INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Typos, bad links top website problem list

NEW YORK: Something as seemingly minor as a spelling mistake on a corporation's website can damage its credibility, according to an international survey sponsored by US-based PR firm Makovsky %26 Company.

NEW YORK: Something as seemingly minor as a spelling mistake on a corporation's website can damage its credibility, according to an international survey sponsored by US-based PR firm Makovsky %26 Company.

Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab surveyed 1,600 American and European internet users to find out how a range of factors can damage the value of a website.

The survey's two strongest representatives were natives of Finland (51%), and of the US (33%). The median had spent more than five years on the internet, and 55% were male.

Details such as typographical errors and links that don't work proved to be the most damaging to a site's legitimacy, according to the respondents.

The survey concluded that pop-up ads and a lack of distinction between advertising and content can also have a negative impact on perception.

Some cultural differences were also revealed in the survey. Americans seem to put greater trust in sites providing valid content and privacy statements than those surveyed in Europe.

Makovsky sponsored the survey as a way to help clients and prospects see how the web, as a corporate communications tool, needs to be managed closely.

"We were also seeing that executives were getting much more information from the web, and spending more time researching products, explained Robbin Goodman, EVP. "It made sense to us that we should be able to counsel our clients on the elements that make their websites more credible, and on what inspires confidence."

Makovsky plans to use the survey as a basis for future educational efforts.

10 GUIDELINES FOR WEB CREDIBILITY
- Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information
- Show that there's a real organization behind your site
- Highlight the expertise in your organization, the content, and the
services
- Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site
- Make it easy to contact you
- Design the site so it looks professional and appropriate for your
purposes
- Make your site easy to use
- Update your site's content often
- Use restraint with any promotional content like ads
- Avoid errors of all type, no matter how small they seem
SOURCE: Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab survey

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