Even before this, though, they should realize that the information they are getting is only as good as the source providing it. By developing a strong sense of what comprises a credible website from those that are less credible; one can base important decisions such as which career path to follow on reasonably reliable information given through a strong website.
There are a number of ways in which a website can establish its credulity, reassuring users that the information they provide is trustworthy. A three-year study conducted by Stanford University resulted in the development of 10 guidelines to use when evaluating websites (Fogg, 2002). The first guideline is to check to see if the information offered is backed up with third party sources and whether those sources are accessible. If they are, another guideline is to look at those sources to see if they, too, have some degree of credibility whether they are other websites or individual ‘experts’ in their fields. A website with ‘in-house’ experts should make this expertise known. If the website is offered by a reputable organization, with a real physical address and contact information, this also points to a more reliable source (Fogg, 2002). The organization should be easy to reach if the user has questions and the site should be easy to use rather than attempting to dazzle with confusing effects. The content of the site should be updated often, be relatively free of annoying promotional material and be free of spelling or other small errors.
The Riley Guide meets much of these criteria. It establishes its credibility by claiming to have been in the business since 1994 and it provides information about the site author, Margaret Dikel. It also features a number of testimonials from businesses and competitors verifying its accuracy and usability. The site is comprised almost entirely of links that provide access to