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Do I like you? Do I trust you? – What does your website tell me about you?

May 27, 2011

When I visit a website for the first time, especially for a small business I try to answer the two questions in the title even before I consider if your product or service is what I’m looking for.

Do I like you?
Do I trust you?

To me these are the 2 major questions that are regularly not addressed on websites and account for the high numbers of visitors that just walk away.  They came to your website because they thought you might be able to help them, but left because they were not comfortable doing business with you.

Do I like you?

This is a really fundamental question. I like doing business with people I like.  Sounds obvious and I expect you are the same.  We all have our favourite coffee shops, our favourite clothes shops, our favourite bar.  At some level I like you.  I like how it feels when I go into the store, restaurant or bar.  The way they present themselves matches me.  I feel good.  I like the experience.

Do I trust you?

I’ve decided I like you but can I trust you.  Can I trust that you will deliver on time, can I trust that you will not steal my credit card details, can I trust you.  Without this trust I might like you but I don’t want to do business with you as I don’t know if you will deliver on your promise.  This is like having a close friend that you really enjoy hanging out with but you wouldn’t let them housesit while you are out of town.  I like them but I can’t trust them.

So, what can you do?

On a website like and trust are tough things to get across.  It’s easy to show you sell what I want to buy, just add a shopping cart.

For Like

Tell me who you are including your name. Why you are passionate about what you do. Why you value me as a person and not just a paying customer.

 For Trust

Tell me stories about other peoples experience (testimonials).  Tell me your values.  Tell me your commitment (in stock/out of stock, your delivery schedule).  Tell me how I can contact you.   Tell me why you can be trusted.

Keep your website up to date.  Talking about events in the future when they happened 3 months ago shows a lack of care and attention.  Maybe you’ll treat me the same way.

Be positive in the message.  Talking in negatives, even double negatives (so being a positive in the end) sounds evasive. What are you trying to hide.

In Summary

I need to like you and trust you before I will do business with you.  Get this right and then what you do will sell itself.

Update:

I was watching a rerun of the UK program ‘The Gadget Show’ episode 16 and at the 31 minute mark Suzi is trying to convince Big Brother’s Nikki Grahame to do an extreme water sport.  Guess what 2 questions she asks her?
(http://www.channel5.com/shows/the-gadget-show/episodes/episode-16-117 – there are a few ads you have to go through to get to the program, but it’s worth it to see the interaction)

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