Archive for February, 2012

Making Your Business Irresistible to the Media

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

If you are relatively new to the cyberspace world, and have just put your business on the web, you may be wondering how you can involve the media in your online business and draw them to your site on a consistent basis. Where do you start when attempting to become overwhelmingly appealing to the media at large?

Why Not Turn the Tables?

Instead of sitting back and waiting for the media to come to you, why not go to them first? Ask the editor of your local newspaper if you can interview him or her for your website or blog on a topic which is relevant to your site or niche. Even better, be exceptionally brave and approach the editor of a larger national magazine or newspaper for an interview, creating interest in your site and your business.

If the media becomes interested in your site, your product or what you have to say, they may ask to be added to your distribution lists which will enable them to be kept apprised of new developments, new products or new information you share on your site. Once you have established a relationship with a member of the media, provide them with several links to your best work and ask if they would like to be added to your list. What this means is that every time you write a new blog article, you are likely to get multiple media mentions from taking the initiative and approaching the media first.

Let Your Customers Be Part of the Process

When a member of the media profiles your site, they may want to include an interview with a customer of yours—a satisfied one, obviously. Speak to the customers you have in mind prior to the interview and ask if they would mind doing a little PR work for your business, and if they are comfortable being interviewed, photographed or even being on television. Then let the member of the media know that you have several customers who are willing to discuss their experiences with your company in person or via phone.

Build the Relationship Prior to Pitching an Idea

It’s important that you connect with members of the media several months in advance via Twitter, Facebook or other social media avenues before you jump right in and ask for media attention. Even though we are talking about internet business, you are still the real person behind the real business and these people must get to know you and to trust you before they will be willing to promote your business. Reporters often use Twitter to converse with the public, so keep up with these exchanges and respond to comments.

Read a reporter’s work on a regular basis, and comment favorably on a particular story he or she did. If you are at a charity event or chamber of commerce event and spot a reporter you are interested in having review your business, make a point of introducing yourself, but save the hard sell for later on down the road. Pleasant small talk is all that is necessary at this point, but do try to make a favorable impression. Write a blog posting on your blog which highlights a reporter’s story in a positive manner, then shoot them an e-mail, including the link.

Start small by scouting out your local publications which have smaller, but more targeted readerships. Often these publications are run by a handful of people, who will welcome the opportunity to have a guest column done by you, saving them the time of running down their own story. There are many more ways to make your site tantalizing to the media, but the tips above are a good way to begin.

Winning Strategies for Social Media Optimization

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Social media is now more and more pervasive in brands, companies and organizations across the board. While there may still be a few holdouts, a significant number of companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon. The goal is to effectively use social media tools to reach the target audiences, and especially those audiences of small and medium companies in manufacturing, technical products and professional services.

Most of these companies are cautiously approaching the social media buzz by looking at the tools available and attempting to build a strategy based on those tools.  What businesses should probably be doing is narrowing down their chosen list of goals for their business, figuring out how social media fits into those goals, then working systematically through the goals, choosing first a goal which will improve merely one aspect of their business.

Implement a Social Marketing Program

You will definitely want to implement a social media marketing program for your business, however doing so without correctly optimizing your content is worthless. If you are applying blogs, videos, audios, Facebook pages, etc, into your social marketing program, but they cannot be found by using a search engine, then your hard work is for nothing. Social media sharing creates the kind of content which can significantly increase your brand visibility through search results—after all, the nature of social media encourages sharing, commenting, linking and participation which results in high numbers of relevant inbound links.

Detail Your Social Media Roadmap—Then Follow It

SEO and social media can only mesh well together when there is a framework for them to do so. You will first need to find your audience, making it your mission to know everything about them. You need to understand why they do what they do and what their preferences and methods of publishing and sharing include. Companies who have already been involved with the social web areas where there customers spend time are ahead of the game. You will next want to define your specific objectives, which may be driven by marketing or sales. In a rather indirect manner, social media can boost your links to website content with a result of improving your site’s traffic as well as your online sales.

