Know, like trust... but is it

safe to buy from you?

Know, like… TRUST. But is it actually safe to buy from you?

Posted on 

November 4, 2020

Posted By

Peti Morgan

Do your customers feel safe when they visit your website?

If your customers come to you via Facebook, or Instagram, or via email enquiries, do you necessarily need a website to be able to sell your product or service to them? Do they trust you and feel safe about your website? If you’ve done the hard work on socials and they are ready to buy from you – is it overkill to have a website? Do you even need a website?

Well the short answer is of course a big  YES. It is ALWAYS important for you to have a website in order to make sales to your customers.

No matter where you're selling from. Whether it's in person, or over Instagram or via emails, whatever.  You DO need a website in order to make sales to your people. 

But don't just bang up any old website. I’m not talking about necessarily making it a super PRETTY website, but today we are going to go over some basic website security features that absolutely must have in place in order for your audience to TRUST you enough to buy from you.

Just because you’ve convinced them they’ve just gotta have what you’re offering, it doesn’t mean that they are going to hand over that money to you.

If your customer is ‘warm’, and they know and like you enough to buy from you, you still need to fulfill the trust part of the transaction.

It’s even more important when you are selling to a ‘cold’ audience, that is, people that have not really known you for long. Or maybe they've come across you through a Facebook Ad. Or perhaps they've been referred to you. 

The colder the audience, the less they know you, the more important having this basic website security in place, is.

But even with the people who already know you quite well –  maybe they even know you personally, you still need to provide some basic website security for them. This is not only to make your brand look professional and legit.  It’s to do the right thing by your customer, and provide them with a level of safety. To provide them with a feeling of reassurance, so that when they know that they're giving their money to you, it’s safe. Not only are they buying a good product, but their money isn’t going to disappear.

Because the thing is, we’re only guessing at how many people choose not to buy from you because they don’t feel safe enough to. You won’t know how many people have been close to buying from you but then thought  – hmm is this safe? Is this person legit? Is my money safe? Are my credit card details going to be stolen??

So in my humble opinion, it’s better to have these security features in place so that you’re not left wondering if it has negatively affected your sales

Related: 9 ways to build brand trust, and why is it so important anyway?

Let’s get into it…

So if you have a website, great, that is wonderful. But I want you to check for the following things on that website, to make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table, with people who just don't feel safe enough to make a purchase through your website. This could seem like some really basic stuff, but trust me (haha) ?when I say they're really important.

HTTPS what it is and why it's important.

So the first thing, the very first thing is HTTPS. I’m not going to explain this to the letter, because I don’t want you to fall asleep listening to my podcast haha! 

But very simply,  HTTPS provides a way for your customer to connect to your website in a secure way. It means that hackers can’t intercept the data you send to it – like your name, email or credit card details.

It’s so important that Google will penalize you if you don't have an HTTPS website. 

When you have an HTTPS website it means that you have something called an SSL certificate in place, which provides an extra layer of security.  I have linked in the show notes to a really good article if you want to get your geek on and go deep on this one.

What is HTTPS: The Definitive Guide to How HTTPS Works https://www.semrush.com/blog/what-is-https/

So when you go to my website – petimorgan.co, you’ll notice a padlock at the beginning of the URL and that just shows you that it’s secure. So as my customer, anything that you ‘submit’ via webform isn’t going to be intercepted and stolen by nefarious internet types.

If your website is hosted on WordPress or Squarespace or any of those types of platforms, then it's likely that you can either use a plugin to create an HTTPS website, or your website host e.g. Bluehost or Hostgator will have created an HTTPS site automatically for you. 

If you want to do a quick check that you have one, just type https:// in front of your domain name and if it shows your website then bingo. You have a website security certificate in place.

If you don’t, then you can either ask your web developer, or your VA, or your website host how you do that. Most website hosts are very helpful with this sort of thing.

You’ve just gotta find a way to make that happen. HTTPS is the most important website security feature to have. That means it's secure. That means your customer details aren’t going to be stolen. So that's number one.

Privacy Policy and why it helps people feel protected.

Secondly, you will need to display your privacy policy on your website. Even if you're not selling anything, you need to have a privacy policy.

A privacy policy tells your customers that you care about their privacy!

It tells them that you will be responsible for any information they share with you – both implicitly and explicitly – while they are visiting your website.

A privacy policy also tells your visitors what you're going to do with their information. It is an important factor in a safe website.

Your visitors can provide you information in a number of different ways, implicitly or explicitly. 

If I follow a link to your website, I implicitly supply you with my IP address. That just happens in the background. My IP address will tell you where I am. Basically – if I'm not using a VPN that masks my real IP address – it'll tell you the general area in the world that I am connecting to you from. So a privacy policy would say, “Hey, we gather your IP address to do certain things.” 

Specific information is “type” submitted via a web form. When I sign up for your freebie or lead magnet I will give you my name and email. If I send you a message through your contact form, I'm giving you my name and my email. 

