It’s been said that within the first two seconds of a person meeting you, their initial impression is whether they trust you or not. The same goes for your website visitors.

A recent survey done by found that 15 seconds is all the time you have to capture a prospect’s attention and keep them on your website

In both business and consumer marketing, it is imperative to establish trust and to convey it quickly.

Just the other day, I clicked on a site that I found from a search. The site’s copyright date was three years ago, and one of their links was broken. Assuming they spent budget on a digital ad and/or paid for SEO services to lure me in, these mistakes are fatal to their effort, severely decrease visitors’ trust, and harm their conversion rates.

In other words, these are costly mistakes.

Your website is the foundation of your business, and it’s your public image. The sites rated most trustworthy include all the right trust factors.

Here’s how to make sure your website builds trust with your audience:

Have a current SSL certificate — Even if your site isn’t an eCommerce site. If you collect information on forms or request emails to sign up for a newsletter, this is a must. Also a must, is security for sensitive data entry points such as shopping carts or checkout pages with an obvious logout button.

Customer service available 24/7 — For night owls like me, I always appreciate the ability to ask a question outside of ‘regular’ business hours. Recently, I used a bot on a Sunday, and it was thoughtfully programmed to reply with a note about how humans need their rest and are off, but will reply on Monday. I loved this! And they did reply as promised. That’s very trustworthy.

Have a privacy policy — How (or will) you use visitor information?

Up to date copyright — This shows your credibility and that you stay on top of your public image.

Include video — For eCommerce, a short video showing how to use your product would work, or maybe even video testimonials; for business-to-business, put the CEO or founder on video, so it puts a face to a name.

Test all of your links and forms — At least every couple of weeks, conduct a thorough site test.

Do you have credible testimonials — Don’t forget to get permission to use people’s real names.

What about online reviews? — These are essential, and for the occasional negative review, be sure to acknowledge it publicly and then handle it privately.

About us/Meet Us — If your site is business-to-business, your management team’s bio section should be robust and include photos and perhaps even individual emails or links to LinkedIn bios.

Well-considered FAQs — Address actual buyer concerns and questions, not only those questions answered in a salesy fashion or to appease the SEO gods but FAQs that help establish trust.

Return policy —And who pays for return shipping?

Guarantee/warranty — For how long? And what does it cover?

Use real names — Wherever possible and don’t hide behind generic labels such as “info@.” If your organization is too large for this, then at least program a bounce back with a promise to reply within a firm timeframe — then, keep your word and do so.

Have all relevant contact information — This is really important for upping the trust factor.

Use verification logos — Such as TRUSTe for eCommerce sites.

Implementing these easy website hacks conveys all the right trust factors that lead to higher conversion rates — things like credibility, security, and transparency add to a higher level of perceived trust and better results.