A landing page serves as a bridge between the marketing message that brings visitors to your website and the site functionality that enables those visitors to take action, such as filling out a lead form or making a purchase. In essence, it's your organization's first impression to the online community. In today's market, first impressions are tough to overcome, especially when the competition is just one click away. The old saying holds true, you only get one chance to make a good first impressionso don't blow it. Here are quick and easy steps to ensure your landing page meets customer expectations.
- Determine if there are any obstacles to scanning the page. Today's rule of thumb is that a Pentium I-586 user connecting via dial-up should to be able to quickly see your landing page and complete its call to action. Can they? Double-check the page appearance in different browsers, paying special attention to video and flash, as they not only create distraction, but also build additional barriers for the user to overcome.
- Consider how hard it is to leave the page or get sidetracked. Check your headline. There's not always a perfect headline, but there are a lot of bad ones. Most users will make the decision to stay or go within seconds of visiting your landing page. Your headline must catch the users attention immediately and compel them to keep reading. Unlike traditional website navigation, landing page navigation should make it difficult for a user to easily leave the page. Allowing website navigation on the landing page offers more exit options and may hurt the conversion rate. Another reason to remove the standard website navigation is to gain better control over what the visitor sees and interacts with on the page.
- Determine if the page has a fold. It's recommended that any folds on your landing page be eliminated. However, if a fold is unavoidable, make sure it does not take away from the call to actionkeep all important components above the fold. In addition, it's okay to have multiple CTAs (calls-to-action) on one page, as long as the primary CTA is in the top position above the fold.
- Consider if you are gathering unnecessary data. Poorly constructed and unreasonably lengthy forms are still surprisingly common in todays landing pages. Remember to keep the user in mind and optimize your forms to provide the best experience. Evaluate each form field to determine if the information requested is really necessary. To make the form better, allow:
- the input cursor to hop to the next field after the current field is completed;
- the user to tab around fields,
- fields to be auto-populated where possible.
- Decide the amount of white space needed on the page. Studies show that white space improves the user experience and allows key messages to stand out. Your landing page should do the same. Evaluate every element on the page for its contribution to user conversion rate. If you don't need it to get your message across, remove it. It may seem like more is always better. But if you take a step back and really give it some thought, is more really better? Don't overload your users.
- Make it easy for the user. All buttons on the page need to be big, use full color, and be located above the page fold. Test to learn what colors and sizes work best but take baby steps and test one thing at a time, or you risk not understanding what exactly worked the magic.
- Analyze the time required to load the page. Pages that take too long to load produce "barely there" conversion rates, a poor user experience, and Google quality score issues. Use tools to check your page load times and make sure it takes less than 7.5 seconds to load.
- Examine the impact of using photography on the page. Images are probably the most controversial element of any page, but even more so for landing pages. Try testing stock imagery versus amateur photography. An image should compliment your messages, making the entire page look more professional.
- Ensure your landing page is avoided by search engine spiders. If you are creating multiple landing pages with only slight variations in text, it's wise to ensure that these pages are kept away from search engine spiders. To prevent duplicate content penalties from search engines, make your general purpose landing page available for indexing, but use robots.txt or a robots meta tag to exclude other pages.
Employing these techniques can greatly improve the success of your company's landing page and in return, increase sales conversion. Taking simple steps to increase the usability and appeal of your page can give your company the edge over competitorsand in these tough economic times, can make the difference for your business and its future.
Invest some time in testing and optimizing your company's landing page. If done properly, it can offer a gateway to your business, giving customers the information they need to make purchasing decisions and delivering the essential sales information you need internally to run a successful business.