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10 Tips for Winning Landing Page Design

First up, what’s a “landing page”, really? Is it different from a regular web page, or do techie types just like to use fancy words for nothing?

In short, a landing page is any page on your site where you sent traffic with the goal of prompting a certain result: like filling out a lead capture form, downloading an ebook, or signing up for a service. A landing page is a page which asks visitors to do something, and as an online marketer, your goal is to figure out how to create a landing page that isn’t simply pretty or informative, but which works.

So now that we know what a landing page is, how do we optimize for one? While the golden rule is to always A/B test all webpage designs, there are a few quick and simply tips that generally seem to work across the board.

1)      K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Landing pages are designed to encourage visitors to focus on one particular thing and take action, and the last thing you want is to distract visitors with unnecessary text, images or information.

Thus, we suggest removing all non-relevant information off of your landing page and limiting navigation—potentially even removing your website’s header and footer and simply providing the visitor with a “back” button for their convenience. This way, your visitor can stay focused on your landing page’s main call-to-action.

2)      Look Credible & Earn Trust. Let’s face it—most people feel kind of squeamish giving up their information online, whether it’s an email address or committing to signing up for a service. You have to convince people that your website, and your business, can be trusted.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to do this is by using well-recognized symbols of trust on your site—such a Better Business Bureau (BBB) logo (assuming you have a good rating!) or by signing up for security and authentication services like Verisign or TRUSTe. Make sure you are actually signed up for these services before you go ahead and stick their logos on your site!

3)      Provide Testimonials. Testimonials—yes, real ones, not the fake kind—go hand-in-hand with establishing trust in your site. A landing page is a great place to put testimonials, showing visitors that there are real people just like them using your product or service, and that they are, of course, happy customers. Small headshots of those real customers are a plus.

4)      Design It Well.  While we want to remove clutter and excess design from a landing page, we still want to make sure the site is well-designed, even if it is simple. Make sure your font size is readable, you’re using simple colors (perhaps in line with your company’s branding), and the form is generally attractive.

5)      Limit Form Fields. If your landing page involves users filling out a form, which in most cases it does, be sure to limit the number of fields to only the ones your absolutely need. Do you really

need the user to create a username and provide an email address for login? Do you really need to know their mother’s maiden name, or what they ate for breakfast that day? Don’t be greedy. Limit the number of form fields to only those you absolutely need—your conversions will thank you for it.

6)      Highlight Benefits. Too often we get excited about all the features we’ve crammed into our product, and we love to share them with whoever’s willing to listen. The problem is, no one cares. Your visitor only cares about the bottom line—what your product can do for them. Don’t get caught up in the trap of listing every feature you’ve ever developed onto your landing page. Instead, focus on benefits—what the visitor can get from using your product—and how it will improve their life or their business.

7)      Make Sure the Page Loads Fast. By the time you read this sentence, a visitor to your landing page will have bounced if the page hasn’t loaded yet. People are especially impatient online, and site speed is critical in helping your visitors determine whether your site is legit and worth investing their time in. Not sure how your site is performing? Use a tool like WebPageTest.org to investigate what you could be doing to improve load times.

8)      Provide a Phone Number and Address. It’s well known in web design circles that providing a phone number, and (if possible) a real physical address on your landing page helps conversions skyrocket. People like to know that there’s a real person or company behind a website, and an active phone number and/or a real business address helps to prove this. Of course, putting down an address may not work for every online business, but if you can at least provide a phone number, you’d be surprised at the results.

9)      Keep Sales Copy Tight. Don’t put people to sleep by using long-winded copy that is long on *yawn* and short on verbs. Use short, action-oriented copy that gets straight to the point and tells visitors exactly what to do and exactly how it will benefit them. Good copy is essential to conversions—if you can’t do it yourself, hire a good copywriter. It’ll be worth every penny.

10)   Test, Test, Test! A/B and multivariate testing is the holy grail of landing page optimization. While we can all bicker and cry about what works best, the fact is that nothing beats hardcore numbers when it comes to proving which route to take. So if your team is arguing about whether a call-to-action button should be blue or orange, best to shut everyone up by just testing it. There are several simple tools out there—like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer—that allow people to A/B designs with little to no coding knowledge. Now you have no excuses!

Happy landing page designing.