Whenever you are trying to build an online business, it is of prime importance to earn the trust of your readers. Whether you are trying to sell a product online or trying to build a loyal readership for your blog, you must yearn for an image that your readers trust.
Stanford University has compiled a list of 10 guidelines for building website credibility. These guidelines are based on three years of research that included more than 4,500 people.
If you are serious about your blog you should read each point in detail and try to apply them to your blog. Make it a checklist which you go through every once in a while.
The detailed report: Stanford Guidelines for Website Credibility
The main points, if you want to skim through them (unrecommended) are as follows:
- Always cite references: The user should be easily able to crosscheck the information you have provided.
- Post a physical address, mail, photo: Whatever level of personalization you choose, your readers should be able to see a physical existence behind your blog.
- Cite Credentials: If you have won any blogging awards make sure to show them. Traffic graph, feed subscriptions, number of comments, blog position in technorati are some of the many ways you can instill faith.
- Contacting you should be easy: Emails, phone numbers, or physical addresses will help.
- Visual Design: The appearance of the site holds a lot of importance when people judge a blog. It should look professional, or better stated; The visual should match the concept of your blog.
- User Friendliness: Don't just cram up every hack or new technology you find. The blog should be easy to use and fit several criteria for being user friendly viz loading time, browser compatibility, color scheme, font size etc.
- Update regularly
- Separate Ads and your content: If possible, avoid ads completely. But, many people would like to put ads on there blogs. In that case, you should clearly differentiate between your content and the ads.
- Avoid errors: Typographical errors, misquoted statistics, incorrect English should be avoided at all costs.