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How to Instantly Convey a Sense of Trustworthiness

July 14th, 2009 | | Conversion Optimization


Yesterday, we discussed how to increase conversions with easy-to-follow website navigation as part of our 5 day series on increasing the credibility and trustworthiness of your website. Today, we are going to discuss strategies on how to instantly convey a sense of credibility from the second a user hits your site.

A picture, or a symbol, is worth a thousand words. Sometimes cliches ring true in certain circumstances. In regards to conveying a sense of trust and credibility, graphic elements and quick links can impart this sentiment faster than actual text. From the second a user hits your site, they should feel comfortable doing business with you, and utilizing images, trust symbols, and company information can help establish this sense of credibility.

Let’s face it: Web users are quick to make decisions. They are a fickle bunch.  Basically, this means that when individuals are visiting websites they want instant gratification. By this, I mean users want to know if they have found what they’re looking for quickly.

Why are web users so quick to judge and dismiss a website? As consumers of information, we are inundated everyday with information overload. We don’t have time to fully take it all in. In general, users will judge a website in approximately 3-10 seconds. If it looks good, they may stay and explore. If not, they will leave.

This is where creating a quickly scannable website come in. If you have a 3-10 second window to convince users they are in the right place, then you have a lot of information to convey in a very short amount of time. Images, company information, and ‘utility links’ can make your website more scannable and quick-to-digest. And this can increase your conversion  rate.

Not only do you need to convince users that your site has what they’re looking for but they need a feel that they can safely make a purchase or request information.

We’ve discussed why it’s a good idea to convey information quickly in order to establish a sense of credibility and trustworthiness. Now, here is a list of elements you can utilize on your site to achieve these results:

Product images

If you want to tell a visitor that you have what they want, go ahead and prominently display an image of what they’re looking for. You should have intruding, benefit-driven text that convinces a user that  your product/service is the best in its class. However, you can grab a user’s attention by giving them what they want instantly.

For example, if someone is looking for running shoes, show them running shoes when they arrive at your website. When a user hits your site, they may say, “Okay, I’m looking for shoes and they have them.”

Trust symbols

Aside from telling users that you have the products they are looking, you should  tell them that your site is safe and secure. Using symbols such as those below tells the user that you take their security very seriously. These symbols can instantly convey a sense of credibility and trustworthiness. Also, you should  have copy on the site that supports these claims and explains the lengths you gone to make your site secure, but symbols such as these can impart this sentiment quickly.


Of course, there are many different symbols you can use; these are  only a few examples. When a user sees this information, they may say, “This site has what I want, and it looks like they take security seriously.”

Client/Partner logos

Often we are judged by the company we keep. If you keep great company via strategic partners or clients, you should display this information on your website. For example, I have a client that was providing services for numerous widely-recognized brands. I told him that we should add this information to the site to tell new/potential customers that we are well established and we work with other large institutions.

We added a rotating client list on their site, here is an example:


In regards to conveying information quickly, when a users sees client/partner logos possibly in conjuncture with the other symbols already mentioned, they may say, “This site has what I’m looking for. I can trust them with my information. And they work with other well known companies.”

Utility links

By this I mean highlighting links that can specifically build a sense of trust with users. People do business with companies they like and trust. Here is a quick list of links include:

  • Privacy policy
  • About us
  • Return policy
  • Contact information
  • Live chat

Don’t bury these links on your site. When a user sees these links, they may say, “This site has what  I want. They will protect my information. They work with other large companies. And they have a sense of transparency by putting their policies and company information clearly on display.”

Special offers

Along with this other information, you should also display special offers or sales. Adding deadlines to these sales offers can also make your site feel more fresh and organic.


Of course users want the right product and they want to make a purchase from a site they trust, but users are ALWAYS looking for the best price.

When a user sees all of these elements displayed effectively on a website, they may say, “This website has what I’m looking for. Their site is safe and secure. They work with other companies that I’ve heard of. If I want more information about this company, it’s right here and I don’ t have to dig around for it. And they have great specials and prices too.”

And you were able to say all of this before a user read a great amount of copy yet.

As a result of implementing these tactics, your website will be more scannable, quick to interpret, and easy to comprehend and trust. This will help engage users faster and at a deeper level. In turn, this could result in more sales and/or conversions from your website.

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