20 August 2008

The results are in from my latest poll – what makes people buy from a website? The options were trust, appearance, price and usability and the results show some very interesting trends.

At 43%, trust is by far the most popular choice. So the question is how do you promote trust on your website?

For ecommerce sites secure payment is imperative. Your customers need to know their personal details and cash are safe online. Internet security is a hot topic and everyone is aware of the threat of hack attacks and identity fraud. You need to demonstrate to your web visitors that yours is a reputable enterprise.

An SSL certificate shows your company’s commitment to safe transactions online. UKFast clients who purchase SSL or EV SSLcertificates invariably fare better. SSL indicates that you care about your customers and establishes your business as a trustworthy organisation. This promotes a professional online identity, develops confidence and so generates more sales and increased profits.

If you have an SSL certificate make sure it is displayed prominently on the relevant webpages.

Another manner in which to build trust is to show your affiliations with other reputable organisations. Display logos clearly on your homepage so your visitors know straight away the sort of organisation they’re dealing with.

Visibly show contact details so web visitors know yours is a real company. Have a specific contact page with an address, phone number and email details so you’re easy to reach if a customer or potential client has a query. In certain situations, such as in smaller organisations with a less established brand, it is a good idea to display names and faces. This indicates professionalism and shows your company is not a dodgy, faceless organisation, run from some dingy student cellar.

After trust come usability and price – both at 29%. Usability is incredibly important so make sure you have a strong navigation system and relevant information is clearly displayed and easy to find.

However, tread carefully when it comes to price. Think about the brand image you are trying to portray. For example, use price comparisons if you are offering price competitive goods. However, stay away from comparing prices if your offering is focused on premium priced quality.

The final option, appearance, received no votes at all. Looks aren’t everything and you definitely can’t judge a website by its cover, but you should always make sure your site’s appearance is professional, clear and easy to use.

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