Does Your Website Make Your Business Look Legitimate Online?

Deciding to build your own website from a template doesn’t automatically mean your website will be of low quality. You can build a great template-based website — as long as you familiarize yourself with design qualities that make customers feel comfortable shopping online. The National Cyber Security Alliance reports 64 percent of Americans have cancelled an online transaction because they feared a website wasn’t legitimate. Knowing the design elements that will inspire confidence in your customers can help you both choose the right template and avoid losing sales.

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9 Ways to Reinforce Your Reputation

Businesses that have been around for a while may have an easier time boasting about their reputations. At the same time, if your business is new, don’t be discouraged. New businesses can still establish their legitimacy by displaying certain information that reinforces their reputation.

  1. Mentions in the media. If your products or services have been featured in a newspaper, in a magazine or on a website, then include a logo from the news source and a link to the article.
  2. Testimonials. Even if you’re just launching your website, you’ve probably sold a few of your products or asked your friends to try them. Include quotes from satisfied customers on your website. Include the customer’s first name and the city where he or she lives.
  3. Awards. If your business has won any awards from your community or from other reputable organizations, then prominently feature those awards on your website. Established websites can place accolades at the bottom of the home page while new businesses may want to feature them in the center of their home pages.
  4. Quality seals. A Better Business Bureau logo or other quality seal will inspire confidence. If you’re a member of an industry or trade organization, then you may include those seals as well.
  5. Social media widgets. Look for a template that allows you to promote your social media profiles. Facebook and Twitter are required, and if your products are visually appealing, also consider a Pinterest widget.
  6. Free trials. If you run a service business, consider allowing your customers to try your service for a week, two weeks or a month.
  7. Privacy policy. Make sure you have a visible and well-written privacy policy for customers that may choose to receive email newsletters or notifications from you.
  8. Contact information. Include a business name, address and phone number on your pages. This information inspires confidence and it also boosts your local search results.
  9. Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation. Ask a trusted friend to proofread your pages for you before posting them online.

4 Ways to Solidify Your Security

The checkout is the most crucial place to make your customers feel secure. Follow these tips so that customers feel safe giving you their personal and financial information.

  1. Get a badge. Add multiple security logos to your website’s checkout pages. You may also want to add badges to individual product pages.
  2. Make sure you have an SSL certificate. Payment Card Industry guidelines suggest that websites should encrypt all online credit card transactions. Smart customers will look for the “https” at the front of your URL and a colored tab or lock icon before giving their information to you.
  3. Visually reinforce credit card fields. Place a shaded background behind your credit card fields. Add a padlock icon and move your security badges next to the input cells. Research has shown these simple visual cues reinforce the customer’s confidence in transaction security.
  4. Follow up on transactions. Email a receipt to your customer that contains the expected shipping date, if applicable. Send another email when the product ships and send a follow-up email in about two weeks to ask for feedback and to thank the customer.

Choose Your Template

Customers may not know the specifics of PCI-DSS compliance and SSL security, so they usually rely on their gut feelings regarding whether your website looks legitimate. When you choose your website template, seek a design that allows you to use proven tools to establish your site’s reputation and security.

About the Author: Joel Wells is a professional website designer. He recommends templates from E-Biz (click here for a free trial).

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