How to Build Your Blog’s Credibility in Just A Few Seconds with Trust Triggers

by Derek Halpern · 48 comments

There are millions of blogs, and the sad truth is this:

When someone visits a blog, they decide whether they should read or run in a few seconds.

You likely prefer that they read, so the question is, how can you prevent them from running?

You need to cure what I call “back button syndrome,” and here’s how you do it with these 3 trust triggers.

But First, What Is “Back Button Syndrome?”

People move through the web FAST.

And when they stumble on a site that they feel is “shady,” they slam their back button.

(Some people won’t even stick around to discover your “reason why.” They won’t even give your blog a fair shot).

Hence the name “back button syndrome.”

The problem is that there are some sites that lose visitors by mistake…

These sites aren’t shady… they’re just presenting themselves the wrong way.

And that’s where these trust triggers come into play.

What Are Trust Triggers?

When you use trust triggers, you can prevent your website from losing out on the visitors you rightfully earned… and DESERVE.


Again, remember, when people stumble on websites they decide whether they should read or run.

One of the ways to get people reading is by triggering trust because when people trust a site, they stick around. It’s that simple.

How can you trigger trust?

You can use one of these 3 trust triggers.

Trust Trigger #1: Logos

Have you ever been linked by a popular website? A news site? A blog? Anything?

Even if you haven’t, it doesn’t matter. Any logo helps build credibility instantly.

I’ll explain.

When people visit a website, they often look for a trust trigger. Something that makes them say to themselves “Okay, this site is the real deal… I won’t flee.”

Logos are one of those trust triggers. Even if people don’t recognize the logo.


People like knowing that other companies trust you and your blog. It’s social proof at work.

So, feature logos on your blog.

You could put them on your about page—like I do at Social Triggers—or you can feature them in your sidebar—much like we do at

One note:

Before you feature logos, do make sure you’re allowed to do it by asking for permission.

Trust Trigger #2: Blog Comments

As you know, when people stumble on a blog, they decide whether they should read or run.

When they’re uncertain, they’ll look to other people to see what they decided, which means it’s not just about logos… it’s about people too.

That’s where blog comments come in.

If people stumble on your blog and see a lot of comments, they assume other people trust your site, and thus make the assumption that they should trust your site too.


See how large I make my comment count?

If you don’t get many blog comments, don’t worry about it. You can dial down the importance of blog comments on your site by not displaying numbers unit you get them.

However, if you do get a lot of blog comments, you can dial it up by making your comment counter larger—like I do over at Social Triggers. Look at the picture to the right.

Trust Trigger #3: Subscriber / Follower / Reader Numbers

Like with blog comments, the number of people who subscribe, follow, or read your site can help you build trust instantly.

But first, what’s the difference?

Subscriber numbers are people who subscribe to your blog via RSS or Email.

Follower numbers are people who follow you on Twitter. For Facebook, you can simply call this “likes.”

But my favorite number is readers. This is quite simply how many people visit your blog.

It’s less specific, but it’s the best metric to display when you’re just starting out because it’s usually larger than all of your other numbers.

For example, if your site gets around 3,000 unique hits each month, you can easily say that you’ve got 3,000 readers monthly.

Now the question is which one should you show?

You should show whatever number that proves you’re credible, or in other words, whatever number is the largest (in most cases).

Because remember, when the numbers are small, and insignificant, it can have the reverse effect. Instead of building credibility, it can erode it.

The Bottom Line

Now that I showed you these 3 trust triggers, which one do you plan on using on your site?

Remember, even if you’re legit, and you’re running a real business that truly helps people, new visitors don’t necessarily know that.

You’ve got to help them “see” that you’re the real deal in just a few seconds and these trust triggers can help.

And then, the rest is up to you.

Once you get people to stick around, your next goal is to convert them into loyal subscribers. The feature box works perfectly for that.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

You nailed it: logos and #s of RECENT comments.

They you can stick around a few more seconds to see whats up….THEN hit the back button.


Sean Davis

I never really thought about displays hits as readers. Very interesting. I think I might have to try that out.

Nice tips.


Nice post Derek. I’m particularly interested in hearing about the results of your email tests- what width works best with email copy. Will be on the look-out for news 🙂

For newer blogs, the best bet for building social proof (besides using spammy tactics like buying silly comments from Fiverr, which I don’t recommend), sounds like it’s the use of logos.

Jenn 🙂


Good points, thanks! Can you share how to hide the number of blog comments until there are more than zero? 🙂

Ruan | Ebook Tutorials

One of these above I have implemented quite well on my left sidebar. Comments are still low but luckily I am working extensively on traffic building.

