Building Trust With Your Website

“Trustworthy” is a word that gets thrown about with little care these days. I recently read an article titled Building trust is the key to promoting your organisation online. It’s the typical marketing/SEO/Let’s-do-some-business tripe that crosses the internet constantly. To be clear, there is nothing specifically dangerous that is mentioned in the article. It’s the vacuous ‘sentiments’ masquerading as business help that I find annoying.

For example, one tip for success mentioned is to use “quality photography”. There is not a thing wrong with this advice. Indeed, it’s good advice. At least it’s good advice in the same way “Don’t wear sweat pants to work” is good advice. It’s obvious. It’s so obvious that it need not be stated.

Keep your website fresh. Get your copy right. Treat your customers well. All good advice.

Other advice is just odd, “Include an About Page”. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. Sure, include one, I have one too.

Allow me to give a bit of my own very, very obvious piece of advice: The internet is fast. Attention spans are short. You have (anecdotally) about two seconds to capture a user’s attention. The user should know what your site is about, and by extension what you are about on the entry page. If they have to go looking for an about page, you’ve lost them. Keep it, sure. But don’t expect it to build trust for you.

The problem with these sorts of articles is that they offer advice that is tied up in neat, pretty packages. They’re the self-help business books of the internet. You can’t really argue with them because they’re not really saying anything.