Go With a Game Plan

Because people first discover content, then share it with others, the focus should be on content and social media interaction. Your keyword-focused strategy should definitely include publishing new content often, but will also involve promotion of your business and will make it easy for members of your community to share.  Make sure that you can measure your goals and objective, both the direct and the indirect.

Social Media Optimization

Social media optimization includes helping those who want to view your content be able to do so through widgets, apps or other entry ports for social media. The more “transportable” your content is, the more people will see it, read it and share it. While Facebook is certainly the primary place people share content—almost 40%–that leaves 60% being shared elsewhere, so don’t overlook other social media avenues.

Questions to Ask Yourself

In the end, when you are developing your strategies for social media optimization, consider which people you are interested in “talking” to, where you will locate them, what are they currently talking about, is it appropriate for us to join in that conversation, how can we be useful without being overtly promotional, what value can we provide, and how can we earn their undying trust?  While some of these questions will not be answered until you have begun interacting in social media conversations, your main goal will be to read and react in such a way that you are soon viewed as an authority in your field, and a highly useful resource.

Why the Ethical Use of SEO is Important

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

SEO is a technique which is widely used to make your legal website or blog more visible in an environment (the Internet) where there are already plenty of websites with the exact same type of law firm or legal specialty as your own. Most research will tell you that if you want to get the desired traffic to your legal website or blog, you need to be within the top 10 in the search engines. As you probably already know, however, competition to be in that top 10 is fierce, and staying there once you’ve made it is just as difficult.

SEO crosses the barriers between search engines, as they all operate by the SEO Bible, and allow your business to attract more of the “perfect” client, thus increasing your offline business. If your law firm has spent thousands—or more—creating the highest quality, most creative legal website around, but have left it running in an un-optimized manner, then you are simply spinning your wheels on the Internet. In older advertising terms it is something like have the most fabulous sign made up for your firm, then sticking it in the storeroom, where obviously your targeted clients will never see it.

While SEO is imperative, ethical SEO is critical for natural or organic search engine rankings. Major search engines such as Google are highly developed and able to easily understand the credibility of SEO techniques. By the same token, they can quickly identify unethical search engine techniques, with a potential consequence of blacklisting your website or even banning it. While “black hat” techniques can boost your search engine rankings quickly, in the long run it is a bad choice. In case you are unclear about what constitutes “black hat” techniques, here are some of the most common:

  • Keyword stuffing involves the repetitive use of the same keyword phrase over and over in your meta tags, comment tags, alt tags or the actual copy on your website. Repeat your targeted keywords no more than six or seven times within each 200 words.
  • Inserting hidden text or links that are readable by search engines but cannot be seen by your human visitors is not good use of SEO. All search engines consider these hidden text and links to be spam and will penalize the page, or possibly the entire site.
  • Cloaking involves a software program to direct search spiders to a group of pages which are created to “trick” the spider and re-direct the user—while cloaking can have some proper uses, by and large it is used to deceive search engines, and is therefore considered spam.
  • Creating mirror sites or duplicate content and placing them on multiple servers with different domain names, and search engines will not only suppress duplicate content but will also count them as a violation of the search engine’s spam guidelines.
  • Link farming refers to putting hundreds of links on one page to sites which are essentially unrelated to your site content and can contain poor quality content that is useless to your potential clients. Reciprocal links can associate you with “poor neighborhoods,” so you should avoid link farming at all cost.
  • Irrelevant link exchange is often considered unethical SEO, and no matter how tactfully or carefully you hide them, hiding repetitive keywords is also considered unethical.

These types of spam can cause your firm to lose your rankings and be booted off the search engine index; while search engines have varying rules for spam detection, the end result will be the same, and it can be extremely difficult for your firm to recover from a ban, which is why ethical SEO is so critical.  Used correctly on your legal website or blog, proper search engine optimization techniques will almost certainly get you ranked higher in the search engines, and achieved legitimately, organic links can last indefinitely. Acquire your search engine rankings fairly, and maintain them ethically for far-reaching positive results.

