Imagine you’re looking for something online. You find a promising link on Google and click through to a company’s website. You quickly skim-read the home page and scroll right down to the bottom.
But uh-oh! You’ve just seen the Copyright date! And it says 2006! Immediately your alarm bells ring: is this company still in business? Is their website up-to-date?
All of a sudden, you’re not sure about the professionalism of this business, and you go back to Google to find an alternative supplier.
This example might sound extreme, but it’s surprisingly common online behaviour
When we’re evaluating a new supplier, and all we know of them is their website, every little element has an important role. And that includes the Copyright date in the footer.
You may not even have noticed this Copyright date before
If you haven’t noticed it, have a look at some websites, and scroll right down to the very bottom. There you’ll see some information, probably in a very small-sized font, along the lines of:
Copyright © XYZ Company Limited 2005 – 2012
The purpose of this information is to protect the company’s copyright of the content (i.e. they are asserting that the content is theirs, and that it is illegal to copy it). Copyright law applies internationally.
But this article isn’t about law, it’s about online trust building. So look at that example above again, and you’ll notice that there’s a date range.
What does this date range tell you?
The date range tells you two things:
- The business has been online since 2005, so the business itself has been around for a number of years. They’re therefore unlikely to be a “fly by night” operation.
- The last date is the current year. That means that they’ve probably updated their website recently, which indicates that the information on the website is up-to-date. Moreover, it tells you that the company pays attention to detail and is professional in its dealings.
Of course, that’s a big assumption to make
But it’s a very powerful assumption… and all from one little innocuous sentence at the bottom. It’s a small but very important (and easy) trust-building tool. And it’s one that you should be using.