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Creating Your First Blog Pages: How to Write Trust Pages
Now that you’ve created your blog, it’s time to get blogging! Time to start cranking out those blog posts! Right?
Hold up, hotshot. We’ll get there, we promise.
But first, how about a little trust?
Not from you — from your readers. For you.
We can hear you already. “And exactly how am I supposed to make a brand new audience trust a brand new blog, genius?”
That’s actually a really good question. And fortunately, we have the really simple answer: with trust pages.
What Are Trust Pages?
Trust pages are a special kind of page on your blog with different immediate functions, but one overriding goal: to reassure your audience and help them develop a certain level of trust in you and your blog.
Have you ever come across a site or blog that’s new to you, with great content, and then you think, “Hmm, this could be just what I need…who are these people, though? Can I trust them?”
If you’re like the vast majority of web users, you search for an “About” page so you can decide whether or not they’re worthy of your trust.
Writing Your About Page
Your About page introduces you and your blog to your new readers. It also helps set the tone and agenda for the entire site.
Simply put, it’s the most important of your three main trust pages, and so it’s the one we’ll spend the most time discussing here.
Each About page should answer four questions that your user is asking you:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How do you solve my problem(s)?
- What should I do next?
You’ll want to keep this page relatively succinct at two to five paragraphs or the visual equivalent. But you also need to tell a complete story.
Just make it a true story, with no fudging and certainly no outright falsehoods. You can and should tell your story your way, but if you’re not honest, someone will call you out, and there will be consequences. It’s not a risk worth taking.
Fortunately, authenticity and integrity are still valued. Disclosing your failures, your embarrassing moments, your rock bottom, can be an incredibly effective way to connect with your ideal audience and make them trust you.
Why? Because they’re at rock bottom. They’re failing. Right now. (If they weren’t, they wouldn’t need you, would they?) They want to know it’s possible to solve their problems, to overcome their challenges and meet their goals.
Start the process with some free-writing. Set a timer for half an hour or an hour, then begin writing stream-of-consciousness style about your connection to your blog topic or niche. Why are you interested in it? Trace it back to an inciting childhood or adolescent event, if possible.
Tell that story.
What piqued your interest? If you’ve struggled with the topic yourself, personally, write about that. What did you try? How did that feel?
Don’t worry about the quality of your writing in this free-writing session. Edit later. The point here is to jot down enough information about touchstones and elements that you can weave into an effective, compelling story.
The About page should be in your own voice. It’s your story, after all. And for a blogger, voice is a critical component of brand identity. Once you have a draft ready, record yourself reading it out loud so you can focus on the flow and tone of your page. Does it sound like you? Does it convey the essence of the image you’re presenting in your blog?
Once you have the framework of your story, it’s time to think about badges of trust. Why should your reader trust you? After all, you could be anyone — a fraud, even. How is your audience supposed to tell the difference between you and a charlatan who’s just out to make a quick buck?
Here are a few ideas:
- Include testimonials or client/customer logos. Showing the people who already trust you — assuming they themselves are trustworthy — helps provide a degree of social proof that can reassure your new readers.
- Import data, perhaps by way of screenshots. What metrics do you currently collect that prove you know your stuff? If you’re blogging about increasing email subscribers, you can create a chart showing the growth in your own list. If you’re blogging about weight loss, include before and after photos.
- Remember this is for the web. The web is built out of links. So think about what you can link to. Examples of your work? Causes you support? Clients you love (and who love you)? Any side hustles that shed light on who you are and what you do? Include them in your draft.
- Add images. Pictures, infographics, and videos all help break up intimidating walls of text and add visual interest for your readers.
- Consider where you want the reader to go next after reading your About page. Do you want them to contact you? Check out specific content on your blog? Sign up for your email newsletter? Figure out the best call to action and feature it prominently.
- Recognize that your About page will never be done. It’s always evolving, because you’re always evolving, and so is your blog. Periodically take a look and see what you can improve or refine.
And if you need some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing for your own About page, take a look at the following. Each of these pages accomplishes the purpose in creative, unique, and brand-appropriate ways:
FTC Disclosure Page
If you intend to make money off your blog (we assume you do), and any part of that projected income stream will come from advertisements or affiliate marketing, you need to understand and fully comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations on affiliate links and disclosure.
The regulations essentially state that:
- Any review, recommendation, or endorsement that you publish on your site or in social media has to be accurate, and can’t be misleading in any way.
- Any relationship, connection, or exchange between you and the business behind the thing or service you’re recommending must be fully and plainly disclosed right there on the same page. No fine print, no tricks — it must be conspicuously disclosed if you got a freebie, money, or just about anything else in exchange for your opinion.
- If the results you’re describing aren’t typical, and/or if you don’t have proof of others achieving the same results, then you have to disclose that fact as well as what consumers can reasonably expect to achieve.
The best source for information on your obligations and responsibilities here is the FTC website itself, at least so far. Start with this plain-language guidance page full of answers to frequently asked questions about endorsement disclosures.
If you prefer, use a disclosure policy generator to make the job easier and ensure you cover all the required bases. Just make sure to double-check the final result for compliance with current requirements.
At a minimum, you’ll want to include the following information:
- What personal information you’ll collect (name and email address at a minimum, probably)
- How you’ll use that information (i.e., to periodically contact the user who subscribes with email messages containing updates and valuable information)
- How your user can opt out of having the information collected and/or used (i.e., how to unsubscribe, or instructions not to sign up — yes, sometimes, you need to be this clear with your audience, depending on its level of sophistication)
- Your promise that you won’t sell or divulge to anyone else the personal information you collect
PrivacyPolicies.com offers a policy generator that can help you craft the appropriate content for this page. Or you can browse some examples for inspiration.
Make this page nofollow and noindex — there’s no sense in allowing it to divert SEO strength from your other, more substantive pages.
Once you have created your blog, the next step is to write those first few pages. The trust pages outlined above can make a massive difference in building a strong relationship with your new readers. Use these pages as an opportunity to highlight who you are and set the tone for you brand.
Now, get to writing!
Image 1: Create by Editor Using Snappa
Image 2: Pixabay | LisaAttractLove
Image 3: Pixabay | notnixon