Link Popularity through Article Marketing

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Once you’ve gotten your website for your online business up and running, you may step back and take a moment to pat yourself on the back. A word of caution here—make sure that moment is a short one, because your work is really just beginning. Successful online businesses take constant work and promoting your online business can be frustrating, tedious, yet (hopefully) ultimately rewarding. While some online business owners choose to pay for advertisements in their quest for getting noticed, others go the article marketing route.

Successful Article Marketing = Increase Link Popularity and Quality

While article marketing has many benefits, one of the greatest is that it can improve both your link popularity as well as your link quality. Considering the vast importance of links in getting your site to the top, you can see why article marketing is crucial.  If you have decided to use carefully crafted article marketing strategies to grow your online business, take note of the following ideas.

If You are Unfamiliar With Article Marketing…

For all the online business owners struggling to get their message out to their target market, article marketing and promoting may well be one of the most well-liked strategies around. As you know, search engine bots go through the Net with a fine-tooth comb, using incredibly complicated algorithms to neatly index the vast array of pages. These algorithms use (among other factors) offpage optimization techniques which target both link popularity and link quality in their final assessment. Link popularity encompasses those links which purpose back to your site while the link quality basically refers to importance of other websites which leave a breadcrumb trail back to your business website.

Article Marking Brings Multiple Backlinks

Article marketing consists of adding a resource box at the end of the article with at least one link back to your site. Once the articles are submitted to multiple article directories, you will happily receive a link from each directory back to your website. Additionally, other website owners who are hungrily looking for content for their own site can use your article, sending yet another link back to your site. Don’t forget, however, that any old hastily-written article just won’t do. If you are serious about increasing your link popularity and quality, then your articles must be compelling and of the highest quality.

Qualities of Successful Articles

Obviously the text in your articles should, in some compelling way, relate to the content on your website. Your chosen keywords should appear relatively sparingly through the body of each article, and you should take special care with your resource box at the end of your article to ensure it contains a catchy phrase to encourage a solid click-through to your site. You also must consider anchor text as well as the words surrounding it. Anchor text is what you see and click on in an article which takes you to the web page link, and can definitely affect your link quality. Make sure only your most relevant keywords are used in anchor text, and also make sure your article has a totally compelling, attention-grabbing title which will persuade your readers to click and read.

Mechanics of Article Writing

Of course after you’ve crafted the most amazing title in history, you have to back it up with a great article which delivers solidly on the title’s promise.  You don’t want to leave your reader disappointed in the time they’ve spent, feeling as though you left your promise unfulfilled. As most of us are aware, reading on a computer screen is vastly different from reading a book. Break up your text into short paragraphs, and use headings, bullet points and numbering (judiciously) throughout the article, making skimming much easier. Using trusted resources, scatter plenty of details and facts throughout your article and—it cannot be said enough—proofread, proofread, and proofread again. Many find they can more easily see mistakes on a printed copy than on a screen, so sacrifice the ink, print out a copy and proofread yet again.

In the end, article marketing for site promotion is not particularly complex, but it does require persistence, patience and dedication to the end result. While you will likely not see a huge impact from one single article, the more you write, the more backlinks you receive, and, ultimately, success is realized!

Link Building Tips which are Still Respected by the Panda

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Countless websites took a heavy hit during Google’s latest algorithm, known as the Panda, and those which contained weak or “spammy” content probably took the hardest hit of all. The underlying message from the Panda is that every site on the web should be striving for the evolution of organic search quality. Another component of the algorithm determined the relative trustworthiness of each site, and part of this trust was determined by actual human analysis.

