I’ve said it over and over in my articles: if you want people to BUY from you then first they have to TRUST you.
Would you part with cash to a blogger you knew nothing about for a product you weren’t sure was worth it? Didn’t think so.
But as a blogger, you’re on the other side of this rift. If you’ve got expertise in your niche and you genuinely know that you can help your audience, you’ve got to convince them that you’re the real deal, and the rest will follow. Here’s how to get your readers to trust you.
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Have a professional-looking blog where everything works
You could have the greatest food-hygiene course in the world, but if the links on your website don’t work or you can’t access the material easily, you might as well not have a product at all. As part of your regular routine to clean up your site, you should be testing all your published links and downloads to make sure they’re still working properly. There’s nothing more embarrassing than the dreaded 404 error (page not found)!
There’s also nothing more annoying than finding a promising website only to struggle to find the material you need. If your visitors cannot instantly see what they are looking for or figure out where to go next on your site, they will click back and LEAVE.
That’s right, unhappy customers.
You can check your bounce rate in your analytics, but in the meantime, you can do the following things to help your readers navigate your site:
- Make sure your site is properly and clearly laid out, with sensible category names and an easily-accessible menu.
- Have clear CTA boxes (call to action) and links that show your visitors what to do next, for example, “download here”.
- Choose a simple theme with plenty of display opportunities for your beautiful food photography. Make sure the theme displays well on laptops, tablets and mobiles (this is called “responsive”).
- Create a brand for your site which contains everything from logos to headers, social-media graphics and fonts – and then stick to it. Read more about how to create a brand.
Don’t sell all the time
Yes, ultimately you want to sell your products to your audience, but if you push, push, push them all the time, then your readers will be turned off. The general rule (bloggers’ etiquette) is to post just 20% of the time for and about yourself, with 80% sharing for others. This can include guest posts, sharing other recipes on your Facebook, reviewing and celebrating other products and courses, and reposting your favourite article content from other blogs.Don't forget to share the love.Click To Tweet
Note: remember, “reposting” does not mean copying without consent. Always give credit where it’s due and make sure to post recipes in your own words, linking back to the original.
Show them the real you
This has to be the most important tip of all: show your audience what you are really like, warts and all. That means if you have a disaster when cooking, share it on Instagram. If you have technical difficulties going live on Facebook, make a joke of it. Nobody is perfect and this way your readers will begin to relate to you as a real person – not just a computer.
Another way to be the real you is to share your story about how you came to be doing what you are. Did you teach yourself to cook from scratch? Have you had to learn to live on a budget? Are you dealing with a health issue that limits your diet? Share your story and you’ll soon find people reaching out to you too.
Give value…that works
If you’ve got a trick that has worked for you, like you’ve managed to grow your Instagram following to 5k in just three months with your food photography, or your whole family has gone keto, then share it with the world! Tell your readers exactly how you did it (with results to back it up) and give them ideas to implement in their own lives.
Visitors to a food blog would appreciate advice on cookery skills, meal planning, diets, pantry organisation, how to take better food photographs, foodie gifts, and nutrition – as well as the obvious recipes in your niche. I found I got a lot of questions about how I set up my food blog and chose my niche (six ingredients) and branding. That’s how I started this blog!Provide VALUE above all and your audience will grow.Click To Tweet
Do your research
Making sure that all the information you are sharing is up to date and correct is vital if you are going to act as an authority on any subject. For example, if you’re quoting dietary and nutrition statistics, make sure they’re the latest available. Many sites will include a note at the beginning of an informational post to alert the reader that the post has been updated in line with new research.
Only push products you genuinely believe in
Readers can spot a fake sales pitch a mile off. If you’re selling a product you haven’t tried or you don’t love, then you’re going to have to lie to do it. Not only does this harm your credibility as an expert but your articles will be stiff and unnatural. And somebody will always catch you out.
That said, if there is a product you truly believe in, then why not approach them to see if you can partner up – perhaps in a sponsored post or as an affiliate for their company?
Make it easy – and safe – for visitors to pay you.
Links that don’t work, payments that don’t go through and sites that only seem to sell rather than offer value, all look amateurish and fake. I wouldn’t buy from them, and I know you wouldn’t either. So make sure your site is kept up to date and is as secure, professional and straightforward as you can make it. You’ll have happy customers in no time.
Do you have any tips for earning your readers’ trust?