Evaluating a website’s credibility

By Tim Priebe on August 26, 2009

By Tim Priebe on August 26, 2009

A 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
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

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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