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How to Establish Trust Online

Speed-Posting@eMarv asks – “how do you establish trust online?”

I’ve touched on this with a few of my other answers this weekend but let me share three thoughts:

  1. It’s not something that happens quickly – I wrote a post a while back titled ‘Do you kiss on the first date? The Art of Courting as a Blogger‘ that explores how you need to work up to taking your relationships with readers to the next level. Trust takes time to build and you should see every post you make as a way to grow the relationship.
  2. It is something that is earned - you’ve got to put the runs on the board somehow with your readers to show that you’re worthy of trust. This includes blogging for the long haul, showing that you know what you’re talking about, demonstrating your transparency, going the extra mile for readers etc.
  3. The recommendations of others are really important - while I can tell you why you should trust me you’re far more likely to actually trust me if someone else tells you that they trust me and recommend that you do too.

Read more on this topic with a series that I wrote on Blogger Credibility.

How do you work to establish trust with your blog’s readers?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Farfield says:

    Right, good answers again!
    I think it takes time for sure. If I just look at myself, when I stumble upon a blog with only a few posts, or very short and hastly written posts I’m tempted to leave it immediately without even taking the effort of reading it.

    And it seems like there are a huge amount of blogs out there. People who decide they want to have a blog, then start and discover they don’t have anything to write about, and then leave it like that with just a few meaningless posts…

  2. Danny Cooper says:

    Very good thoughts, without trust is your content worth anything?

    I think by always offering all your information, for example revenue and stats, the readers will start to trust you.

  3. Something that takes a little effort, but can build a lot of trust (almost instantly) when you leverage it online is PUBLICITY…

    Yep I said it, free exposure in the real world media – radio, newspapers, TV – a very over-looked and under-valued internet marketing tool.

    The reason publicity works so well as a traffic generator for online marketers is that it’s the most amazing third-part endorsement. It’s the (ultimate) testimonial you can’t buy, fake or get off a buddy.

    If you get exposure from a media source that gives your website or product an endorsement via the story, then no amount of paid advertising can bring you the same amount of kudos or credibility.

    If the prospect sees an article about you, your website or your product in the media, it’s instant KUDOS – you are the expert!

    Plus if you can say “i was featured in {niche publication} on your blog or sales letter it again screams EXPERT and TRUST.

    Pete

  4. Chetan says:

    Trust is always a major factor for the success of the blog or any website.

    Btw happy birthday Darren :)

  5. Dr.Mani says:

    When you begin, this can be a ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma.

    Influence and trust are easier to gain when you have a large audience. And a large audience is easier to reach when you have influence and trust!

    It happens slowly and surely – and patience with persistence is the name of the game.

    Trust and reputation are hard to earn, slow to spread – and oh so easy to lose in an instant.

    Earn it. Cherish it. Treasure and safeguard it.

    It’s the most powerful asset of an impersonal and fast-paced digital era – bar none.

    Nice post, Darren.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  6. Mark Krusen says:

    I had to learn to trust myself. I still am searching for my voice somewhat. I don’t want to offend any one, while at the same time I want to give my opinion.

    I’m starting to develop a loyal yet still very small following this makes me feel responsible for my content. I hope I can continue the pace. Like Darren says I need to “stay in it for the long haul” So it’s important to take a day off once in a while, which is what I try to do on Sundays.

    My wife is also developing a following of sorts on our other blog. It is exciting times in Justakrusenville.

  7. Evelyn Lim says:

    Trust is so fragile that it has to be protected at all costs. Lose it and you may have a hard time fighting for it back.

    Evelyn

  8. Troy Duncan says:

    Stanford has developed credibility guidelines that helps with building trust.

  9. Ryan McLean says:

    Trust is so key to making money online. I feel that building an online database and offering a free newsletter each week is a great way to build trust with customers and people. It is also a great way to supply people with free and paid information.
    Building trust is my number one priority

  10. Rajaie says:

    If you want people to trust, then it’s your responsibility to give them reasons to do so. Eg. When they join your mailing list and you promise them that you won’t send them any spam, and the next day they open their inbox they find 100′s of messages, that definitely removes all trust between them and you. Or, if you promise your readers that you have a surprise this week or you’re going to hold a contest and then give them the excuse “that something came up, or, you were busy” definitely is not a good way to build trust. More simply, be trustworthy.

  11. Fadzuli says:

    Trust is quite subjective. Somehow I believe trust is build when one is consistent and stay true to what they say. If they say they would do it they should do it. This also applies online.

  12. I have some points to share.

    1. Be transparent – being upfront about any conflicts of interest
    2. Have honest motives- put yourself in your readers shoe and ask the question, do I feel like being mislead here?
    3. Promote your name in the blog so that people know that you really exists!
    4. Tell readers about your values in life – I trust problogger, because I believe Darren to be a person with great values and integrity

  13. Ulla says:

    I think the important thing is to be honest. Don’t promise things you cannot keep. Don’t try to be a person which you aren’t. For example: There are a lot of photoblogs which dwell on technical information: the proper camera, the proper equipment. I don’t do that because that’s not my main focus of interest. My focus is one showing the different aspects of a city (Berlin, Germany) to people, to lead people through the world I live in (pretty difficult to explain these things in a foreign language, I hope it is understandable). So I concentrate on doing this, hoping to built up trust.

  14. Cindy King says:

    I’m into multicultural marketing and sales. Trust is a HUGE barrier in cross cultural communication.

    Online one the best facilitators is clarity. Any “perceived” lack of information makes it hard to build trust.

    It can take a while to get your mind around it – but clarity or lack of clarity can crop up all over the place online.

    (Think of the recent forced continuity programs that are extremely well hidden)

    Another great trust facilitator is consistency….once you have clarity. Simply because people get the feeling they know you better.

    Even on a small things, like using the same word for the same meaning.

    Striving for clarity and consistency in the smallest touches throughout everything you do online will create a better presence for trust.

    …then the other trust building stuff comes into play.

  15. If you really are trustworthy, then you can be trusted.

    Good readers are sensitive. You do not just trust a person you do not see.

    I remember I made a post not so long ago that bloggers should put pictures on their blogs.

    Thanks.

  16. eMarv says:

    Thanks Darren. I must say that I feel honored to have 2 of my questions answered by ProBlogger.

    This, my friends, is how you establish trust online. (Do what Darren does! ;-)

    Now, a deeper question is, how do you do establish trust in a non-blogging business relationship with someone in another state or another country for that matter where you are at risk of losing or, ideally, making money?