It's important to keep in mind that with a Web site, we're trying to persuade at a distance. You may want
to convince someone to buy, persuade them to adopt a political view, get them to donate, or something else:
but all these invite persuasion at a distance.
You've been successful at what you do because you're personally persuasive. You can convince people to buy
from you, you can convince the bank to give you a loan, you can convince donors to write checks. But with
your site, you now are trying to persuade people without ever seeing them. They won't be able to see your
power of persuasion, that's been so important, in action.
You must establish credibility. If you're a physician, the prospective patient must trust you enough
to make that first appointment. If you're selling, they have to believe thatyou'll actually deliver. Or
at least be accessible so that their credit card company can extract a refund if you don't deliver.
Fortunaely, there was a high-quality study done of just this issue. It's reported in these two issues of
Establishing Site Credibility--Part One
Establishing Site Credibility--Part Two