Trust Me: Four Things Your Professional Website Should Never Have If It Wants to Maintain Trust

Your website provides potential customers with a very vital first impression. The content they see and read on your site helps them decide whether or not they will even bother to seek out your services. If they are not impressed with a website’s content and design, or if they see something that instills in them slight alarm (like a request for personal information) a majority of internet users flee a website in less than thirty seconds. In only a brief period of time, less time than it takes to view even a single commercial on television, you have lost one potential customer. Imagine the damage to your company’s or organization’s image if this situation is repeated over and over again. Consider all of the possible customers or clients your website may have alienated, as well as all of the possible customers or clients your competitor may have gained as a result. It will not matter how professional, educated, or courteous your team of doctors, lawyers, or consultants is. The visitor to your site has already made up his or her mind, which will be a difficult thing to change. Last month, KDG outlined the four things your professional website must have in order to maintain trust. From professional photos that personalize your company to an easy-to-navigate web design, there are several simple things you can do to your website that will foster a strong sense of trust that may lead to a long and successful partnership between your company and possible customer or client. However, while there are many simple things you can do to your site to build that trust, there are many easy mistakes you can make that will just as quickly dissolve it. As one study highlights, visitors to your website will place a value on it. Not a monetary value, but a time value. How much time should they dedicate to navigating your site? As there is with anything in life, visiting a website has a cost. If your site is too hard for them to navigate, read, or understand thanks to poor design, lazy proofreading, or low-quality stock photos, the costs of visiting your site are too high, much higher than the value they feel they will acquire from it. When this is the case and a visitor feels like they are wasting their time and spending too much of their effort on your site, they will abandon it. They may already feel cheated by your company. We’ve put together a list of the things your website should never have if your company or organization is seeking to create a powerful first-impression that will lead to a secure and lasting partnership:

A Flashy Design

A well-designed site, as stated in last month’s post, is one of the most important things your company can invest in. Our population consists mostly of visual learners. In fact, 90% of the information transmitted to your brain is visual. As a result, you want your website to be aesthetically pleasing. Matching color schemes, use of white space, and an organized design optimized for both desktop and mobile are several things you can do to ensure that visitors to your site find you credible enough to perhaps visit your practice in person. However, sometimes people take well-designed to mean overly designed and incorporate as many design elements into a site as possible. Imagine the websites of the 1990s with their flashing headlines, scrolling text that changed colors, and grainy clip art photos. You do not want your website to look like the one you were told to design in a middle school computer class. Stay away from fonts that are hard to read. A swirling font like monotype corsiva may look appealing, but it is very difficult to read on a webpage. Also, never use comic sans, the child-like font initially intended for use in “talk bubbles” on a 1990s Microsoft program. When in doubt, stick to control fonts that are the default on most word processors, like Times New Roman and Arial. Also, never clash the colors of your background and font, like a purple font on a green background, a yellow font on a white background, or any colored font over a textured background. Your site’s visitors will not stick around long enough to try and decipher the page’s contents. A poorly designed website is not only frustrating to visitors, it also shows that your company did not spend sufficient time, effort, and research designing your website. If your site’s visitor doesn’t think you put effort into your website’s design, they may fear that they will receive the same lackluster treatment and concern as your customer, patient, or client.

Stock Photos

There are more bad stock photos than there are good ones. If you want a possible customer to trust your organization after visiting your website, you do not want them to see stock photos that have been glaringly photoshopped, out of date, or (especially) stolen from Google Images. Do not use photos with harsh colors or artificial graphics. Also, there is a such thing as an outdated stock photo. One that uses a landline instead of a cell phone or one that may include a computer monitor from 2002 instead of a mobile device are stock photos that have not captured rapidly changing technology. Finally, Google Images is not a free resource used to acquire stock photos. Many stock photos are copyrighted and some require photographer attributions. The last thing you want on your website when you are trying to instill a sense of confidence and trust in your site’s visitors is a graphic that has been stolen. As noted in last month’s blog post about your website’s trustworthiness, in lieu of stock photos, you should use actual photos of your office, of your employees, and perhaps even of your other customers, clients, and patients. This not only adds a sense of legitimacy to your site by allowing its visitors to see the location of your office and put faces to the people who work there, but it also personalizes and humanizes it.

Spelling and Grammar Errors

In this age of rapid texting, bursts of Facebook posts, and 140 character responses, correct spelling and grammar rules have taken a backseat. Misspelled words are understandable on social media in which a user has only a limited amount of space or time to share content. However, while an individual may be able to forgive a punctuation error on your Facebook page, they won’t be as understanding if that same error occurs on the homepage of your website. While you may think that a simple spelling error seems like a minor mistake, perhaps one that may even be unnoticeable to a majority of your site’s visitors, something as small as an uncapitalized proper noun will completely alter the way your site’s visitor feels towards your organization. Spelling mistakes show a lack in your concern for details. Potential customers want to know that you care about the little things that encompass the “big picture.” Perhaps they see themselves as the so-called “little things.” They are individuals who make up the much larger frame of your company and they want to know that you will remain dedicated to them, regardless of whether you are cleaning their teeth, selling their home, or helping them file their taxes. When a company and organization produces online content, there is an underlying assumption on the part of website’s visitors that the site’s content is professionally written. They assume that there are marketers and copywriters to both write and proofread content, unlike content created for Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr blogs. An obvious, and sometimes even a subtle, mistake can diminish the credibility of your organization immediately.

Ads

Ads not only add to the clutter of your site’s design, they also add to the suspicion a visitor may have when encountering your site. While some ads are fine and are even a source of revenue, too many ads, with their flashing buttons and blinking text, overcrowd a page. They cause the reader to lose focus of the content. Too many popup ads, fake ones that promise free iPads or thousands of dollars, create a frustrating user experience for someone who is simply trying to read about your company’s history or its managers. If your website has too many ads, it can easily be confused as spam by both visitors and browsers like Google. Spam websites do not focus on quality content; instead, spammers are concerned with trying to host as many ads on their site as possible in order to earn the most money. To crack down on the plethora of spam across the web, Google has created a complicated and detailed algorithm that will identify and seek out websites with too many ads “above the fold.” This “above the fold” concept originated from the design of newspapers, which are folded when they are put on display at newsstands. As a result, the most alluring and attention-grabbing headlines are printed at the top of the front page. When commuters pass newsstands, they are easily able to see the day’s vital stories and decide whether or not they want to buy a paper. The same idea should be implemented in your web design. You want your quality content on the top of the webpage, in the area that is visible to visitors even if they do not scroll farther down. If they see something that intrigues them, they are more inclined to stay on your site. However, if they open up your website and they are greeted by boxes upon boxes of ads and popups, this creates a terrible user experience. Google invented its algorithm to account for this. If you use more ads than you do quality content “above the fold” of your site, the site will be marked as spam by the search engine and penalized. This will hurt your site’s rankings and make it harder for potential clients and customers to find you online. The space on your website is valuable. Every opportunity it presents should be used to ingrain a sense of trust in your potential customer and convince them why you would provide them with the a better service than your competitor may. Do not waste this space on advertisements.

How KDG Can Help

KDG knows that a website must not only look good, but it must also instill a sense of trust in users. For years, we have helped professional services establish lasting and trusting relationships with clients, customers, and patients. You never want the hard work your team of professional does to go unnoticed simply because of website mistakes that are all too easy to make, but just as easy to avoid. Through web design that is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices, our team of consultants can help your organization develop and maintain a trustworthy online presence. Contact us today to learn more about the tech solutions we provide.

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