If you’ve never heard of the word “captology,” you might check it out and learn how online brand management can have a major effect on how others perceive you and your product. B.J. Fogg, a scientist at Stanford University, not only created this word as an acronym for “Computers As Persuasive Technologies,” but he also wrote a book called Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do in which he explains in chapter seven of his book, the characteristics of a credible website.
Fogg started the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. He uses methods known as experimental psychology to show that computers can change the opinions and actions of people in an anticipated manner. His lab received a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund investigations into what he coins “mobile persuasion,” or how mobile phones change minds.
Write Useful Content to Boost Your Website and Your Online Brand Management
You institute trustworthiness by creating useful content. Users trust you more when they find useful information on your website. And, the next time a person who found useful information associated to your brand views your website, they possess a recognized trust that any new information is also helpful. In the same trustworthy vein, when links are made to your website from other quality websites, more trust follows. How do you cultivate such links? You do it by writing useful information.
By listing your credentials, you also build trust by allowing a visitor to see your experience, education and training. Another boost to your brand’s credibility is citing references and your sources of quality information. This gives your visitors selections to other websites of value to them and enhances your integrity in their eyes. You also verify the accuracy of the information that you present by providing third-party support.
Don’t Tarnish Your Brand with Inaction and Poor Web Design
When others visit your website and see no change since they last visited, the credibility you might have built in the first step is lost. Also, search engine spiders need website activity to work in boosting your website higher in their search ratings. When it’s visible that a website is reviewed and updates on a regular basis, credibility ratings move upward.
A website needs to have a professional appearance. Trustworthiness blows out the window if your website looks like it was created in 1996. Fogg says that most website visitors make a quick assumption of professionalism by evaluating the visual design of a website. Considerations should include consistency, images, typography and layout. Refrain from getting too carried away with razzle-dazzle. When website owners cater too much to their company’s ego, or show off their web technology expertise, they forget about the users of their website.
The website also needs to be arranged so visitors can move through it with ease. Research indicates that when a website features a search component, credibility levels instantly go up in the eyes of the visitors to the website. Why? The reason goes back to website navigation. A search allows visitors to easily find what they’re looking for.
Indicate there are real people behind your brand and your website by listing a physical address, complete with a phone number and an e-mail address. Adding photos of the people of your organization or listing membership to trade organizations, such as a chamber of commerce, also adds credibility. List bios of people involved with the organization on your website. By “showing” yourself, you indicate honesty and trustworthiness, making it easier for people to stand behind your brand.
Enhance Your Brand with Fast Response and a Lack of Errors
Replying quickly to questions pertaining to customer service concerns is like pouring gas onto the credibility fire. Your rating soars not only in the eyes of the person receiving your response, but with those who view such quickness at a later date. Refrain from pouring water on that fire of integrity by creating content filled with errors, such as dead links, grammar mistakes and spelling errors. Fogg suggests that a website’s credibility suffers more than most people imagine with typographical errors and broken links.
Online brand management starts with your website. Build a credible website and you’ve taken the first step to putting your best foot forward and improving your brand. It’s simple, really. Be honest, put out quality material and create useful content that people like. The accolades come after you put in some hard work.
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Posted by: Joel Canter