3 Ways to Build Trust through Website Copy

Build Trust Through Website Copy

Building trust is a key component of establishing a connection with your website visitors.  If they don’t trust you, it’s far less likely they’ll decide to get involved with your nonprofit.

But building trust isn’t an easy thing to do, especially if a visitor hasn’t heard of your organization before.  So what can you do?  Here are three ways you can use your website copy to build trust with your visitors.

1.  Own Your Shortcomings

Many people try their best to hide their shortcomings.  After all, you want to put your best foot forward, right?

But acknowledging your shortcomings, if done right, can actually be an incredible way to build trust with your visitors.  The key here is to say what you can improve upon, and then highlight the various ways you plan on improving.  Or, even better, mention something you weren’t good at but have already started working to improve.

A blog post is often your best bet when it comes to this kind of content.  Admitting you don’t know it all but showing that you’re working hard to address such issues can build a lot of credibility with your readers.

2.  Acknowledge Challenges and Lay Out a Plan

Most nonprofits are established to address a problem.  And that problem is typically a tough one.  Be realistic and acknowledge that overcoming it is going to be challenging.  But tell your visitors exactly how you’re going to tackle it.  Inspire them that a solution is possible, and show that you’re part of that solution.

Acknowledging the specific challenges you’re likely to face and highlighting the specific ways you plan on overcoming them helps establish your authority.  If I’m going to get involved with an organization, I want it to be one that can clearly showcase the issues we’ll likely face and has a plan.  The more specifics, the better.

3.  Write Conversationally

Finally, write in a conversational tone.  Most organizations use a tone that’s far too formal.  Writing how you speak doesn’t make you seem unprofessional.  It makes you seem accessible.

Conversational writing makes it more likely that a visitor will develop a relationship with your nonprofit.  Don’t rely on complicated sentence structure and industry jargon to establish how smart you are as an organization.  Instead, clearly articulate the problem and show the various solutions you have planned.  That not only makes you seem knowledgeable, but it also makes you seem more friendly and inviting.

What have you done to build trust with your website visitors?  Or have you come across any websites that you think do a great job at building trust?  Let me know in the comments below.

Related Reads

Using Your Nonprofit’s Website to Build Trust with Visitors

Why Your Nonprofit Website Should Have a Financials Page

Authenticity: The Key to Thanking Supporters

6 Ways to Make Online Donors More Comfortable

With Website Content, Professional Doesn’t Mean Impersonal

Image courtesy of Artem Popov

David Hartstein spends most of his time helping nonprofits tell compelling stories that engage their community and drive action. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

2 Comments on “3 Ways to Build Trust through Website Copy

  1. 1 Phillip Barrera August 6, 2015

    I recently left an ad agency/marketing firm where projects were extremely deadline-oriented. Now I work at a nonprofit (we serve Haiti primarily) where I have time to fully develop ideas and design. Recently I began work on new branding and website redesign. The first thing I did was to decide not to touch any of my creative software apps. Instead I brainstormed. I thought long about an experience our org’s founders had that changed the course of their lives forever. I wrote what I considered to be our org’s point of view, our brand story, and our mission statement. I went on to reflect on what I called our engine – the top three things that keep us going, moving, caring. I observed and articulated why we help a hurting world. I thought about the kind of partners we are looking for. I considered how we build trust. I wrote about what we find in Haiti and what we bring to Haiti. I decided and articulated what I believe to be the three most important things our home page should do. I’ve been marinating on all of this for about 3.5 weeks now. I started to write some prelim home page copy concepts and considered new ways to organize all of our content for the website. It’s been a very rewarding experience. I’ve never had the time to do such development. Even if my ideas aren’t accepted, I’m very satisfied with the process and have learned much. Since you asked, I’ll mention one non-profit’s website that I find inspirational in a number of ways: http://www.convoyofhope.org. Enjoyed your article. Thanks very much.

    1. 2 David Hartstein August 12, 2015

      Thanks a lot for sharing your process Phillip. I totally agree that taking a step back to look at the bigger picture before diving into writing can be hugely rewarding. Doing so can really help to guide your approach to the content you ultimately produce. And thanks for sharing the Convoy of Hope site. We always love seeing inspirational sites like that!

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