Export Website Credibility

There are a number of factors that affect an exporter’s chances of successfully selling online. Perhaps the most critical of them all is website credibility. This is especially the case for exporters from relatively new European countries like Estonia.

If your website is not credible then the buyer is unlikely to look deep enough into your website’s content to discover whether your organisation can fulfill their needs.

If your website credibility disappoints then all your other efforts are wasted.

In 1958 one of the most famous B2B ads from McGraw Hill agency (the Man in The Chair ad) summarised the point well:

1. I don’t know who you are.
2. I don’t know your company.
3. I don’t know your company’s product.
4. I don’t know what your company stands for.
5. I don’t know your company’s customers.
6. I don’t know your company’s record.
7. I don’t know your company’s reputation.
8. Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?

Obviously this ad was conceived way before the internet but nonetheless it has relevance today.

What the ad suggests to me is that an exporter’s website needs to instantly overcome those initial moments of visitor doubt that can lead to a click away, towards one of many competitors.

Gaining credibility online is no easy task. Doing it in an instant seems impossible.

To develop a credible online reputation requires you to demonstrate expertise and win trust.
Demonstrating your expertise can be achieved reasonably easily (assuming you ARE an expert at what you do) through careful website content strategy (choosing content vehicles that support your position as a reliable and trustworthy supplier of xx services/goods etc).

However, earning trust takes time.

So how can you be credible in an instant?

What is important is to get past that initial credibility gap, that critical moment when someone encounters your site for the first time.

Even if your website is not as positively credible as it could be that might still be “ok”.

So long as it is not creating negative credibility then the rest of the site might be able to hold the visitor long enough to persuade them to engage even further. This ‘extra time’ might give you enough space to earn enough trust to warrant a repeat visit.

What damages your website credibility the most?
What should you avoid to ensure your potential clients engage (with your website) further?

1. Spelling mistakes
2. Poor design
3. Broken links
4. Slow download times
5. Stagnant content
6. Wild claims and more…

What can be added to your site to enhance credibility?

1. Real names, addresses and contact details clearly displayed
2. Awards and testimonials
3. Trade organisation membership logos
4. External links to valuable resources and more…

In my opinion every online exporter should investigate website credibility, it would be time well spent.

My starting point many moons ago was the Web Credibility Project from Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab. Why don’t you start there too?

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