Blogging is a fantastic way to share more information about your brand and its products and services. Brands also use blogs to offer opinions, advice and generally provide value to its customers.
For these reasons, thousands of potential customers continuously visit blogs for free advice related to topics they are experiencing difficulty with.
Blog traffic is always good for business as there’s still a massive potential to turn that traffic into paying customers.
However, if you want people to continually visit your blog for advice, you will have to create a trustworthy blog.
People can spot dodgy blogs from a mile away, which is why only a trusted source will do. We’re here to teach you how to turn your brand into a trusted source by giving it a voice that will call out more leads and customers.
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How to Create a Trustworthy Blog
All relationships, both professional and personal, are ultimately built on trust. The relationship between blogger and reader is no different. If you want your readers to keep coming back, share your content, and take any actions you ask of them (such as buying from your business), you’ll need to cultivate trust.
Persuasion Nation reported that 81% of consumers trust advice and information from blogs. But all blogs are not created equal, and readers are more and more discerning about which voices they’ll trust.
In other words, if you create a trustworthy blog, you can have a real influence on your readers’ behavior.
So why do audiences trust some blogs more than others? Let’s look at some of the critical factors involved in building trust and how you can make your site more trustworthy.
What Are the Main Factors That Create or Break Trust?
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” This saying has been attributed to many people, and no-one is sure who really said it. Regardless, it is true.
Trust can be quite a fragile thing, so you need to ensure you’re paying attention to it and taking care of it at all times.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, three main elements make up trust (or lack of it) in a professional context. Let’s look at each of them and how they might apply to building a trustworthy blog.
This aspect of trust is all about how you relate to other people. HBR’s study indicated that people trust those that are co-operative, good at conflict resolution, and balance their desire for results with concern for others.
Though blogging is often a solitary endeavor, you should always approach it as a conversation between you and your readers.
Before you publish something, ask yourself if it paints you as a trustworthy person.
Have you been truthful and kind? Have you said anything inflammatory?
That’s not to say you can’t have strong views or speak about controversial issues. You absolutely can. But you must make sure you’re doing so from a solutions-oriented perspective that takes others’ needs and feelings into account.
Good Judgement and Expertise
Simply put, people trust those who make the right decisions and know what they’re talking about. In other words, credibility is everything.
Be honest about your experience, knowledge, and skills, and always take the time to fact-check anything you’re unsure of. (We’ll talk a bit more about fact-checking later).
Never pretend that you are infallible or know everything. In fact, admitting you don’t know something or were wrong makes you more trustworthy because it shows you are aware of your own limitations.
People who are consistent show up repeatedly (again and again), walking the walk and talking the talk.
Therefore, make sure you keep any promises you make to your audience, let them know if something doesn’t go to plan, and consistently show up with great new content.
How to Create a Trustworthy Blog
Now that you understand the essential core elements of trust in a professional context, let’s take a closer look at some specific strategies you can use to build a trustworthy blog.
If you follow all these tips, your readers will come to recognize you as a trustworthy, authoritative voice.
Audiences are more likely to trust a blogger who shows up regularly with new, high-quality content. Why? Because it shows that you take blogging seriously and care about your readers.
How often should you blog? That’s a difficult question because it depends on several factors, including your content’s length and complexity, how much time you have, and your niche norms. There is no hard and fast answer.
I blog twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, which works for my readers and me. Other bloggers post only once per week or even less often, while some post as much as once a day – or even more! Alison Green of Ask a Manager is an extremely prolific blogger, often posting as many as four times per day during the week.
It would be best if you decided on the right frequency for you. As a rule of thumb, I consider anything less than once a week to be too infrequent for all but the most casual hobbyist blogger.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
If you can manage one fantastic post per week, that’s far better than posting five pieces of lackluster content. Yes, frequency matters, but quality is far more critical.
Therefore, don’t rush to put out as much content as you possibly can. Instead, make sure each piece is as good as it can possibly be.
Here are a few simple checks to make sure a piece of content is of high quality:
- How long is the piece? According to Hook Agency, the most optimal length for a blog post for SEO purposes is 1760 words. Of course, you don’t need to be that precise! Longform content is excellent, but your blog posts must be at least 300 words long as a basic rule. Anything shorter will be considered “thin content” by search engine crawlers (and probably won’t provide the reader with the depth of information they want).
- Have you linked to other reputable sources as relevant?
- Have you linked to other relevant pieces on your own site? (This is called internal linking, and it’s great both from an SEO perspective and to help readers find more of the type of content they love).
- Have you double-checked the spelling and grammar? Try Grammarly or another grammar checker to help you out.
- Does the piece have a cohesive narrative thread and sensible structure?
If you’re still learning how to write a great blog post, I find this outline infographic by Neil Patel tremendously useful:
As you blog more frequently, it will become second nature. Doing quality control on all your posts might seem very time consuming at first, but your efforts will pay off as great quality content will inspire your readers to trust you – and to keep coming back.
