Website psychology: 15 ways to build a website that inspires trust

  • Marketing

A well-designed website not only attracts customers but is also the basis for further marketing activities. Learn about a number of ways that will make your website more powerful!

From the article you will learn, for example:

  • What makes people think of a given website as trustworthy
  • Why you should carry out simple technical works that will speed up the website
  • What is an effective use of the principle of social proof
  • How to talk about your work and services to captivate the audience
  • How, where, and when to talk about your company, team, values, ​​or services

The solutions discussed in this article will be great for existing websites, but they can also be a guide for those who are just planning to create a website. Our list has one more advantage – the majority of points relate to the proper preparation of the content, which means that you will be able to do most of the work we recommend yourself.

Does appearance matter?

In 2004, Elizabeth Sillance, professor of psychology at Northumbria University in Newcastle, conducted website research. She set out to see on what basis people choose to trust health-related websites. The participants of the experiment were people suffering from hypertension, and their task was to search for information related to this disease. What was the result of the study?

If the respondents found a website to be untrustworthy, 83% of them indicated the appearance and layout of the website as the reason. The following factors influenced the negative first impression: appearance, colours, text size and navigation.

On the other hand, when the participants considered the website trustworthy, 74% of them were guided in their decision by the content of the website, not its appearance! People more often trusted websites that were run by well-known organisations, created by medical experts, and gave the impression that they were run by people similar to the study participants.

What are the lessons for us from this? Well, both the appearance and the content of the page are important. Visual elements are extremely important in the initial phase of using a website, because, as humans, we quickly determine whether something inspires our trust or not. On the other hand, the content itself plays a key role in the next stage, once we have placed our trust in a given website.

Technical activities that you can do yourself

Our observations show that many companies care about social media profiles and treat websites with neglect. It probably comes from the belief that working on a website requires technical knowledge. However, you are able to do a basic review of the pages yourself – and in this way, solve a number of problems. Find out where to start!

1. Install the SSL certificate.

It ensures the confidentiality of data transmission over the Internet. It used to be a nice touch, today it is a standard. Most browsers almost block pages without a valid certificate. You can check if you have a valid certificate by entering your website. If there is a closed padlock, the connection is secure. If you do not have a valid certificate, you need to contact the hosting company. An SSL certificate is associated with a small cost (PLN 100-500 per year) and is of great importance.

2. Fix broken links.

There is nothing more frustrating for the user than the situation in which he or she wants to read an article or section, and a message appears before their eyes saying that… the page doesn’t exist. It is also very important in terms of SEO, so it’s worth checking that everything is fine on a regular basis. Two tools can help here. The first one is Dead Link Checker which will scan your website for inactive links. However, if your website is based on WordPress Pressie, we recommend another option – the Broken Links Checker plugin. It works similarly and it also enables quick repairs and regular monitoring of links. Both tools are free.

3. Take care of the speed of your website.

We don’t like waiting. We want to see the information immediately. When the page takes too long to load, the user gets impatient. What’s worse, their (not even fully realised) irritation resulting from inactivity will have an impact on the perception of content on the website or your company in general. Unfortunately, in most cases, it will take several hours of development work to improve your page speed. Before you hire someone to do it, you can test three recommended tools:

  • GTMetrix – check the speed of your website and find out what needs to be improved.
  • Page Speed ​​Insight – a tool from Google, similar to the one described above. You will receive thorough analysis and recommendations to improve your website speed.
  • Accelerator for WordPress – a proposition for the owners of websites based on the WordPress CMS. Before outsourcing your development work, it is worth testing this plugin, which automatically improves your website speed. It will not replace dedicated programming work, but it must be admitted that, for a ready-made tool, it will give really impressive results.

Present your offer in a clear way

The appearance and operation of the website are very important, but the engine driving sales is the presentation of our offer. It’s the way we talk about what we do or sell that decides whether the customer contacts us or moves on to look for another company. What is worth paying attention to?

4. Bet on the legibility of your texts.

Choose simple, legible fonts. In 2008, typeface-related research was carried out. The subjects were given a task to perform and were to estimate how long it would take them. Some people were instructed to write in a simple font, and some in an overly decorated one. The former estimated that the task would take them 9 minutes, while the latter mentioned the time almost twice as long (15 minutes)! It is very worth remembering. If the audience finds it difficult to read the text, they will find the content equally negative.

