Landing Page Best Practices

You’ve just got the job to optimize a landing page.

And now you’re wondering, “How do I build an effective landing page that boosts conversions?

The best place to start is knowing what works for other businesses. This gives you the framework to build pages primed for conversions.

And that’s what this article is about. If you want to know the best practices for landing page optimization, you’re in the right place.

Here are the quick links to the sections on this article:

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Landing Page Best Practices

Let’s start with a pause for thought.

These are simply guidelines. Use them to start conversion tests. Don’t treat them as the landing page conversions Bible.

You still have to do some sleuth work on your own. Every industry has different needs and responds in different ways. And you can only know this by testing.

Keep this in mind as you read these common practices below.

1. Stick to one goal

Your reader has a limited attention span. He’s thinking of a dozen different things as he lands on your site.

If you want to increase landing page conversions, you want his focused attention.

So what do you do?

You limit your page to only one goal.

Is it to get the visitor to:

  • subscribe to your newsletter?
  • request a quote?
  • donate to charity?
  • give you his phone number?
  • share your post on social media?
  • start a trial for a new product?

Whatever it is, choose only one. That’s your only focus. That’s the only thing the visitor gets to experience as he reads your page.

2. Consistency is key

Imagine being 14 years old again.

Your brother tells you he heard your parents talking about getting a Nintendo Switch for your birthday. You’re excited. You’ve been begging for one for the past year.

Your birthday arrives.

With hopeful excitement, you open your present.

It’s not a Switch. “It’s a family heirloom!” Your mother enthuses.

How would you feel then? Wouldn’t you feel extremely disappointed? Feel tricked by your brother? Or even angry at your parents?

It doesn’t matter if you’re 14 or 41. When there’s no continuity to what you’re expecting and what happens, a rush of negative emotions come pouring in.

And this is the experience of a person who clicks on an ad or email that promises one thing but ends to be something else.

It’s pretty obvious when you think about it. When a person gets to your landing page, he has a preconceived idea of the contents of that page.

And he would like to see this confirmed as soon as possible.

How do you facilitate this?

Start by being consistent with your message.

This means the text on the link he clicked leads to a page that’s consistent with the ad. The headline, the copy, the images and the call to action should all follow just one line of thought.

Here are a couple of things you can do to make sure this happens.

  1. Connect the ad to the headline of the copy. This way, the person knows he’s arrived at the right page. He’s not left wondering, “Did I click the right link?”
  2. When writing your copy, Ensure your CTA is consistent with the promise on the headline. Joanna Wiebe recommends writing the call to action first. Then reverse engineer from there. This way, as you write the headline and the copy, it’s always in-line with the action required in the CTA button.

3. Avoid Distractions

Do you get the overarching theme with effective landing pages?

Let me spell it out for you.

Have an obsession with focusing on just one goal. This increases conversions. Avoid any type of distraction that takes a visitor away from that goal.

With landing page designs, this means no external links or navigation to limit choice.

For your copy, this means sticking to that one message so that the customer doesn’t stray and start doing something else.

Just like this potato landing page. It’s all about the humble potato and nothing else.

What other things can you do?

  • Focus on only one call to action. If you want him to sign up for a newsletter subscription. Let that be the only measure of engagement for that page. No social buttons. No links to your about us page. Nothing.
  • Think of your landing page as a standalone page. Don’t add links to any other page on your site.
  • If you must present choices, like different pricing structures, highlight the choice that you want him to take. This could be the most popular or the one offering the most value for money.

4. Design for usability

Just because a web page looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s going to convert.

In many instances, I’ve observed that bells and whistles distract people from the objective. From your one goal.

I’m not suggesting that you build an ugly site. I’m saying that beauty should be a secondary consideration in landing page designs. And if at any point it clashes with the function of the site, always ditch beauty in favor of function.

My point is this:

The person who lands on your page knows what a landing page does. He knows he’s going to have to give something up if he engages with it.

He’ll have to give something that belongs to him- be it his time, his money or his email address.

So make it easy for him to see why he should stay when he’s giving up something that’s his.

Think of your first-time visitor landing on your page. The first thing she’s going to ask is:

What have you got? Why should I stay?”

And one way to get him to stay is to make things easy and effortless.

This is where UX design puts its magic to work.

Good UX draws him into that page. He won’t even realize it’s there.

Bad UX leaves a sour taste in the mouth. He leaves frustrated. He’ll forget about you as soon as he leaves. And if you retarget him, he’s not going to click that ad.

So every time you build a landing page, ask what the page is supposed to do. Then show that to the reader in a way that’s clear and easy to follow.

5. Convince with your copy

So you’ve got all the design elements in place.

Now comes the substance of your landing page: the copy.

The copy is your “love letter” to the reader. This is where you convince him that engaging with you will bring good things to him, too.

It opens the customer’s eyes and makes him see the value of your offer.

And you know how you can achieve this? You don’t achieve it by extolling your virtues.

You achieve it by meeting the customer where he is in the buyer’s journey and making him see that you understand his needs.

Only when he fully grasps this should you start talking about your offer.

Here are some landing page copy best practices

  • Add an element of curiosity to your copy. Don’t’ say “Download my ebook about social proof”. Say “Download this ebook and learn the technique we used to increase our sales by 50% last month!”
  • Have copy that matches the expectation of your reader.
  • Suck them in with your headline. It’s the first thing your customer sees. And it’s usually when he decides whether to give you the time of day or not.
  • Before you write your copy, get to know your customers inside and out. Research the voice of your customers. Know the exact words they use to describe the problem they want you to solve. Send out surveys to ask about past experiences with you and ask them what made that experience good or bad. All this information will give you the insights you need to write your copy. Once you know your target customers, effective copy will be very easy to write.

