One factor in keeping visitors on your site – and getting them to return, is undoubtedly the credibility factor. The more credible your site is – and by extension, your company – the higher the chances of a visitor visiting for long enough, or returning often enough, to do business with you.
Studies have shown that the four major keys to credibility are reality, details, familiarity and reliability.
A connection with the real world – a physical business address and telephone number on your web site, gives your potential customers the reassurance that you are really there. Even things like a gallery of photographs and resume summaries of company directors or key staff, to give the visitor the reassurance that there are real people behind the scenes – even if they ultimately rarely if ever deal with anyone they have seen on the site.
A single typo or other textual error can cause credibility to plummet. No matter how good the rest of your web presence, a single wrong spelling can ruin the whole impression. Similar factors are having captions that do not match images; pages with the title Untitled Page or Your title here; and under construction icons or labels.
Having a web site that works in consistent, reliable ways will increase the comfort of your visitors, and by association, your credibility with them. In addition, associating with familiar symbols of credibility and reliability, whether from the real world or online is a certain way to increase credibility – Yahoo, AOL, Mastercard, Visa, and so on.
The most tangible of the four factors is reliability – do you live up to what you say you will do? Are emails sent via your web site answered promptly and effectively? Having a ‘real’ person answer mails rather than an obvious cut-and-paste stock response helps considerably.
Credibility is one of the major building blocks of a continuing relationship between you and your visitors. In time, credibility is earned through the continuing relationship, but setting out with a credible presence increases the chances of visitors staying long enough to build that relationship.