5. Let the user scan the text by eye.

Readability depends not only on the appropriate typeface or size of the fonts. A long piece of text will be simply uninteresting and boring for the user, and hence they will not bother to read it. So remember to pay attention to the visual layer. Take care of:

  • Breaking down texts into paragraphs.
  • Using numbering or bullets. We love reading articles whose titles promise us X ways to solve a problem or X secrets of something. Such a headline also somehow forces us to properly format the text, which makes the whole thing transparent. There is a reason why this article looks the way it does. Written in one block, it would be unattractive to readers. So avoid a sheet of text.
  • Inserting photos. We all know that children prefer to read texts with pictures. Remember, when we grow up, that doesn’t change much.
  • Inserting frames, highlighted fragments, and quotes. All this gives the text some lightness.

6. Present your data visually.

When preparing a text, regularly ask yourself if you are able to present something in a way that makes reading it more comfortable. Instead of a long paragraph, maybe a chart or a table would work better? Or an attractive infographic? This is a shortcut to the minds of your future customers!

  • Simple visualisations are great for information that may or may not be attractive, but are very important in the process of building trust. Basing the offer on numbers and statistics proves professionalism and focus on results. By presenting the numbers visually, they will surely be noticed and remembered.
  • Films embedded on the website will also be a hit. In short clips, you can not only talk about the company but also review products, educate your audience and give them specific value.

 

Marek Golec, who runs a website for entrepreneurs, presents difficult topics related to numbers in the form of video training, infographics and clear tables.

Tip: If you shop or look for a service on the Internet on a daily basis, observe yourself. What do you pay attention to? What information do you expect to find when you enter a dentist’s website? What do you want to know before making an appointment with a physiotherapist? What makes you ultimately choose a given company? Such self-observation will allow you to look at your company’s offer through the eyes of a potential customer.

Rely on social proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon saying that when we don’t know how to decide, we are often guided by the decisions of others. It is a power in marketing that in the case of websites is still rarely used or not in a very effective way. It’s worth changing that because among Generation Y (people born in the 80s and 90s), seven out of ten people search for opinions online. The use of social proof on a website can convince the user that his or her choice was right.

7. Present the opinions of satisfied customers.

In the form of short statements, placed close to the buttons for contact or purchase of the product, they will do a great job. How can you make even more use of the power of opinion?

  • Highlight keywords that characterise what you are doing.
  • Be sure to add the customer’s first and last name, company name (if any) and a photo.
  • Try to get video feedback. It crashes the system! The user enters, sees the video from the client and does not even have to watch it until the end. They will immediately recognise that the person must have been very happy with your service or product since they took the time to make a special video!
  • Associate the client’s opinion with the service you have provided, e.g. in the form of a case study (more on this below).
  • When posting customer reviews, add links to social media where the user can read more of them. This way you play open cards and show that you have nothing to hide. You prove that the testimonials published on the website are not a coincidence, but the result of solid actions.

8. Add logos of the brands you have worked with.

Yes, they all do, but… for good reason. It’s just very simple and effective. A large number of logos testify to a smooth process. Larger brands in your portfolio allow you to position your own brand among the best.

 

HCM Deck effectively uses existing collaborations and tells the success stories of its customers.

9. Ask industry experts or other famous people.

All you need is a short text with a photo and their name and surname. It doesn’t even have to be strictly related to your company! For example, with photography, an expert can tell you how important it is to have quality product photos. This is not an advertisement for your company, but a recommendation of an idea or service that you believe in. If you are unable to obtain such an opinion from the outside, find the right person in your team! A short statement from a team member, showing what the project meant for him or her and how he or she solved your client’s problem, will be a powerful tool for building trust among clients.

10. Show your certificates and awards.

We are happy to brag about them on social media and forget to add them to the website. If your company has received any awards or distinctions, it is worth showing them. These can be industry awards, but also, for example, emblems that we receive for being a member of a business club.

Tell your story

A website is a huge space to tell your story. If you have already managed to capture the user’s attention, the user will be looking for further information that will confirm the rightness of their choice.

11. Say something about your company.

Almost every company website has an “About Us” section. Usually, however, there is a short text related to the company’s history. Boredom and untapped potential! This subpage gives you a great opportunity to show off. We can put a lot of interesting facts that will convince the user that the company and them are a good match. What do you emphasize?

