Does Your Site Make Visitors Nervous? 3 Strategies for Reducing Anxiety

by Jeremy Wallace on October 16, 2014
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Your online visitors have a life.

And like all of us, their lives include anxiety: kids, work, laundry, groceries—it all adds up in a hurry.

The last thing they need is a website that makes them nervous.

So if you want your ecommerce site to perform well, anxiety is one of your two main enemies (distraction is the other).

It’s your job to minimize anxiety amongst your prospects. Here are three proven strategies for making that happen.

1. Reassure Visitors Throughout Your Funnel

There are potential anxiety points throughout your funnel. In order to keep prospects moving forward, you need to add reassurances that reduce their fears.

Email Sign ups

Asking for email addresses is always touchy. Visitors may have concerns about getting inundated with sales emails, or that their email address might be shared with other websites.

Add reassurances that you will never share or sell their email address. Also, let them know you’ll never spam them with sales material after they’ve entrusted you with their personal address.

Registration Page

Just because visitors make it to your registration page doesn’t mean they’ll make it all the way to the end.

Here, some of their final anxieties may surface, so it’s important to make them feel at ease.

Take a look at how Basecamp alleviates visitor anxieties: they make a social proof claim by mentioning their 7,000,000 other members; they mention that it will only take 60 seconds to complete the form; and they tell users their data will be backed up daily.


Live Chat

Sometimes, visitors are right in the middle of shopping your site when questions come up that impede their ability to move forward.

Adding live chat can quickly allow you to answer those questions, and help to close their sale.

A study by Forrester Research revealed that when online consumers are in the middle of a purchase, 44% want live chat assistance.

Ez Texting serves over 50,000 clients with web-based text messaging services. They wanted to see if adding live chat to their site would help sales.

Using Olark on their test page, they conducted a split test to see how well it would perform against a page without live chat assistance.



Adding live chat was a success at lifting conversions. The test page offering live chat assistance yielded a 31% increase in sign-ups.

2. Make Sure They Know Who You Are

Do you feel comfortable doing business with companies you know nothing about?

If your visitors don’t know who you are, it may cause anxiety.

About Us Page

You might be surprised to know how many people actually visit ‘About Us’ pages. When looking through analytics data.

Take a look at the high volume of visitors clicking the “About Us” link in the top navigation bar at The color red indicates high volumes of clicks.


While including an About Us page on your site is standard, you should consider including the following elements as well:

  • Share your story – Tell the story about how your business came to be formed
  • Show your staff – Add real pictures of key members along with their bios–no one wants to see that stock image of the lady behind a computer (or her perfect teeth)
  • Be socially responsible – Talk about any charities or causes you are involved in
  • Years in business – If you’ve been in business a long time, showcase that; people tend to trust established businesses over newer ones

Make it easy for your visitors and avoid any mystery of who you really are.

3. Convey a Sense of Security

Security is one of the most important ways to reduce anxiety.

Add Trust Links

Make sure that your shopping experience is one of confidence. Clearly display that shopping with you is secure:

  • Secured Shopping Cart
  • Privacy Policy
  • Return Policy

When people shop with you, they’re giving out their most personal and sensitive information. If they don’t feel secure, they’ll dash for the back button.

Trust seals provided by 3rd parties can help verify to your visitors that your site is secure and authentic. There’s debate over their effectiveness, and I would recommend running your own tests, but many visitors say it has an impact on whether or not they deem a site trustworthy.

In fact, a survey was conducted by Econsultancy to find out what made visitors trust a site.

Participants were asked this question: “If you’re shopping from a retailer you don’t know well, how would you decide whether to trust the website?”

The responses seem to verify the importance of security trustmarks.


The number one response indicated by 48% of respondents was a site that displayed trustmarks.

While some studies reveal their importance to invoke trust, not all trust seals are held in equal regards.

Actual Insights conducted a survey to find out which trust seals visitors recognized and which ones yielded the greatest sense of trust.

The following 20 trust seals were tested.


Participants were asked to identify the trust seals that they recognized. The red areas indicate where visitors clicked to reveal their answer.


McAfee at 79%, Verisign at 76% and PayPal at 72% were the apparent forerunners when it came to being recognized.

Next, participants were asked which logos they trusted. Paypal led with 66% while Verisign followed at 63% and McAfee at 62%.

Web research group, Baymard Institute also conducted a survey to find out which seals gave visitors the greatest sense of trust.


Verisign seems to be the top seal when it comes to creating trust.

Blue Fountain Media tested the effectiveness of the Verisign trust seal how it would affect conversions.



Adding the seal proved to lift conversions and resulted in a 42% increase in sales.


1. People have many sources of anxiety in their lives, and the last thing they need is a website that causes them stress.

2. Since online shoppers are trusting you with their most sensitive information, you must make them feel secure

3. When adding trust seals, live chat options, or other security features, make sure to conduct A/B tests to see what works best



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