Web Cred

So, website credibility has come up lately in a few of my classes.  I’m finding this topic interesting because I have created or worked with several websites of varying size/exposure/readership/credibility over the past 5 years or so…and I don’t think web cred was discussed in any detail in any of my 8 or so prior web development classes.  So just a few notes about it here.

Credibility = trustworthiness + expertise.

There are lots of ways to display that your site is credible and that you have expertise/are trustworthy; the following 10 Guidelines for web cred are lifted from my IA teacher Dan Klyn, and inspired by BJ Fogg’s presentation on website credibility:

  1. Look professional: Design your site so it looks professional or is appropriate to your purpose.  layout, typography, images, consistency, etc.
  2. Make it easy to verify accuracy of info on your site.  (this is dated in a way, but is customer opinion a way of using recommendations to verify?)
  3. Show proof you’re a real company: Need to know ‘who’ the company is.  Seeing more personal info can give more confidence.  Show there’s a real organization behind the site.
  4. Highlight expertise in your organization and in your content and services.
  5. Show you’re human and honest: Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.  (photos of employees, details about their lives, humanize people beyond expertise)
  6. Let people contact you: Make it easy to contact you.
  7. Make things easy and intuitive: Make site easy to use and useful.
  8. Update site content often or show that it’s been reviewed recently.
  9. Use restraint with promotional content…ads…giant banner ads can undermine credibility, esp on sites like lancet, which is medical…
  10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they may seem.  Misspellings, broken links, etc. all hurt a site’s credibility. Also lack of user input clean-up (Dear Mr. klyn…)


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