You demand credit card details, names, numbers and email ids from people visiting your site.

On what basis would anyone hand over these to you?

They don’t know you. They’re not familiar with your brand name. And there’s no reason why they should trust you enough to hand over these details.

The stepping stone to conversions is trust.

The solution? Good design, a secure protocol, excellent content and the right security badges.

Let’s see how.

  1. Switch To The Secure Protocol

There’s more than one reason to switch to the secure protocol, trust being the least.

When purchasing online the green https on the corner is heartening to most.

And with hosting companies like Bluehost offering free SSL for life there’s one less reason to not to.

5 years ago Google announced that https will be a ranking signal. In a bid to push for world wide adoption, sites that aren’t on https will on the address bar be displayed as not secure. We started noticing this starting July this year.

It seems Mozilla firefox too has gone through a design change to mark non https sites as unsecure.

Firefox additionally provides a lot of clarity on whether a particular site’s secure or not.

The padlock on the top left hand corner shows up in bright green displaying additional details if the website is secure. See the example below:

security certificate.png

               [green padlock shows secure site]

This website below seems to have an expired security certificate.

security certificate.png

                                       [unsecure site]

security certificate.png

Firefox displays a warning telling me of the dangers of proceeding to a site whose security certificate has expired or is non existent.

It could be the images hosted on a non secure platform. Most problems are easily fixed.

By checking whether this certificate is valid Firefox ensures that the connection is really encrypted.  

Read guides that show you how to switch over from http to https and follow those to transition over smoothly.

2. Have A Great Web Design

Dr Brent Coker from University of Melbourne found that there’s not much difference in the way we behave online or offline.

In the real-world people are prone to trust beautiful people. Beautiful faces instantly attract us towards them. And given nothing else we form opinions and even trust beauty.

In the online world we trust better looking websites.

“People quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues and more. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.”

A research that was recently conducted found that 46.1% people in a sample group the participants judged the website’s credibility based on its design.

Don’t ever settle for stock photography. Things that mimic reality are almost untrusted all the time. A stock photo screams out that it’s not real. A study at Marketing Experiments reveals that 35% of visitors were more likely to sign up when presented with a real photo than a stock image.

Unbounce generally uses real photos.

unbounce landiing page.png

They employ the guy next door kind of face on the page.

Visitors can easily relate to that image. It builds up trust in them and they feel that if Unbounce has worked for that guy it should work for them as well.

Rich photos are peppered throughout the page. This is followed by testimonials that appear from real people.

Let’s look at another example.

GrooveHq has a clean design with a great Call to action supported by a video on the homepage.

groove homepage.png

                                                                     [Groove landing page]

Videos may not always work on the way you intend them to.  On BrookDale Living, a video on the homepage actually decreased conversions. The reason?

The core demographic comprises of of women with no college education. They aren’t particularly savvy about watching videos.

[chart showing the demographics of visitors on Brookdaleliving]

Test and see if video works for you.

Another thing that comes to my mind is that a trend these days is to just add a video on the homepage as the background. If you are looking for conversions then such random videos can only act as a distraction that takes the mind of the visitor away from the intended goal.

Just look at the example below of a site with a video running in the background.

video in the background.png

3.  Show How You Served Customers and The Value Provided

The number of customers served can be a good way to show your presence in the industry.


By showcasing real testimonials and value provided.

a.)  Client logos

Client logos if they’re from well-known brands can rub of some of that authority on to you.

Neil Patel does this amazingly well. His new home was sponsored by the likes of Google and other big brands in return for displaying their logo in his home.

Or his story of consulting on AdWords and turning it much more profitable.

The reputed your client the more rapport you build with visitors coming to your site.

When these visitors see that other visitors have been successful because of your service they too wouldn’t think twice about ordering.

For example, ConversionRateExperts shows client logos on this page. Their clientele include big names like Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

What better way to gain trust?

b.) Show the value you’re creating

Whether it be helping small business owners or big behemoths the size of Google, people are going to trust you only if they realize the value you create for others and in turn for them.