Once I get the numbers, visitors will hopefully get triggered by #1 and leave their comments when they DO discover my “why” and after that #2’s numbers will have increased so #3 will keep on increasing in future…

Wow, I think I might have figured it out?

Thanks a mil Derek!


Sure, you can say that you have 3000 ‘readers’ when you get 3000 hits, but you’d also be lying. Readers = monthly uniques.

Of course, you can lie. But that’s the same as saying you trade the value of your word for a bit of fake credibility for your blog.

Derek Halpern

Brian. When I said hits, I meant unique hits. Updated the post to reflect that.

Atul Tayade

Yep agreed, I too got a logo just one day back. Infact I designed it in photoshop. The other two trust triggers are hard to get by but i believe over a period of time and some marketing efforts one can accomplish them

Thanks for the triggers 🙂

Kellie Brooks

Hi Derek. I already display comment numbers, and I believe there’s a firm connection between my headline and the amount of comments I get. What trust trigger will I use next? I already have my FB “likes” so perhaps I’ll add my twitter followers, because these are where I have the highest number. I’ve yet to reach out to other blogs, oh, wait. Yes I have. I’ve been featured on 2 other blogs, not big ones, but still… I’ll reach out to them and see if I can use their logo. Thanks!

ps – my feedback on email widths – I don’t like the narrower ones. I feel cramped reading them. I also prefer formatting that mirrors a book: full alignment, so that the right side of the column is flush. Seems much more professional and complete that way.

Bruce Stewart

Kellie, You have a content rich site. Have you ever thought about having your own self hosted blog with that content on it.

Kellie Brooks

Hey Bruce, thanks for the comment – I’m actually in progress. I’m building one now (Thesis, of course) and will be transferring over my most popular posts, and refocusing. got me up and running and provided a space to explore blogging horizontally, and now I’m reaching out to learn more of the technical, and drill down. Your feedback is much appreciated!


Good luck with the transfer and refocus Kellie.

Jade Handy

Once again, dead on, Derek! I’m all over this like white on rice.

Matthew Dryden

Ah, this helps me so much, especially today when I launch.

I never thought featuring logos would be something I could do to help build trust. Blog comments have always made sense to me. I even released a preview early to get some folks to make comments.


Sue Allen

Awesome content as always Derek.

Hope all is well!

Happy New Year hope its an amazing year for you


Ryan Oakley

Hey Derek….quick question….

Is there a plugin or tool that will allow me to dynamically show the number of monthly readers my blog receives?


Melanie Jongsma

I’d be interested in a plugin like that too!


Just search the WP plugin database. There are at least a few of them. Look for one with a recent update, especially if it was updated to work with the latest version of WP. Often you can filter out almost every plugin that way and just have one or two to choose from. Try them and see which you like, what works for you.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving

I was displaying my subscribers, but feedburner kept acting all crazy and it made me look bad, so I stopped. Any suggestions?


hits=readers=clever 🙂

Thanks for that valuable suggestion.

Gregory Ciotti

Well… your site’s unique visitor count is the more accurate thing to compare, as Derek fixed in the post :).


Hello Derek,

I really like the “logo” idea for helping to build trust, especially on a new site. It looks like a great way to instantly add a favorable ingredient to a landing page without much complication. Now is a good time as any to dust off my Photoshop books and get to work on making some logos.

Thanks for the hot tip!

Howard Decker


Is there a plugin that provides that nifty “If you enjoyed this article, join 24,464 others and get free email updates!” alert box that you have at the end of your post? I’d love to install that if so!

Howie Decker

ludwig (Ultrabooks blog)

cool insights as always – thanks!!

off toptic: i miss the not-text-only newsletter still – ok i guess i was the only one who liked the previous version more 🙂


Thanks for the reminders, Howie. Logos – been around forever, and with good reason.
Best regards,

Debra Torres

Hmmm…going to look into getting my blog some logos. And, I love the monthly count! I can’t brag about subscribers yet, but I am getting some traffic, and counting it monthly beefs it up. Where would you display something like this?

Rod Swan

They are good points Derek, thanks for this post. It all sounds very logical and I am definitlely going to impliment them.

Lindsey Hightower

Great article,sad to say I’m lacking in all three.I keep saying I should make a logo,reading this should help me get motivated now.

Brad Dalton

Maybe an avatar might help to start Lindsey

Brad Dalton

Hi Derek

Any plugins or code for displaying a total number of combined subcribers, readers, followers?

Thanks for bringing this up.

