Features That Increase a Website's Trustworthiness [Study]

naomi-aharony.png  SEO expert and Managing Director, Reboot SEO and Web Marketing.

  WWS contributor


Study reveals key features of the most trustworthy websites, which lead to increased interaction and engagement among users.

People Pointing at Laptop Screen Image for Features That Increase a Website's Engagement & Trustworthiness

Data from strategic brand consultancy firm Hall and Partners shows that up to two-thirds of a brand’s profits rely on effective consumer engagement. Brands with high engagement scores also usually have good profit margins.

According to the data report, “Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.” 

However, often the biggest challenge websites face is maintaining the engagement of a customer. Maintaining customer engagement often boils down to whether a user trusts the website or not.

With other stats suggesting that an unhappy user will leave a website within 10-20 seconds if they are left dissatisfied, businesses can see that retaining a visitor for longer can be a major difficulty.

In a bid to discover how websites can increase engagement and build trust among customers, Reboot SEO Agency surveyed 1,322 people, asking participants to choose the top five features that build their confidence towards a website.

From this, the study can reveal the most trustworthy features on a website that encourages interaction among users.


Top Features of the Most Trustworthy Websites


Almost half of participants surveyed (47%) said that a company with consistent social media activity is the top feature that makes a website trustworthy - specifically, being active on Instagram, as brand interaction is made easy.

The study also found that 56% of users view a company that uses Instagram as more trustworthy than those using other social media platforms. 45% said they would not use a website that isn’t active on social media. 

43% of users think that one of the most trustworthy features is an SSL certificate, with 58% stating they would significantly reduce their interaction with a website if they did not have one.

Features of the Most Trustworthy Websites:

1. Social media activity (47%)

2. Recognized trust seals (47%)

3. Affiliated with trusted websites (45%)

4. SSL certificate (43%)

5. Address and phone number listed (40%)

6. A professional design layout (38%)

7. Familiar payment methods (36%)

8. No stock images (36%)

9. Terms and conditions and privacy policy (31%)

10. About us page (31%)

11. Up to date Google/Yell details (25%)

12. FAQ page (22%)

13. Meet the team page (18%)

14. Limited advert banners (18%)

The study also asked participants to choose the top five features that make them distrust a website, and discovered the key issues that reduce customer engagement.


Biggest Issues Leading to Website Mistrust and Reduced Engagement


According to the study, customers have little confidence in a website with pop ups. 65% of users state this makes them question its authenticity and would choose to reduce their interaction with this website. This is partially due to 82% of participants being concerned about malware and security.

Correct grammar and wording are one of the most important factors for 56% of participants, websites without this arise doubt and hesitation among visitors.

Additionally, 79% of shoppers said that they would not use, or trust, a website with grammatical or spelling errors.

The 6th most untrustworthy feature is a website with no reviews or case studies available, as stipulated by 40% of shoppers. 65% state they would not purchase from a website if there are no reviews, the study that 93% of visitors are likely to exit the website due to this.

The survey also found that, surprisingly, 65% of people purchasing online would use a website that does not have an about us page, and 75% said they would continue to browse on a website that is not mobile friendly.

Having familiar payment methods (such as PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, American Express etc) on your website ranked as the 6th most trustworthy feature (36%). 92% of users said that they would not trust or engage with a website that uses unfamiliar payment methods.

Having an author bio was ranked as the least important feature that makes a website trustworthy and determines interaction, with only 2% ranking it in their top 5.

Features of the Most Untrustworthy Websites:

1. Pop ups adverts (65%)

2. Grammatical errors & spelling mistakes (56%)

3. Lots of adverts (52%)

4. Very large discounts & broken links (45%)

5. Blurry images (43%)

6. No reviews (40%)

7. No trust seals (38%)

8. No SSL certificate (36%)

9. Wrong currency entering a website (34%)

10. Missing contact details (29%)

11. Slow loading time (29%)

Reboot SEO Managing Director Naomi Aharony, in comments about the importance of maintaining engagement and its correlation with consumer trust, said:

“If a website has high customer engagement, then it implies customers’ expectations have been met and there has been a positive experience. This valuable interaction naturally leads to strong customer trust which has been earned from the website.”


* Percentages will not add up to 100% because of multiple responses.

Naomi Aharony is SEO expert and Managing Director of Reboot SEO and Web Marketing agency. She is in charge of the day to day tasks for the client base, covering everything from copywriting to link building. She has been working for Reboot Online for over 13 years. Follow them on Twitter.