Your website is your face to the world. You can have top-notch production and killer marketing services, but if your website stinks, your potential customers will be turned off before they ever get past the home page.

Recently, a group of corporate print buyers and estimators were asked what they look for on a printer’s website and how they determine its trustworthiness as potential supplier. Here is what they said. How does your site match up?

  1. Quality of site content. Is the content professional? Is it current? Is it clear that you have a high level of expertise? Or is the text all marketing fluff? How about your capabilities statement? Does it clearly reflect your differentiation? Or do you sound like everyone else?
  2. Client list, case studies, and testimonials. It says a lot when clients are willing to put their names behind you. It also tells buyers the areas in which you specialize and have particular strength. Include performance metrics if you have them.
  3. Capabilities and competencies. Make it easy for buyers to tell if you are you a good match for their project requirements, especially in open bid situations. List relevant NIGP and NAICS codes, make sure your capabilities statement is searchable, and list any bonding/insurance coverage, safety, and certifications.
  4. Data handling. How will you handle their data? What clearances and security certifications do you have?
  5. Company background and scheduling. How long have you been in business? What are your working hours and availability? Corporate print buyers want to know if you have the capacity to meet their schedules.
  6. Ease of acquiring samples. Does the website make it easy to request samples? A great company wants to make it easy for potential customers to evaluate their work.
  7. Design and functionality. Is the website well designed? Is the copy up to date or are your articles and blog posts dated from one year ago? Do all the links work? When it comes to websites, people judge a book by its cover. A poorly designed and out-of-date website does not inspire confidence in the rest of your capabilities.
  8. Inquiry response time. How do you handle website inquiries? Do you have links to email real people? Or is there just an impersonal contact form? What is your process for handling web inquiries? Do you have a window of time in which you promise to respond?
  9. Employee bios. You may have great equipment, but it’s the people behind it who make the difference. Let potential customers see who your key employees are, their backgrounds, and their experience.
  10. Environmental certifications and sourcing. Corporate print buyers often have quotas they have to meet, so list your environmental certifications, goals, and processes. The same goes for diversity. If you’re a minority- or woman-owned business, get it out there.

What areas do you think are most important when it comes to engendering customer trust?