We’ve all been there: ready to make an online purchase, card in hand and search engine revving, and then we stumbled across a potential online store so inhospitable that a virus scan seemed necessary just to check out its wares. What’s worse than running across one of these sites while making a purchase? Actually owning one! But don’t worry: any online business can design a website that makes its shoppers feel comfortable enough to enter in their payment or credit card information. Check out the 4 tips below to ensure an excellent, trust-worthy reputation for your website.
List Contact Information on All Pages
One major consumer complaint aimed at e-commerce websites is that many lack visible contact information. What’s worse than a company that wants your credit card information but won’t supply at least a support email address? The answer: not much. Make sure your contact information is clearly displayed on each page of your website. One easy way to achieve this without much effort is to include your support email address or phone number in the header of your website template.
Respond to Questions Quickly and Efficiently
It’s not enough to simply list your contact information on your website — you’ll need to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. If you don’t, you run the risk of negative reviews online and an overall poor reputation as a seller. Your reputation can be your biggest obstacle to overcome in the digital sphere if it erodes; it will take much more time and effort to address all online complaints and overcome bad reviews in search results than it will to simply respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
The best rule of thumb to go by is to respond to all inquiries within 1 business day. If your level of inbound inquiries is too high to achieve this, then set up an auto-responder to all incoming emails to let the senders know you’re experiencing high email volumes and the timeframe in which you anticipate a response.
Let Others Do the Talking
While most Internet users aren’t concerned with the backend technicalities of security socket layers (SSL) or trust certificates, they do recognize both SSL and trust seals as a way to recognize secure, trustworthy websites. There are a multitude of site seal providers on the Internet, including Norton, McAfee, TRUSTe, Better Business Bureau, Thawte, Trustwave, GeoTrust, and Comodo. Most site seals require website owners to purchase a certificate once per year; these range from free to $1,000 annually, and research has shown it’s best to choose a recognizable seal to boost your security and the image it provides.
While site seals may seem like an insignificant factor in the average Internet user’s decision-making process, the benefit you’ll gain in conversions is well worth the cost. But which should you choose — an SSL or a trust seal? Neither appears to be more important to consumers than the other. For your own peace of mind, it may be worth your while to invest in both types of seals for technical security as well as proof of identity.
Good Design Matters
Have you ever been to a website that just seemed…off? Perhaps its color scheme was too bright and “loud,” the web copy was full of typo, or it looked its last update was in the ‘90s (complete with scrolling banners and pop up advertisements)? Every design and copy error detracts from the credibility of your website — below are a few best practices to sidestep common design mistakes.
- Incorporate unique imagery: Everyone has seen the same old stock photos and graphics that have been circulating for the past three decades. Use original images wherever possible, and make sure each of your images play into your brand’s theme as a whole. Image from Death to the Stock Photo
- Use complementary colors: Neon green font on a black background is not only difficult to read for very long, but it also resembles something a novice designer would put together. Research color theory and how it applies to your target audience, then incorporate those colors in a professional manner. Want to see examples of excellent design? Check out Dribbble for inspiration! Image from Web Designer Depot
- Edit your copy twice: When you’ve finished writing something for your website, check it once by yourself for mistakes, and then ask a friend or colleague to edit as well to ensure your copy contains perfect grammar and spelling.