“In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin
Building your credibility is an essential part of running a successful online business. For many, the internet is still a fairly new stomping ground and while they’re likely to trust Amazon and Google, they may not be so quick to trust you or your fledgling online business.
That’s why small businesses and consultants have to push just a little harder than everyone else. You have to establish your brand as a stand out, as well as trustworthy and credible.
You need to make a good impression…
There are several ways that you can build credibility with your audience, as well as with visitors who continue to land on your website with no other knowledge of who you are. Here are a few powerful ways to establish your brand online.
Search Rank – One of the most crucial factors in credibility that new business owners can easily miss out on is search rank. Simply put, the higher ranking you are in a particular search, the more likely a consumer is to believe that your website or business is both established and trustworthy. If you’re an expert consultant, for example, ranking at the top of page one on Google can easily get you more opportunities and higher paying gigs. This is because most consumers who search on Google for a specific topic make the assumption that the top ranking sites for a particular search term are the “best” or offer a better product than those who rank lower. On the contrary though, the rankings in Google are not an indication of quality, but instead, the sign of a quality seo strategy. Search engine marketing is essential for businesses and brands who want their products to be not only noticed, but trusted by your target consumers.
Professional Website – It’s just not true that any website will do. There is a distinct advantage to having a highly strategic website that is both professional and functional. And trust me when I say, your potential clients will know the difference between a great website and a mediocre website. In the same way that you know which emails to mark as “spam”, today’s website visitors are able to discern whether a website is well-established or not. A website that looks professional with a high quality logo, theme, layout and proper “credentials” can motivate consumers to spend more time on your site, make larger purchases, and recommend your website or products to friends and colleagues. Since most consumers will make up their mind about you within the first 10 seconds of landing on your website, it is absolutely crucial to put your best foot forward.
High Quality Content – You’ve probably heard the saying “Content is King”. In the online world especially, this is absolutely true. People are online more and more hours a day. In most cases they’re overwhelmed with the amount of media available to them and searching for the absolute best and most relevant places to spend their time. This is why it’s so imperative to create consistently awesome content and really focus in on what is relevant to your audience. A great website, blog or newsletter will gain and keep the interest of it’s readers consistently. The gift of great content pays for itself in the trust it buys you with your readers.
Networking & Media Appearances – Getting your name out there is another crucial step in building your online reputation. Joining popular social media networks and contributing valuable insights within your niche can go a long way in helping to establish your brand. Facebook groups, Twitter chats and Google+ Hangouts are three great ways to demonstrate your expertise while socializing with your community. Contributing to well-established media outlets (nationally, locally or within your niche) can also go a long way in building authority and trust within your niche. Whether you contribute as a guest writer or are featured in an expert interview, these experiences can help you to establish your brand and gain the level of visibility that can truly impact your brand.