What Makes People Trust Sites?


It’s commonly thought that the success of an online business is determined by selling goods at the lowest possible price, or by offering free 2-day shipping. But in an era where there’s a new security breach seemingly every week, it may come down to something else: whether a visitor can trust your site.

Trust Matters

To explore the issue of trust on the Internet more deeply, we commissioned a survey that asked average web users about their perceptions of trust online.

Our survey revealed that a whopping 96% of respondents report some level of concern about protecting their online identity*, making it clear that building trust among visitors is integral to creating and maintaining a successful site.

Survey Q6

The Road to Trustworthiness

Naturally, the question for any website owner is: how do you create a trustworthy site? Our survey revealed that several different factors effectively convey trust to first-time site visitors.

Word-of-mouth is a crucial aspect of building trust, with 57% of respondents basing their trust on having heard of a site before*. Similarly, 45% of people would trust a site that their friends or family recommended. Also highly valued are important online security tools like SSL encryption (63%) and website security seals (49%).


Survey Q7

Obstacles to Building Trust

Of course, it’s not enough to just do the good things: it’s also necessary to avoid the bad. So what makes people think a site isn’t trustworthy? Predictably, never having heard of a site before is a big turn-off with slightly over 66% of respondents not trusting unfamiliar sites.

Coming in at a close second with just under 66% are broken links — apparently a telltale sign of an untrustworthy site. Of note is that though security seals are mentioned as a positive, 43% of Internet users believe that displaying too many of them quickly negates trustworthiness.

Survey Q8

What you can do

While you won’t always be able to control every aspect of visitor trust, the key to a successful site is to start investing in trust today. Display your website badges properly, make sure your website looks professional and can be found in Google, and develop a solid web presence. If you have an online store, there are many things you can do to build trust.

The point is, trust is an area where you have to be proactive, so go out there and build it!

“Internet Security.” Survey, TrustedSite, July 2015. The data for this survey was collected using SurveyMonkey Audience. Information on how respondents are recruited to SurveyMonkey is available here: www.surveymonkey.com/mp/audience