Credibility Begins at Home … on the Net
Five tips to Improve Your Website Credibility
By Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder Women in Ecommerce™
Many small business owners update and maintain their own websites. Sometimes the job falls to the wayside as you run your day to day operations. This is particularly true if you have a brick and mortar business supported by an online presence. You may not depend entirely on your website for your income. So you might neglect one of the most important ways new customers find and research your company. Your ecommerce WEBSITE.
1. Update your site.
If your website is dated, or looks as though it has not been attended to in quite some time, you could be loosing credibility and worse CUSTOMERS! Review it often to see what is out of date. Is the copyright info at the bottom current? Do you have old or missing links? Just like an older home looks new with a new coat a paint so can a website with more updated colors and graphics. Does the site look old-school? Of course if old-school is the impression you are trying to create then just updating a few things could solve your problem.
2. Include Social Proof.
Do you have reviews and 3rd party endorsements (testimonials) and media coverage on your site? When people visit your site, often the first thing they want to know is if others have had a good experience dealing with a company. Testimonials are “social proof” that you’re a credible and trustworthy person/company in which to do business. Start asking for testimonials from current clients and start seeking media coverage by implementing a media campaign to get attention to your website.
3. Build Your Professional Credibility.
Have you won any awards lately? If so, they should be clearly visible either with a link to an awards or “news” or “buzz” page or with clickable graphics that take the visitor to a page with more information about the award.
4. Make Sure the Search Engines Can Find You.
How are your search engine rankings? Are you listed in search engines with your company name and keywords? If not, time to start an SEO/SEM campaign. Same with Page Ranks. One of the most important and least expensive strategies to promote your business online is to rank high for your preferred words on the main search engines in “organic” or “natural” searches (versus paid advertising). Because search engines send robot “spiders” to index the content on your webpage it’s important to prepare your webpages for optimal indexing. Your search engine strategies are your Page Titles, Description and Keyword META Tags; proper use of Keywords in appropriate places such as your header tags, the First Paragraph of Your Body Text and in your hyperlinks.
It’s also important to make your Navigation System Search Engine Friendly. Create several pages that focus on keywords specific to your target audience. Titles and keywords are also important. Use Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com/) to analyze and find the best keywords for your website. Investing a few dollars and time will help you build more credibility for your ecommerce site in the eyes of customers and prospect.
5. Develop Linking Strategies.
They include the use of Reciprocal Links. Find complementary websites and request a reciprocal link to your site. Although I do all link requests manually there are a couple of automated link building software programs I recommend you check out are Zeus (fee-based) and Auto Link Exchanger (free). Be sure to only link to complementary sites, no matter how many requests you receive to exchange links. Be careful not to link with those that have absolutely nothing to do with your audience or market – they could do you absolutely no good unless they have tons of traffic and are considered a highly trusted source for referrals.
The best link partners include those that serve your audience or an audience closely related. Make it desirable to a potential link partner by offering something her clients or customers wants or needs. Adobe software is a perfect example. They offer a Free PDF reader for those documents we create and read online. This FREE program is just one of the reasons Adobe is one of the top 500 websites in the world (according to Alexa.com)
Ecommerce is not that complicated. Doing a few things consistently over time is what it takes to build a solid foundation, increase your credibility, and drive traffic to your site and ultimately add to your bottom line.
About the Author
Heidi Richards Mooney is the Publisher of WE Magazine for Women, Founder of Women in Ecommerce™, the author of a dozen books and a social media expert. Heidi has been named one of 50 women shaping the Internet by IVWCC, a Twitter Woman to Follow, Media Leader of the Year and Social Media Leader of the Year. In 2008 Heidi was inducted into the Broward County Women's Hall of Fame for her work with Women. You can find out more at www.WECAI.org and www.WEMagazineforWomen.com