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Ten On-Page Website Credibility Builders for Your Customer

The Internet has become a haven for crooks, pushers, thieves, and many more terms I can not think of at this exact moment in time and it is no wonder that many people who use the Internet have become wary of doing business online. Personally, I do not blame them; however that does not help those of us who want to provide a product or service to the billions of people surfing the net so I have devised a list of ten elements you should have on your website that will help build credibility with those people who are visiting your site.

I am quite sure you will know some of these ten on-page elements but there are others you may have thought about but never done anything about. So let us begin

#1 - Have a Clear Guarantee

Every Internet marketing guru or business coach will tell you that you must have a clear guarantee. Essentially a guarantee is simply you stating to the customer that you standby your product or we will give you your money back. Many internet websites have guarantees, but very few in my experience will actually standby the guarantee but I will talk about that in element number 10.

One other element about a guarantee is to make it believable. If it is not believable then nobody is going to buy from you. Let me explain

A few years ago I ran a campaign through my training company that our training program would get you a job within one month or we would hire you ourselves. Now I want to say, I standby that guarantee, but in reality the campaign was a total flop because nobody actually believed we were serious. In fact what happened was that most of the recruitment agencies actually called us asking us what positions we had available and could they fill them for us. These guys totally missed the point.

The bottom line is that if you are going to have a guarantee then it must be believable. If it is not then you have absolutely no hope of making a sale.

#2 - Verifiable Testimonials

Testimonials are everywhere on the internet. Just about every single sales site has at least one testimonial but most of them are non-verifiable. What I mean by verifiable is that there is no mechanism to prove whether that person really exists or if they really do support that product. In fact, when I started thinking about this article, I found five websites on-line and contacted them to verify their testimonials. That is I rang them and asked them how I could get into contact with the people giving their testimonials. Guess what, most of them said they no longer stay in contact with those people or the testimonials were not real. The word BUSTED comes to mind!

There are few ways you can create Verifiable Testimonials. One is to have the person do a video on your website and then host that video. Lots of companies do that now. The second way is to ask the person who is giving you the testimonial if they will put a single Testimonial on their website. That's right. Their testimonial is confirmed by you providing a link to their website. This means you can check to see if their site is real and if they are the owners (which you can check through whois) you know that the testimonial is fair dinkum (Real Aussie Slang Creeping in their).

#3 - Join Your Local - Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau

Remember, if you are looking for credibility then join the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. Most Chamber of Commerce actually have programs now where when you join as a member then you are allowed to show their logo on your website to prove you are a member. One of the reasons this is a good practice is because most organisations like the Chamber of Commerce have a Business Code of Practice that they follow and they do enforce that code of practice. If you do not follow it, you can find yourself booted out as a member and on a banned list on their website.

A word of warning, do not put a logo onto your website were you are not a member, especially the Better Business Bureau. Whilst I was going through the research for this article, I wanted to check out a few sites and see if they really were Better Business Bureau members and guess what, they weren't so remember, the key advantage to you as a member is people can verify that you are a member and legit. Remember the downside is that if you are not a member they can also verify that as well.

#4 - Register with Certified Companies like - Thawte, Alexa

Anything with the word Certified in it, will always make consumers more comfortable. For example if you run a website that does credit card transactions then it is mandatory to have a digital certificate issued by a reputable company like Thawte. Companies like this run a very strict Certification program where you can use a Certified Logo on your website to prove to consumers you have been checked out.

My organisation has used Thawte in the past and we went through a lot of checks and balances to make them comfortable that we were legit. This included having to provide information like our companies Certificate of Incorporate as well as the team at Thawte visiting Australian Government websites like the ACCC to prove we were who we said we were.

Companies like Thawte have put these mechanisms into place, to ensure that consumers can trust those they provide digital certificates for their ecommerce systems.

#5 - Use Trackable Shipping Companies

In some countries like Australia, using trackable shipping companies to ship overseas can be cost preventative. But where ever possible I recommend using Trackable Shipping Companies like Fedex, DHL, EMS, Australian Air Express etc. The reason for this is that your customers know that if you are dealing with companies like this then you must be legit and apart from that, if you tell them the con note number then they will feel more comfortable in knowing they are actually going to get the parcel and when.

#6 - Use Trusted Credit Card Handling Companies like PayPal

Some banks and credit card handling companies run a certification program for their merchants. For example the National Australia Bank in Australia ran a program that certified merchants who used their internet credit card processing system and it provided a program where the merchant could use their logo on their website to prove they were a quality merchant. Many banks around the world now run similar programs to this as well. I will say though that the costs to join this program was quite astronomical and when I first looked into it, the cost was around 0 per month.

