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5 elements that make a website trustworthy, and one that raises red flags

Brian Anderson

A thread with some legs on the Forum lately deals with the question of what makes you trust a website.

The original post comes from an agent who has been focusing on improving the credibility of his own website, asking the community what factors help them to trust sites they visit.

He mentions displaying client lists, but admits that doesn’t do much for his own confidence level. He also talks about adding an EV SSL (Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer), a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. It is intended to give visitors peace of mind, but can be expensive and time-consuming to secure.

When it comes to other ways to make a website “trusted” – or at least to avoid making it suspicious – here are 6 good pieces of advice offered by forum members, in no particular order:

1. A real way to contact you: “A local phone number and an email address, not just a ‘contact us’ form. If it doesn’t have all these things it looks like they are hiding something.”

2. “Real testimonials – not ‘John B.’”

3. Strong search ranking, custom appearance: “Where it shows up on Google helps. A clean, professional look is huge for me personally. If it looks like a cookie cutter WordPress site then I am out.”

4. Prove you are really local: “If I’m looking to do business with someone local and they don’t have an address or local phone number listed I know they aren’t a local business. If they just have an address with no local phone I’m leery it’s just an address and not a location and they are actually out of state. The more you put that says ‘this is who I am and I’m easy to find’ gives one the sense that you don’t have reason to hide.”

5. Credibility by association: “I like the BBB logo. As well as having photos of agents.”

6. Not gaming the SERP system: “There is always a black hat way to do things. What I’m referring to is filling your branded SERPs [search engine results pages] with things like your company’s social media profiles, business listings, and reviews… It would definitely look suspicious if all you had was your website and 9 other 5-star review sites.”

Care to chime in on what you think creates trust for a website? Join the conversation here.



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