Timeless advice: website credibility

Stanford University Hoover TowerIn the online world, how do you know who to trust? A few years back, Stanford University sought to answer this very question with a huge three-year study of website credibility. While technology may continue to evolve, human evolution is a little more stable, and these guidelines remain an excellent reference.

Over 4,500 people participated in this study, and researchers found that many variables were found to impact online trust. In their final report, they distilled their research into a top ten list. I’ve highlighted and summarized some of the key factors here:

  • Make sure your organization seems real. Photos of staff, a physical address, details about the people who work there all contribute towards a sense of comfort that your shop isn’t some fly-by-night website scam.
  • Focus on your website visitors. Make sure your website is easy to browse and contains information they want to see. Keep ads and promotional content to a minimum.
  • Invest in good design that accurately reflects your company image. Visitors unconsciously assume that the quality of your website is reflective of the quality of your business. Poor graphics, difficult layout, and lots of typos all convey poor quality and turn people away. Your website sets expectations–make sure it sets the bar high!

For the full scoop, visit the Web Credibility Project and read the complete report.


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