Trust-busters – what prevents trust on your website

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Do you have a trust-building website? It’s a big ask, but if you are in any kind of professional services such as law, healthcare, or finance – it’s critical that your website connects and builds trust with your client.

First – I’d like to examine the WHY behind your website as well as trust-breakers you see in many websites and maybe even in yours. Don’t worry, part 2 of this blog post will address trust-builders in a website.

So why do you have a website? Because THEY said you had to, right? Websites have become the new yellow pages, proving you are a legit business, but they are so much more than that.

  1. One reason why you have a website is you want to make a first great impression. You don’t want your potential clients coming to a site that doesn’t look polished or reflects your professionalism. It would be like driving clients around in an old junker car instead of a BMW.
  2. Another big reason you have a website is it validates you are a business and demonstrates how professional you are.
  3. The last reason you have a website is to help clients make a purchasing decision. If they’ve heard or met you in person, or just seen an ad online, it is normal for someone to visit their website and see if their business is legit and real.

Now that you know the WHY behind websites, here are some Trust-Breakers you want to avoid on your website:

Trust-Breaker #1 – Poor Functionality

48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring. (MarginMedia)

This can include:

  • Slow loading time
  • Not mobile-friendly
  • Broken links
  • Outdated forms or contact info

We hear stories from clients about having worked with previous web design business. For example, in one case I had a client who hired a web designer that promised to add a simple newsletter link to their site. The web designer added the newsletter signup but didn’t test it. The client ended up losing 6 months of opportunity for clients to sign up with her and had no idea. The moral of the story is test, test, test! Make sure whoever is working on the website tests out all forms and any interactive pieces so you KNOW they function correctly.

Trust-Breaker #2 – Quality Pain Points

75% of user judgment about your business’s credibility is based on your website’s design. – University of Surrey

  • Grammar and spelling errors – indicate lack of attention to detail, poor quality
  • Dated style and design – if the content is updated but the style isn’t, you’ll lose people
  • Is your content relevant, useful, compelling? You don’t want a pretty site that doesn’t have any useful info on it! (Like a kitchen with beautiful furnishings and appliances but the layout doesn’t work and isn’t functional)

I teach a class on web marketing to small businesses and I had a student who does some amazing design work, it’s very cutting edge stuff. They recently launched their business with a new website. They shared the website with me and I was a bit thrown off. The website was very awkward and didn’t showcase what they did at all. The website looked straight out of 2001 and exhibited some poor design elements such as “hard to read” font on a black background. Images were scaled the wrong size. It was tough to look at and I know that it won’t attract the right clients, especially ones that would really want to invest in them.

Trust-Breaker #3 – User-friendly Issues

A single bad experience on a website makes users 88% less likely to visit the website again. – Gomez

  • Disorganized – information is hard to find for most people
  • Information overload – having too much info on the site, making it hard to find what’s most relevant, or making them feel overwhelmed
  • Using vocabulary unfamiliar to your clients and audience, don’t speak above their head or use words they aren’t familiar with


There’s nothing more frustrating than having the information you want to find on a website buried and hard to find. This happens a lot! One key item to remember is don’t bury your main content. Also, don’t add content to your website just for the sake of it. Everything on your website needs to have a purpose and a place. Less is more.

One time I had a client who wanted to redesign their non-profit website. They had a lot of amazing content around saving children in different countries but it was hard to find on their website and the same content was in Russian too. It was vital to make sure we re-organized the website to tell the story of their programs and the impact they made on multiple children’s lives.  We also redesigned the site and made it easy for anyone to discover their programs (in English and Russian).

Stay tuned for the Trust-Builders blog post, coming soon and how to change your website to connect and attract the right clients!