Recently, somebody asked me for some tips on how businesses can improve “trust” online. What are the key things that put a customer at ease and help them to feel that the website is trustworthy and authentic. Here are a few things that I think can help improve the trust factor.

First impressions count. Studies have shown that users will make a snap judgment of your website within just a few seconds of viewing the page. Your design should be clean and professional. Some small businesses try to save money on their website, but an amateur design may be turning customers away. Also, make sure there are absolutely no spelling or grammatical mistakes. Check each and every link on every page to make sure there are no broken links or other usability problems.

As far as boosting the credibility of a working site, there are a few things business owners can do:

Testimonials from customers or partners can be a great way to boost credibility, but make sure they are completely honest. Customers can see through outrageous or unbelievable claims.

A clear guarantee on the website will boost your credibility. If you offer a money-back guarantee on all orders, make it prominent feature on the homepage.

Place links to your privacy policy on every page. If you need help developing your privacy policy, The Direct Marketing Agency has an interactive tool to guide you through creating one at http://www.the-dma.org/privacy/creating.shtml

Show the financial brands you work with on the site. If you take Visa, use the Visa logo on the site. Just make sure to follow the brand guidelines of the company you are using.