By Alan Graner
The following is based on the Stanford-Makovsky Credibility Study 2002, “Investigating what makes Web sites credible today,” a research report by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab and Makovsky & Company. The study can be downloaded at http://www.webstrat.fr/sites/www.webstrat.fr/files/Stanford-MakovskyWebCredStudy2002-prelim.pdf.
What is credibility?
The simplest definition: believability.
Credibility is a perceived quality. It doesn’t actually exist in an object, person or piece of information.
According to researchers, you need two key components to create credibility:
- Trustworthiness: well-intentioned, truthful, unbiased.
- Expertise: knowledgeable, experienced, competent.
Why does credibility matter?
The success of most websites hinges on credibility.
Let’s say you want visitors to register personal information, fill out a survey, download information or purchase something online.
For this to happen, visitors must perceive your website as credible and trustworthy. If not…you lose.
Factors that increase your website’s credibility
- Provides quick response to customers’ service questions
- Provides comprehensive information attributed to a specific source
- Lists authors’ credentials for each article
- Provides articles that list citations and references
- Offers search capabilities
Factors that decrease your website’s credibility
- Makes it difficult to distinguish ads from content
- Pops up ads automatically in new windows
- Includes typographical errors
- Takes a long time to download
- Presents one or more ads on each page
Additional factors that affect your website’s credibility
- Adds value to each website visit
- Makes navigation simple and easy
- States your privacy polity
- Guards your content’s integrity
- Lists your organization’s physical address and provides a contact phone number and email address
For more in-depth analyses and additional factors for building your website’s credibility, download the study.
How do you establish your website’s credibility?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a powerful PR campaign that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.