It doesn’t matter what type of site you run, credibility is key to your success. Even if you’re running a comedy site or blog of your personal ramblings, if you want people to listen to you, pay attention to what you have to say and come back, you have to convince them that you are someone worth the time and energy.
Unfortunately, on the Web that can be very difficult. Without physical contact we never see the faces of those we’re reaching out to and that can make it hard to connect, build rapport and earn the credibility that you need to turn a casual visitor into a regular reader.
However, there are several things you can do to your site and your writing to give you a boost with your credibility and make it easier to forge those connections. Here are six of the best ways to do just that.
Have a Good “About Me” Page
Most people hate talking about themselves but having a personable and professional About Me page is crucial for helping your readers get to know you and trust you. People don’t trust faceless strangers, they trust their friends and they are friends people they know. Make it easy for people get to know you and you’ll likely find they like you and that will help in building trust.
Problogger has a wonderful about me page that includes lots of content about him self and his history. You really get to know the person behind the blog in depth and it makes you want to read more.
Include a Photo of Yourself
Once again, on the About Me page, include a photo of yourself. Adding a face to the name and to the words forges a deeper connection and fosters a greater trust. Make sure the photo is appropriate for your site and puts you in a good light but is also natural and comfortable. This means you can’t just use a random photo out of your Facebook gallery and may want to take a new one.
Add Prominent Contact Info
Make sure that people can get in touch with you easily and include all contact information that is relevant for your site. At the very least this should include an email address but don’t forget that you can use Google Voice (review) to easy add a phone number as well. The easier you are to reach, the more people will trust you.
In most cases people won’t call your phone and you can always hire a payed by the hour secretary who will take your call. But the main point is that such gesture shows you are not afraid to expose your self to the world and that you have nothing to hide.
Link Out to Other Credible Sites
Who links to you says a lot about your trustworthiness but it is a who you link to is part of what gives you the credibility to start with. If you reference well-respected sites, people will connect you with them and and that will have an almost subconscious effect of improving your credibility in the minds of your readers.
It’s also known that linking to credible sources pays off in terms of SEO as the search engines see you care about your readers and users. Linking to credible sources also shows you are acquainted with the community and some kid who launched a website.
Check Your Grammar and Spelling
Nothing destroys credibility and respect faster than a slew of spelling and grammar mistakes. Though we’re all human and will make a few errors from time to time, having too many can cause others to write you off as an buffoon, even when you aren’t. Have someone proofread your content if you must and consider using After the Deadline to help you write more tightly and accurately.
Create a Press/Testimonials Page
Though this might not be relevant for every site, including testimonials and press mentions goes a long way to building credibility. The fact other people thought highly enough of you to either mention you in a news story or offer you public praise gives a tremendous boost to your reputation. You can use Help a Reporter to help get news mentions and you can easily solicit testimonials from your friends.
While these tricks and techniques can help you build credibility on your site, it is still something that you have to earn and the best way to do that is provide good content day after day, week after week, that fills your reader’s needs.
In short, there are no shortcuts to credibility but there are several important steps you can and should take to make sure your hard work is remembered and pays off in the long run.