Do people trust you enough to follow you? To believe you? To buy your product? Many experts will tell you that your online success comes down to that one essential question: do people trust you?
For today's post, I've brought in a friend and ringer to add his perspective. Kareem Ahmed is the Internet Marketing Manager at the McNally Smith College of Music, a social media/SEO/online marketing blogger, and the very first person I ever met through Twitter. Kareem has helped hundreds of people on the interwebs and has agreed to share his thoughts here today on how to build a blog following and trust online.
Big Picture Web (BPW): First impressions can make or break whether a visitors stays on your blog or website. There are dozens of mental triggers that alert us when we should be wary of new sites, according to books like Neuro Web Design: What makes them click. When you help people build blog and websites, what are some of the most important things you can do to quickly establish trust with the visitor of the website? Are there any musts for a homepage, for example? Anything that should be in each blog post?
Kareem Ahmed (KA): It really differs from site to site and what the objective of the site is. Perception is reality, so if you are perceived as a trustworthy source, then you will be one. In terms of selling a product or service, I always find it extremely valuable to include testimonials and/or recommendations...and not the ones that are ridiculously overpromotional. If you really believe in yourself, and the product/service you are pushing, there should be no problem in getting folks to believe you.
BPW: Trust online is very important to search engines, too. In fact, trust and authority are two of the main factors for Google and how they determine how to order their search results. What are your favorite tips for building trust with search engines? What should our bloggers do to gain Google's trust?
KA: Trust with search engines is very easy to obtain. Play nice, and they play nice back. White hat strategies work best.
BPW: Follow-up question: Link building is a much advised, yet little undertaken effort that can dramatically improve search results for bloggers. Do you have any killer techniques for building links to blog in order to gain new followers through harnessing more search traffic?
KA: Link building is essential for any successful SEO campaign. I like to start with directories because they are easy to obtain, I have a huge list of them that I begin every link building campaign with. Then I find out where the competition is getting links and I get links there too. The best links come from government and education sites. They provide great authority. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 3 or 4 ultra powerful links are better than 100 crappy ones.
BPW: Best-selling authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith describe being the go-to person at the center of your network in Trust Agents. Building trust is ultimately about relationships, being helpful and leverage, among other things. What are your tips for building your personal network to gain trust? How might this help you add to your blog following?
KA: Do favors for people, they return them.
And there you have it. I officially owe Kareem Ahmed a favor. Big thanks to Kareem today (follow him on Twitter, seriously) for lending his time and expertise to Big Picture Web.
What tips do you have for building a blog following? What little tidbit of extra effort or technique goes the extra mile for you? Leave a comment below to share your tips on building trust online.