Buying things online may be a commonplace activity these days, but doubters are still out there. It’s true: there are individuals who are not, for whatever reason, at all confident about making purchases over the internet. Many of these people have been burned by bad ecommerce transactions in the past, while others are horrified by the stories of bait and switch online shops and electronic storefronts that sell shoddy merchandise. It’s safe to say that there’s a high level of skepticism among consumers.


If you run a small business that sells products online, you probably face the consequences of this skepticism more than larger, more established companies. After all, consumers don’t really know who you are or what you do, so why should they trust you? It may seem unfair, but it’s reality.


As a small business, it’s important to make yourself look as honest, reliable, and trustworthy as possible — and this starts with your website, as that’s the first representation of your business that consumers see. How can you make your website look more trustworthy? Here are eight tips.


  1. Go with good design. A trustworthy website is one that looks professionally designed and has smooth, intuitive navigation.


  1. Skip the generic stock images. Taking off from the first tip, those overused photos of uninteresting people with halfhearted expressions just scream poor taste. Instead, use dynamic, well-composed images that have either been taken specifically for your site or are from one of the better stock photo websites.


  1. Produce pristine content. If your site is riddled with errors, you lose the confidence of your customers. After all, if you can’t be bothered to proofread, you might also be lax when it comes to properly fulfilling orders. Publish content that’s well written, but more than that, make it story-based. In other words, write content in which satisfied customers (your audience) are featured, rather than making it all about your company.


  1. Update regularly. A regularly updated site shows potential clients that you’re an active business; if your site hasn’t been updated in a year or more, visitors may wonder if you’re still in business. Regular blog posts are a good way to stay updated, but if that’s not feasible, then links to your Twitter feed or Facebook page can also show customers that you’re active in social media and continually connecting with your audience.


  1. Demonstrate your commitment to security. Typing your credit card number into a new website is a taking a real risk with your financial future. To ease customers’ minds, make your site secure with an SSL certificate. It’s also a good idea to show security badges to remind customers that your business can be trusted and that their transactions are secure.


  1. Mention mentions. If your site’s received a blurb or a positive review on a prominent website or publication, link to it. What’s more, use that site or publication’s logo for some good, cred-boosting recognizability.


  1. Feature positive testimonials. If you’ve received positive feedback from customers who are happy with their experience, ask to feature it on your site. When new customers see that previous customers had a good transaction, you’ll appear more trustworthy.


  1. Avoid pop-ups or requests for excessive information. Not only is this a huge turnoff, but it makes your business appear like it’s just grasping at straws to make a buck or build a list.


Image is Everything…

…as the old saying goes, and you want to project the image that you’re an honest business that customers can trust. The best way to do that is with a professional website that conveys good character. Make sure you’re doing all eight of these things with your business’s website, and you shouldn’t have any trouble earning clients’ trust.