I’ve been thinking about spending a few hundred on a nice logo and header


It’s easy for me to see how many unique hits I get per month via Google Analytics, etc, but I am not so clear on HOW to display that. Literally just a sidebar with text saying something like “10,000 Readers Monthly”? Thanks for some interesting ideas….


Credibility by definition is a reputation that is built over time. Anything gained FAST can be lost fast. While I do appreciate the “triggers” they are not the whole game. A website must answer their (visitors) questions. Headlines sell. Heat map targeting sells. First line of the first paragraph sells. Photo captions sell.

Great content that answers what the customer is looking for sells. Knowing your topic means you know your customers. You relate to them. They can read your words and they know, you know them and understand their need, situation, experience, whatever “it” is.

What you say is true but it is such a small part of the bigger picture. my2¢

Derek Halpern

If you can’t get people to stick around to read your content, it doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. They didn’t read it.

Josh Sarz

I plan on using logos of blogs that I’ve guest posted on. I’m still waiting for their scheduled publish date. Hah


“by not displaying numbers unit you get them.”

Proofread! 🙂 I like what you say but you often have at least one typo.

I don’t quite get what you are saying about logos. Just randomly pick one? I belong to some social networks like 9Rules but I’ve got it in my footer. I’ve been working to keep logos off the visible part of my blog so it won’t look like I’m running ads. I don’t trust blogs with more than a couple of ads.

Chris Aitken

@Laura, I suspect Derek will also reply to clarify but my guess is that he is referring to logos of other sites that you have a relationship with. That relationship can take a few forms — could be places that you’ve each written blogs, could be sites that have reviewed your site/product/service, could be news sites that have featured your site/company, etc.

For example, on one of our sites ( we have a series of logos (towards the end of the page; should probably rethink their placement) of other prominent sites in our area that have covered us. Hope that helps!

Cheers, Chris


@ Other Laura

I’ve seen people post a graphic with some number of monthly readers. It does impress you for a moment. Then I think about what my own number would be and I’m not so impressed any more. (In most cases).


While you’re getting logos for other blogs/ sites don’t forget your own! Make a logo for your own blog so people can use it to link back to you, just as you are linking to them. I keep a 125X125 at the top of my sidebar for my own blog. Not because I’m conceited, but for link backs and people who curate content (like and where they add an image along with the post they curate from your site.

Barbara Ann Michaels

Awesome! I have been wondering where to put logos, actually. I am gathering press attention for my wedding biz (yay!) and wonder whether I should put those print, blog, and TV links in first glance on landing, or if that looks like an “as seen on TV” less credible trick. I have a page for press that I’m building. Thoughts, welcome! The “readers” idea is quite good. Thanks!

Janet Lancaster

Hi Derek
Great article! Thank you. Is there a widget or plug in for a WordPress blog to show number of readers automatically? Or is this something that has to be manually posted to a blog post? Thanks again!


Hi Derek,
I never start a blog without reading yours first.
Thank you as always for the incredible knowledge you share.
Working on a Feature Box right now.
Thank you again!

Geoffrey Gordon

Facebook Shared, Tweeted and Google Plused 😉

Awesome, advice there a few here i need to implement to help my blog get a little more credibility, one of the first things i am buy doing is migrating my website to thesis first 🙂

Garish Wasil

After reading this post, I realized that the Logos thing works great (because I just stopped by another blog a second ago and it was because of their sidebar showing some testimonials from Popular Bloggers).

I have been utilizing the Subscribers count and followers thing both as you can see on my blog. And my bounce rate has been decrease a lot after applying it. This might be the reason.

Also, I am waiting for your email width analysis, Derek 🙂


I’m so glad I spent a lot of time making my logo now.


Anton Amoto

Same here Alex. 🙂

Logo is very critical to set about. You need a graphic designer to get the perfect style. However, I don’t bother to add more time spending on it. I’m so excited getting results on building Step 3 above to “generate free leads”.

Angel Alvaro

Thank you very much for this informative article.

It’s true that this trust triggers will do wonders to anyone’s blog. I’m so glad, I am utilizing these things on my blog and noticed a big difference.

Thanks again Derek.


Hm… I think the 3000 unique pageviews per month, to label them as “readers” is a bit… well, marketinghyped. But I guess it makes sense, so I’ll try it 😉


Your article made me think (of course) about my site.

Logos… whose logo can I feature… where has my work been featured…?

Duh! I just remembered – I’ve been mentioned on numerous times as a reference!! Without the 60-second pause I took to evaluate my site (prompted by this post), I would have never remembered that.

Thank you!