Ad-Stuffing, Content Value and Link Quality

Those real human beings had a list of specific questions which were designed to evaluate their overall comfort level with a website. Those sites which were over-stuffed with ads (especially ads above the fold) were rapped the hardest as it was felt these overabundant ads were a deterrent to trustworthiness. Further criteria for a slap on the wrist from the cuddly bear included content value and link quality. Fortunately, those who have continued to rely on tried and true link building strategies escaped the Panda’s displeasure. Traditional tactics can bring targeted and unique traffic to your site, and quality links provide solid click-through traffic.  So, just what are those “traditional” techniques you ask? Read on!

Partnerships and Networking

Establishing blog partnerships with a handful of highly relevant sites (no marginally relevant or totally irrelevant sites allowed) is an excellent way to develop your own Internet networking base. Start by making a list of all your real-life business contacts, then reach out to them. These days nearly all businesses have websites, so choose your business contacts which are within the same niche as you are, making sure their websites are trusted and well-ranked, although not directly competitive.  Choose a few of the very best ones then offer to mention their site on your blog if they will do the same for you. Convey a sense of enthusiasm for the project, and make a point of mentioning the mutual benefits for both parties. If the other webmaster is unsure of how to manage reciprocal links, send along an easy-to-understand, step-by-step flow chart to make it as easy as possible.

Offer to Guest Blog

In the same way you reach out to your business contacts to exchange links and create a network of online partners, you can also offer select sites your services as a guest blogger. Additionally you can find other sites within your industry who accept guest bloggers simply by typing into Google’s search bar an industry-relevant keyword along with “write for us.” This type of search should take you straight to the top-rated sites which continuously post fresh content into the world of blogs. Every time you post a guest blog, you garner a relevant backlink—or two. Take extra care to create a highly valuable and informative guest post, and you will see benefits in the form of increased traffic and deeper link authority.

Comment on Other Blog Sites

Although there are a certain amount of spammers who have discovered this formerly valuable link building technique, it is still quite valuable when used properly. It is very possible to not only build on your loyal fan base, but to increase your brand exponentially and generate highly targeted traffic through blog commenting. While this particular link strategy takes time and patience, just remember to employ creativity and value when adding comments—no sloppy “what a great posting” allowed. Give your readers valuable information and insight, and let your personality shine through. Don’t be afraid of a little controversy—after all, that’s what keeps the comments streaming in. If everyone is of the same opinion, there is little to interest readers. Google is still very happy with high-quality blog comments which link back to your site, so employ this strategy wisely and reap the rewards.

More Still-Respected Link Building Tips

If you have offered your skills or knowledge in some volunteer or charity manner, ask politely to have the favor returned through a text link from their blog to your website. Send out a press release for a charity event—not only will you be bringing in additional traffic, you are adding to your image in a trustworthy manner. The goal is to acquire high-quality, trustworthy, respectable and honest backlinks, and while this takes time, these strategies should allow you to remain safe from Google’s next update.

Link Building through Guest Blogging

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Links are the lifeblood of your website’s eventual success and there are a variety of ways to secure high quality links, as well as a number of different types of links. Some of the more productive ways you can obtain those coveted links include inviting guest bloggers to post on your site, agreeing to be a guest blogger on another site which is in the same niche as your own, adding links to social media sites, as well as a whole array of other nifty link building techniques. Focus on one area at a time, such as bringing in guest bloggers to your site, then doing some guest blogging of your own.

Bringing in a Guest Blogger

It can be exceptionally beneficial to bring in a guest blogger to post on your site. Although it takes some time and effort to get the best guest bloggers, it can be a worthwhile endeavor. Once you’ve chosen a few potential guest bloggers, contact them and discuss your expectations. These particular expectations could include your requested word count or any other ideas you have regarding the guest post. Once you’ve loosely agreed on a topic, you should also agree to a deadline to ensure you actually hear from them again. Make sure you give the guest blogger credit then once the article or blog is live, send out the link along with a thank you for the post. Many times guest bloggers will forward the link to their friends, families and business acquaintances, giving you great link exposure.

