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What Message Does Your Website Send?

Lily O'Halloran

Every website conveys a message. What message does your website send? Whether or not you realize it, your website makes a statement that directly affects your bottom line. A weak web presence with little information creates doubts in consumer’s minds about the trustworthiness of your company. What can you do? Use your web presence to send a strong, positive message. The message conveyed by your website must increase consumer confidence by strengthening your credibility. Let’s take a look at how to create a valuable message and strong web presence.

Building Credibility

The single most important aspect of a trustworthy website is the use of proper spelling, punctuation, and syntax. A website which is not grammatically correct, or is difficult to read, will not instill trust in the reader; rather, it will cause the opposite to happen. Don’t send your potential customers running for the hills. Take the time to write clean, clear, and concise copy. Word processors, such as Microsoft Word or Corel’s WordPerfect, provide useful tools to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Always double check content once it has been added to the website, and correct any errors that arise.

Have you ever noticed that content with plenty of white space surrounding it is much easier to read and looks more professional that content that is crammed into its surroundings? White space is an important element that aids in creating balance between text, borders, graphics, and other elements on a page. White space is not just for print; web content needs it as well. Content that is busy, cluttered, and difficult to understand ensues without the use of this element. Alternatively, adding white space can offer common content a rich, classic appeal.

High-resolution photos are an essential component of professional websites. Images should clearly depict the products or services being offered. Stock photos are fine if they are high quality and pertinent to your content. All photos should be optimized to minimize download time. Most photo and graphic applications include a compression or optimization tool. Always take advantage of the ALT attribute of the HTML IMG tag. The text you supply for the ALT attribute will be displayed by screen-readers for the visually impaired, and used by search engines to help define your content; choose descriptive words directly related to the matter at hand.

Site navigation is yet another aspect of a trustworthy website. Logical and intuitive navigation builds confidence that the business owner is capable, intelligent, and professional. Guests of a website should be able to quickly and efficiently locate any product or segment of content anywhere on the website. A few simple features aid in accomplishing this task: a search tool, obvious navigation buttons, and a site map. Nowadays, search tools are expected to be an integral part of websites. They enable a user to locate exactly what they are looking for in a limited amount of time. However, navigation buttons are just as important. They serve guests that enjoy browsing, which is a very large percentage of visitors. Navigation buttons should be placed in an expected place, such as the top of the web page or on the left-hand side. The links and categories used to direct visitors should be logical and easy to understand, allowing customers to both browse and locate specific content. Site maps fulfill two purposes. They provide a comprehensive list of content included in the website, and they help search engines rank your website.

Building Trust

A simple About Us page aids in building trust by encouraging the human aspect of the business. This page can lay out your business philosophy, commitment to your customers, and direction for future growth. The About Us page should always include contact information, and even encourage visitors to use this information. A physical address and a phone number included in the contact information builds trust better than limiting contact details to an email address and owner name. Photos can be very helpful, because they help put a face with a name. However, photos should be high quality and professional looking – not a quick snapshot of you in your everyday attire. Consider the message you want to send. Words that come to mind include: competent, professional, intelligent, and so on.

A customer testimonial page helps build trust, confidence, and enthusiasm about your products and service. Web sites that use positive customer testimonials see a direct increase in sales. Don’t have any testimonials yet? Don’t worry! Select a small group of customers to become testers. Offer them a free product in return for honest feedback. Testimonials can be used to create a testimonial page, or can be added on the same page the product is listed. Either method enables visitors to learn about what products work well, how they can be used to receive the most benefits, and more.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page offers a place to address common questions and concerns. Perhaps five customers in the last week have asked you the same question. Guess what? That question and the corresponding answer would make a perfect addition to your FAQs page. The FAQs page also provides a place in which to share your knowledge about your products, which can boost customer confidence and satisfaction. FAQs aid in creating customer loyalty, because customers feel that their voice is being heard and answered.

Don’t forget to add a privacy policy! Customers are wary of providing their personal information to companies that don’t specify who they share it with or what they are going to do with the information. A simple privacy statement will assuage customer fears. Let them know their sensitive information is safe.

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