Even large, well-known online businesses have to work to create trust among website visitors. Large, online retailers like Amazon® or LL Bean® add trust builders across their websites, reassuring potential buyers that they have taken measures to protect their websites from hacker attacks.

What can small businesses do to build trust among site visitors? Trust is based on expectations. Meet the expectations of prospects and you’ll build trust among more visitors.  Consequently, you may close more sales of products or services.

1. Display security badges. Join organizations that set security standards and display trust-building emblems across the website. Numerous companies provide website security by setting standards met by website owners. The Online Better Business Bureau emblem indicates a company that values customer care. A Chamber of Commerce logo indicates a company that’s active in the business community.

VeriSign® demonstrates tough site security standards are in place. A McAfee® or Google® Trusted Store badge assures visitors that your company website meets enterprise-grade security standards.

2. Walk buyers through the checkout process. Amazon has a one-click checkout option to simplify sales by regular buyers. However, the online mega-outlet also walks buyers through each stage of the checkout process.

Buyers receive simple instructions and assurances that they can change or cancel an order further along in the checkout process. Security emblems assure buyers the website is secure, and that providing a credit card number is safe.

Reassure buyers at every stage of the checkout process that they’re doing it correctly, and that their information is safe.

3. Look professional. While security badges do make prospects more comfortable making a purchase, small businesses must also present a solid, safe website to first-time visitors.

On the Internet, styles change quickly, and what looked brand new in 2005 may look dated today. Update your website’s look regularly, keeping it clean, sharp, easy-to-navigate, and confident. Make an immediate positive impression on visitors to keep them on site longer.

 4. Reach out to your company’s client base. Unfortunately, online security breaches occur.  Many large, brand name stores have been hacked, and sensitive customer data stolen.  Use these security breaches as an opportunity to reach out to your customer base to assure them that you’re helping to keep their information secure.

5. Create a clear customer information policy. Make sure customers know you won’t sell their information to third parties. Explain that your company will never sell, trade, or give away customers’ personal information. Make sure your policy is simple to understand, and assures buyers that providing your company with information won’t lead to a wave of spam down the road.

6. Add faces to the website. A small business often depends on its highly-trained, professional staff. Add pictures of key personnel with short professional biographies and specialties. Adding a name and face to your website makes your company seem more human.

7. Demonstrate commitment to customer care on every page. Show buyers that their satisfaction is a core value of your business with a number of ways to reach your company.

Provide a toll-free number – the customers’ helpline. Consider adding a chat module that allows visitors to ask specific questions and get immediate answers by typing questions to your sales staff.

An email module on the Contact page simplifies engagement, enabling interested prospects to reach you to schedule a conference call, or to place a special order.

Every aspect of your small business website should be targeted to build trust and confidence among website visitors. Be clear, be straightforward, be helpful, and provide the reassurance that your company is the right company for them.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.