How to Design Landing Pages
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definition of a landing page is simply "the first page that visitors hit
on your site", so it is not strictly a certain page but any page that
a user "lands" on. All websites have landing pages, whether they like
it or not, even if it was not specifically designed as such.
The success of an e-commerce website can be substantially affected by
landing pages. A poorly-developed one can hasten its breakdown just as
an effective landing page can drive traffic to your site, respond to calls
to action and make your business website a success.
One vital measure of the effectiveness of your website is the "bounce
rate", or the percentage of visitors who immediately leave your site without
making any other click. The bounce rate is inversely proportional to the
effectiveness of the landing page. Basically, this means that a high bounce
rate indicates that your landing page isn't compelling enough for the
visitor to pursue his interest or take some other action.
Normally, the home page is the primary landing page of most typical websites.
But more and more site owners are designing landing pages outside of the
home page, and for good reason.
Most users prefer to skip information which is irrelevant to their needs.
They want to get directly to their search, hence the need for a landing
page that delivers just that. They can avoid the delays caused by having
to click through pages and pages of information when they already have
something in mind.
Landing pages serve their purpose when the site owner knows the kind of
visitor they are targeting. This is determined by knowing what the visitor
clicked on to arrive at your site. A visitor who clicks on an ad for your
product would not want to go through other pages to get the information
about the product. Webinars, other event registrations and special offers
make use of this same principle.
Not all visitors are looking for the same information. One may click on
your link after reading an article you submitted to a consumer review
site while another may arrive at your site after viewing your infomercial
For each specific visitor, you can design a landing page that will cater
to his needs and contains the information he is looking for. For example,
infomercial viewers can be directed to www.yoursite.com/infomercial while
visitors who clicked on your banner ads for this month's special will
be directed to www.yoursite.com/specials.
These landing pages should be evaluated for their effectiveness. The bounce
rate is a key measurement for determining the effectiveness of landing
Another measure for landing pages is the success of a "next action". It
might be purchasing the product, requesting more information, signing
up for a free trial, etc.
To calculate your conversion rate, divide the number of visitors who acted
by the total number of website visitors. A typical conversion rate is
3 to 5 percent for lead generation pages and 1 to 2 percent for e-commerce
sites. If your site is successful, you should be getting twice those numbers.
A concept that is intrinsic in creating effective landing pages is "alignment".
This is the connection between your source (where the visitor came from)
and your landing page. The more connected they are, the higher the success
A good example is a banner ad for a specific product from a beauty products
company. Clicking on the banner ad and being directed to a landing page
showing the exact same product yields a higher conversion rate. If the
alignment is not present, on the other hand, there will be a significant
reduction in conversion rates.
In general, a landing page must stir these positive emotions in a visitor
for it to be effective:
Your page must be able to capture the visitor's trust by presenting a
credible appearance. Remove anything that can cause a negative effect
in the minds of your visitors, such as a lack of contact information,
grammatical errors and typos, buzzwords, "marketese" and jargon, fuzzy
or blocky graphics and too much use of a serif fonts, like Times New Roman.
Your page must provide your visitor a "This is what I'm looking for!"
moment upon landing.
Your page must be able to convince visitors that your product or service
can help them achieve their goal. Keep in mind what attracted the visitor
to your product in the first place so you will understand what he is looking
You must highlight an action for the visitor to take while he is in your
Techniques to Use with Landing Pages
Having these features in your landing page, here are some major principles
to guide you in the process of developing an effective landing page:
Create an Instant Affinity with Visitors with Landing Pages that
Fit their Prior Expectations
The top half of the first screen should be effective in making the visitor
feel that he has come to the right place. The use of the right taglines,
images and a position statement (usually about 12 to 15 words) can help
to establish your declaration and inform your visitor what the site is
Use Specific Headlines and Sub-headings
Throughout your page, include relevant headings and sub-headings so that
as the visitor skim reads the page they can see what a particular paragraph
or section is all about. This helps him decide whether he will read the
text or which section he is interested in. the longer the page, the more
you should be using sub-headings. The headline should be aligned as closely
as possible with the banner ad or whatever the visitor clicked on to arrive
on your landing page.
Focus on a Primary Goal
A landing page can achieve only one primary goal. Examples of these goals
are a lead capture mechanism, such as a free demo or product trial, or
to lure the visitor to go further and view your main site. The best results
come about when you focus on you goal. However, a secondary goal is possible
in a landing page. For example, if your primary goal is to make the visitor
purchase your product, your secondary goal would be to entice them to
sign up for newsletters or emails to receive special offers.
Use Multiple Calls to Action
Using multiple calls to the same action supports the one primary goal
principle. This holds true on a long landing page. A page that doesn't
go below the fold may need only one call to action. Overall, one call
to action above the fold and another at the bottom of the page are good.
Pay Attention to Your Layout and Graphic Design
To make them easy-to-read, keep text columns narrow - about 80 characters or so wide - and left-aligned, not centered.
Place an image of the product (commonly called the "hero shot") and make
sure the quality and clarity are good.
Images are attention-getting, so put your key text, such as your offer,
below the product image or other appealing graphics.
If your offer requires the visitor to fill out a form, it will be more
effective if placed on the landing page rather than needing a click-through
to another page.
Layouts and graphic designs depend on the products and their market and
can be very diverse. In spite of the variety, however, they can all use
the same design principles to help them be effective in achieving their goal.
Driving traffic to your site will require an investment on your part,
so it is only sensible to maximize the impact of that traffic for a quicker
ROI. Increasing website conversions is also an important consideration.
By implementing some simple website changes the effectiveness of your
landing pages can soar because the site is more user-friendly, intuitive
and provides a great user experience.
Colette Mason has written her unique, step by step guide
to making business websites more user-friendly and effective, the Website
Success System. She also writes a usability
blog, Think Like a User, to help business make their websites more customer-focused
and easy to use.
Published - March 2010
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