Becoming a Guest Blogger

First and foremost do your research before you decide to submit guest posts. Take some time to get to know the content of the blogs you are considering as well as their owner and the audience. Read through the comments and get a good feel for what is popular on the blog. Once you are comfortable with the blog, brainstorm a few ideas, then narrow them down and submit an idea for a guest post which is both relevant and fills a necessary gap in their content. When you are pitching your post, provide your credentials and make the owner of the site truly understand why you are the best person to write this particular guest post.

If your own blog statistics are impressive—share them. Be straightforward when pitching your idea, go easy on the compliments and don’t embellish your credentials, but do show you are a pro at blogging not to mention your particular subject—which should also be the subject you are proposing to write a guest blog for. Provide links to your blogs as well as any other online writing you may have done. It’s a good idea to have your blog posting written before you pitch your idea, then you can quickly provide it should the other person agree.

Make sure your guest blog posting is the highest quality, and has been checked and re-checked for mistakes of any kind. While you shouldn’t overload the post with links, you do want to include a short bio with one or two key links to a page or website which will provide access to further links. You don’t want your guest post to look “spammy,” so avoid peppering it with links. Once your guest post goes live, you must promote it, sending the maximum amount of traffic to the site as humanly possible. If the other blogger sees a definite jump in traffic, you will probably be asked to write another guest post…and another. Each guest posting, whether one you write or one another writes for you will add valuable links to your site and increase your traffic and rankings.

Key SEO Strategies to Promote Your Law Firm through Facebook

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

If you use Facebook strictly for personal social interaction, you may wonder why you would want to promote your business through Facebook as well as how SEO relates to social media sites. In the very recent past, business pages on Facebook have become almost like another Home Page. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to do a thorough job of social media marketing if you don’t’ take search engine optimization into account. It does little good to jump headfirst into the social media marketing program without optimizing your Facebook page so it can be easily found in a search. If your site cannot be found, you have lost a golden opportunity to reach the readers who are specifically looking for you. As we all know, Google changes its search algorithms quite often, yet there are still a few tips which remain solid that can help you fully optimize your Facebook page.

Think Long and Hard About Your Facebook Page Name

If you keyword stuff your title with relatively generic keywords, then your potential Facebook fans may believe your page is spam and hide all your carefully crafted updates. They may also not be enthusiastic about sharing your Facebook page with others which is the lifeblood of Facebook SEO. Even if you discount Google, Facebook disables updates from Pages which appear to have a generic name, so it could be much more effective in the long run to simply use your business’s real name as the title of your Facebook page. Further, once you’ve settled on a name, leave it be, since modifying the name in the future can cost you valuable SEO points.

Use Your “About” Box Wisely

Since Facebook limits you in the amount of content which can be placed on your Wall tab, it can greatly increase your SEO when you place unique, keyword-dense text toward the top part of your page, using the “About” box to place it in. Utilize each Facebook information tab to incorporate your contact information, company overview, products you sell or services you offer, and your local address.

Always Include Relevant Links in Your Status Updates

Google hands out rewards for those pages that provide truly relevant links. You can either provide a URL which will take your reader directly to the website when they click on it, or attach a link, which is actually more effective in boosting your keyword density. Post text links to your Facebook page from the “outside” and you will get a good Page rank boost in the same way inbound links give you a boost. Facebook provides a badge which says “Find Us on Facebook” to all users, so be sure and post this badge on your website.

Make Use of Photos with Captions and Events

You should always strive to keep your content fresh and intriguing, so when you post photographs, use your SEO to the maximum level, and add keyword rich captions. When you post events, take the extra time to include both text and relevant keywords into the field where you post the description of the event. People love seeing new photos, so use that to your advantage.

Finally, urge your friends and fans to comment and “like” your content since this process causes FB to link their name back to their profile page. Once those pages are indexed, Google sees reciprocal links between your Page and your fans—a process which will grow over time and give you big rewards in the form of organic SEO. Look beyond the social nature of Facebook and use it to boost your business and increase your visibility.

