High quality content and web design literally go hand in hand when it comes to having a trustworthy website. Research shows that poor web design may be the key in revealing why users mistrust a website – and while good web design is clearly a must-have to counter this – good content seems to be the number one reason why users actually develop trust for a website.

Web design is what helps you get your foot in the door with site visitors, while content is what helps you connect and nurture that lead. 

But web design doesn’t just affect the success of your content and the trustworthiness of your website. It can influence your brand’s entire presence online. From the overall opinion of your site down to conversion rates, search engine ranking, abandonment rates and more, web design is the first step in a series of “should do’s” if you want your website and brand to succeed.

Developing a rapport with visitors so that they have a good experience, will return to your site and tell others how great you are comes down to developing that initial trustworthiness.

So, exactly how do you make your website more trustworthy?

Below we uncover the facts. These will help you develop a more trustworthy and successful website – starting with web design.

Just the Facts, Please

It all comes down to the close, interwoven relationship between web design and content. Even though we live in an advanced digital age, the importance of web design is still questioned by many and misunderstood by even more, and the same goes for content.

So we’re going to start with the facts on how web design and content together determine the trustworthiness of your website in your visitors’ eyes.

Fact 1. Web design is most influential in terms of mistrusting a website. Specific design elements like pop-up ads, flashy ads, hard to read text, slow page load times and more have been reported by study participants as engendering mistrust.

Fact 2. Content is most influential in terms of trusting a website. Participants in the same study reported trusting websites based on elements like informative content, neutral and unbiased content, and new content that was relevant and easy to read and understand.

Fact 3. Web design comes first. You can’t offer high quality content on your website without having good web design first. Without good web design, visitors probably won’t want to read the content you’re investing in. The lesson? Focus on web design before developing web content.

Fact 4. Web design is so much more than just something that ‘looks pretty’. People can certainly appreciate aesthetic value, but a website that looks pretty does not necessarily a trustworthy website make. Making your website more trustworthy through employing elements like good UX and UI design is how you’re going to attract more customers – period.

Fact 5. You can enhance your content with good web design. Think responsive web design (which renders your website properly according to the device used to access it) as opposed to parallax design (which renders your site as one long web page that never seems to end – search engines aren’t big fans of these).

Does Trustworthiness Really Matter?

With all this talk about the trustworthiness of websites, you might be wondering, “Does it really matter how trustworthy my website is?” The answer is undoubtedly yes. It only takes most website visitors a few seconds – maybe less – to decide whether they will stay and browse your site or abandon it and leave.

That makes all the difference when it comes to conversion rates and attracting new customers.

What’s more, because of the prevalence of websites that are constructed around scams and products and services that just plain aren’t worth people’s time or money, many users are hypersensitive about trusting new websites they are visiting for the first time.

This makes it even more important to show your visitors that your site is trustworthy if you want to make that sale or nurture that lead.   

According to a study by UX Magazine, one of the biggest things that customers worry about when it comes to trusting websites is the privacy and security of their credit card and banking information, other sensitive information like health records, social security numbers, and anything else that can be considered personal.

Customers want their information protected – and you should be protecting it for them. No questions asked. Designing your site in a way that ensures the privacy and security of your customers’ information is a big step in the right direction for developing a more trustworthy website.

What else matters? In a word – honesty.

Instead of marketing fluff, focus on describing the benefits of your products and services in a way that resonates with your target market. Be honest about your brand.

Telling it like it is goes a long way toward gaining the trust of your website visitors.