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First impressions matter.

Which is why website design is easily one of the most critical aspects. On average it only takes a few seconds for a visitor to determine whether to stay or leave. And most will not hesitate to leave if the site fails to meet their expectations.

The following chart demonstrates how critical those first few seconds are:

Probability of Leaving

Those first few seconds are absolutely critical.

Having encountered poorly designed pages in the past and the potential threat of malware, people are naturally skeptical of websites they visit. Engagement is a top priority whether you sell products online or promote services for a local business.

Even with local SEO services that help your site rank for target keywords, how your site is perceived can mean the difference between a sale or a lost customer. But how can you get visitors to stay long enough to learn more about your products or services?

By building credibility.

Visitors look for certain reassurances (e.g. testimonials, security seals, etc.) that your site is safe. Without credibility your business will have a difficult time convincing visitors to buy from you.

Here we look at the key elements of building a trustworthy site.

1. Drive Conversions With a Strong Website Design
“Never judge a book by its cover.”

It’s a common saying that has some truth to it. After all you could be missing out on an excellent novel by jumping to conclusions too quickly. But the reality is that people are often quick to pass judgement based on appearances. Even if your business offers the best prices with a solid lineup of products, your site will likely push visitors away with an unappealing design.

Consider the following two examples of sites that sell lighting products:

Site Example 1

And this one:

Site Example 2

Which one are you more likely to shop on?

Probably the first one for several reasons:

  • The design is simple and intuitive
  • The images are professional
  • Contact information is clearly displayed
  • The content is easy to read

One study found that design is one of the most common credibility factors. And we can see the results of that study by comparing these two sites. Even if you are not a website designer, there is simply no excuse for a poorly designed site. There are plenty of resources available online (especially with WordPress) that make it easy to setup a beautiful and functional site.

2. Build Credibility With Trust Seals
Shopping online has never been easier. But it also has its risk with the prevalence of phishing scams and identity theft. Consumers are naturally concerned about their privacy and security especially when shopping from an online store for the first time.

So how do you eliminate that risk and get potential customers to pull out their wallets?

With trust seals.

In a survey assessing how consumers decide whether to trust a new site, 48% of respondents indicated that they look for trustmarks.


Trust seals verify that a business is authentic and confirm that transactions are secure. The absence of such seals can deter potential buyers from completing their purchase.

Here is an example of trust seals that are used on Newegg’s site:

Trustmark examples

Prominently display trust seals from companies you have an association with to indicate to visitors that your site is verified and trustworthy.

3. Make it Effortless For Visitors to Contact You
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find contact information for a business. Adding contact information adds legitimacy to a business and makes potential buyers feel much more confident knowing that they can get a person on the phone.

Create a separate page with the phone number and address of your business. This information should also be clearly displayed on the homepage such as in the header or sidebar. Here is an example from a local furniture and home goods store:

Easy Contact

Visitors to the site can quickly call the number without having to navigate to the contact page.

But others will have a preferred way of communicating. Which is why it’s also a good idea to include links to your social media profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) so visitors can easily get in touch. You could even consider adding a live chat option to your site but you will need to actively monitor it.

4. Increase Confidence With Testimonials
Testimonials are an incredibly powerful form of social proof. If plenty of customers have had a positive experience with a business, then their reviews are likely to impact your decision. This is why sites such as Yelp are incredibly popular as you get to read unbiased reviews from others.

One way to instill confidence with your visitors is to include customer testimonials. Here is example from a local dental clinic:


Adding testimonials to your own site not only establishes credibility but it can also increase conversion rates.

Visitors look for certain reassurances when assessing a site for the first time. These include a quality design, trust seals, contact information, and testimonials. Adding these aspects to your site are key to building credibility and trust with your audience.

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