Is There a Code of Ethics in the SEO World?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Just as most all professions are guided by a set of rules, the SEO world also has certain rules and code of conduct which should be followed by all those engaged in the business of SEO, and even those of us who undertake SEO practices for our personal websites should certainly be aware of the rules we should make every effort to follow. Most of us know the difference between right and wrong, and would not consider engaging in a practice which is obviously dishonest, however some of the SEO rules are ones you might not have fully considered. Additionally, because SEO changes and grows nearly daily, it is hard to maintain a “universal” SEO code of conduct, but following these general rules will ensure you never cross the ethical line.

The Most Basic Code

Slander is slander, whether in real life on online, and as such you should always scrupulously avoid it. Slander is providing any type of false information which would defame another person. Your goal is to make your own site, and your own brand look good to the public and to Google, however success is not achieved by going out of your way to make your competition look bad, no matter how tempting that might be.

Follow the rules as set out by Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines—whether you agree with them or not, attempting to find a way around these rules will ultimately cause your site and your rankings to suffer. If you work for others, performing SEO for their business, remember they are trusting you with their personal information, and all privacy policies you would use in the traditional sense are applicable online as well.

Never, ever, sacrifice private or personal information no matter how valuable it could potentially be. If you use someone else’s work, give them credit, never claim it as your own. This is plagiarism, and is illegal. Copying and pasting may seem harmless, but it absolutely is not. Finally, if it’s against the law in your everyday world, it is against the law online. Take care with copyrighted names or trademarks so others don’t mistakenly believe you are associated with a particular company that in reality you are not.

More Specific Rules of SEO

You should take care to never employ so-called “black hat” techniques which include using mirror pages or sites, link farms, hidden texts, hidden links which promote websites, doorway pages or keywords written in minute text. By the same token, never take credit for another’s creativity in any way, shape or form, and never use unauthorized software or tools for web promotion.  Websites which are made for AdSense, but consist of scraped content are completely unethical, as is deliberately misspelling well-known websites. If you are engaging in keyword stuffing and loading pages with irrelevant words in an attempt to boost your search engine rankings, you may get short term results, but they absolutely will not be lasting ones, plus you could cause your site to be banned from the Internet altogether. Essentially any method which tries to trick the search engines violates the SEO code of conduct

SEO tactics which are both ethical and provide long-term, long-lasting positive results include optimizing your existing web pages and HTML code, engaging in organic link building to get high quality inbound links, and going out of your way to build a website which offers great value to users.  Ethical practices make everyone involved in the entire Internet process a winner, so make sure you always adhere to these rules.

Is Deep Linking Still in Legal Limbo?

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Deep linking is a technique which has had its critics in the past, and, in fact, was subject to a lawsuit involving Ticketmaster, nearly a decade ago. Ticketmaster sued a rival company known as in the United States District Court of California claiming featured links which took consumers deep within Ticketmaster’s site, bypassing home pages. When the courts were finished with the case, the bottom line was that while it was fine to link to another’s home page, deep linking without permission was a definite no-no. So, all these years later, where do we stand with deep linking, and is it beneficial to your site?

What is Deep Linking?

A “regular” link points to the home page of a website, such as, while a deep link points to a specific web page inside yahoo. In the same manner, a regular link would point to, while a deep link would take you to a specific member profile or specific page within Facebook.

What’s So Bad about Deep Linking?

Larger companies discourage deep linking into their website, feeling it sends visitors directly to a specific page they are interested in, bypassing sponsor advertising or other features that are fiscally beneficial to the company. In other words, although the user is getting exactly what they want through following a deep link, the company may not be getting every last penny they possibly can from consumers.

In some cases, deep linking can also be considered detrimental to the company being linked to simply because they have their web pages in a certain sequence, and that specific sequence is necessary to gain the maximum benefit from the site. If someone posts a deep link to page 17 which bypasses the prior pages which are leading up to 17, then the user has potentially lost some of the value of the site.

