How to make sure your technology website builds credibility

If you’re marketing in the B2B tech sector, you’ll know that tech websites generally have a range of goals: to inform, to educate, to build the brand, to build a community, to attract investment, to establish thought leadership. Some are expected to generate leads or even directly sell products as well.  

So what’s the one thing all those goals have in common? They all they require the website to be credible, in order for your visitors to feel your business is credible. To prevent visitors reaching for the back button, to hold their interest long enough to read your content, and to build any kind of trust or relationship with them, it starts with your website being credible.

Your website is the first point of contact with your organisation for many people. And psychological studies have shown that the halo effect applies as much to websites as it does to other areas of life: we all make wider assumptions about things based on whatever data we have to hand. If all they’ve got to go on initially is your website, then you can be sure that folks are making big assumptions about your business, based on that website.

Marketing has become really tough. Attention spans online are short. You’ve got maybe a couple of seconds at most when someone arrives on your site, to convince them they want to spend some of their valuable time here. People are fickle, people are busy, and people need reassurance. So what can you do to ensure your tech website is building credibility? What causes people to believe (or not believe) what they read online? And what strategies are website visitors using to evaluate credibility?

Well, going back a few years, the Stanford Web Credibility Project carried out three years’ worth of substantial user research into exactly these questions. Here’s what they found:

Design & usability matter

Design your site so it looks professional & is appropriate to your purpose. It’s one of those things that can be easy to dismiss because it seems hard to quantify -  but user studies repeatedly show that the design of your website a real influencing factor. An inappropriate or dated-looking site totally undermines the credibility of your organisation. In addition, your site should be easy to use, and useful, with everything working properly and as expected

75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

Keep things correct & up to date

Update your content regularly – people distrust old information. A blog or a news section is a good way to show that there’s someone there, actually doing stuff. Also avoid errors of any kind.  Typographical errors and broken links harm a website’s credibility more than you might imagine.

Show your address, your phone number, your people

People need to see that you’re a bricks and mortar organisation. Put a real address and a picture of your offices. They also need to see your people and your expertise. Use credentials & affiliations, and don’t be afraid to put faces & names. As businesses, we’ve got into the habit of hiding behind a brand, but in fact that makes us a bit faceless or anonymous, and that undermines trust.

Use social proof

Provide social proof. Whether that’s testimonials or links to research, one of the biggest ways to build trust is by not just asking folks to take your word for it. It’s in our nature to look for verification from others. If those others are influential in their own right, so much the better.

Be real

Be clear, direct and sincere. Use the same language you’d use if you were telling a real person. Don’t fill your website with pages of dry technical blurb, or write overblown marketing copy laden with superlatives. People don’t trust what they struggle to understand. And even online, people can tell when they’re being fibbed to.

So there you have it. It’s not sufficient just to have a website – it needs to be well designed, well built, and kept up to date with clear, honest, relevant content. How many of these credibility factors does your website achieve?

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