Five Factors for Landing Page Optimization

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I have been spending a great deal of time lately working with clients on landing page optimization. Here are a few factors to always consider when working on designing and improving your landing pages…

(1) Keep Focused on Your Primary Objective
When writing your copy, laying out your landing page and considering multiple call-to-actions, keep your primary objective constantly in mind. You want to avoid placing strong emphasis on any secondary calls-to-action that draw visitor attention away from the primary objective. In addtion, multiple call-to-actions (e.g. offers) can confuse visitors and lead to high drop-off rates.

(2) Choose a Clear and High Visibility Headline Placement
Not only is it important to carefully craft your headline but also to select a highly visible location for your headline to appear on the landing page. Keep the headline relevant to the primary objective and connect the main text and headline to specifically what visitors are seeking. Don’t make it difficult or too metaphorical. I have discovered that simple typically wins over crafty.

(3) Present the Call-to-Action Clearly and Vibrantly Right on the Landing Page
If your primary objective involves filling out a registration form or any other information gathering or search-related call-to-action, place the form clearly on the landing page in a [prime real estate location. Draw attention to it via color, images and text. The use of white space is critical because you want visitors to feel at ease with completing the form. Don’t make it feel like a burden with long forms and with information fields that don’t appear relevant to the visitor’s main intent for being on the landing page. You can always get other information later on.

(4) Reduce Navigational Links
In most cases (e-commerce site may be the main exception) the less navigational links the better. If I use navigational links they are typically call-to-actions that take the visitor to a second page with a new registration form (or related call-to-action) and some additional detail directly related to the alternative call-to-action link. These links keep the visitor on track with fulfilling your primary objective and help provide some research (e.g. customer insight) about what your main landing page content should focus on.

(5) Use Crisp, Eye-attracting Images
Some of the most effective landing pages I have tested took considerable time designing and developing because of the high-quality images. Landing pages that use crisp images, excellent visual hierarchy and strong relevant photos connect quickly with visitor. Relevant means being directly related to the visitors’ reason for visiting your website.

These are just a few landing page optimization factors. Just like designing any new creative, it takes time and knowledge to get it right in a way that produces powerful results. I highly recommend using Google’s Website Optimizer to test different ideas. It allows you to test potential factors to see what works best for your visitors in achieving your primary objectives. If you don’t know how, feel free to contact me or visit Google Website Optimizer page.

Good luck on your landing page optimization.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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10 Comments

  1. I've found that having multiple calls to action produces more conversions if you're selling a product that has a longer sales cycle and multiple decision-makers. But I will definitely agree with you that you need a "main" call-to-action to feature, no matter the product you're selling.

  2. I deal with a lot of real estate websites and we do a lot of custom landing pages and I can say from experience that navigational links on landing pages are definitely detrimental. They distract the visitor from the primary call to action and force them to forget what they were doing in the first place. However, I completely agree that navigational links that take the visitor to a secondary registration form with a supporting call to action that does not deviate from the primary one can be very beneficial. I know this is a little contradictory from what I just said above, but they can work in certain circumstances as you stated in this post. Now the question is how to generate leads without using registration forms...

  3. Kevin Gold

    Thanks for the post Chris. Yes, for e-commerce or B2B sites involving a complex sales process where the buying cycle is longer, using multiple calls-to-action is a smart choice. It also depends on the type of advertising you are using to send visitors to the landing page. If you can pick and choose keywords via paid search then you can effectively target a primary call-to-action to the buying process indicated by the keyword usage. For example, the keyword "buy Apple iPhone" fits with a product detail page with a clearly displayed "add to cart" call-to-action. A similar keyword though "Apple iPhone" is not indicative of a specific call-to-action so offering one primary call-to-action and a few secondary (like downloading product specifications, reading customer reviews, etc.) is a smarter choice. Even for lead generation landing pages, I have had great success presenting a registration form as the primary call-to-action along with a less-emphasized but still clearly presented free report opt-in form. The opt-in process offers a lower commitment for the visitor to start a relationship with my client's business. The completed opt-in though enters into an optimized nurturing process via email marketing (or RSS) that helps build the prospects confidence and leads them back to completing the original call-to-action - the registration. This discussion really highlights my prior post about best practices. What works best for each business is really a matter of continually testing; not relying entirely on what others believe are best practices. Although best practices provide an excellent “first-step” when starting out to get you heading in the right direction, you don’t won’t to rely on them for generating your best performance.

  4. Hi Kevin!! I agree with your five factors for landing page optimization, but I've found that landing pages have too many constraints, limits, and drawbacks to actually be practical. They are generally too much too soon for the user and not specific enough for the user's needs. Landing pages have a lot of weight on their shoulders; they are supposed to engage the prospect, inform them, earn their trust, and finally, convert them. That's a lot to ask for in a single page! After years of creating and testing landing pages, I've found that the most effective way to increase conversions and ROI is to use conversion paths instead. By segmenting users, and tailoring each subsequent page to the user's needs, we've seen conversion rates increase by as much as 10x. Like you said, relevancy is important and simple wins over crafty; those are some basic characteristics of conversion paths. I run a blog (http://www.nomorelandingpages.com) with my colleagues that discusses alternatives to landing pages and also includes best practices for increasing conversions. Check it out. :-)

  5. Thanks for the comment Anna! I partially agree with you because as with all things related to "conversion" or better yet "with maximizing business value online" it depends. My company has been formally providing website conversion services since 2004 so I agree with the conversion paths especially for e-commerce websites. I also agree that landing pages are strategic which means they are not a "silver bullet" for every situation. Certain situations like generating sales leads using pay-per-click-marketing directed at a specific offer like a white paper download with a back-end system (e.g. email marketing) to nurture and pull the leads further through the sales process is very effective. BUT - it also depends on how the landing page is designed, the offer, the message and so on - no different than developing implementing elements for a single step within a defined conversion path! In addition using Google Website Optimizer or other testing program in association with a landing page provides a controlled testing environment versus altering a web page within your website. But where I agree with you absolutely is that landing pages should not be developed for every situation just because other people say they work. I wrote a post about my concern with blindly-following best practices. There has to be a reason and a purpose. Overall, I can assure you from expereince in testing a website versus a strategic landing page that the landing pages have the ability to generate 10x the number of leads and sales. If used strategically correct (which includes targeting the right advertising towards the LP) that little old single landing page goes off saying, "I think I can, I think I can" all the way to greater performance. Thanks Anna! Nice blog!

  6. Hi Anna, We have a few of your t-shirts from Chicago here in the office ;) I felt sorry for those poor girls, walking around the hall for 2 days. I've already added the blog to my feed list. We'll be sure to start reading it from now on.

  7. The web is a multi-lingual environment. By translating your landing page and conversion tunnel, you are making your company product and services accessible to customers around the globe. FACTS ABOUT INTERNET: 1. Over 65% of Internet users speak a native language other than English 2. People are three times more likely to buy a product available to them in their native language 3. Google provides Multilingual Platforms and crawls Web Pages in more than 30 Languages 4. Online foreign language markets are growing at a faster pace than the English speaking ones. 5. More than 20% of Americans Browse and Search in the Internet using Non-English Languages

  8. Agree with you Anna Talerico. Landing page is not the guarantee of high conversion But help to increase in conversion If it is well optimized, to the target, proper call to action. I have added your your blog to my following list.

  9. Mobile Application Development Company

    Sorry Anna Talerico. Your blog is no more exist on the domain you have mentioned. Please share the update domain.

  10. lili

    By translating your landing page and conversion tunnel, you are making your company product and services accessible to customers around the globe.