your genuine, relatable approach.
What puts you off about certain sites when you're looking to make an online purchase or work with someone? Do share your thoughts, it would be great to hear them.