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Web Design Principles: Establish Professional Credibility

by | 03/18/16 | Website


There are millions of sites out there. People have become both skeptical and savvy in their review of a company through their online presence. If you’ve managed the difficult process of getting visitors to your website, now you will need to convince them that you  are a trustworthy company? One of the most important web design principles we help clients understand and implement is  how to establish professional credibility through their website?

The most obvious place to start is with the look and feel.  A professionally designed website is the gateway to getting a potential customer to stick around and explore your business offering.  Choosing the right web designer will depend on your goals and your budget and can be more important in certain industries than others.  For instance, if you have an architectural design firm, the originality and professionalism of your web design will be far more important than if you own a plumbing service.  Either way, if your site is sloppy or confusing, you risk people abandoning it as soon as they arrive.  A “homemade” site could give the impression that you are an amateur.  It will not reflect positively on your business as a whole and can actually be a negative marketing message (you don’t take care of details).

Styling Website Content - Before and After

Make Website Content Easy to Scan, Skim or Read

Be sure your website doesn’t just include graphics, a color palette and layouts. Especially if your site is largely informational, you’ll want a designer that knows how to style content. Many web designers miss the importance of making text easy to scan by using header styles, creating a hierarchy for the copy and choosing appropriate fonts and line spacing.

A professional web designer also knows how to provide the best user experience.  The site should be organized and easy to navigate.  Pages should be unique but unified.  You’ll want to carry your branding throughout the site without it being boring or overwhelming.  When researching sites, look beyond the home page to see how well it is to find what you need and how the text, graphics, imagery and navigation work together.

The Web Is About Information – How will you communicate your message?

Focus on great contentWeb Design Principles - Content Marketing

Beyond the look and feel, credibility is about strong communication and messaging and creating a voice that your audience can relate to and understand.  Your content should be about solving your customers problems.  Concentrate on benefits over features.  Differentiate yourself.   Think about the impression you want to give about your brand and business.  Do you want to be approachable and conversational, or do you want to be serious and corporate in tone?  Do you want to sound innovative and cutting edge or traditional and stable?  Content is the substance of your website and it is why people have landed on your page.  They are not looking to be entertained, rather, they are looking for helpful information.

Think about the resources you have available to write quality content and what your message will be (more about this later in our blog series).  Some clients do write their own content, but most eventually turn to the expertise of a professional web content writer to solidify their messaging. If the web design firm you interview doesn’t talk about a content strategy, run fast. Effective content is by far, the greatest challenge for most business clients and one of the most important tasks in creating a site that will be effective and drive financial results.

Don’t tell them, show them

Prove your claimsWeb Design Principles - Establish Trust

What will make visitors believe you are different?  How will you build trust so that visitors are confident that you are what you say you are? Of course, if you TELL them to trust you, they never will. You’ll need to SHOW them instead. Ask yourself “how can I prove the claims I am making about my business.?”  Following are some of the ideas we suggest to our clients:

  • product ratings
  • client testimonials
  • affiliations and certifications
  • customer logos
  • partner logos
  • staff bios
  • company history
  • product reviews
  • case studies
  • awards and recognition
  • portfolio of work
  • published articles and thought leadership
  • security certificates

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