3 Tips on How to Build a Trustworthy Website

Are you ready to build a website that radiates trustworthiness and create a positive civic experience? Look no further. In this blog post, we'll share three invaluable tips to help you create a website that’s more inclusive, accessible and regulatory compliant. Each of our tips will not only enhance your website's trustworthiness but also demonstrate your dedication to inclusivity, and enhance the digital experience for your community, citizens, and constituents.  

So, let's dive in and pave the way for a website that fosters trust and strengthens your relationship with residents in your community.

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Tip #1 Inclusive Access to Your Website

As a government organization, your website is vital for providing information to the public so that they can access information, services and resources. The Department of Justice published guidance on web accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It provides an accessibility standard for state and local government (entities covered by ADA Title II) to make sure all governmental websites are accessible to people with disabilities in line with the ADA’s requirements. 

When a website is accessible, it demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and equal access to information and services for all citizens, regardless of their abilities. This inclusivity fosters a sense of trust among individuals with disabilities, as they feel that the organization is actively working to ensure their needs are met and that they have equal opportunities to engage with the website's content and functionalities. For a more comprehensive overview check out our introduction to web accessibility that outlines what it is and why it matters.

Tip #2 Website Content Is Easily Navigable and Understood

In an era of governmental digitalization, your city, county or any local government website is your digital city hall. People want to transact with your governmental services online not have to come into a physical building. When your government building is closed your digital city hall is always open. When you break down the core function of your website, it should first be also accessed. Once it’s accessed it needs to be navigated. And lastly, it needs to be understood. When you think about it, by having a website that can be accessed, navigated, and understood, it benefits everyone in your community. 

There are a lot of barriers to navigation. One of the most common is when someone runs into a broken link. Obviously, we don’t intend for these things to happen, but they happen, all the time when there are hands in the pot and because our website is referring to so many other organizations. Similar to how we can flag for broken links and accessibility issues, we can also scan for misspellings. Not only can misspellings be embarrassing, but if I have a lower reading level or if english isn’t my first language and your resident run into a misspelling it’s going to disrupt her understanding of the content of the page.

Great, we know the site can be accessed. We know it can be navigated, but is it easy to read? The average US adult reads at an 8th grade reading level. And this is just for those with English as a first language. Monsido did a government benchmark report and found that the average reading level of a government website is college age. Do you know the reading level of your website? Ultimately it’s really about matching it to your audience, but you’re likely not providing an equitable experience with collegiate level content. Even for those with college reading levels – who actually wants to read academic content on a website? With the Monsido platform we will let you know which of your pages have higher reading levels so you can adapt your content to your residents.

Tip #3 Implement Strong Security Measures

A secure website positively impacts visitor trust by protecting personal data, enabling secure transactions, guarding against cyber threats, ensuring reliability and availability, safeguarding your organization’s online reputation, and demonstrating compliance with regulations.

By prioritizing website security, you can foster trust, enhance visitor satisfaction, and reinforce your commitment to protecting their interests and privacy in the digital realm.

Use secure hosting: Choose a reputable and secure hosting provider that offers robust security measures. Ensure that the hosting provider regularly updates its server software, employs firewall protection, and has measures in place to detect and respond to security threats. Ensure your host has a attack strategy.

Strong user authentication: Implement strong authentication mechanisms for website administrators, content contributors, and other authorized users. Enforce the use of complex passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA), or other multi-factor authentication methods to protect user accounts from unauthorized access.

Regular security audits: Conduct periodic security audits of the website to identify vulnerabilities and security weaknesses. Utilize security scanning tools or engage security experts to perform penetration testing to identify potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. Address the identified issues promptly to maintain a secure website. Ensure your website hosting partner does the same. Implement Web Application Firewalls (WAF): Consider using a web application firewall to monitor and filter incoming web traffic, identifying and blocking malicious requests. A WAF can help protect the website from various types of attacks, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other vulnerabilities.

Educate staff members on cybercrime statistics: Provide guidance to website users on best practices for maintaining security while accessing the website. Educate them about the importance of strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links or attachments, and practicing general online security hygiene.

Final Thoughts/Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, building a trustworthy website is essential for any governmental organization seeking to establish a strong online presence and instill positive civic experience in your community. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can make your website more inclusive, accessible, and regulatory compliant. 

Remember, a trustworthy website serves as a gateway to effective communication, transparency, and engagement with your community. So, take the necessary steps to build a website that instills trust and strengthens your relationship with your residents today.

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