Friday, August 6, 2010

The world of website security badges

Mike's working on a website redesign at the moment (details on that to come) so I've been doing some research into ways to improve our low conversion rate.

Amongst many other things I've read that security badges help to reassure customers, particularly on the checkout page. After looking into the badges quite a bit I have to say these are brilliant, and at times dodgy businesses.

Brilliant businesses
According to their testimonials and what I read on the web, badges boost conversions, particularly on new, lesser known e-commerce websites, so a badge provider's business works, at least from the point of view of the e-commerce website they're selling the product to, and so businesses like ours are going to be willing to pay for these badges. The sales process is relatively easy for a badge business. The costs are also very low. They generally perform a few automated checks then provide a badge. Badges that are out there on other websites act as sales tools (that's how I did my research) and all those links are great for SEO, so there are barriers to entry for new badge businesses. That all adds up to a very good business model.

At times dodgy businesses
There are a whole myriad of security badges out there, some actually do things like security scans of your website, privacy policy reviews and reviews of contact and company details. Others just allow you to pay for the badge without performing any checks. Some of the checks the businesses actually do look like they'd be easy to get around. The sales pages for the badges talk to how this is going to boost a businesses conversions and very little about how their services protect the end consumer, to the point where some badge businesses offer to A/B test different coloured badges to work out which one has the biggest impact on your website. For the most part the model seems to be give consumers as much trust with as little cost as possible.

I've done a bit of research into the different badge companies and their offers so I thought I'd post what I'd found in case it's helpful to anyone.

Trust Guard
US$47/mth for their package of 3 badges. Thanks to our friends at Blank Label for putting us on to Trust Guard.

Better Business Bureau
Unfortunately this one is only available to businesses based in the US or Canada.

E-Commerce Merchants Trade Association


Facebook actually displays this badge on their (at times controversial) privacy policy.
US$499/year - 500 daily page view maximum

US$959/year - 2000 daily page view maximum

Note: In case it's not obvious enough, our blog hasn't earned or paid for any of these badges, they're displayed for discussion purposes only.

We're not yet sure which badges we're going to go with. The Verisign and Truste badges look nice, and would fit with our new website design, however the fact they match the site means they're less likely to stand out compared with the uglier looking Trust Guard badges. Trust Guard talk up all the A/B testing they've done on their badges to come up with the designs you see above, so that might be a good way to go. Arguably we should A/B test a few different badges, but that means signing up, paying and being approved for a few of them.

If you've used any badges like these before I'd love to hear about your experiences.


  1. If you use GoDaddy for your SSL certs then they have an image that you can use to test your hypothesis right away:

    In my experience they do significantly increase conversion rates by reducing anxiety (also re-iterating that the person's privacy is guaranteed works wonders). You'd be surprised: This business is fantastic because it actually does work.

  2. there are also comodo ssl certs

  3. Here's a much cheaper button which increase revenue per user by 20%