Instead of showing bloated customer numbers and crazy stats that don’t mean anything stories that show visitors tangible benefits of working with your brand are the call of the day.

Clarity does something similar. They connect amateurs with experts and give them advice.  On their dedicated pages you have tomes of customer success stories. Visitors can see how Clarity helped others and proceed with registering on the site.

Don’t forget that each new element on a landing page divvies attention and scores away a chunk of it. When introducing new elements don’t load the site with as many as you can fit into the small space.

3. Humanize the brand

By informing your customers that you’re no different than them you instantly create a rapport that could translate to sales.

Airbnb has an incredible Instagram strategy that you will not be able to recognize at one glance.

You will find the feed filled with photos and scenery from all over the world and images of homes from every country.

But you will be wrong to think they’re sourcing all photos from some shutter-bug on monthly retainer. The truth is that the photos are sent by their own customers taking in the beauty of the places they travelled to and stayed at.

This acts as social proof and the examples attract people to try Airbnb.

The engagement is of the charts each post receiving anything from 10k to 30k likes and the stream of comments never stops.

The conversations that flow help the brand connect with people. It takes a lot of effort for someone to engage on social media and that too with a brand. People go past this resistance to drop comments and valuable responses in return make them feel it was worth their while.  

Presently they have over 3.1 million followers on their Instagram account.

4. Be a trend setter

Peep Laja started ConversionXl because he was tired of the same tired advice doled out as golden nuggets. His blog was path breaking in the sense that all claims were backed up by solid proof. In his interview on Mixergy he says,

“And then conclusion was that I need to write long form posts, two to three thousand words. Lots of pictures, well structured, meaning that sub headlines, bullet points, so it’s interesting easy on the eye.

Every claim backed up by a source. I’m not saying do this, this works. And then I link to a study the study found that this works. And finally to publish as frequently as possible because publishing schedule matters.”

Conversion Optimization by ConversionXL.png

Everyone in the Conversion Rate Optimization Industry has heard of CXL today.

[Conversionxl homepage]

Neil Patel too follows a similar path with

Writing long-form content 3 times a week he has several leads per month that are worth several thousand dollars.

Personal branding through blogging helps him generate over $500,000 in revenue each month.

5. Be Transparent

Transparency can go a long way in helping build trust on your site.

I will take the example of Buffer that openly shares revenue numbers and salaries in a bid to be completely transparent.

[Salary table at Buffer]

GrooveHq shares everything they are doing to grow their business to $500k a month on their blog.

[Groove shares its story]

Yellow Leaf Hammocks gained trust by sharing their origin story on their about us page which happens to be the second most visited page on their site. It’s all about empowering village weavers with a means of livelihood and ways by which they cut out middleman and provide money they’re worth.

There are stories of how each person’s life turned for the better with Yellow Leaf Hammocks.

By sharing their real stories Yellow Hammocks instantly connects with customers and earns trust.

Another example is Apptopia which throws out marketing jargon out of the window. When you read the about us page it feels that they really care about the problems that publishers and advertisers face.

[Apptopia about us page]

6. Display The Right Trust seals


When building trust on your site, trust seals could improve the perception.

The right trust seal is more of a determinant in whether people would trust you or not.

Research by Baymard reveals the following things about trust seals.

  • 20.1% selected Norton Secured
  • 10.3% chose McAfee Secure
  • 10.2% selected BBB
  • 8.3% selected TRUSTe
  • 3.8% selected VeraSafe
  • 3.1% selected Secured By Thawte
  • 3.0% selected Comodo Secure
  • 2.0% opted for Stella Service
  • 1.9 % the least popular option opted for Trustwa

So, it would be better if you opt for the most popular trust seal. Trust seals can be a distraction and could lower conversions. You should always test the page with and without trust seals to see what works for you.

Concluding Thoughts

Trust generation isn’t cakewalk. It takes years of effort and doing a lot of things right to gain customer trust.

Mentions from popular trust worthy sites and testimonials can help. But the most important thing is showing the value you are providing to your customers. People want to know how something can benefit them. Clarity in that improves conversions and makes your business a brand.

And always test. You should always test whatever changes you make. Everything is a variable.