Ensure Every Piece of Content Provides Value
Readers come to your blog for one reason: because it offers them something of value. The value they derive might be actionable advice, interesting information, useful recommendations, or just pure entertainment.
You’ll likely also find that people come to your blog for different reasons and, as such, draw different types of value from it.
Each time you write a piece of content, ask yourself: “what benefit does this provide to my readers?” If you can’t answer that question, go back to the drawing board, amend the content, or rethink it entirely.
If you’re not sure exactly why readers come to your blog or what they want from it, there’s a simple solution: ask them! You could create a reader survey, send an email to everyone who subscribes to your marketing list, post on social media, or create a blog post with open comments.
Whichever strategy you use, ask your readers why they read your blog, what types of content they find most valuable, and what they’d like to see more of. Use the responses as your guiding light for creating future content.
Want to learn how to get valuable feedback from your readers and customers?
Dictionary.com defines authenticity as “not false or copied; genuine; real.” In other words: be yourself! There are millions of blogs in the world (over 500 million, according to Hosting Tribunal), but nobody else has your experience, your precise combination of knowledge, or your unique voice.
Here’s a fact that might be hard to swallow: anything you can think of has probably been thought of before. Perhaps hundreds, thousands, or millions of times.
But guess what? It doesn’t matter! Because no-one else is you, so no-one else can say it in quite the same way that you can. So stop worrying about being perfectly original, and strive to be authentic instead.
What does being authentic actually mean in the context of blogging? It mostly comes down to being honest, not pretending to be something you’re not, and not trying to imitate someone else.
Attempting to copy the latest blogging superstar won’t elevate you to their level of success. Instead, it’ll make your voice sound fake, and your work will come across as derivative.
Authenticity also encompasses a degree of vulnerability. Of course, you don’t have to delve into your personal life or innermost thoughts if you don’t want to. But there’s nothing more off-putting than a blogger who pretends that their life is perfect, that the success they’ve achieved has been easy, or that they’re always right.
Here’s a great example of authenticity in blogging:
This is a post from Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, Ph.D., also known as Dr. CBT Mom, a parenting and mental health blogger. In this post, she connects with her primary audience – stressed-out mothers – by sharing one of her own coping strategies during the COVID-19 crisis.
When you tell a story from your personal experience, tell it truthfully. Don’t spin it to make yourself look better – this is usually really obvious and will immediately turn your readers off.
If you made a mistake or took a wrong turn, say so and talk about what you learned from it. Honesty is always a winning strategy when it comes to earning your audience’s trust.
Wikipedia defines clickbait thus:
“A form of false advertisement, [that] uses hyperlink text or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and to entice users to follow that link and read view, or listen to the linked piece of online content, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive.“
Have you ever seen the title of a piece of content and been unable to resist clicking? If so, you’ve been taken in by clickbait. Most of us have, at one time or another. Clickbait is tremendously popular amongst sites that rely on ad revenue. After all, the more people click a link to the site, the more ad dollars the site makes.
But clickbait is a poor long-term strategy if you’re trying to build trust in your site. Though all of us fall for it sometimes, most savvy internet users can recognize clickbait. It might get people to visit your site to check out your “bait” content, but it won’t earn you their respect, trust, or long-term readership.
Instead, focus on optimized titles that accurately reflect the post’s contents and the reader’s value. Here’s an example: let’s imagine you were writing a blog post about how to make money online. A great title might be “7 Strategies You Can Use to Start an Online Business in 2020”.
A clickbait headline might be something like, “These 7 Easy Hacks Will MAKE YOU AN INTERNET MILLIONAIRE!” See the difference?
If you catch yourself sensationalizing your headlines, resist the temptation. Clickbait might attract attention, but it does not inspire trust.
Leverage Social Proof
Social proof theory states that people are more likely to take a particular action if they see others doing it. In the context of business and customer acquisition, social proof usually refers to using positive feedback, such as customer reviews and client testimonials, to encourage purchases.
How does this apply to blogging? Well, you can also use social proof to demonstrate your blog’s credibility. There are numerous ways to do that – let’s look at a few examples.
If you or your blog has been featured in any media outlets, you can create an “as featured in…” section on your homepage. Here’s how married blogging duo Kach Medina Umandap-Howe and Jonathan Howe, of Two Monkeys Travel, do it:
If you have received a lot of coverage, you could even create a dedicated media page on your blog.
Another option, if your blog has received any positive testimonials or reviews, is to display those prominently. Include them on your homepage, create a testimonials page, or add them to your footer or sidebar.
Finally, you can leverage numbers as social proof. If you get a lot of comments, allow readers to see how many comments each post has. If you have a high number of followers or email list subscribers, show that off too.
