Conversion Optimisation | Web Design

Trust makes your website work harder

Tom Garfield

Co-founder & MD, brand new notebook

Trust comes in many shapes and sizes, and it’s something you have to earn. If you’re building trust and relationships from the ground up, you need a good foundation — and people need reasons to trust you. The Nielsen Norman group constructed a hierarchy of trust that describes the levels of commitment your clients need to build a trusting relationship. 

Inspired by that handy pyramid, I’ve gathered 8 of my favourite trust-building techniques to help you generate more leads through your website by making it more trustworthy.

Ditch stock photos

One huge part of building trust is the face of a brand. And we know people buy from people, but there’s more to it than that. If your website is chock-full of cheesy stock photos, firstly — no one will know what you look like, and secondly, any potential leads will be so bored they’ll probably click off and go somewhere else. Somewhere that isn’t full of generic teams high-fiving or pointing at graphs.

Of course, sometimes stock photos are useful and can be the best option, but I’d always recommend real photos. So if you can, invest in a professional photoshoot. And if you can’t, then using a decent iPhone will give you better, more genuine pictures than anything you can find on a stock website. As long as you don’t copy the weird poses.

Make a video

So your customers know what you look like thanks to proper, authentic photos. But how do you sound? The next step in getting to know you — and trust you — is through video. Your tone, mannerisms, personality and character all shine through in video so much more than static photos. And it doesn’t need to be just you — if you’ve got a team, include them too. Office pets are an optional extra.

All the video ideas and none of the gear? Don’t worry. You can skip the fancy ring lights by using decent lighting you’ve already got — think side lamps or natural light from a window. And if you don’t happen to have a microphone, you can set up your iPhone on a tripod and, ta-da! A mini recording studio is yours.

Prove your claims

One of the easiest ways of being trustworthy is to prove your claims. Backing yourself up — and your business, too — will help to build trust like nothing else. Showcasing your best work through case studies make you and your client look great — a win-win situation. Fingers crossed you’ve got a juicy testimonial to accompany the case study, and add any screen grabs of live work or even video demos of your work in practice to back it all up. Don’t be afraid to ask your client for Google reviews or LinkedIn recommendations at the end of a project while the experience is still fresh in mind. That kind of social proof is hugely valuable for building trust. 

Share your prices

If you went into a shop, wanted to buy something but had to have a long and complicated conversation with the manager before they told you the price, you’d be out the door in no time. Your website shouldn’t be any different. If your pricing is top secret and only discoverable after a lengthy call process, you’ll be putting off potential leads  before they’ve even started. So make it easy for leads to convert by sharing your prices. 

I’ve seen the excuse that customised, bespoke services can’t have a ballpark figure, but I don’t buy it. Everyone has a typical price range they can share. If you can put your prices on your site, you should. And if you think you can’t, you probably can.

Whether you want to share a price range or a set cost, being transparent about your pricing is more likely to secure the leads you want, filter out the ones you don’t or who can’t afford you.

Make it easy to say yes

It’s a website, not a challenge. Don’t hide the important details or make things difficult for visitors. Make sure your contact buttons, unsubscribe buttons and any other way of getting in touch is simple to find and easy to use. It might sound weird, but if potential leads know they can opt out before they buy, it’ll make them trust you more.

Make your website work harder

No one loves a dodgy website. And if you neglect the small stuff, it’ll show. Between slow loading times, broken links, endless 404s and sketchy content, your website is a potential world of pitfalls. 

If clients see avoidable mistakes in your own work, that’s not a good start. Make it as easy as possible for anyone to navigate your website, find what they’re looking for and understand what you’re offering, mistake free. That way, your website can do all the hard work of converting leads to clients for you.

Avoid ‘salesy’ language

Hard sells don’t equal trustworthiness in my book. The more someone tries to convince me, the less I feel convinced. I believe in honest conversations. By sharing the value and benefits of what you do, leads and clients will be far more likely to form a relationship with you rather than end up feeling like they’re being sold to. Earn trust by skipping the pushy landing pages and urgency-scarcity language, and focus on truth and value.

Be consistent

Last but not least: consistency. It’s a key part of building trust for two reasons. One, your website, social media presence and personal brand will be predictable and identifiable wherever you are. And two, your clients will know exactly what to expect, because that consistency will be the foundation of the work you create for them. Where will consistency show up?

  • Tone of voice
  • Colour and font choices
  • Timings of posting content 
  • Size and scale of your pages
  • Even the buttons you pick have an impact

A strong, consistent brand will back up everything you create, for every client and every asset. You can expect to keep the same clients if they know what to expect from you. Because trust goes both ways.

What else would you add to the list of trust-building techniques?

Let me know! –