5 rules for quality landing page design

17 12 2007

New URL testingblog.widemile.com

Landing pages are effective. When you want to accomplish one thing, there are few scenarios that can trump a quality landing page. The fact that they are the easiest page to test makes them even stronger. However, before you start testing, there are some best practices you can follow.

Here are five rules to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it focused: Force your page to have only one goal. If you are required to have two, then choose one as a priority and emphasize that one. Remove excess baggage like advertisements and navigation bars so that visitors have only two choices: convert or leave.

    Keep it focused bad example
    2 choices should have 2 ads and 2 pages

  2. Give a good second impression: People don’t see the landing page first, they see your text or banner ad, e-mail or even search result. Build relevancy between them. Use the same messaging from the first point of contact to your landing page. I try to use the same words or exact title from advertisement to landing page. Keep creative consistent too. One thing that is often overlooked are offers; if you put an offer on your page, put it on your ad and vice versa.

    Good second impression example
    Matching titles tell visitors they’re at the right place

  3. Target your biggest (middle) audience: There’s 3 types of visitors. Ones that’ll convert no matter what, ones that might convert and ones that are just looking. You only need to grab that middle audience. A landing page is not meant to please everyone, it is meant to drive conversions, meaning pleasing only those that will convert! For example, putting less information on a page will drive away people only looking to learn more, but help push along those that are looking to buy.

    Target the middle diagram
    Stop catering to window shoppers and get those looking to buy

  4. Stop talking about yourself: Customers come to your page to read about the product, not your entire company history. Talk about yourself to the extent that it will calm visitor’s fears about your legitimacy and quality, or else you’ll clutter the page and intimidate the visitor with blobs of text. Third party validation logos (BBB, Hacker Safe) and quotes from happy customers are often enough.

    Logos and quote example
    Logos and quotes talk faster than your own text

  5. Use a product shot: So a cheetah might be a great symbolic way to show how fast the computers you’re selling are, but really you should be showing your computer. Customers come in and will only spend a few seconds to see if they’re in the right place before hitting back and so you need to communicate what you’re selling fast. Why distract them with symbolic images, when your product is what you want them to buy? If you’re service oriented, then people probably are a good idea, but make sure they directly represent what you’re doing.

    Product shot
    Don’t have a tangible product? You can still have a product shot.

I could go on and on about landing pages (and I will!), but these are some good tips to get started. Expect more posts like this in the future, but leave a comment if you have anything to say.

Oh I have one caveat to all this, best practices work most of the time. Make your page better, but test it and prove that it performs.

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9 responses

18 12 2007
Jonathan Mendez

Billy,

It’s nice to see another optimization blog.

And thanks for pointing out number 4. I created that page for Esurance!

Cheers,

Jonathan

18 12 2007
Mike Munz Higher Images

Bill,

Great article. I tried to publish something similar and was gunned down during the edit for being “too revealing”. I will release the article on one of my alias’s http://www.blog.pghpunch.com . This is a great gift to those people who haven’t yet realkized the importance of “conversions”. Most clients are hooked on clicks and rank. The real gauge is conversion’s.

18 12 2007
Tom Pick

While you make some very good points (particularly #2 above), I couldn’t disagree more with point #1–giving visitors only two options, convert or leave. Particularly since, as you note in point #3, you have three different audiences.

I always recommend that clients provide two navigation options on landing pages. For visitors who are ready to convert, make the action button (e.g. Buy Now!) really big and obvious. For those who need a bit more information before they will part with their money or their contact information, include a link to your site’s home page — but bury it in the text of the landing page, so a visitor will actually have to read the page in order to find this. “Window shoppers” are unlikely to bother, which is fine.

Across different campaigns, I’ve seen as many as 50% of “home page clickers” later turn into conversions, and those are just the ones I can track–the actual figure could be, and probably is higher.

18 12 2007
Billy

Thanks for the suggestion Tom.

I typically leave my client’s footer alone which has the homepage linked. While I agree that having a link to the homepage can be good for a page, I wouldn’t put it in the text of the copy (even if it is buried.) Your post has brought up a good point though, so I might test that out in the future.

One thing I have done with a client is turning on and off a link to a “learn more” page. I think that might be a better substitution than a link to the homepage. The “learn more” page can also be optimized by itself to see how it effects the landing page’s conversion, although it’d be hard to drive a lot of traffic to it. Perhaps a link to a specific “learn more” page versus a homepage could be even more effective for you? Definitely more work though!

20 12 2007
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5 02 2009
Shannon

Hi Tom,

I think you missed one vital point. Its about using separate landing pages for separate set of keywords. This wud keep your online visitors much more focused.

Thanks
Shannon

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