3 key things that make a website look untrustworthy to readers

A website that looks untrustworthy can turn your blog readers away. Discover what could make them go elsewhere.

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Ensuring your website looks trustworthy (and is trustworthy) is one of the most important things any blogger needs to do. If your site looks suspicious, it could quickly turn away any visitors. It could only take a few seconds for someone to decide that they don’t trust your website and they’re going to go back to safer waters.

But what exactly is it that people look for in a trustworthy website? There are multiple signs people might be looking for to show if a website can be trusted or not. Sometimes, people might not always know exactly what it is they’re looking for, but they will know when something doesn’t feel right.

Many people are very wary of stumbling across malicious content online. Although you might expect that the most cautious people are older internet users, a study by MarketWatch suggests that those 35 and over are most concerned about having their personal data stolen. Two thirds of people say that they expect they will be victims of a data breach in the next year and that they are more worried about their information when they’re online than they have ever been before. All of this makes people very cautious about which websites they should trust.

Although there are many things that can signal untrustworthiness to your readers, here are three of the top things that they might consider when they’re assessing whether to trust your blog or not.

1) Poor Design and Content

The first thing people are going to take note of when they land on your site is its design. They will immediately take in what your site looks like and whether it seems to be trustworthy from its visual design. One thing that can immediately turn people away is if your site looks outdated. If it looks like it hasn’t been updated in 20 years, users are more likely to turn back and look for another resource.

There are plenty of other signs of poor design and factors that people will be taking note of, even if they don’t actively realise they’re doing it. Some of these factors include speed, mobile responsiveness, ease of navigation, and even colour scheme. A slow website can certainly turn people away, and it’s essential that your blog is usable on a range of devices and browsers. Using PageSpeed Insights from Google is a good way to assess some of these important design and performance factors.

The overall content of your site is also important to pay attention to. Minimal or poorly written and designed content could be a sign to readers that your website can’t be trusted. Or if the content isn’t what they expected to find, they might suspect that your site isn’t what it’s purporting to be.

It’s also important to provide some information about your blog, who runs it, and its purpose. Even just including an about page and some contact information will help to improve the trustworthiness of your blog.

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2) Lack of Security and Trust Signals and Information

Users can look for various security signals and information if they want to know whether they can trust a website or not. A clear example of this is the padlock symbol in the address bar, which shows that the site has been secured with a security certificate. Users can click on the padlock to see more information about where the certificate is from and if it’s valid. If there is no security certificate keeping the connection safe, the Google Chrome browser displays a warning triangle with the message “not secure”.

There are other signs of trust that you can display too. If you have symbols and information that you can display, choosing to do so is good for the trustworthiness of your site. Don’t hide this information away, because it’s going to help foster trust from your readers. You might want to show a logo for your SSL certificate or other security measures. If you have any accreditations or are a member of any professional groups, displaying a badge for these is also a good idea.

If you have a registered business or charity for your blog, displaying key information for this will also help build trust. For example, you might have a business or charity organisation registration number that people can look up on an official website. Be proactive about showing that you care about online security and keeping your readers safe. If you sell anything through your blog, make sure you show that any payments are secure.

3) Too Many Ads, Pop-Ups, Etc.

There’s one thing that can not only make your site look untrustworthy but can also be very annoying. When a website features lots of adverts, pop-ups, and various interruptions, it’s often extremely off-putting. It disrupts the experience for the user, who most likely doesn’t have much patience for it. Too many interruptions and they could feel like your website isn’t very secure or trustworthy. Even if they don’t have security concerns, they might leave because they don’t want to put up with it.

Sometimes it’s necessary to have things like ads or pop-ups. They can be useful marketing tools and help you to earn money through your blog. However, when there’s too much, it’s distracting and can make your blog look poor-quality and untrustworthy. If you’re going to use ads, pop-ups, or anything similar, try to make them as unobtrusive as possible, and don’t layer them on top of each other. No one wants to deal with a cookie notice, a pop-up, and a request to accept notifications all before they can see what’s actually on the page.

Some experts recommend avoiding these types of interruptions altogether. Instead, focus on leading people to the information they’re looking for and getting them to do things like signing up for your newsletter along the way.

Make Your Website Trustworthy

Take steps to make your website more trustworthy if you want to increase your readership. A secure and trustworthy blog will be more popular than one without these signs of trust.