Are Your Landing Pages Killing Your Business? Things You’ve Got to do Today

Are you having a tough time increasing your site’s conversion rate? Business owners rack their brains all the time trying to figure out just how to improve their website, but where do you start? Do you write more blog content? Do you change some design choices? Do you redo some product page content? What’s keeping people from following through and converting on your deals?

If you can’t figure out why your advertising catches more traffic than any of your other pages, but people aren’t making it all the way to the end of your website’s conversion funnel, maybe it’s because they aren’t even going beyond your landing pages to begin with. Maybe the problem doesn’t lie with your website proper, but instead with the landing pages inviting them into your site.

Landing pages are notorious for bad design. These bad designs can actively chase people away from your website, and the choices you make for your landing pages can potentially cut the legs out from under your business conversions if you aren’t careful. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for landing page success.

DON’T Hurt Your Customers’ Eyes with Bright Colors

Rosetta Stone, one of the most widely used language learning software packages available, has had a major problem with their color coordination over the years. Rosetta Stone’s “primary color,” the color they use for their branding, packaging, brand-related highlights, and just about everything else, is bright yellow. I’m sure there’s some sort of connotation behind the stark yellow they use: color theory dictates that yellow is the color of “happiness, joy, intellect, and energy.”

When Rosetta Stone began adapting their marketing efforts for the internet, they used their trademark yellow for their website’s background color. The result was truly painful: black text surrounded by a large smattering of harsh yellow. Their landing page was not the landing page you wanted to run into in a dark room.  On a bright screen, it almost blinded customers.

Rosetta Stone’s Landing Pages, then and now

, caption: Rosetta Stone’s Landing Pages, then and now.]

Rosetta Stone now has more muted, darker colors on their splash pages. They still use their favorite yellow shade, but now it’s reserved for less obtrusive highlights, and not main splash backgrounds. Take some advice from Rosetta Stone’s new designs: it’s a good idea to avoid blowing your customers’ eyes out. You can still use bright colors, but make sure they’re relatively muted.  More robust colors should be faded to look white and soft. Darker colors should be muted towards a neutral grey to give them character and make them easy on the eyes. If that makes no sense to you, head to your local art or paint supply store, and they can point you in the right direction.

DO Make Lots of Little Single-Keyword Landing Pages

Sometimes business owners forget that they don’t have to be incredibly conservative with their web space. Web hosting plans today offer tons of storage space for very little every month, and you can usually add huge amounts of space for a little more every month if you absolutely need it. Many business owners tend to be uncomfortable and unfamiliar with this idea, and apply physical limitations they’re used to with stock and products to digital space. Putting everything right in front of the customer works great in physical space, but on the internet, it’s awful.

The best approach to your landing pages is to have lots of little pages that laser-focus on one or two central topics you want to optimize for. If you have fifty different PPC keyword ads, and you direct all of these ads back to the same landing page, you’re going to have to optimize that landing page for fifty different things. That’s about as unhealthy as you can get when it comes to content optimization, and it results in a cluttered mess of links and content mashed together that’s completely impossible to navigate.

DON’T Make Your Landing Pages Too Hard To Use: The UX Solution

When you cram all of your landing page content into one big page, you naturally get that aforementioned cluttered mess of links and content that’s completely impossible to use. Just because you’ve created multiple smaller, leaner pages, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made your pages any easier to use, though. Ease-of-use optimization goes beyond pure content optimization and dips into user experience designing.

User experience design (or “UX” for short) is so important that there’s an entire UX industry that has sprung up out of website design services. UX engineers are online architects; they look at an entire webpage as a functional unit, and tweak the design based on changes that they believe will be best for their users. UX designers have their own methodology towards content optimization. Take UX Magazine’s article on optimizing landing pages, for example.

In the original landing page, the page only informs the visitor about the company’s achievements and how they can benefit from the company’s actions, without any striking call to action or impressing visual cues. The optimized landing page has striking visual cues, direct explanations of benefits, dynamic text formatting, and repositioned content that makes much more sense for readers.

UX optimization might be a little different and more technically-inclined than pure content optimization, but it adheres to the same basic principles of analysis, testing, and revising your landing page designs. In the article’s example, the entire user experience of the special promotion landing page is enhanced with a combination of content optimizations, visual cues, stylistic reorganization and fundamental objective shifts. In laymen’s terms: UX designers take major creative liberties to change everything about a page, right down to the fundamental objective of what the page should accomplish.

If you are the only person controlling your landing page designs, you should take the same creative liberties with your landing pages to find what works best for your bottom line.

DO What’s Best For Your Landing Pages, Not What’s Best For Somebody Else’s

When business owners aren’t sure how to design something for their website, they look to Google. Not to search around for ideas, even—they look literally at Google for design ideas. Google’s super-minimalistic design aesthetic is something many people appreciate and want to make their own. If you think Google’s minimalistic designs mean that your landing pages all need to be empty, white spaces with little splashes of text and color, you haven’t been paying attention to Google lately.

This sounds obvious, but lots of landing pages are still made this way. They’re short, clunky pages cobbled together from other parts of the parent website proper, or hacked up pieces and ideas stolen from other websites. Finding what’s best for your landing pages takes time, and a willingness to step outside of what works for other websites to find what works specifically for your business. Which leads us to my next point…

DON’T Forget to A/B Test

A/B testing is one of the best things you can do for your landing pages. Assuming you’re using landing pages as a destination for your PPC campaigns, you already have a dedicated traffic source for your landing pages to test with. Landing pages don’t require very much content, and you should be able to turn multiple landing pages around in a relatively small amount of time.

When you A/B test your landing pages, make major changes. Make one landing page that has more text content, and one that has more multimedia content. Make a landing page that has a completely different background color than your others. Make a landing page with a big call to action in the middle of the page, instead of a smaller one tucked in a corner.

Keep a close eye on your testing traffic results.  Know how many hits the pages get and how many customers click through to your offers. Once you find something that works, continue tweaking it for maximum effectiveness.

Landing pages are an important part of your overall online marketing plan. PPC ad campaigns have to redirect visitors somewhere, so that somewhere ought to be a site that you have control over, and one that encourages the visitor to convert. If you aren’t developing landing pages, you’ve got to get started on those now. Conversion based copy is part of how landing pages attract new business, and if you’re having trouble developing content that improves your website’s performance, you know who you need to see.

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Andrew Glasscock is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated with a BA in English, specialized in Creative Writing, with a minor in Marketing this past May. Along with copywriting, he loves being an improv comedian, playing frisbee, and dogs.

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