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The consumer confidence index is a monthly indicator of people’s optimism in their current and future financial position. It’s used in part to determine whether the economy is on the right track, even though, ultimately, all it really measures is what’s going on in consumers’ heads. But the index is useful because sentiment leads to real changes in individual behaviour, which eventually trickles up to the economy at large. Believe it or not, this same concept has consequences for users’ behaviour on your website.

Just as small, seemingly unrelated signals affect the consumer confidence index, it’s the little things that determine how much trust users and customers have in your website: clean formatting and navigation, up-to-date information and recent news, no broken links or images, prominent contact information. All of these things taken together determine whether your site delivers a positive user experience and builds confidence in users’ minds.

Of course, website security is another big component of consumer confidence. We’ve offered resources in the past that help small businesses protect themselves and their customers. And while you should (and must) put in the effort to secure your site properly, consumer confidence is all about making sure everyone knows that a site is secure. While there are many ways to protect a website, not all of them are necessarily visible to the user.

If you want to show your customers that a site is safe in the most conspicuous way possible, an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate from GeoTrust might be the right choice. Many customers know to look for the “s” in “HTTPS” before submitting any information, but EV SSL also goes a step further by adding a bit of colour to the browser bar— green to be specific—as an immediate, visual cue of a site’s safety. Each browser displays EV SSL security differently, but you can see them all for yourself on GeoTrust’s page. These are all details you might not have considered yourself until now, but many consumers actively seek out, and only do business with, websites that have these protections.

With so many customers today using the web as their primary source of information for where they do business, signalling a positive (and safe) user experience can boost confidence in your site. If you’re looking for better leads and sales through your site, analyze your site from a user’s point of view, and talk to your domain or hosting provider about a visible security certificate like GeoTrust’s EV SSL.