You may think you need a kitchen full of ingredients to make a good meal, but if you choose the right ingredients, you’ll find that just a few essentials will do beautifully.

The same applies to creating a successful website. There are lots of online guides that list five, six or even 10 essentials for a winning website. And while elements like key messaging, speed and SEO content are important, I want to focus on three simple things that will immediately make your business more appealing to customers.

Happy smiley people

First impressions count. When someone visits your website for the first time, they may know nothing about you and the quality of your product or service.

They will be looking for signs that they can trust you with their money. People tend to form a first impression of your trustworthiness based on your facial appearance – so show them some smiling faces.

Trustworthiness and happiness share some facial features, and numerous studies have shown that a genuine smile can help you be perceived as trustworthy and sincere.

If nothing else, you at least want the people associated with your product or service to look like they’re enjoying themselves.

One of our clients, Tree Fellas, employed this idea to great effect when revamping the imagery on their website.

Check out their clever team photo on the home page, and try not to smile yourself! Throughout the website there are more images of arborists smiling as they work and interact with customers. This looks like a crew you want working at your place.

The Insulation Warehouse have taken a similar approach, putting their smiling team front and centre, with more photos of happy customers and crew elsewhere on the site.

Customer reviews

Displaying your customers’ feedback will build on the first impression created by the smiley photos and are critical to helping you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

If you’re providing a great product or service, good reviews will come naturally (as long as you ask for them). This may be your most powerful tool for getting potential customers to trust you, as explained in our June blog.

Tree Fellas, mentioned above, make the most of their customer reviews by giving website visitors plenty of chances to read them – short testimonials appear on multiple pages. A nice touch is to include a customers’ feedback alongside a photo of the staff member being complimented.

Junk2Go feature an impressive page of testimonials, all dated within the last month. One even mentions the ‘super jingle on the phone’ (as well as excellent and courteous service!). There are also reviews high up on the home page, giving first-time visitors an immediate chance to assess the quality of the service.

Beautiful work examples

If actions speak louder than words, the results of your work should speak for themselves. If you’re a builder, landscaper, cabinetmaker or interior designer, your website should be chock full of gorgeous photos of your work.

For your website visitor, these offer a chance to see what they’ll be left with when you walk out the door. Do it well, as Royale Kitchens do, and you’ll provide inspiration as well as showing your website visitor how the journey ends for people who use your company.

Don’t skimp on photos – create a gallery of high-quality images that visitors can click on to see more, as on Thistle Building Company’s website. There’s plenty here for potential customers to drool over and the standard of the workmanship shines through.

There are a lot more ingredients you can, and should, add to your website to serve up a clear, secure and user-friendly customer experience. But if you want to whip up a quick and simple website upgrade, combining these three simple steps will help give your visitors the confidence they need to pick up the phone.