Basic Landing Page Design Tips
This is Obvious.
We hate to be obvious, but you have to be obvious. When you design your landing page, be very obvious about your features. A visitor to your page shouldn’t need a map and a flashlight to find what s/he’s looking for. Use standard conventions as well, like bold, italics, highlights, hand-drawn annotations, iconic design, and more. You only have one chance to hook a passing reader, so say what you mean.
And now a few F-words. Research shows that web users tend to read through web pages in an F-shaped manner, so keep important images Flushed left. Put your most important information—your message, other copy, or hero-shot image— near the middle of the page (the lower prong of the F). If something is not important, move it to a sidebar or take it out. Always make Friends with your readers. One big way to be user-Friendly is to minimize the number of Fonts you use on a page. Poor type design is a visual turnoFF. Cleaning up the type variations helps drive readers to the headlines and calls-to-action quickly. Try to stick with one Font, and don’t bounce around between sans seriF and seriF Fonts.
Get the Picture
Not all pictures are worth a thousand words. Some are worth squat. Product shots, single men, single women, team shots… which image will perform best? Here’s a tip: Test 3 different images with the same headline and content and don’t stop testing landing pages once you find a winner. Experiment with different headlines and copy with those same images and make sure that the hero image, which may be a product shot, logo, company building, or anything really, is clickable. Also, be sure to provide a benefit-oriented caption.
Make it Look Easy
It pays to be a simpleton. If your landing page is text-intensive and MUST be text intensive, then be sure to simplify your design. Use a one-column format and light colors (white works best) to raise reading comprehension. Also, break up large paragraphs in order to make the reader think that s/he’s reading less than s/he’s actually reading. If a paragraph or page looks too dense, readers will skip it, so make sure that all text is in small paragraphs (only about 5 lines) when you optimize landing pages.
Don't Send Them Away
It’s tempting when optimizing landing pages to experiment with moving readers to off-page links with new tests related to the link phrase. Instead,we recommend using passive pop-ups or new browser windows when needed for new pages or supplemental decision information. Define the purpose of the page and stick with it, using as few outbound links and pop-ups as possible. In fact, avoid outbound links and pop-up pages altogether. Are we on the same page now?
The Top 300
We’re not talking about Spartans. The internet is a very visual medium, so use that to your company’s advantage. On your landing page, place your most important elements in the top 300 pixels of the page. Research proves that over half of site visitors do not scroll down. Remember that landing pages are not essays; they don’t need any introductions. Get right to the point and put all your most valuable information at the top of the page. Your sales will be tops.
Of course, it’s all about the conversion—that’s always what matters most. The more you can strip down your lead generation forms, the higher the conversion rate. It’s really that simple. Make your site’s forms easy to use. Making the input cursor automatically hop from box to box, allowing tabbing, or only using checkboxes are all excellent ideas for landing page optimization. Auto-filling form data set-up is an essential feature as well. Make sure to test your forms in different browsers. Talkin' 'bout lead generation.
Let the Customer Decide
Let's face it—everybody's a designer and copywriter. Everyone loves to form an opinion on which design or solution is better, but the key to landing page optimization is to put the customer in control. Your obligation is to not form an opinion and to test "just to see what will happen." That might mean radical price variations or stripping down the offer details. Test, then test again, then test some more.
Copy the Competition
If you pick up on competitors that seem to be testing, tap into their knowledge and test layouts that appear to be winners on their sites. You'll likely save yourself a lot of time and energy and arrive at a base camp from which to journey forward much faster.
Let Everybody Play
Landing page testing is exciting for companies, particularly with so much on the line. Circulate the choices among all employees of your company if you can and let them try to predict the winner. You'll probably be amazed at the lack of ability to predict successfully, but more importantly, you might just find "winners" in your office who can offer feedback and ideas in the future for testing.
Cut Down on Loading Time
On the web, it’s lack of speed that kills. Visitors to your landing page can’t wait to see it. If the page doesn’t load quickly, they’ll probably try a different one. In this era of high-speed, this isn’t always a problem, but there are still millions of people using dial-up. For them, and in those instances when high-speed runs slowly, try for an 8 second-or-less loading time. Take out large, unnecessary graphics and optimize your landing pages so that the necessary ones are of reduced file sizes.
Loosen up! Let yourself go! Wear your shoes on the wrong feet! Traditional landing page design usually offers navigation structure in the left column and support for the call-to-action in the right column. Try variations when you test. Move the navigation to the right column and add testimonials in the left column. As a second experiment, move the navigation to the bottom of the page, or delete it all together. Experimentation is the key to layout—and success.
Outsmart the Competition
When looking for ways to improve the design of your professional landing pages, look at the competition. Carefully analyze their layout, flow, and conversion process, and if you find yourself getting confused or put off, make a note of why. Then, go back to your own site and compare designs. If you find the same problems, remove or revise them. It’s a clever way to turn your competition against itself (just hope your competition isn’t reading this).
How Long Should You Test?
We get this question ALL the time. How long is too long? Why not find a quick winner and deploy that solution quickly across the board? Many reasons. Many variables can influence conversion rates, such as seasonality, time of day, economic situations, competitive positioning, source of traffic, and dozens of others. In addition, the volume of traffic on your site has a bearing on length of time to test. Here's our advice: use a statistical tool to crunch the data and offer the correct mathematical answer. We're working on one as we speak...I just sent the spec to our development team. Stay tuned.