Collaborate with Other Bloggers and Influencers
If you haven’t yet started collaborating with other bloggers and relevant influencers, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. By working together, you’ll both benefit from a wider reach, access to one another’s audiences, and a chance to get your name out there.
Here are some ways you might want to collaborate:
One of the easiest ways to collaborate with other bloggers is to do a guest post exchange: you write a post for their site, and they write one for yours. Guest posting has many benefits: it increases your reach, helps establish you as a trustworthy voice, and builds backlinks to improve your SEO.
So if there’s another blogger in your niche that you admire, why not reach out and ask if they’re interested in a collaboration? Make sure that you study their content thoroughly beforehand to offer pitches that align with their audience and voice.
Participate in Blogging Memes and Link-ups
Blogging memes invite bloggers to write a post based on a particular theme or prompt, then add their posts to a central hub using a linking tool. Sometimes, the rules will state that each participant should read and comment on the other posts. Here’s an example:
Mailbox Monday is a weekly book blogging meme from the blog of the same name. Fellow bloggers participate and then add their posts using the Blenza linking tool:
Aside from providing useful prompts and theme ideas for posts, taking part in blogging memes and link-ups is an excellent opportunity to get to know your fellow bloggers in your niche. It’s also another way to build links back to your site organically.
Do Social Media Takeovers
Social media takeovers are becoming increasingly popular as a collaboration tactic between bloggers and influencers. Why not work with someone in your niche that you trust, and take over one another’s Twitter feed or Instagram Stories for a day? Takeovers can be enormous fun, as well as allowing you to expand your audience.
Looking to master social media and create a strong online presence for your brand?
Check Your Facts and Cite Your Sources
If you cite a fact, statistic, or figure, be prepared to back it up. In general, that means linking to a source and/or naming the source of information. This serves two purposes: it shows your audience that you do your research, which increases their trust in you, and it gives them somewhere else to go if they’d like further information.
Additionally, never state something as fact without checking first. It’s easy to misremember something, even slightly. People repeating things they think they know as fact is one of the main ways that misinformation spreads.
Claiming something that turns out to be untrue will harm your credibility, and your readers will not hesitate to point it out.
Here’s how I did it recently:
In this post about the viability of making a living as a fiction writer, I cited statistics from the Society of Authors, Authors’ Guild, and a respected publishing expert. By linking to my sources, my readers can understand where I got my information and find out more if they wish.
It’s much better to check your facts before you publish than to have to publish a retraction, correction, or apology at a later date.
Be Choosy about Your Advertising
As you start to build a readership for your blog and grow your traffic, you’ll inevitably receive requests from brands or advertisers looking to work with you. This could take many forms: they might offer to write a guest post for your blog, send you a free product in exchange for a review, or ask to buy advertising space or a sponsored post.
Many newer bloggers make the mistake of uncritically saying yes to any (or all) of these requests. Instead, you should pause and ask yourself if the request aligns with your long-term goals. If so, you can proceed. If not, politely decline.
Overloading your site with ads will reduce its quality and credibility in the eyes of your readers. Poor guest posts that offer no value will also drag your site’s overall quality down and harm your readers’ trust in your content.
Collaborations are great, and working with advertisers is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. But be picky about what you accept if you want your readers to keep seeing you as trustworthy.
Be Patient and Give It Time
The fact is that building a great blog and earning your readers’ trust takes time. You cannot expect them to trust you straight away. Instead, it would be best if you kept working at it, providing a consistent stream of great content and remaining true to your mission and values.
While you can start getting traffic to your blog from day one, you won’t build a broad and loyal audience overnight. It can take weeks to months to start seeing substantial results. But stick with it, and you’ll get there.
Trust is everything in business, and the same holds true when it comes to blogging. Whether you hope to monetize your blog itself through ads or affiliate marketing or use it as a content marketing strategy for your products or services, you must have your readers’ trust if you are to succeed.
To summarize, here are my top tips for building trust with your blog readers:
- Be consistent.
- Make sure every post is of high quality and offers value.
- Cultivate an authentic, genuine voice.
- Avoid clickbait – the quick wins aren’t worth it in the long run.
- Let your fans speak for you by using social proof.
- Engage in strategic collaborations.
- Check your facts and then recheck them!
- Only work with advertisers whose mission aligns with yours.
- Be patient, and keep trying.
Blogging is a long-term commitment, but the rewards (monetary and otherwise) can be tremendous if you stick with it.
Do you have any great tips on building a trustworthy blog? Please share them in the comments below so that other Vyper readers can benefit!
About the AuthorJess Amy Dixon is a Project Manager at Launch Space. She helps SaaS clients land guest posts to generate links that can drive their content up the search rankings. She lives in the UK and when she’s not writing you can probably find her knitting, reading, or sipping coffee. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @JessAmyWrites.
Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.