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March 22, 2016

How To Build Up Your Website’s Trust Factor

how to build trust for your website

Those of you who have been following me around, knows that lately I have the tendency to compare marketing to the dating world, and trust definitely falls into this category as well.
We all know that the foundation for a good relationship is trust and that trust issues are relationship killers.

Visitors to your website, whether they are new or returning ones, are forming a relationship with your website, brand and products. You can do quite a few things to enhance the trust factor and eliminate any hesitations they may have (and most of these are even very simple to implement).
It’s even more crucial if you are in the e-commerce business because it will be the difference between a paying customer to just a visitor.

“Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned. “ (unknown)

The bigger your brand is, it’s obviously easier to showcase your trustworthy, but even smaller brands and starting businesses can create the same trust effect with these following tips and examples:

What are the things that create a trustworthy website?

We traditionally differentiate between security and reputation tactics when it comes to trust building:

Reputation Tactics – These are all of the things you can do with your website and communication that will proof to your website visitor that you are trustworthy. It usually revolves around external references but it also about making yourself more accessible and helpful:

1. Support – the best thing you can do for your website is to place a phone number on the top menu (and in other relevant places). It’s one of the first things a visitor will see and it immediately creates the impression of a serious business. It means that if users are worried about future support, you just eliminated it by letting them know you are there for them.

If you go down that path, it’s best to show a 1-800 (free) number or a landline number. Avoid placing a mobile number as it looks unprofessional. There are a lot of services that can forward the calls to your mobile phone instead.

bookotopia support phone number on website

AnyClass support phone Number on top


The next best thing you can do if you don’t want to hassle with phone calls is to point out to support and help. Jayride is a good example of making it very accessible:




But whatever you do, make sure you have a support chat in place. That’s the least you can do to make them feel safer. If you do it on top of highlighting the support number, you get extra bonus points.


2. Guarantees –  If you don’t have any guarantees in place it’s time to come up with at least one, and if you do have one – it’s time to show it off. “30 days money back guarantee, no questions asked”, “3 days shipping Australia wide”, “free shipping nation wide” etc are just some of the examples you can use. Make sure you have one you can actually stand behind and that it’s visible on your website. Use a badge, icon, ribbon, flag – whatever works with your website design but is highlighted enough. Here are 2 different examples of implementing it by Disrupt surfing and OurLittleFoxes.

OurLittleFoxes top Ribbon guarantee

Disrupt Guarantee Icons


3. As seen on – people feel safer when they see something familiar. They also perceive news sites/TV shows as authoritative information providers. Combine the two and your trustworthy level goes skyrocketing. Try to score different mentions or coverage in the major news outlets and TV shows and drop their logo on your website to score some trust point. It’s kind of like “name dropping”. You can even add this “as seen on” section to welcome/drip campaign emails, flyers, ads etc.




4. Partners – same as with “As seen on” – credibility level is growing higher with having familiar logos on the website. If I see that a company is already working with other well-known brands/major players in the market, I automatically assume that they must be the best service around (otherwise those big brands wouldn’t use this service…). If you have big names and numbers to show off – don’t be shy.
Pixc for example is providing online sellers with fast & affordable image background removal. As you can see, their partner’s section includes Shopify, Bigcommerece and Zibbet. If you were in the e-commerce business you would recognize these logo in a sec… that’s a trust builder in the e-commerce industry. You should find out which ones will build trust for your target audience.




5. Awards – I admit that this is something for more advanced companies. If your company did win an award don’t neglect putting the badge on your website/landing pages/ product pages/ emails etc…
Although not all reward badges would be highly recognisable for most users, the fact that it has the word “award” on it already says something about your product/service/company.
It means someone measured you against others and you won. Who wouldn’t pick a wining horse?
Aeratron for an example, smartly uses the awards on their product pages to enhance the trustworthy factor of their fans:


6. Reviews/Testimonials – these are very important especially for a user that is still in the research phase. Other then being an objective view of someone external, they can provide an additional layer of conveying a message in a human way. For example, when someone ELSE is saying “Holly (from Pixc) and her team have surpassed all of my expectations in quality and customer service” it sounds far more authentic, personal and exciting than if  YOU would  say “great customer support. You get quality results” etc..

Pixc Reviews for gaining trust


7. Social Proof – It’s like reviews and testimonials but in big numbers. If so many people choose your company, maybe I should choose it too???
It can be your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest followers count box or it can even simply be the number of people who are using your website/product (or used so far).
Jayride is again a great example for incorporating social proof using big numbers (plus all the rest of the stuff we mentioned so far):


8. No surprises please – leave surprises for birthday parties and keep your website surprise free! This includes additional shipping/other costs on cart page not mentioned before, fine print stuff popping up while/after payment processing etc. This is a sure way to loose the customer’s trust, add more work to your support team and earn bad social mentions. Do whatever you can to be as clear and upfront about the product, costs and process.

9. Post purchase communication – although it’s not something that has to do with your website directly, it’s as important as the website itself. It’s the after-effect of visiting your website which can determine the user’s likelihood to come back.
A good communication is basically letting the customer know you are on top of their order and that it’s in good hands. It can include emails like “we got your order”, “we just shipped your order”, “We’re sorry but there’s a delay in sending your order”, “we hope you’re happy with your order” etc…

Just think about the last time you bought something and all you got is the invoice… I don’t know what about you, but it makes me feel a bit uncertain as to when will I get the product (if at all), what’s the status etc. The more information I have regarding my purchase – the more secure I feel and the better the chances are I will buy from this store again.


Now let’s go over to the second type of tactics we can use:

Security Issues – I’m not a security expert so I’ll leave this to the professionals, but I do want to separate between the technical aspects of security and the visual ones:

The technical things would have to do with the actual private information protection, secure payment gateway, SSLs etc..
Assuming you have these in place, it’s now a question of how to present it to your website visitors:

10. Privacy Policy – Every website needs one, whether it’s for SEO or legal reasons, it shows you have a serious business that respects its customers. Most likely no one will read it but the fact it’s there is important enough

11.  Security Badges – As we said, it’s all about letting your users know your website is secure. That’s why it’s important to let them feel it is secured by showcasing the various tools you are using to protect them. The best place to place it will be a product page but in some cases you would need to place it on your home page, landing pages and any other relevant page on your website. It really depends on your website and the product you offer.
Bookotopia is a good example for using badges on the cart page, they even just added an icon of a lock to emphasise the fact you are on a secure page:

booktopia_secirty badge


And here is also some interesting info about the security badge “currency”:

security badges graph


12. FAQ question – if your FAQ page isn’t too long, you can always add a question like “how secure is your website?” and mention all the tools you are using.


To sum it all up, here is an example of someone who did their homework and listed almost everything discussed here on their footer, which means it carries on to the cart pages as well. Take a look at SneakingDuck‘s cart:

SneakingDuck Trust Factor Elements


Do you have another creative way to enhance the trust factor of a website? Do you have other good examples?

Feel free to discuss, question and suggest in the comment section below or tweet them @yifi.

May the trust be with you 😉

Photo credit: Mark Setchell
Yifat Shirben
Yifat Shirben
Yifat Shirben is an entrepreneurial marketer, with over a decade of international experience in marketing, branding, PR and business development within the innovation and entrepreneurial environment. As a former start-up founder herself, Yifat has developed a unique consumer-driven methodology to analyse and allow cost-effective, tailored made marketing strategies and solutions for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Yifat is also a director at Jayride (ASX:JAY)

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