Posted August 23, 2010 3:51 pm by with 7 comments

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Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners and bestselling author of Landing Page Optimization says there are “Four Pillars Of Trust” that you need in order to make your landing pages convert. At a recent marketing conference covered by Top Rank, Ash emphasized the fact that the winner is not always the guy with the zippiest website. Trust is about people and that’s the link that binds together his four pillars.

Let’s take a look:

1. Appearance

This one is pretty basic and yet it’s so often ignored. Does your website look professional? Is it clean and uncluttered? A few of my personal pet peeves in this area include light text on a light background, centered text that scrolls on and on like the opening of Star Wars and websites that play music or video as soon as you open them. Also included in this area is the “freebie” site. I can’t tell you how many young entrepreneurs say to me, why pay when I can have a free Blogger or WordPress account. If you want people to give you money, you have to spend at least a little.

2. Transactional assurances

This one is a little more technical. It’s all about assuring people that their payment is going to be handled in a secure manner. You might know your shopping cart system is protected but you need to tell your shoppers that or they won’t buy. Also, don’t make them search for return policies or the contact info for your company. Nothing breeds a lack of trust like an empty contact page.

3. Authority

This one is tricky. In the article, Ash suggests that associating yourself with a trusted source, be it an award or magazine, will increase the trust level. Sure, if David Beckham is seen holding your product in People Magazine, that’s going to help a lot. But how many of us have that kind of pull? Maybe for you, authority is posting a local chamber of commerce award or a testimonial from an influential blogger. This is one where thinking out of the box will go a long way.

4. Consensus of peers

This is the pillar that ties in mostly to social media. The idea here is that one is indeed the loneliest number. Most people don’t want to join a Facebook Fan Page that has only one friend, but they’ll quickly join a page if ten of their friends have already joined. Ash says that this is good reason to show those widgets that announce how many fans, followers, and happy customers have visited your site. It’s the same technique eBay and Amazon use when they show customer feedback percents. If I’m going to trust a buyer to ship an item I’ve paid for, I’m more likely to trust the guy with the 99% positive rating.

So, you’ve read all this (thanks) and now you’re saying, there’s nothing here I didn’t already know. True. But are you acting on what you know? Does your landing page for your business conform to these four tenants? Ash suggests that you verify this by asking five random people to visit your site and give their thoughts. You may be very surprised by what they have to say about their first impression.

  • Agreed with your points… But as for feedback, this post would have been greatly strengthened if you used some examples of good LPs instead of critiquing bad ones.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Good point. I can lead you to one right off the bat – our own

      – The front page is clear, sharp and isn’t overloaded. (Appearance) It LOOKS like a company.
      – Right away you see trusted names (Authority) like Inc. Tech Crunch and Mashable
      – 10 Day Money Back, clear pricing plans all add to transactional assurances
      – Testimonials at the bottom show that others found this site to be useful.

      Looking for another. . but so far, all of my favorite sites have big flaws. . go figure.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Here’s another

      Clothing site has a clear men or woman opening – from there it continues to be large navigation icons, lots of white space.

      Big points for Transactional Assurances with the big Paypal note and the top and a long list of currency accepted at the bottom. Free Shipping and Free Returns to US makes me trust them enough to do business with a UK store.

      They have Facebook and Twitter but need to incorporate those into their home page.
      Authority is there but hidden, they have quotes from Marie Claire and other magazines on the About page, they need to be more prominent.

  • Good article and an important concept for anyone creating a website. It’s very tempting to overdo the widgets and advertising and this can sometimes put people off despite your best intentions. Less is definitely more on occasion. The key is to get great content and get them coming back for more I think, or to provide some discreet advertising, purchase options that lead naturally from the editorial content of your site.

    I like your point about numbers of others liking a page on social media. For instance your post automatically gets more kudos and trust because it has been tweeted a number of times.

    • Cynthia Boris

      The downside to this is when you don’t have many friends, or subscribers, etc. Nothing looks worse than one friend on your Google Connect widget.

  • I totally agree – it does have to ‘look’ trustworth. But you know what? It has to sound trustworthy too. It’s a mistake to neglect the copy. Sure it has to sell the product or service, but it also has to set the scene, introduce the brand and smooth away all those niggling doubts. Looks aren’t everything.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Very true. As a writer, I’m always on people about their copy as it’s often overlooked. Every brand has a tone that needs to carry through the site. Then there are the usual issues with typos, spelling and proper English. Nothing should be taken for granted.