6. Have a clear and compelling call-to-action

The call-to-action is a point of great tension for your customer.

He knows that he’s about to give up something that belongs to him.

Understandably, he wants to make sure that he’s not going to make a schmuck of himself and regret it later.

So your CTA should help lessen this tension and anxiety.

There are two things you can do to lessen this anxiety

  • Make it clear what he’s going to get. Like  Start trial now.  Add to Cart. Check Price. 
  • Start with an action word. For extra points, use “My”. So instead of saying “Download the Ebook”, use “Download My Ebook”.
  • Make it obvious that it’s a call to action. Make it bold and have it stand out from the rest of the elements on the page.

You’ll need to test what’s the best call-to-action button for your customers.

It can be as detailed as Search Logistics

Or as straight to the point as Moz

7. Reduce friction and solidify claims by adding quality social proof

Use social proof to get your target customer to act on your offer.

Third-party proof is a shortcut people use to make decisions.

If there are many people who say your product is the real deal. The brain in shortcut mode will say, “Hmmm. It must be.”

If there’s a respected person who says your services have changed their lives for the better. He thinks, “I want what he’s got, too

If a security software says your site is trustworthy, he’ll believe it more than if you said it yourself.

This is why, whenever you can, take advantage of it.

It’s a shortcut to getting your visitor to trust you and the validity of your claims. It helps lessen customer anxiety and nudges him towards a conversion.

8. Clearly state your value proposition

This is where you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Your target customer needs a valid and compelling reason to engage with you.

Imagine your customer is in research mode and has 5 tabs open.

Four of the tabs belong to your competitors.

What makes you different from the rest? What compelling reason do you have that will stop him from clicking the X on your tab?

That’s your value proposition.

9. Design for mobile device

Design for mobile devices first before you build the landing page for desktop.

Why?

People are increasingly using mobile to go online.

And here’s the interesting thing:

Most people use their mobile to research. And then move on to desktop to buy.

What that means for you is this:

It’s on mobile that you should be doing the convincing. It’s where you build trust.

But you can’t do that with a landing page that is not optimized for mobile. So when you make your landing page, keep this at the top of your list of things to do.

Here are mobile landing page best practices to get you started:

  • Gamify your forms. Most people don’t use auto-fill. This makes filling out forms a real pain. Design it so that instead of filling out a form, all a person has to do is click.
  • Be clear with your value proposition above the fold. As soon as the reader lands on it, he should clearly know what the page is about and why he should stay. Do this with a compelling headline and a clear value proposition.
  • Test making the mobile copy short and crisp.
  • Ask only for the most basic information you need to fill out a form. For example, if you want a person to download an ebook, you can ask only for his email address.
  • Make it speedy. Yep. That one. How’s your landing page load time? Impatient mobile users want yours to load in 2 seconds. How do you fare?
  • Add a sticky header or footer with your CTA button. Have the CTA button always visible on the screen and make it easy for early converters to convert.
  • Make use of white space. It’s great for the user experience.
  • Put CTA buttons on areas that are easy for the thumb to reach while using mobile.

10. Always A/B test your landing pages

You never know what’s going to work. And often just a little change can spell the difference between success and failure.

You can test different:

  • headlines
  • copy lengths
  • CTA buttons
  • copy
  • images or videos

Landing page examples

SEMrush

SEMrush’s one goal is clear. To get you to try the tool. They also show that they are a trusted service by showing social proof. The logos of the big companies who use them are very prominent above the fold.

That’s powerful social proof that gives the reader a reason to keep reading the page. And maybe click the call-to-action button.

The reader’s brain becomes emotionally invested. “I want some of that,” it says.

Mental Mastery

This is one of Ramit Sethi’s courses.

He doesn’t skimp on words. In fact, many of his sales pages start with very long stories to lure the reader in before he starts talking about his product.

Yes, it has a big button in the header for people who are already ready to buy. But after that, it all starts with one long educational content.

He does a lot of storytelling. He makes himself an example. Talks about his life. He shows the reader that he understands what they’re going through because he’s been through it too.

He talks about the reader’s problem for a very long time. It’s 3000 words long before he even mentions the product he’s selling. That’s copy that really gets the reader to understand that he is on their side. And whatever it is the reader’s going to give up, it’s going to be worth it.

Cleanzy

Cleanzy has a very clear value proposition.

You don’t want to take more time than necessary to look for a cleaner. But it’s an important decision. You’re letting someone into your house.  Can you trust them? What types of jobs can they do? Who are they? These are a potential customer’s deepest anxieties. And Cleanzy irons-out these worries with its clear and compelling value proposition.

“The Easiest Way To Book Trusted Professionals”

If you visit this landing page, you’ll also see how everything on that page puts the reader at ease.

The copy emphasizes a $150,000 coverage in the event of any damage. Anxiety squashed.

It shows how they only hire trusted cleaning professionals who go through a background check before they’re hired. Major client worries eliminated.

Conclusion

So now you’ve got ideas on what makes a good landing page.

You can’t suddenly expect to get mind-blowing conversion rates from these best practices. But it’s a great place to start your CRO tests.

As you get feedback from your target customers, you’ll slowly learn what they respond to.

And lastly, remember this.

You are selling a great product. The visitor doesn’t know that. Yet.

Your job is to make him see it. Start with these practices. Then test and retest. And before you know it, you’ll have an effective landing page with conversions that you’ll be proud of.

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Want to learn more about how to optimize a landing page? Check out our other tutorials:

Author: Kurt Philip

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