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Why Trust Signals Are So Important for Users

You wouldn’t hand money over for goods to be delivered next week to a traveling salesman with no more credentials than the ones that come out of his mouth, would you? In the same way, purchasing goods on the Internet may seem like a security risk to users. However, there are a number of things which can significantly lower the perceived danger and increase confidence among your potential customers. One of the best of these is the trust signal on a site.

So, what is a trust signal?

A trust signal is a little badge or sometimes a link button which shows you that a site is safe. There are certain signs, which are greater signifiers of safety than others and one of the most well known of these is the Verisign (SSL)


Verisign shows that a site processes cards in a safe and secure manner and that your card details can’t be compromised by fraudulent activity. Verisign is generally available on most sites that perform transactions and those using the site should able to clearly see it when processing their goods.


As a user of a site there is probably no greater trust signal than a brand. Large sites which are directly related to companies are often the best to deal with. Purchasing from the likes of Nike or Coca Cola, or even from the likes of TopShop, directly, means you have a direct comeback. These sites cost a bit more, but do offer buyers the best protection and are important trust signals in the world of eCommerce.

Building up a brand that people can trust is still one of the most important things a webmaster can do. The phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ definitely rings true in the online world as much as it does offline. If your brand can become known as being reliable and trustworthy this is definitely one of the best ways to build up confidence with your potential customers.

The Website Itself

The layout of a site is also an important trust factor. Sites which are poorly designed, look outdated or involve users having to scroll back and across a screen covered in poor graphics won’t evoke a sense of trust. If the site looks like it hasn’t been cared for, this will pass on a negative message to the users. If the website appears to be well looked after and updated regularly, this will add the ‘human touch’ which should be good news for your users.

Broken Links

This is another major sign of a company who may not offer you the most trustworthy shopping experience. Broken links, which lead to sites with an ‘Error 404′ would not be the most advisable to enter all your bank details into.

Returns Policies and Contact Details

Knowing that a site offers a certain amount of flexibility should something go wrong can also create a sense of trust in a website. Websites which offer money back guarantees seem a lot more trustworthy than sites which don’t offer such options. With up to one third of fashion sites receiving returns it is good to know you can do so easily without problems — this is a good trust sign and one that shows you can put faith in the site.

It’s also worth having a look through to see if you can find a contact address and phone number. If your order doesn’t work out as you expected, you will need to be sure that you can contact the business to discuss your issues. If you’re in doubt, just give them a call before you place your order to find who’s at the other end. Any reputable company should be more than happy to talk through any concerns you might have.

All of these things, or the lack of them, should give you a good idea of whether or not you can trust a website enough to make a purchase.

About the Author: Cormac Reynolds is a freelance writer, currently working for Discounts.ca who offer a large selection of coupons and offers for major brands including Amazon, Dell and Expedia.

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