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Trust is something that’s required in order for a brand to generate a loyal following. It’s also something that has to be genuinely cultivated. In other words, trust can’t be purchased or faked. And in a world where online interactions often characterize brand-consumer relationships, a company’s website is one of its greatest resources.

Establishing trust online

Trust has and always will be an integral part of any relationship. Whether it’s a romantic partnership, a platonic friendship, or an interaction between a brand and a customer, some element of trust must exist in order for that relationship to continue. But it’s safe to say that, within the context of business, brand trust has become more important than ever before.

Today’s customers have more options to choose from than they did even 10 or 15 years ago. Whether a customer is buying a pair of socks or a new car, there are dozens of brands to choose from. Customers will naturally flock to the ones that have their trust and respect.

“It’s a global, 24/7 world that maximizes the offer of competition. But it can also be a confusing state of product and/or service credibility. Without trust, marketers are in fractured pursuit of customer engagement and customer loyalty,” branding strategist Jaid Hulsbosch explains.

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There are plenty of platforms built for fostering trust. You can use social media, third-party marketplaces (like Amazon), PPC advertising, review sites, Google, etc. But as useful as these platforms are, they all have one glaring weakness: someone else controls them. If Facebook suddenly goes under, you no longer have your followers. If Google enacts a change to its algorithm, you could quickly plummet in the search rankings. If a review website decides they don’t want to include your company anymore, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to delist you. What you need is a trust-building mechanism that you control.

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In the online world, there’s only one asset or platform that you have 100% control over: your website. Nobody can tell you what to post, how to structure your content, or what rules to follow. You call the shots. This makes it the perfect platform for establishing and cultivating trust.

Every page on your website matters, but the homepage is the stickiest and most visible. It’s recommended that you use it as your primary trust-building URL. Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Use a clean layout

Stop with the superfluous design elements that clutter up and bog down your homepage. If you’re trying to do everything on your homepage all at once, you’re doing too much. It’ll only confuse and overwhelm people.

Cut the fat and use a clean layout. The UAKC homepage is a great example. Notice how they establish trust through high-quality imagery and minimal layout/design. They also include their core values of honesty, integrity, accountability, directness, and transparency at the bottom of the page. When combined with the streamlined design, this sort of high-impact copy makes a massive statement.

2. Use authentic images

“Horribly generic and formulaic stock photos are everywhere. While there’s nothing wrong with using carefully curated stock imagery in the right places, it’s much better to favor website visuals that look like they were actually taken of you and your team in real situations,” marketing expert Ben Jacobson writes for HubSpot.

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