Niche money-making websites HAVE to build trust with their audience in order to give them the confidence to part with their credit card details.
Many first time website owners focus all their efforts on getting the marketing copy slick and professional, whilst neglecting the more mundane pages.
However research has shown that it is often the non-marketing pages that build credibilty and authority, which results in a visitor trusting a site enough to pay for their services.
This a list of these generic pages that should be common across all websites. They provide all the information about who the publisher is, what the site is about and all the legal stuff.
- About Us – this page should provide an overview of the website owner, site contributors, a history of the company, the mission and vision statement and any other information that will build your visitors confidence. Our own experience shows that over 50% of our customers read our About Us page before making a purchase. That makes it a very important page.
- Contact us – If your propects can't find a way to contact you they are unlikely to give you their personal details or credit card information. In many countries, including the UK, providing a phone number and postal address on your site is a legal requirement. A contact page should have a form which customers can fill in to send a message. It should also have an email address, postal address, telephone number and fax number. In the UK you should add your company number and registered address (if it is different to your office address).
- Guarantee – In most countries you have a legal obligation to offer your customers a money back guarantee for anything bought from your site so you might as well turn this obligation into a sales benefit. Create a Guarantee page which has a statement that says something like "100% Money Back Guarantee. If you are not delighted with our service we will refund all of your money. No questions asked".
- Testimonials – Honest and independent testimonials are one of the most powerful selling 'tools' you have. Don't miss the opportunity of letting your customers blow your trumpet. Any positive comments from your customers should be turned into testimonials. Remember to get their permission to publish their names on your website. By the way it is illegal to fabricate testimonials so don't risk it.
- In the News – Like testimonials, any mention of you or your website in the press should be be mentioned on your site. This all helps to build authority and credibility.
- Terms and Conditions – Legally you must have terms and conditions published on your site in a way that ensures your customers acknowledge them during the checkout process. This usually means having a tick box that they have to click to say they have read them. If you don't do this, you leave yourself wide open to being sued by an unhappy customer. It is hard to turn the terms into a positive selling message. They are what they are!
- FAQs - FAQs stand for Frequently Asked Questions. This page is where you put...you guessed it...the questions that you are asked most frequently by your customers. Ideally you should try to eliminate the need for an FAQ page by making your site more intuitve to use and giving them the information they want when they need it
The other sales and marketing pages your site should have:
- Our Services - A description of the services or products you are selling
- Features and Benefits – a list of your services features and benefits. Make this list detailed
- Samples or Demo – if you are providing an online service or paid access to premium content, provide samples
Give all of these pages a lot of thought.
No single page on a website tends to sell an online service.
It is the combined information of all the pages that a prospect reads that builds their trust in an online business.
Websites tend to be faceless, so these pages must convince them that there are real people behind the screen delivering the service being promised.
Once you have all these generic, marketing and sales pages written, you should ask a friend or colleague to read them. Quiz them on what messages come across and how they would describe you and your company based on what they have read. Friends and colleagues are not ideal because they tend to shy away from critism, but they are a good starting point.