How Can You Trust A Health & Wellness Website?

When you key in the words “Health and Wellness” in your search engine, you’re guaranteed to get thousands of responses. With so many of them jostling to get your attention, it’s not easy to select one that fits your specific requirements and preferences.

With zillions of bytes of information at your fingertips, you need to sift the grain from the chaff, but to use another metaphor, it can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

One of the most frustrating aspects about searching online is to judge whether a website is credible and trustworthy  or not. Doubly so, when the subject is as important as health and wellness. As a consumer of health-related content, it’s essential that you gain access to top quality information that’s dependable and can be shared without compromising your own integrity.

So, let’s find out how to judge whether a website is trustworthy, credible and reliable.

How To Evaluate Credibility In A Website

In general, when looking for credible sources online, you can check certain basics:

Domain names are a good place to start. Usually, domain names that have .org, .gov or .edu rather than .info or .biz can be more trustworthy sources. You can double-check by confirming whether the IP address is genuine or not.

Design is a crucial aspect that provides credibility in terms of a professional look, easy navigation, up-to-date features and more. Studies show that 78% of visitors evaluate credibility based on design.

The website must be updated to be available in its most recent form.

Clarity, detailed product information, good quality photos and graphics are other important elements that proclaim dependability.

Trustworthiness comes from several other aspects such as consistency, sincerity, customer connect, genuine testimonials and reviews, and commitment to the subject. Websites that offer information about the people behind them, their story and verifiable details about them are certainly to be trusted.

Types of Health and Wellness Websites

You’re spoiled for choice when you look at the health and wellness website landscape. There are generalist, niche, specialist websites, blogs and vlogs, topical sites, websites launched by fitness or health product companies, experts in yoga, weight-loss, diets, health food or drink, supplements, mental health, websites meant for specific life events such as pregnancy or aging, and more.

Typically, they may include photos and videos, advice from experts, different healthcare practices around the world, product information, medical information, or information about specific conditions or diseases, nutrition, fitness, and some may give the latest healthcare legislation, government policies and reforms, insurance updates or other health and wellness topics.

Sources such as healthcare providers, schools of medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, public health, pharmacy or cutting-edge medical science, not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, hospitals and also private individuals with the right qualifications can be evaluated as trustworthy.

Trustworthy or Not?

A discussion report published by WHO soon after the Covid-19 pandemic crisis offers tips on how to evaluate health related information online. Today we know that misinformation and disinformation can spread at lightning speed on social media. This can lead to annoying situations at best and life-threatening outcomes at worst.

Health and Wellness websites like restanddigest must be:

  • Anchored in Science: This lies at the heart of any trustworthy health and wellness website. Evidence based information that can be cross-verified is a hallmark of a reliable health website.
  • Conflict of Interest: The website should be clear in its purpose. If it’s a commercial or retail site, this should be made clear right in the beginning of the customer journey. Transparency and accountability are the keystones of a reliable website.
  • Expertise: Some websites may focus on a particular topic or set of related topics. You can confirm whether the information cited is credible or not in these sites because most of them provide back-links to the original source. Most of these sites offer reliable information on certification, academic background and professional expertise of the source.
  • Timeliness: If the website contains outdated content, or information that has been contradicted by recent research, stay clear of it. Health and wellness are areas where research and studies are constantly ongoing, and information is widely published. If the time stamp on the byline is more than a year old, it’s wiser to cross-check the information before you trust it.
  • Ownership: One of the biggest giveaways while checking trustworthiness is ownership of the website. It’s important to know who owns it or sponsors it before you rely on the information provided. Studies cited in websites owned by pharma companies could be skewed to promote their own products. Often, information can appear in the form of ads or links to other businesses.
  • Safety and Privacy: You browse a wellness or health website usually to seek information about a particular issue. No matter how major or minor the issue, you want it to remain confidential. Don’t forget to read the “Our Policies” “Terms and Conditions” “Privacy Policy” and “About Us” sections on the site before you share any information or purchase a product. It’s wise to disable cookies before you explore the site.
  • Scams: Healthcare frauds and scams abound, and the World Wide Web is not immune to them. Ensure that you browse only safe https sites, avoid sharing sensitive information, use strong passwords if you have to login. Never trust a website that promises magical or miraculous cures or solutions.

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