Other ways to get this sort of system, with much less of the cost is to use companies like PayPal. PayPal now owned by ebay has become the sudo standard for credit card purchases and with their Customer Protection Policy it gives buyers a level of comfort in buying from you. The cool part about this service is that it costs absolutely nothing to join and their merchant fees are pretty much inline with most merchant facilities.

#7 - Provide Live Support Online

Live Online Support has been around for about 5 years now. I first purchased my online support system about 3 years ago and I can definitely attribute about 30 to 40 percent of my sales to this tool. Essentially the way the system works is that you have a logo on your webpage which states whether Live Support is available and when you click on the logo a small screen opens that allows you to talk to an operator. This allows you to check out about the merchant and talk to their operators.

From the consumers point of view, this gives them confidence in knowing that the service you offer is legit and there are people actually running the service. More so, they feel comfortable there is a way to actually contact you, which leads me to point eight.

#8 - Have your telephone number and contact details on every page of your website

Having your telephone number and contact details on every single webpage will build credibility. The reason is that it gives your customers the ability to call you easily. If you try to hide away from your customers you will loose sales. One thing to make sure also, in most countries they have a Free Call Number system like 1800 etc, which many overseas people cannot access, so you need to make sure that you also include your international number. Many times I have gone to ring a number in the United States from Australia only to find that I cannot do so because their 1800 number blocks overseas calls, which means if I bought something from this supplier, I would have now way of following up. I can assure you; these sites do not get my business.

One word of caution, there are some people out there who will simply ring you to say they hate your products and would never buy from you for any number of reasons. In those cases simply ignore those people. Everybody in business gets those calls, it is nothing unique (if you have a really crappy product then you deserve it) there are just simply some people who are just rude, so I do recommend growing a thick skin.

#9 - Have a Clear Privacy Policy

Privacy has become a big issue for everyone on the Internet. Having a clearly articulated privacy policy is a major benefit from the consumer's point of view as it tells them where they stand when it comes to their privacy on information stored on your website. I have also seen a few pieces of information lurking around which basically states that having a privacy policy may help your search engine position. I do not know how true that is, it might be, but from a consumer's perspective, it helps build credibility that you are a quality website provider.

#10 - Have a Returns Policy and Instructions on how to Return Items

Please put up your hands if you have bought something on the internet which does not work and you cannot find a way to send it back to the website owner or get a refund? As I look out my windows I see millions of people who have their hands up. This is one of my pet peeves at the moment. I recently bought some software to convert WMA audio files to MP3 format and when I purchased the software they did not tell me how to download it and there were no links on the page. When I did finally get the information, they told me in the email I needed a registration key which was issued during the purchase. Which of course I did not get?

Guess what else; they did not have a Returns Policy as well. In the end I gave up in disgust and lost my USD which will work against them because I am telling all my friends and my 2000 client who they are and to stay away from them. I figure at a transaction x 2000 that would be a total of 0,000 they have missed out on, simply because they were rude and were not serious about customer service.

Whilst you may not like Refunds or Returns (I definitely do not) it is a necessity to have a returns policy because it specifies to the consumer how you deal with a Refund or with a Return. In fact, all of my clients I work with online will actually include a link to their Return Policy where their Guarantee is specified. The Returns policy simply says theses are the steps you must follow in returning the products or getting a refund. By doing this, the customer has confidence that you are a legitimate business. One of the other elements you should include in your Returns Policy is your address, telephone number and contact email address for returns. Also specify in the returns policy how long it may take to get a refund.

The bottom line is this; these ten elements when specified on a webpage for a customer to see will help prove to them that you are legitimate and ethical business. Having these items on your webpage will certainly give them the confidence your company acts in the way they expect. Let me finish off by quickly reiterating the ten elements:

#1 - Have a Clear Guarantee
#2 - Verifiable Testimonials
#3 - Join Your Local - Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau
#4 - Register with Certified Companies like - Thawte, Alexa
#5 - Use Trackable Shipping Companies
#6 - Use Trusted Credit Card Handling Companies like Paypal
#7 - Provide Live Support Online
#8 - Have your telephone number and contact details on every page of your website
#9 - Have a Clear Privacy Policy
#10 - Have a Returns Policy and Instructions on how to Return Items

About the Author: If you are looking for more information on Marketing an Online Business or if you are looking for quality material to help you with copywriting - Free Example of Sales Letters or you just want more info visit Your Online Marketing Business Opportunity

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