“75% of web users admit making judgments about the credibility of an organization based on the design of its web site” – BJ Fogg, Stanford Web Credibility Project
The Stanford University Web Credibility Project developed the 10 guidelines of web credibility based on three years of research that included over 4500 people. You should use these guidelines to improve the trustworthiness of your website.
Summary of the 10 Guidelines of Web Credibility
- Make it easy to verify information: By providing third party citations or links to the source data you make the information you present more believable.
- Show your organization is real: Provide evidence that you have a real business by posting a physical address, photos of your offices or listing your membership with the chamber of commerce.
- Highlight your expertise: If you have experts on your team, show their credentials. If you are affiliated with respected organizations, show and link to these. Links and associations with organizations that are not credible will damage your credibility.
- Real people behind the site: Show that there are honest and trustworthy people that stand behind the website through the use of photos, bios and listing their responsibilities.
- Make it easy to contact you: Clearly post your phone number, physical address and email address.
- Professional (appropriate) website design: People quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. This includes layout, typography, images and consistency. The visual design should be consistent with the site’s purpose.
- Useful and easy to use: Website should be both easy to use and useful. It is not about dazzling the visitor with graphics and technology.
- Update content often: Websites that were recently updated or at least reviewed are trusted more.
- Minimize promotional content: Minimize offers and ads. Content should be written in a clear, direct and sincere style. Avoid the use of hype.
- Avoid errors of all types: Typographical errors, broken links or your website being down hurt a site’s credibility.