  • Real, good quality photos showing the office or team during their work. The once popular graphics from photo banks are a relic today. For some users, the thought that a company is using photos “from the Internet” might be kind of a red flag.
  • Talking about values. About the foundations of the company.
  • Statistics and numbers.
  • Introducing team members with photos and presenting them as experts. You can prove your team mates’ knowledge and experience by showing the number of completed projects, speeches at industry events, published blog entries or in press articles.
  • Tools and methods you use.

 

An example of how the Australian company OpalMinded, for which we have implemented a project of a new website, tells about its brand.

12. Show a solid case study.

There is no better way to talk about the effects of work in service industries. When describing the history of a given project, focus on presenting the change that has been made. Talk about how it was, what was introduced and what effects it brought. Show the difference that has come about thanks to your knowledge, work and tools. Make it clear what the customer has gained and what benefits have been obtained. For this purpose, you can use the methods described above. And how to get even more from a case study?

  • Showcase in visually appealing way numbers that suggest change. Statistics prove professionalism!
  • Give voice to the customer. Ask him to comment briefly on how much has changed thanks to your actions.
  • Include an expert statement – e.g. a member of your team who worked on a given project.
  • Add screenshots or other graphics to confirm your changes.
  • Show the team that was responsible for a given work.

 

An example of using the customer’s opinion in a case study on our website. By publishing reviews, we make the customer talk about our services.

13. Say something about yourself.

Most business owners forget to show themselves in addition to their offer. Regardless of the type of business, we like to know who is on the other side. Let people visiting your website know that you are the owner of the business. That you, with your name, vouch for the quality of services or products. Tell them why you decided to run a business. And don’t forget to add photos! For larger companies, instead of the owner’s presentation, it can be effective to present the board, of course also with photos and information about the values ​​or people’s approach to the business.

14. Put your office address.

Today, we all work remotely and in most industries, looking for a business partner, we do not have to be limited to a given city or region. Services can be provided by a company from the other end of Poland and even the world. However, the address is important for another reason – it proves that the company actually exists and has its registered office. Even when you operate 100% remotely, it is worth investing in a virtual address. This is still of great importance in many industries, so you should publish your company address and a map of your company’s location on your website.

15. Provide the possibility of convenient contact.

We saved what is perhaps the most important thing for the end. As soon as the impulse to contact appears in the user’s mind, they must be given the opportunity to do so as soon as possible. The “Contact” is therefore one of the most important tabs on the website. What should you remember to prepare it well?

  • Provide the possibility of contact by e-mail, through the form on the website, and by phone. Preferences vary. Some people are afraid of phone calls, and others prefer to use their own e-mail rather than the form, so give people a choice.
  • Clickable phone numbers. It is not standard and yet it is so intuitive! Then, when browsing the website on your phone, you can call and find out more by just one click.
  • Show the person who will receive the e-mails. We do not like to write to strangers or to “office” e-mails, because we are afraid that we will not get a quick reply. Next to the contact form and details, put a photo and the name and surname of the person responsible for communication with customers. It is much easier for us to make contact if I know that there is a smiling and happy person on the other side.
  • Put an online chat. This is a very convenient form of communication – provided that someone actually responds to the incoming messages. Chat is a promise to get things done very quickly so the response should be almost immediate.

 

An example of the contact section on our website. We put our photos on the contact form. It’s much easier to persuade a user to contact you if they know that there are real people on the other side.

Tip: Observe how the users are behaving on your site. What makes them leave a given subpage or willingly click on a given link? HotJar is an ideal tool for this, which allows you to watch videos with the analysis of user behaviour. Creating an account and installing it on the website is quite simple, and this solution gives a lot of information for analysis.

Of course, this is not all you can do to make your website gain users’ trust. However, the actions suggested by us can be implemented straight away, and they will bring really good results! Publications on social media usually stop being visible to users after a few days. But website activities work for us for a long time and are a solid foundation for other marketing efforts. So it’s worth spending some time and money on it.

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Hi, I’m Andrzej, the CEO of Brave New. We've delivered more than 300 projects for 120 satisfied customers from all around world. This year we plan to deliver 50 projects for more than 20 clients.

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