So your privacy policy would include details about what you DO with that information. It’s just stating, “Hey, you're giving me information in a variety of different ways, this is what I'm going to do with it, and I’m going to keep it safe.”

Privacy Policy Generators

Privacy policy generators are available, both free and paid. Which if you're doing this yourself and you don't have a VA, online business manager or web developer you might take this route. However, they can be a real-time sink! So if that isn't your thing, and if your eyes cross at the thought of generating a privacy policy, just find an online generator or ask somebody else to do it for you.

I use a privacy policy generator called getterms.io to generate my policy. Getting proper legal advice for your situation is the safest approach though, but in the total absence of a policy, a generator like this is a good place to start. 

Additionally, having a terms and conditions page is good business acumen, but not totally necessary. A T&Cs page might say something along the lines of  “when you engage with me, this is what you get.” It's setting the terms of engagement, basically. So terms and conditions or terms of service are basically the rules that you're setting out for the people that come and use your services.

It may include ; “be nice commenting or risk being banned!” In some cases it might state your refund policy, or that you deliver things digitally. And it's just setting the rules and expectations between people.

These are legal documents. So again, I do advise getting proper legal advice to keep your business and website safe. Whether that be through a service specifically to provide you legal advice online, or to see someone in person. Either way, they are legal documents and they do give your users some sense of safety.

So when they come to your site they get a feeling of :

  • I can trust that I can buy from this person
  • I'm not sending my money off to a spammer or a scammer
  • My money is safe and I'm going to get what I expect to get.

So that's just some really basic stuff you need to have on your website to show that you're a trustworthy business.

Contact Methods for added security

Thirdly, contact methods. This includes, not just “if” your potential customer can contact you, or at least a real person, but “how” can they contact you?

Providing your people with multiple ways to contact you will give them a sense of trust that your website is safe.

So you might have your phone number listed. You might have an email listed. You might have a contact form for them to send information through, or they might be able to contact you through Facebook Messenger or some other form. 

Sometimes, there's a little popups that come up on a site that says, “Leave us a message.” Currently I use the free version of Olark https://www.olark.com/ as a chatbox. 

If there's a variety of different ways for somebody to contact you, then it's going to generate trust.

It's like, “Okay, well, I'm not just going to be stuck with a question when I buy something and they can't answer it,” or whatever.

If I'm buying a product from you, a digital product, I want to know that I can ask you questions. So, tell me how I can get in contact with you? For this reason, it's easy for me to go to your website. You want customers to know that they can go to your site and find all the contact ways to get in touch. This transparency generates more trust and shoppers feel confident buying your products or services.

Lastly, we're going to keep this brief, because these are just basic website security features that you need to have in place to grow trust with your people and enable them to feel confident and safe enough to buy from you. 

Secure Methods of Payment

Lastly, we are looking at having methods of secure payment. 

Use a trusted payment platform, something like Stripe or PayPal which are both very very well-known online. That tells your customer that they can put their credit card details and that your website is safe. Or if they prefer, they can log into their Paypal account to pay you – and not even need to hand over their credit card details to you.

Paypal and Stripe have already established trust with their users. Therefore when you use a platform like these for payments, then you leverage the trust that's already there.

Sure, you could put up, “you can wire me some money”. Still, I would not wire you money to pay for something. You can see the difference, right? Nigerian spammers use that all the time to elicit money from their victims so that they can't be tracked. So no, of course, I'm not going to feel safe wiring you money to pay for your product or service! 

No one does that anyway! Nevertheless, I just want to give you an alternative view on safe and not-so-safe ways to pay. Not saying it isn't safe, but it wouldn't bring about the same levels of trust, let's say.

So, provide a secure way to pay. Additionally, display the trust symbols associated with those secure payment platforms. You know, like MasterCard Trust, or pay safely with this! There are those sorts of symbols that you can display on your sales pages. They reassure people that, “Hey, you can trust this method of payment.”

Whether they choose to or not is up to them. But it's just another way for you to demonstrate that your website is safe for them.

Let's Recap

So let's just go back over that very basic list of how to implement some basic website security. Particularly so that your people feel confident enough to buy from you safely. 

  1. That's HTTPS – a secure website certificate that allows your people to connect securely to your website. 
  2. Providing a privacy policy and a terms and conditions page on your site, which are legal documents. My recommendation is to get legal advice. Preferably don't just whack up your own – or, gasp, copy and paste mine updating the company details to yours?. People do it, however I don’t advise it.
  3. Providing multiple methods of contact. Not just a contact form, but hey, I can call and or email and or chat with you.
  4. And finally, provide a method of secure payment and demonstrate the secure payment options available. This will allow people to feel trustworthy putting their details into your site.

Don't leave money on the table because people don't trust you enough to give you their money.

When you're dealing with people online, you need to make it as obvious as possible that they are safe and secure. They are given the confidence to exchange their money with you online in their online environment. 

Once you've finished reading this, I recommend you check out your own website. Ask yourself, “as a customer, would I feel safe buying from this person“? This applies more so, to the “colder” they are. In particular, the less they know you, the more trustworthy you need to demonstrate yourself to be.

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