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Landing Page Do's and Don'ts

notary-mobile-01Landing pages are an essential part of any online marketing campaign. Whether you’re advertising via email, pay-per-click (PPC), pup-ups, pop-unders, or even search engine optimization (SEO), incorporating them into your campaigns will boost your conversions and ultimately your return on investment (ROI).

Unlike most webpages, landing pages have a single objective in mind: to encourage visitors to take action (eg: buy a product, service, sign up for a newsletter, etc.). Wikipedia defines a landing page a “a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement.” This definition sums up the term nicely but fails to mention the objective of a landing page. Remember, your goal when creating this page is to encourage visitors to take action.

Do: Keep It Simple

The golden rule of designing a landing page is to keep it simple. With all of the fancy flash animations and web design tools available at your disposal, you might feel inclined to create a complex design that shines above your competitors; however, the more unnecessary fluff and filler content you add, the lower your conversion rate will be.

Landing pages are designed to encourage visitors to take action, so there’s really no point in adding traditional elements found in content-based webpages. Keep the design simple to maximize your conversion rate.

Do: A/B Split Test Multiple Variants

Testing multiple landing page variants simultaneously is a crucial step in achieving a higher conversion rate. According to a 2012 Marketing Benchmarks Report published by HubSpot, companies that increased their number of landing page variants from 10 to 15 saw a 55% increase in leads. Granted you may not experience the same 55% hike in conversions, but A/B split testing is almost certain to yield more sales and/or leads when performed correctly.

So, how do you split test different landing page variants? Google offers a free tool known as DoubleClick Search (DS) which allows Adwords advertisers to A/B split test different pages. Using this tool, you can easily set up one or more experiment landing page URLs alongside a control landing page URL. Click on the link previously mentioned to learn more about DS and how to use it in your Adwords campaigns.

The DoubleClick Search (DS) landing page testing feature helps you answer this question by testing different landing pages to create the optimal post-click experience for the consumer. Post-click data gives you the information needed to identify pages that produce the best return on investment.”

Do: Display a Prominent Call To Action

The single most important element on a landing page is the call to action (CTA). This is typically either a large-font text or image button depicting something along the lines of “BUY NOW,” “ORDER NOW,” or “CLICK TO SIGN UP.” A CTA tells visitors how to take action (hence the name call to action).

Landing Page CTA Tips:

  • Display the CTA above the fold (visitors shouldn’t have to scroll to see the CTA).
  • Use mouse-over CTA images for a higher level visitor engagement.
  • Use contrasting colors with the CTA and surrounding area.
  • Test flashing arrows and other attention-grabbing techniques to draw visitors’ attention to the CTA.
  • Double check the destination URL of your CTA before making the landing page live to ensure it loads and functions properly

Do: Make It Mobile Compatible

Is your landing page compatible with smartphones and tablet computers? If not, you could be losing over half of your visitors right off the bat. We discuss this in a previous blog post, How To Prepare Your Business For The Mobile Takeover, but the bottom line is that more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet rather than desktop computers. Failing to acknowledge this growing trend by adapting mobile-friendly web design elements into your landing pages will place you miles behind your competitors.

There are several different ways to create a mobile-compatible landing page, one of which is to use a Responsive Web Design (RWD). RWD focuses on the use of proportion-based grids and CSS3 media queries to create a ‘universal’ layout that loads across all devices.

Don’t: Display Navigation Links

Typically, navigation links are a beneficial website component that provides greater freedom to the end user. With landing pages, however, you don’t want to provide visitors with the freedom to navigate; otherwise, a large portion of the visitors will likely leave the landing page without taking action.

Links to pages like terms and conditions, privacy policy, about us, contact, etc. are perfectly fine, but you should avoid displaying full navigation menus in the sidebar or underneath the header. A better approach is to include the basic ‘must-have’ links in the footer where they are greatly overshadowed by your landing page’s CTA.

Don’t: Fill With Excess Text

Another common mistake webmasters make when designing landing pages is filling it with an excessive amount of text. The truth is that you can design an effective landing page without using any text, as the CTA is the main attention-grabbing element.

If you’re going to include text in your landing page, the bulk of it should be formatted into small, easy-to-digest segments consisting of bullet-point lists and sub-heading paragraphs.