If you’ve got a business of any sort you’ll be aware just how important credibility is when it comes to attracting and retaining customers, but are you doing everything possible to make sure your company is seen in the best light?

Here are five tips to help make sure your firm is seen as trustworthy.

1 – Embrace customer reviews

If your business has been around for a while, then you should hopefully have plenty of happy customers. Asking people to provide a testimonial for your website is a great way of showing future customers the kind of thing you can offer them.

You can also use third-party review services such as Google+ reviews or Trip Advisor, the former is particularly attractive as you can include positive testimonials in search engine results, increasing the likelihood someone will click through to your site.

If you do use a third-party review service, make sure you read the terms and conditions so you don’t accidentally break them.

2 – Quality audit your website

Spelling errors, dead links and cheap design are guaranteed ways to deter prospective customers. Even if you’re broadly happy with your online presence, it’s always worth checking everything is in order.

A manual check is required to assess the quality of your copy, but you can use Google Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog to see whether your site has any dead links.

In terms of design, things are a little more subjective here. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Firstly, try to avoid off-the-peg templates – they can give the wrong impression. Usually, they’re fine if you’re just conveying basic information like your location, but if you’re selling goods or services online, you’ll have to go further.

Check out what your competitors are doing, what they have in terms of functionality, looks and how their order process works. Compare their efforts to your own site, and make any improvements you think might be needed.

3 – Get a proper email address

If you’re using free webmail services such as Gmail for your business email address, then you’re going to lose out in the respectability stakes, especially if your rivals are using something that looks more professional.

If you already have a website, then getting an email address that looks something like yourname@yourdomain.com is easy and shouldn’t cost much more than a few pounds. If you don’t have a domain, registering one is fairly straightforward and with statistics showing that of people in the UK shop online, it’s something you should be doing anyway.

4 – Let people know where you are

Even if you’re a dedicated online business, including your full contact details is an excellent way to engender trust – people are less likely to do business with you. Including your address and phone number is the bare minimum. If you’re hoping to attract customers to a physical location, make sure you have a map and directions on your site as well.

5 – Consider using a virtual office

If you don’t have the resources to rent a proper office then you may want to consider a virtual office scheme. It’s not for everyone, but it can have advantages over running an entirely home-based business – you don’t have to give out your personal address for starters. There are also packages which offer flexible meeting spaces, something else that can help make your firm look more professional.

Remember – you’re not looking to fool customers, just to make sure that you show yourself in the best possible light.

Article contributed by Will Stevens. Will is part of the 123-reg blog team. The company offers a range of services including web and email hosting.

This post was submitted by a contributor. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on starting a business, productivity or life hacks with our audience.