Trust guides buying decisions. A study performed by SearchEngineLand notes that when it comes to the matter of online reviews, 88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. The currency of trust and its relationship to your site’s reputation is something no company can afford to neglect.

Therefore, creating a brand and site image that is trustworthy should be at the top of your list. While many of us think of trust as a natural process that develops over time, the truth is that when it comes to businesses and branding, trust is something that needs to be purposefully crafted and elicited from your audience. Believe it or not, there are some methods that have remained relevant and applicable to cultivating trust in clients and this is a presentation of some of the most successful methods.

1. Get To The Point

The average user stays on the average site for less than a minute. There are over 1 billion websites in existence today, and that means that there is an astronomical amount of content published daily. What that means for you is that you need to catch you user’s attention in a way that isn’t too gaudy or showy, that piques their interest, and that gets to the punchline very fast.

2. Clean Up Your Site Aesthetic

People process pictures and visual content at a breathtaking 60,000 times faster than they do text. Building a trustworthy website is like writing a polished novel in the sense that each gets to the point very quickly by dragging you in.

Check out the design of Team Treehouse, which has a clear and focused signup option for learning coding languages as well as an artistic, intuitive, explanatory, and visual design in its leading scroll.

3. Deliver Useful Information

You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, a lot of site owners are still going for the quantity over quality approach as part of a campaign to cast the widest net.

The structure credit repair site Lexington Law is a great example of a site that organizes the information that users want in an organized, efficient, and easily accessible way while also offering users contact information in a conspicuous location to facilitate better communication.

4. Get Rid Of Intrusive Popups

The last thing that anyone wants when browsing is something to be shoved in front of their face. While mastering organic growth involves the tasteful placement of popups and overlays, it is possible for your site to come off as too focused on sales and insincere if it incorrectly utilizes notifications systems. SEOmoz has a great breakdown of the types of site notifications and how you can streamline this system.

5. Encourage Account and Community Creation

Reputation is a driver of trust, and allowing people to interact with each other or feel as if they are a member of your site will directly benefit your site’s reputation.

Reddit is the fourth most popular site in the United States and has catapulted itself into this position solely by offering a space for users with similar interests to aggregate, share links, and discuss topics.

6. Offer Risk-Avoidance Options

When it comes to most purchases online, a big barrier to conversions often lies in the naturally high tendency for risk averseness for customers buying a product they haven’t seen for the first time. Businesses that offer risk-free guarantees and returns in ways that are discreet allow create an environment that accommodates customers with lower risk tolerance. As an example, online clothing company CCS offers a free returns slip with every delivery they ship because they anticipate that a lot of people will have concerns about sizing when ordering online.

7. Get Accredited By The BBB And Similar Institutions

According to a survey on small businesses: “85% of consumers use the internet to research businesses before deciding to make a purchase.” In many cases, getting accredited usually just a formality for businesses. However, having the official looking logo of the BBB, Amazon, PayPal, or similarly big online financial and oversight institutions can ease the doubts your site visitors may have about the reliability and trustworthiness of your site.

8. Manage Customer Service

Desk reports that bad customer service costs businesses $84 billion every year, that’s a huge figure. Part of that cost derives from the reputational damage that bad reviews can wreak on your future business. As we’ve noted before, a huge portion of consumers use the Internet to do research on a business before buying from it. So if someone leaves a few stray negative comments on review sites, those negative reflections will end up disproportionately skewing the public reputation of your company.