This article was updated on 2/21/2013.
Google's recent move to enable call tracking from mobile landing pages once again reinforces the importance of developing solid landing pages. Now, by installing a snippet of code on these pages, marketers can track these metrics without a specialized call tracking number from Google.
A few members of the Blue Fountain Media team asked me to put together a few tips for landing page optimization, so I figured why not go all the way and make an extensive list of tips all in one place.
What I am considering as a landing page here is a page that resides outside of your website, as a page to send targeted traffic, typically from advertising. I have grouped my tips by "principles", "elements", "writing", and "design". You will find that there is some repetition since some of the tips refer to general principles of landing pages.
- As Loveday and Niehaus note in Web Design for ROI, your landing page is like an ambassador, concierge, and superstar salesperson rolled into one. "It's been carefully crafted to meet, assist, and convert visitors into customers."
- Your landing page should correspond to whatever the intent of the user is as they visit the page.
- Your landing page should look legitimate.
- Your landing page should be built keeping in mind what the user wants to see, not what you want them to see. Answer the question, "what does my audience really care about?"
- Your landing page should satisfy user expectations.
- Your landing page should reflect your business goals.
- Your landing page should be able to perform the entire sales process. That means offering something that interests the user, keeps them on the page, and makes them want to take an action such as fill out a form or pay.
- Your landing page should capture a visitor's attention quickly. You only have a few seconds from the moment a user lands on the page to when they click the "back" button.
- Build your landing page assuming that it's the first time they've heard of your company.
- Your landing page should be a continuation of your advertising. Keep your messaging and call to action consistent from your ad to your landing page.
- Your landing page should keep any promises made by your advertising.
- Make the landing page appear personalized to the user.
- Show, don't tell.
- Although not a landing pages per se, consider every page on your regular website as a landing page - each with a mission to move the visitor along down the path you have chosen.
- Don't assume anything - always be testing.
- Good design helps support good content.
- Test every element of your landing page to continually improve conversion rates.
- Show your landing page to many different people to get feedback.
- Reduce the options on the page - there should only be one or two ways out (besides the back and close buttons).
- Track all interactions with your landing page through event and conversion funnel tracking.
- Track times of day and results associated to each hour/day.
- Create separate landing pages for each source of traffic. This will really help with tracking.
- Choose the right type of landing page: contest signup, ebook/whitepaper download, register for an event/webinar, consultation request, discount coupon, start a free trial, be notified of a launch, get a gift through the mail.
- If you are advertising for both desktop and mobile devices, ensure that you have separate pages for handle each type of device in an optimal fashion. An iPhone user should not be sent to a page that has been built for a desktop computer.
- Create different landing pages and offers for different sizes and types of potential clients. One size does not fit all.
- Highlight benefits, instead of just listing features.
- Provide positive feedback, testimonials, awards, certifications from well-known sources and satisfied customers. Do not go overboard here - curate your list to display the most convincing positive re-enforcement
- Give your customers a clear call to action.
- Use a secondary call to action in the case that visitors are not ready to go through with your primary call to action.
- Give an off-line alternative to users such as a phone number.
- Include videos if they help explain an idea. Otherwise, use an image that can perform the same task.
- Display security badges such as Verisign, eTrust, and McAfee
- On viral landing pages, make sure that you treat your share options as though they were secondary calls to action.
- Give away something useful and relevant on your confirmation page.
- Show a phone number and address.
- Don't use pop-ups.
- If your page has audio, mute it by default with a clear way to turn up the sound.
- Test your landing page in multiple browsers to ensure that it maintains its professionalism.
- Make your design appropriate for your industry. When you're trying to sell financial services, don't use glittering, pink bears in your background image.
- Get rid of the main navigation you would typically find on your website.
- Simplify your design to reduce distractions and place the focus on the specific offer, product, or service that you are selling.
- Don't supersize your logo. Your landing page is about your offer, not your company.
- If you are doing banner advertising to send traffic to a page, use similar imagery on your landing page as is used in the banner ad.
- Use fewer images, but be selective. Choose images that make a convincing point.
- Bold keywords in sentences for people who skim through text.
- Repeat your call to action throughout your page if it requires scrolling so always provide a next step for the visitor.
- Avoid "false bottoms", or design elements that make it look like a user has reached the bottom of a page. Break up those elements with an image or a title so as to indicate continued content below the fold.
- Do not ask for more information than is absolutely necessary from your users.
- Make page elements look like what they are. If a button is a button, make it look like one, otherwise don't make images that are not clickable, look clickable. Same goes for links. Be very obvious with all page elements and use conventions.
- Look at your competitors and ask yourself what you would change about their landing pages.
- Keep elements that are critical to conversions in the upper 300 pixels of the page. Most users will not scroll past the fold.
- Use ample white space between content to encourage reading.
- Make your page load fast.
- Keep in mind the F-Shaped pattern in which users tend to read web content.
- Use the same colors, fonts, and styles in your landing page as you did in your ad.
- Place most important messages closer to middle of page, secondary information in sidebars.
- Make your web form easy to complete. If possible, place the cursor into the first field, allow for tabbing from field to field, avoid dropdowns - only use radio buttons, and - whenever possible - auto-populate fields.
- If you are using Google AdWords and your page relies heavily on images, make sure you have search engine-readable text that matches your ad copy. This is for Quality Score purposes.
- If there is ancillary information that may take up a lot of space and should only be shown to those who really want to see, use either on-hover info bubbles or daughter windows.
- Super-size buttons. You do want people clicking on them, right?
- When there is a form involved, be sure to highlight benefits directly in relation to the form, next to the form.
- Give the eye one thing to focus on.
- Use color to make your call to action stand out.
- Write copy that is grammatically correct. This is key for legitimacy and credibility.
- Match your landing page call to action to what was used in your advertising.
- Match your landing page language to your advertising. That means that tone, vocabulary, and style should remain consistent.
- If your landing page is being used to convert visits from an email marketing campaign, use the customer's name in the copy and try to personalize the message as much as possible.
- Only focus on answering your customers' most pertinent questions - rather than listing every detail about your service/product.
- Write in the second person. Don’t write about "we", write about "you" (the customer).
- Deliver a persuasive message, not a demonstration of your creativity.
- Use long copy for sales and shorter copy for non-committal conversions. It's much easier to convince someone to sign up for a free newsletter than to purchase a yearly subscription.
- If your copy is long, make sure that it is consistently building a case for your conversion goal.
- Place your most important points at the beginning of sentences and your most important sentences at the beginning of paragraphs and your most important paragraphs at the beginning of sections. You get the idea.
- Place your second most persuasive arguments at the bottom of large sections as users tend to look at the beginning of sections and ends of sections, while skipping the middle.
- Write keeping in mind screen resolutions and what text will be seen above vs below the fold.
- Answer the question "how long will this take?"
- Answer the questions "why?"
- Answer the question "what?"
- Provide numbers that are impressive.
- Keep paragraphs at no longer than 3 lines.
- Express one idea per paragraph.
- Use localized content to geo-target users.
- If you're giving away something for free and asking for a signup, then give away some of whatever is behind the signup directly on the landing page.
- Use less text and make each word count.
If you are interested in learning more about tools that will help you with conversion optimization take a look at this video:
Conversion Optimization Tools