What’s Great about Deep Linking?

In fact there are many exceptional benefits of deep linking; it has been definitively shown that getting from a homepage to a specific product page contributes to over a fourth of the failures in getting a user to purchase a product. When deep linking is incorporated, the user does not have to spend inordinate amounts of time navigating a company’s unwieldy website in search of a specific product. When users are taken directly to the information they are looking at, then the conversion rates go up significantly, whereas if the link is only to the homepage of a company, the user must take many more steps to find the exact product they are looking for.

Even though companies might be losing out on the user seeing the initial advertisements on their home page, the payoff generally offsets that minor disadvantage many times over. Many of us have suffered through such a situation: we want a simple item such as a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies. After typing the words into the search bar, we are taken to a homepage that wants us to do many more things, and wants to give us the royal runaround before finally giving us the recipe we wanted. It can be extremely aggravating for consumers with limited time who merely want what they want in the most expedient manner possible.

Deep linking can boost your website’s page ranking, and, if done in an ethical manner is not only perfectly legal, but can also improve the site you are linking to by providing enhanced customer satisfaction to users.

How Your Users Will Judge Your Business by Your Website

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Most all of us tend to judge others, at least in part, by our first impression of how they appear or present themselves. We judge businesses in much the same way. And guess what—we also judge businesses by how we perceive their website. In fact, the Stanford Web Credibility Project states that at least seventy-five percent of us freely admit to making judgments about a business’s credibility based solely on the website design and presentation. After reading that sentence you may be frantically wondering just how many times your site has been judged, whether that judgment was positive or negative and if it has hurt your rankings and conversions.

What is Credibility?

Of course credibility is important in your virtual business, but it can be just as much, if not more, credible in your online business. You may be wondering just what credibility really is. It its most concise form, credibility encompasses both expertise in your field and a solid feeling of trustworthiness. If your website visitors perceive your site as truthful and unbiased they will view you—the person behind the website—as experienced and knowledgeable. Add all these qualities together, and you have credibility.  Consider the truly massive amount of information on the web, and you will see why it is more important than ever to stand out from all the rest, but only in the best kind of way. People find credible websites appealing, and the most highly credible websites are able to actually change the attitudes and behavior of their users.

Design Mistakes Which Can Damage Your Site’s Credibility

Elements of your design, including photos, graphics, dominant colors and your company logo all mix together to provide credibility. Research has shown, for instance, that when websites use a dominant red background in their design, users perceive the site as evil or dangerous. Very dark colors were found to give a sense of foreboding, and all in all there were few positive reactions to extreme colors of any type. Pictures and logos are harder to get a handle on, as the reactions to both were mostly based on personal preference. All of those questioned during the research on website design agreed that a website needed, first and foremost, to appear professional.

Positive Design Aspects Which Increase Credibility and Conversions

Keep your site professional, and make it extremely easy to verify the accuracy of all information on your site. You can do this through third party citations or links to your source data. Make a point of playing up the expertise behind the products, content and services you provide. It should be apparent that there is organization behind your site, and it should be very easy to find contact information for you.

Be sure to add your physical address and phone number as this is one of the primary ways you will build trust among your users. You want users to have no doubt that your organization is real, so provide evidence that you have a real business in the real world. You can show photos of your office, or list your membership with your local Chamber. Your site should be useful, but should also be easy to use. Update content often to give your users the sense that you are reviewing your site often. Don’t go crazy with advertisements or offers—users find it distracting and a little tacky. Avoid errors of any kind—even the smallest error in spelling, grammar, sentence structure or information can damage your overall credibility. Take the extra time and proofread not once, but several times.

If you have followed standard website design guidelines, then you should begin to see the fruits of your efforts very soon through increased traffic and a boost in your rankings. Building trust takes time, whether in real life or online, but the reward is worth the time.