How do you know if a website is trustworthy?

There are a few simple checks you can do to determine a webpage’s reliability

We’ve all been there, happily browsing the web only to click on a link and find our laptop suddenly slowed, or else bombarded with dodgy ads and newly opened web windows. This can be disconcerting for those of us who use our laptops regularly and can even open the door to nasty intruders like malware, spyware and viruses.

But there are observations you can make in order to ensure that the only sites you visit are trustworthy and reliable. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, courtesy of the tech experts at Syntax IT Support London.

Check the link

The simplest thing you can do to make sure you’re clicking on a safe link is to check the link itself. Web addresses contain a few tell tale signs as to whether you should be clicking on them or not. First of all, look for that all-important ‘http’ at the start of the link. This means that the site has been secured using an SSL Certificate. You should also take a look at the domain name, as phishing sites often choose domains which are similar to popular reputable sites in order to trick you (for example, using ‘amaz0n.com’ rather than ‘amazon.com’).

Look for expertise

If your pipes burst, you would want a professional to help you fix it, and similarly you should look for relevant experts online too. Find sites with the expert information you need for your specific query. Sites with genuinely informative content are less likely to be spamming for clicks.

Stay away from overly commercial sites

Many of the most popular and reputable sites can be classed as commercial (every online shopping company, to name a few) but there are some sites which are clearly there just to sell. These sites don’t care about user experience or safety, meaning entering payment details could be risky.

Be wary of bias

A lot of what you read online is fuelled by the host site’s views or desire for payment. If you read an article about how a certain site sells amazing items at low prices, there’s a very high chance that they are being paid to so, so take it with a pinch of salt.

Use sites from established businesses

Nowadays, websites can be up and running in a matter of minutes, and whilst this is great news for genuine small businesses trying to make a start online, it also means that there are a lot of sites cropping up which only want to spam you. In order to stay safe, look for sites from established businesses you know you can trust.

Examine how it looks

This is fairly simple, but it’s worth reminding everyone that if a site looks amateurish or unfinished, there’s a higher chance that it was put together in a rush for clickbait. Similarly, if a site requires you to click through several pages to see the full content, they probably just want your clicks.

Check the date

Like all content, website content can quickly become outdated. The most reputable and reliable websites are updated regularly, so if a site looks like it’s been gathering dust for a few months or years it could well be risky. Keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Last Updated’ date on the page or site.

Beware anonymous authors

Not all anonymous authors are untrustworthy, but the good thing about a named author is that you can always Google search them in order to check their credentials. For more information on keeping your laptop safe, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional IT service.

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