Top Tips on how you can increase trust online

Does internet privacy, cookies, tracking and all the rest start to worry you if you start to think about it too much? In business and in life as a whole, we all seem to stuck our heads in the sand – but you are not alone with your worries:  According to a recent study released by the Ponemon Institute (a privacy research company) 59% believe the Internet, social media, geotracking devices and smart mobile devices diminish privacy and security.
They found that among the top most trusted companies are American Express, WebMD, Verizon and Disney for different industries, and in the internet and social media space Mozilla, creator of Firefox, ranked the number one trusted company. But they agree that the Internet has a lot more work to do to deepen trust in a way that empowers and protects users and engenders confidence. Here’s how:

Be proactive in search rankings and appearance

A business with an online presence needs to take an active role in how it is viewed by users. No matter how good a business is, it can suffer from poor search-engine rankings. Whether it’s being listed too low on search engines to get noticed or getting noticed for the wrong things (unfortunate press, sub-par reviews, etc.), a business’s online presence can backfire if the search results point consumers in the wrong direction.
To solve this problem, several businesses hire professional help to improve search engine rankings. By using experts, like those at Reputation.com and similar companies, businesses can make an accessible and positive appearance to customers.

Keep privacy private

Since the Internet and social media are considered to be among the least trustworthy of businesses in terms of privacy and security, a business with an online presence must work doubly hard to secure it’s user’s privacy. According to CNet.com, almost half the Ponemon Institute respondents said they received one or more data breach notifications over the past two years. Of those people, 77 percent said such notifications hurt their trust in the organization reporting the breach.
Mozilla has a blog dedicated to privacy where it details it’s commitment, procurement, and application of user security and anonymity. Not all businesses will want a privacy blog, but businesses should have some type of easy-to-read policy statement available regarding if and how they collect user data and what they do to keep it private. While few will take the time to read it, it shows users that the business is aware and respectful of their privacy.

User-centric meaningful content

Focus on the user’s experience and seek to improve that before improving business, says experts Mozilla in their Privacy blog. For the average business online this means creating content and designing the website around their customer first and their business second. Yes, the goal should be to a company’s online profit, but that’s not always achieved through focusing on the vending of wares. Websites become valued and trusted by consumers when they provide meaningful content. Valued and trusted websites garner loyalty and the willingness to spend money.
 
Thanks to Michael Wyman, MIT graduate for this great content submission




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