Does your small business’s website have the look of an ethical, legitimate operation? You don’t want your business to give customers the wrong impression. Making a few tweaks to your online profile can help consumers feel confident you’re a trustworthy business.
The content of your website isn’t the only thing that matters. Its user-friendliness is important as well. Speed, safety and ease of navigation are all factors that impact customers’ opinions of your operation. Your website is often the first impression a consumer has of your business, so it’s a primary step toward building trust.
Better Business Bureau put together the following checklist for making sure your small business’ website appears and operates in a way consumers can trust:
- Secure your website. A trustworthy business ensures its website has the capability to safeguard privacy and protect consumers’ sensitive information, especially if they are making purchases. Consumers look for the security lock and the “s” in HTTPS to signal the website is safe. Check the security features of your website host and look into an SSL certificate for added protection.
- Be mindful of pop-ups. Pop-ups are a great way for businesses to promote a sale or ask for emails in exchange for a discount. Be strategic about when pop-ups appear – for example, after clicking a specific link. Pop-ups that appear as soon as a consumer lands on your website are a nuisance and will very likely be ignored. Pro tip: Introduce pop-ups ads that use a reasonable amount of space, don’t cover main content areas and are easily dismissible.
- Be accessible and reachable. Consumers want to ensure they can reach you if an issue arises. Be sure to provide an official business address, phone number, email, and hours of operation. A trustworthy business is responsive and addresses marketplace issues quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
- A clear return and service policy will help solidify a consumer’s purchasing decision. A trustworthy business is transparent in their business practices so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises. Consumers want to know what their options are in case they need to return an item or there is an issue with the service, before committing.
- Time how long it takes for your website to load. Consumers can get impatient if a website takes too long to load. In fact, it’s now a variable Google will soon factor into its search rankings. If your website is slow, you may be hosting files – images, videos or slideshows – on your main page that are too large. You can test your website’s performance using Google’s user-friendly tool, PageSpeed Insights.
- Use your own original images. Scammers tend to copy and paste professional images from official, big-name websites to pass off products as their own. Savvy consumers know to perform a reverse image search to verify whether the same image is used on multiple websites. If you aren’t able to use images of your own, purchasing stock images is a viable option too. Additionally, images of you and your team go a long way toward building trust.
- Eliminate major grammatical errors. Typos aren’t a good look. A lack of detail reflects poorly on your team, and wording mistakes are often the mark of an illegitimate operation. Ensure all the content living on your page is concise, informative, and grammatically correct. A clean, professional website builds credibility for your business.
- Show off your BBB Accreditation Seal. The Better Business Bureau Accreditation Seal demonstrates that a business is committed to upholding ethical business practices. If you’re an Accredited Business, it’s important to let consumers know they can trust your team.
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