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Determining Your Websites “Validation” Point: How

By Pete Prestipino
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004

Most unsuccessful webmasters/site owners spend thousands of dollars on design, development, marketing/promotions, optimization and advertising with out giving any thought to whether they would trust their own site when it comes to buying products or services online or even sharing information with that site.

If you aren’t getting the return on investment that you set out to attain, consider determining your web businesses Validation Point - the degree that a user believes your message and the point at which they are ready to trust you enough to take you up on your unique proposition. By understanding some very basic principles about human behavior we can learn what it takes to become “valid” in the eyes of prospects.


How do Users Find You?
Surfers tend to trust websites that they find nearer the top of search return lists or through respected site that they are familiar with.

Traditional Search Engines:
Since premium placement in search engines is difficult (if not in some cases impossible) to attain, sites that appear in the 20th, 30th, or even 1000th spot really have to make an extended effort to show not only that their products are of equal or greater value but that their business meets or exceeds the visitors expectations.

Standard Link Referrals:
Traffic sent from other websites is also a valuable commodity. When webmasters or site owners believe enough in what you offer to feature your site in their newsletter or within their Web pages, you build credibility and trust in the eyes of prospects. By building your overall Internet popularity, your reputation will precede you as a business that offers premium products, services or information.

Are You Real, Virtual or Both?
While e-commerce technology has come a long way since its first implementation, most people still would prefer to make purchases in person or at least speak with someone on the phone. This gives the prospect the sense they are receiving personal attention. Since sites that offer addresses and phone numbers typically perform on a higher level, it is important to express to visitors critical information such as details about the company, contact information and easy to understand privacy policies. These are important parts of a website because open system almost always outperform closed ones. Who would you trust more: the person selling watches from a storefront or the one selling them front the trunk of their car?

Do others find you Trustworthy?
One of the most profound mistakes web site owners and managers make is not proving their trustworthiness to their visitors. Sites that sell successfully online realize the importance of earning visitors' trust through a policy of open communication. By providing secure billing pages and explaining and abiding by the content within your sites' privacy policies, earning trust with prospects becomes exponentially simpler.

Finding the secret to being trustworthy is more simple that most people think. By being what users expect you to be (honest, truthful, reliable, dependable) you increase the chances that you will earn visitors trust. The next time you look at your site, ask yourself, "Do I trust this business?"


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