The Perfect Landing Page
Quite simply, it does not exist. What this does not mean is that you shouldn’t strive for it. Will you ever get it? No. But, you always need to be improving your pages to increase your conversions. This IS optimization. Always measuring. Always improving. Always converting. So, don’t get discouraged when your pages are not converting as well as you want. Not every visitor is going to buy your widget, subscribe to your newsletter, or sign up for a gold membership on your site. Where do we start? We start by identifying the flaws on your pages.
1. Check your titles: Page titles are, arguably, the biggest on-page keyword factor. Not only is this important for SEO, but for your conversions. Your title WILL be displayed in search engines if your keywords are ranking. This is the first step in getting someone to click through to your site in order to convert. You need your titles to be to-the-point, but you also need them to be unique. Just having your site title is NOT enough. This needs to gram the web surfer’s attention, so that they can read your description (or initial pitch). Similarly, your ad titles need to do the exact same thing. They need to be the answer as to why the visitor is browsing the web. For example, “Widgets-R-Us” is not enough. Consider, “Widgets delivered in X days, guaranteed”, you can even append your site name: “Widgets delivered in 2 days, guaranteed | Widgets-R-Us”
2. Page loading speed: Aside from Google announcing that site speed is now a ranking factor, people do not want to wait around for your page to load, especially if your brand is new or relatively unknown. Trust is a major factor in brand management, and by extension, conversions. When your landing pages load slowly, a visitor will reconsider their purpose on your page. You will not build any trust when your images and layout pop up slowly and sporadically.
3. Don’t throw in the kitchen sink: Assuming that this landing page is targeted, for a specific visitor, you want to stay on-focus. If your visitor clicked on an ad for flowers, make sure your landing page focuses on flowers. Don’t have pictures, links, sections, etc. for the other 20 home product categories that your site provides. Likewise, if they are clicking on an ad or search engine result (this is where title is important) for home improvement, don’t include DVDs and car parts. Generally, the fewer disruptions a visitor faces, the better
4. Update, update, update: DO NOT let your content get outdated. This creates serious doubts in your visitors. Do not let your content for a flowers page make a promise that says, “delivery by February 14th, guaranteed” if it is March 2nd. That’s the obvious example; small things count, too. If you have “Copyright, 2002″ in the footer, you create doubts by letting the visitor know that you don’t maintain your site as well as other more professional sites. Again, this is a trust issue.
5. Check your design: This is something you always need to be testing. On one hand, you want to keep it simple, but on the other, you want to make the page aesthetically appealing. Test if your content converts better on a full-width or fixed-width design. Does your content fit on the majority of screen resolutions? Consider whether or not the user has to scroll through extra content before getting to the intended object/link/button/form on the page. Design your pages so that the user has the quickest path to converting. Make it easy.
6. Remember your high school English/Writing teacher: Some of the most obvious mistakes you can make are the easiest ones to make. Proof read your content. Make sure that you are not making any grammar or spelling mistakes. This is a really easy way to instantly lose trust with many, many, many visitors. A lot of people that browse the web are smart. Why should someone buy your product if you say ‘anxious’ when you mean ‘eager’, or if you misuse ‘they’re,’ ‘there,’ and ‘their’? Intelligent people want to convert on sites managed by people with intelligence.
7. Tactical copy decoration: Check to make sure that you are emphasizing things that need to be emphasized. Bold your points, use heading tags on headers and titles, EMPHASIZE with capital lettering and italics (but don’t go overboard). It also helps to letter/number/bullet point your lists. Use CSS coloring and decoration to make things stand out, but don’t let them become an eyesore. and finally….
8. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CALL TO ACTION: Not only that, make sure it is obvious. Don’t just talk about your product or the benefits of membership. Show your visitor how to sign-up, purchase, or subscribe. Make it clear. Make it easy. Then, eliminate extra/unnecessary steps after the click. The fewer steps there are to conversion, the better (typically).
Take the reins. Own your landing pages. Keep them updated and clean. Add these tips to your check list – they can only help. But do not forget to ALWAYS be testing landing pages against each other. Find your balance, and always be converting.