Of all the billions of websites and pages on the Internet, he clicks on yours. He ran a Google search, saw your SERP near the top of the results page, read the meta description, clicked the link, and landed on your site.

Here the stranger is, on your site, and you have just a few seconds — maybe fewer than 10 — to convince him to stick around. He scans the page, looks for something that catches his eye, but he can’t find anything that tells him your site is worthy of his attention.

So instead of clicking forward to find out more about your operation, he hits the back button and continues his search for information elsewhere.

You’ve squandered a lead. Lost a sale. Missed out on a potential conversion.

But why? What caused the visitor to your website (which most people would agree is pretty attractive) to depart after just a few seconds?

There are any number of possible explanations, but there’s a good chance he simply didn’t trust your site.

How to Build Trust With Your Audience

Trust is critical in the online marketplace. No matter what industry you’re in, or who your target market is, you have to establish trust … and your website is one of the primary channels through which it’s fostered.

Establishing trust isn’t necessarily challenging, but it requires some strategic effort on your part. Here are a few of the primary ways that leading brands do it.

  1. Share the Facts

Any business can spout off subjective marketing claims and devise clever copy that makes the brand look good, but customers want substantive proof. They want to know you’re the best at what you do … or at least that you’re competent and worthy of their business.

One way you can appeal to this desire for facts is to provide data. The Murphy Law Firm website is a fine example. Throughout this website, but on the home page in particular, the company shares real statistics from actual cases.

By highlighting various data points, Murphy Law Firm is able to give visitors something to sink their teeth into. It sets out to create an irrefutable foundation.

  1. Use Real Pictures

Enough with the boring, lifeless stock photos already! Not only do stock images make your website look cheap, but they’re clearly fake.

Why would someone trust your business when you use pictures of random people who don’t even work in or make use of your organization? It’s really not that expensive or time-consuming to have some professional photography done, but it can make a huge difference.

Deckers does a good job of this on its website. It’s wouldn’t be all that challenging for you to do the same.

  1. Reference Reviews and Testimonials

Do you know who website visitors trust more than your brand? They trust actual customers who have done business with you in the past. They trust the people who have used your products or services and share their experience and judgments.

Knowing this is the case, you can substantially enhance your website’s trust factor by referencing reviews and testimonials. These could be writeups you collect from third-party sites, or even video testimonials that you produce yourself.

If you’re unsure about where to start, this resource from HubSpot has some pretty good examples of brands that are successful in this area.

Don’t Take Relationships for Granted

You never know when someone could be visiting your website for the first time. While it’s tempting to assume people only think positive things about your business, the reality is that consumers are inherently skeptical in today’s marketplace.

Many have become so conditioned to being let down over and over that they perform fevered due diligence before they’ll work with a new company. Your website should be a resource that makes it clear to customers why you’re worthy of their trust.