12 trust signals for your websitePublished: July 16, 2020 | Last updated: April 5, 2023
With the right tools, an easy to use homepage can be created quickly and easily. Technically experienced fraudsters are well aware of this and use fake shops to scam trusting users for their money. Therefore it is all the more important to make your own website as trustworthy as possible. After all, digital trust cannot simply be established in a conversation. The next competitor is only one click away. We show how it works - using the example of Germany's oldest organic farming association: Demeter.
Even those who do not know Demeter will immediately learn that Demeter was founded in 1924 and that their quality standards go far beyond the requirements of the EU Organic Regulation. The entire homepage design harmonises with the eco-theme and the headline "You eat trust". Contact details, including a telephone number, are clearly integrated in the central navigation. Separate contact persons are displayed with friendly, personable photos. Social media channels bring the association to life. Renowned cooperation partners of Demeter are prominently presented. All this builds trust.
Another example of the skilful use of trust signals: The German mattress dispatch company bett1. A tidy, simple design: you can see a mattress as well as the certificate "test winner" from Stiftung Warentest, which is highlighted in large letters. In the menu bar, an easy mattress test is offered and a seal presents a very positive customer feedback. The website also refers to praising press reports from well-known national media such as ZDF, SPIEGEL, Stern and Süddeutsche Zeitung. It is easy to contact them: by phone and e-mail.
Both examples can be distilled into 12 trust signals for your trustworthy website.
12 trust signals for your website
- Keep it short and sweet: There is no second chance for a good first impression. Convincing websites fulfil the following three criteria within a few moments: attractiveness, clarity and emotions. They should be clear, easy to use - that's what everyone wants. An emotional spark should also be ignited: The user should feel comfortable, be in good hands - their expectations should be met.
- Topicality: Trustworthy websites must be up-to-date. This does not only include relevant texts - design and functions should also be modern. So: current news instead of a news section with two-year-old texts and chat or contact form instead of e-mail without link.
- Contact details: What applies to traditional retail is at least as important online: customers want direct feedback when problems arise. Be approachable! Offer contact forms, chats, free hotlines and prominently display the contact options.
- Seals of quality and certificates: Well visibly placed, renowned seals and certificates show: There are no risks here. We recommend established, well-known seals of approval from renowned institutes or testing organisations whose reliability nobody doubts and which almost everyone knows.
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- Easy navigation: Users should be able to find their desired information within seconds. The human brain can memorize a maximum of five information units simultaneously. So there should not be more navigation points. It is best if the points are not subdivided. If they are: Use a maximum of two levels - more is too much.
- List references: Word of success gets around. But it is worthwhile help along a bit - for example by presenting references on the website. This increases your own trustworthiness. Important: The menu item references is easy to find. Pictures and videos provide a look behind the scenes: What kind of project was implemented and what was your role in it.
- Authentic customer voices: Like references, customer testimonials are a valuable asset in building trust. Satisfied buyers of a product or users of a service can be represented via rating systems (e.g. stars, points). Even better: customers can also have their say individually and authentically with a picture and their name. A small video is also conceivable; gladly taken with the mobile phone camera at home. This again underlines the authenticity of the customer's voice. The ne plus ultra: regionally, nationally or internationally prominent consumers talk about your product or service on your website.
- Simple language: Short sentences. Comprehensible wording. Writing with verbs instead of nominal style. One statement per sentence. Explain technical terms. These rules help not only to understand but also to convert. If a small schoolchild can understand the texts, they are just right. After all, it is the task of a trustworthy website to ensure that as many users as possible understand the contents of the site.
- Humanity, showing face: Company founder, employees of different departments: They should all show their faces on the homepage. People are interested in people. Insights into everyday office life, stories about products or services or about the team behind them builds emotional closeness. This increases trustworthiness.
- Give warranties: Consumers know that a product can also break down or that a service does not always meet expectations. Trust is created when you compensate for such uncertainties with warranties. The warranties should be directly visible on the website and easy to use. Nobody wants to read endless legal phrases or complicated small print. A warranty should apply to specific cases without any ifs and buts. Otherwise the trustworthiness suffers.
- Technically innovative: Fast loading times, ease of use coupled with technical refinements such as product configurators, live chats, free demos: this turns a website visit into an experience and builds trust.
- Memberships: Are you active in well-known associations, federations or action groups? Show it to your visitors - and also tell them how long you've been involved: That creates trust.
Offer product samples or trials: Your products and services are really good? Most customers like to see for themselves: with a demo, product sample or something similar. Transparency creates trust.
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