Write Your Way to CredibilityBy: Meredith Pond
If you're trying to do business anywhere, especially online, you can never overestimate the impact and importance of good old-fashioned credibility.
Any brick-and-mortar, street corner business has at least some level of credibility. The fact that these businesses have an established, tangible presence, physical inventory, and staff gives any traditional businessperson a certain level of reliability in the eyes of consumers. Online however, such credibility is much harder to come by. An Internet storefront or other online business has no roof overhead, no shingle to hang, and no inventory for consumers to pick up and examine. This puts a certain distance between buyer and seller, and that breeds uncertainty in a lot of consumers.
When doing business online, the only way to instill confidence and trust in potential customers is through your website. Your website, for the most part, is made up of nothing but words, words, words.
If your website copy is full of typos, grammatical errors, and unbelievable guarantees, your credibility is likely to suffer. On the other hand, a site that is well-written, easy to read, and full of useful information makes your business seem stable, reliable, and credible. In the eyes of consumers, your web site is your business, so a site full of mistakes is a business not worth buying from.
If you walked into a furniture store and found that room groups were unmatched, fabrics were torn, and the sales staff ended every sentence in a preposition, would you stay long? Would you be impressed enough with the business to make a major purchase? Probably not. For most people, the story is the same with a haphazard, disorganized, unintelligent website. They won't stay long, and they won't hand over any money.
Before publishing your site for millions to see, make sure it's been thoroughly reviewed by someone who knows the language and knows what a good website should look like. If you have inventory, make sure you include detailed photos (front and back) that customers can click on and enlarge. If what you're trying to sell is a service, be sure to provide testimonials, references, and links to previous work.
Most mistakes really can be eliminated with just a bit of caution. Instead of reading quickly through your copy before posting it, get out a red pen and go through it slowly and carefully. Then, have someone else do it a second time. When your credibility is on the line, you can't be too careful.
© Copyright 2002, Meredith Pond
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.