Evaluating a website’s credibility

Online credibilityA couple years back, Stanford performed a large study to determine how people evaluate a website’s credibility. Take a look below and see different factors influence your website visitors.

(Categories with less than 3% incidence are not in this table.)

(of 2,440 comments)
Comment Topics
(addressing specific credibility issue)
1. 46.1% Design Look
2. 28.5% Information Design/Structure
3. 25.1% Information Focus
4. 15.5% Company Motive
5. 14.8% Information Usefulness
6. 14.3% Information Accuracy
7. 14.1% Name Recognition and Reputation
8. 13.8% Advertising
9. 11.6% Information Bias
10. 9.0% Writing Tone
11. 8.8% Identity of Site Operator
12. 8.6% Site Functionality
13. 6.4% Customer Service
14. 4.6% Past Experience with Site
15. 3.7% Information Clarity
16. 3.6% Performance on Test by User
17. 3.6% Readability
18. 3.4% Affiliations

Just the look of the site made up 46.1% of the comments! The next closest was over 10% away. This is a dead giveaway that sites like craigslist are the exception to the rule, not the rule.

Your website really does need to show your best side. Not just because a web designer tells you so, but because the research shows that it really does make a difference.

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