Readers are smart people, and they can smell a fake person in the way this person writes an article. If you are a blogger, credibility is your priority. People will not subscribe to your email list, much less come back to your website, unless you are trustworthy.
But as bloggers, how do we increase trust with readers?
Here are my recommendations:
- You must offer a reasonable promise
- You have to deliver your commitment
- You should have a professional-looking website
- You must write as a friend
- You must be transparent
Trust is difficult to build, but if you do it right, you can grow your audience slowly by surely. Let us move on and see how you can do it.
You Must Offer a Reasonable Promise
All bloggers know that a catchy headline is what it takes to draw attention to your blog. It is the fundamental rule of writing copy. Without a catchy headline, people are likely to ignore your content, and Google is also not going to pay attention to it.
The issue with some bloggers is that they exaggerate their headlines to a point that it is no longer believable. Audiences have already learned their lessons. If their title looks like clickbait, then it must be clickbait.
Here are some examples of unreasonable promises:
- Become a millionaire if you do this
- How a security guard turned $7,000 into $1,000,000
- Learn the secrets to making millions online
All of these are catchy, but they are also dubious. The problem with many bloggers today is that they create titles out of desperation for attention. If you find yourself leaning towards this group, you will never increase trust with readers.
Sure, you may get clicks here and there. But as far as trust is concerned? No way. A reader may get curious, but he will merely scan your content and search for the “secret” you promised. But you cannot expect this person to come back to your blog because you really have nothing good to offer.
You Have to Deliver Your Commitment
A key component of trust is delivering what you promised. If your blog title said that you will provide ten tips to boost SEO, then you must provide ten tips to boost SEO.
Meeting your committed number is important, but do not undercut your way into meeting that number. For example, there are bloggers who promise ways to improve your traffic, only to provide you several bullet points that should have been compressed into one.
Here is an example:
- Use Pinterest
- Use Instagram
- Use Facebook
- Use Snapchat
- Use Twitter
As you can see, all these five things are social media channels. Apparently, the blogger only wants to appear as if he is offering a lot of advice. But if you think about it, there is no new method that is offered in these bullet points.
If your subject title uses words like “step by step” or “guide”, then make sure you provide your reader with a real step by step guide on how to implement what you promised. If you do not do this, your reader is going to exit from the same page because you are not trustworthy—same-page exits will increase your bounce rate, which may or may not affect your rankings.
You Should Have a Professional-Looking Website
If your website is a mess—a clutter—no one is going to stay. While I understand that websites used to be full of stuff back in the 1990s, we no longer live in that period. Your website must look professional, and by “professional”, I am referring to the current standards of our times.
Here are some tips to make your site look professional:
- Use white space – do not fill your website with too much text. There has to be a balance between white space and texts; a website is not supposed to look like a newspaper—it has to look like a children’s book.
- Avoid too many ads – two to three ads per page should be enough. Too many ads can annoy your reader, and your reader will think that you are only in it for the money and not to help.
- Focus on UX – make it easy for your readers to find the information they are looking for, such as your “About Me” page or your contact information. If your blog is easy to navigate, you can expect people to trust you more.
Professionalism is a basic component of a website. For web design, it has little to do with the value of content, but more on how your content is visually presented.
You Must Write as a Friend
One trick that bloggers can use to improve trust is the use of proper tone and voice. In newspapers and magazines, writers are compelled to be formal. This tone is not necessary for a blog. In a blog, you must write like a friend.
What does this mean? Your target audience is the world. You are a normal person as much as your readers are, so there is no need to intellectualize your content.
Use terms like “you” and “me” as these words make the blog sound more personal. It is easier to increase trust with readers if they can relate to you. You need to appear like you are one of them—that you share their struggles and their pains.
As time goes by, people will trust you more because you are natural, not fake. They will also come back for more information from you because you provide content that helps them. As a “friend”, the way you write must sound like you are giving advice.
And if you are a real friend, your content must always provide value—show that you have been through what your readers are going through, and they will trust you.
You Must Be Transparent
Do not pretend to be someone you are not, and never ever hide things that will surprise your readers, such as the fact that you are earning commissions from your affiliate links.
Transparency is what makes a person trustworthy. You should have an “About Me” page telling people who you are. If you can make it longer than the typical two-paragraph bio, do it. People love to read about who you are.
Use your “About Me” page to establish your credibility, and make sure you never lie. Do not be afraid to be the real deal, and forget about faking it—your target market is comprised of people who want to learn from you, not people who worship fake gurus.
The error that many bloggers succumb to is they fake their content. As a blogger, you are supposed to be an authority in your chosen niche. What this means is that you have to create content that you understand, not content that you just regurgitated from other sites.
Blogging used to be an online journal, but it has now turned into a business. However, it has never lost its main source of appeal—bloggers are ordinary human beings who are here to share their thoughts and expertise.
Stop blogging for the purpose of SEO and traffic. If you want to be a trusted name, a blog for the purposes of helping and sharing.