Building a credible business presence on the internet means being able to answer this question in the minds of your visitors:
Does this site represent a real living business?
You have a very short amount of time to answer this question in your visitors minds, only seconds. The best way to give your website this credibility is to ensure that all four of the business credibility aspects have been built into your website.
- required pages
- site design and usability
- external proof
- living site
Visitors expect to see certain pages on a legitimate website. They expect to have the ability to make contact with the business behind the website, if something goes wrong how can I contact these people, if I need help how can I contact these people. People buy from people, you MUST give your visitors enough for them to know that there are legitimate people behind the scenes.
Examples of required pages are:
- legal pages (privacy, disclaimer, terms and conditions)
- information about the business and people behind the website
- contact details
Site Design and Usability
Visitors expect to see a modern website look and feel. In most cases also, a look and feel that they can be comfortable with. Weird and wacky website designs may make the web designer happy, but visitors will feel uncomfortable if things are not where they expect them to be. Is your website working across multiple devices? Have you tested it on mobile and tablets?
You may not be a big company like Coca Cola who can afford to spend millions of dollars on their brand and image … but on a website you want to look like you are as big as the bigger companies. It’s not expensive to have a logo designed, to have consistent colour, typography, look and feel across pages. To a big company the issues of corporate identity are big … but for a small company no one is going to remember your logo and select it out of a random selection and know it is yours. You have a logo because big companies have one, it doesn’t have to be perfect … you’re just giving the impression that your company is bigger than it really is.
It’s one thing to say things about yourself …. how you’re the better than everyone else … everyone knows to ignore that stuff. It’s another thing to have proof from the outside world that you are what you say you are. Things like testimonials, as seen in banners, badges from external organisations, all provide evidence to visitors that you are the real deal.
When I think of “living site” … the first image that comes to my mind is real estate agents windows that have faded photos on display. When was the last time they updated their window, it immediately gives the impression that these estate agents are not going to be professional and on the ball people … move onto the next real estate agent and don’t even bother to go inside
Your website needs to look alive and current. If you have a blog..that is a great way to add relevant new articles to your website BUT if you have a blog and the last article was posted 3 years ago when the website was built … then you’re showing the signs of death.
Using multi-media on your website is a great way of showing life and also bringing interactivity to your visitors experience. Images and video of real people from the business, real projects that have been undertaken, real case studies, commentary on current industry issues, all add to the vitality of the website.