Considering that trust in the media has reached an all-time low, it’s more imperative than ever that your site offer reliable information in a way that looks legitimate. Even the slightest hint of amateurism will push people away.

Unfortunately, many website managers never think about how erratic spelling, punctuation, linking, and other features degrade the trust that readers have in content. Would you read a newspaper that used a different typeface on every page? Like most people, you would probably assume that the paper’s lazy appearance was a symptom of lazy thinking. Readers who encountered such a publication would rightfully ignore it.

The same thing can happen to websites even when they don’t share news-related content. Without strong guidelines, your site will look as if a crazy person made it. Few visitors will take your content seriously.

You can avoid this problem by creating a style guide that tells every writer how to conform to your site’s standards. Making a good style guide takes a bit of work, but it pays off by making your website look more professional and trustworthy. If you’re not sure how to make a style guide, read this white paper from CopyPress. It offers plenty of tips about choosing guidelines for writers, designers, and other people who might create content for your site.