The growing number of websites is both an opportunity and a challenge. Nowadays, users are getting aware of dangers coming from misinformation, lack of data security, and proper website protection. And as a publisher, you should be mindful of that fact and respond to it by meeting these arising needs of your visitors. Website credibility helps to retain your users for longer by gaining their trust. In turn, this leads to traffic boost and better monetization results. But it will not happen just like that – you need to aid it! How? Read this article to find out!
What is website credibility?
Users need evidence that your website is truthful, and they can depend on the information they find on it. Readers, when opening a website for the first time, are just like a judge starting each new case with a dose of distrust. They will always question everything they find confusing. That is why you need to advocate your website’s trustworthiness. Don’t sow the seeds of uncertainty and take care of your website’s credibility!
Credibility refers to a multidimensional idea aiming to prove to users that your content is reliable. We can distinguish four kinds of website credibility:
The first one is based on a collection of positive experiences that a user had with the website in the past. Earned Credibility, which cannot be done overnight, needs patience from a publisher to be created within his readers. Helpful information, no errors, and maintenance of a high level of satisfactory User Experience can significantly influence it.
Contrary to Earned Credibility – Reputed Credibility is not based on direct user-website interaction. This time, a mediator decides if a given website is worth a reference. By mediator, I mean an unbiased observer, e.g., a friend, parent, partner, or anyone that a potential user of a website knows. This mediator visited a website before this potential user and already has some feedback on it. Considering this, the mentioned user may already have some set, expected credibility level on the website (even if he has never seen it.) This type of review is vital and determines what reputation a website has. That is why a publisher should never underestimate word of mouth – it may have the most potent power!
Presumed Credibility is a relative term to Reputed Credibility, as both are not a result of direct website-user contact. This one can be achieved by having your brand mentioned in trustful sources of information. It can be an article in a widely-read newspaper, a review on a YouTube channel, or a brief reference in a podcast that the user listens to. All these simple actions will help to gain Presumed Credibility. However, as easy as it is to achieve this form of reputation, it’s equally easy to lose it. When it comes to this kind of credibility – results can be very unpredictable. The source and context of the mentioned recommendation are essential as they can be interpreted differently depending on the person mentioning your website. Be careful who and how presents your content. One innocent piece of information may be seen as very controversial when said with bad intentions and in an unwanted context.
The last kind of website’s trustworthiness is Surface Credibility. As the name suggests – it refers to surface-level, subjective users’ opinions. It is all about design, looks, and more general feelings connected with a website. But don’t be fooled! This method of assessment is as vital as those mentioned before. People tend to estimate a website’s quality and evaluate its reliability within seconds after opening it. So don’t omit it!
The best way to gain trust would be to combine all the aforementioned kinds of credibility. But what aspects should you take into consideration first? We made a list of actions you can perform to test the credibility of your website – check them up!
Website Credibility checklist
- Ensure the website looks professional and is well-designed;
- Get every element of it into logical order;
- Make sure that the website’s content is updated;
- If there is a need – provide an archive of previous content pieces;
- Try to answer users’ reviews or opinions and always keep it cool and classy even if those are negative – remember that your answers are seen by others and can greatly influence their mindset;
- Insert testimonials of satisfied users when applicable – for the publishers having some extra content pieces e.g. e-books, videos, podcasts, additional articles, or other products;
- If you take part in contests or your work is anyhow distinguished by some industry authorities – put all your certificates, prizes, badges, and honorable mentions on the website in a visible place;
- List all your trusted partners, the more reputable – the better;
- If you are already operating in the industry for some time – don’t forget to mention it! People appreciate years of expertise and experience;
- Provide data security assurance (HTTPS and SSL) required in a relevant country and area. When you want users to reveal some information while subscribing to your newsletter or buying some products, it’s a must;
- Add a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answer them attentively;
- Always check if you link only to trustful resources;
- Check if your website is mentioned only in the other credible sources. To test it, you can use external tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Majestic SEO;
- If possible, avoid anonymous posts. A piece of content gains a considerable credibility boost when signed up. And if the author is a specialist in the matter, remember to add a short résumé of his experience under the text;
- If your budget allows you to, consider advertising your content on social media;
- Try not to force your users to do unnecessary registration on your website; it’s always shady to give away personal data right after entering a platform;
- Test your website in terms of errors, navigation, quality of content, and responsiveness. Your website should be well-optimized to be perceived as a credible one.
Before you put that into practice
Although I presented you with a ready-to-use list, there is no unique recipe for success in a credibility area. Every website has its unique way of staying trustworthy. And this doesn’t mean that showed methods will certainly keep up the website’s credibility appearances. Nothing could be further from the truth! Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Thus, everything depends on the final impressions of people visiting your website. So, stay authentic and speak your truth – proper credibility website optimization will prove to the users that you are worthy of their attention, and they can trust you. And that is how you can gain a loyal audience that will keep coming back!