Whether a paid search ad or organic landing page, any savvy internet marketer knows that one of the main keys to success lies in an optimized landing page, and while optimized landing pages require longer-term strategy, development, and testing, these ten tips will get you started in the right direction.
1. Goal. The first thing you should do is determine what the primary goal objective of your landing page will be. Optimizing a landing page around that goal actionable is key. For instance, a landing page that is intended for lead generation will be optimized differently than one that is optimized for product sales conversion.
2. Know Your Audience. I couldn’t decide whether Goal or Audience should be first, but knowing your target audience is also a main key ingredient to a well-crafted, optimized landing page. Don’t know your target audience? Take the time to determine the user demographics that will be landing on your page. Have you upgraded to Universal Analytics? Study your analytics!
3. Value Proposition. Make it clear to the visitor that first, your product or service is unique and stands out among the rest, and that it has real value to THEM. No matter where they come in from, visitors land on pages with one thing in my mind… “What’s In It For ME?” – so make sure that your landing page informs them, in a clear and simple way, what the benefits of your product or service are.
4. On-Page Optimization. Whether a paid search marketing ad or organic landing page, know what keyword phrase(s) you are trying to target. You need to do some real keyword research to see what your target audience is searching for. Keep in mind that ‘industry’ phraseology may not be what your audience is searching – so do the necessary keyword research.
- In line with the keyword research, make sure that you use all elements of SEO best practice on-page optimization such as URL structure, use of Header (H1) headlines, Header (H2) sub-headlines, and optimized title and meta description.
5. Keep It Simple & Clean. Don't overload your landing page with unnecessary information. You want to provide your visitor with a clean page that draws attention to your call-to-action (CTA) and doesn't distract them or put them in information overload. Three things to keep in mind include:
- Keep your page design simple and clean. Encapsulate the CTA and use visual aids to draw attention to that section (e.g. strategic use of white space, stand-out CTA buttons, positioning ‘above the fold’, etc.).
- Create a compelling headline to support your goal action objective. Test various headlines to determine the winning headline.
- Make the content on optimized landing pages descriptive, but no longer than necessary to communicate the point. The content should answer the visitor's questions without distracting them or overloading them with information, and you should structure smaller content blocks for easy readability.
6. Limit Navigation. This may be arguable, but I support limiting the actionables on a landing page that is being optimized with a strategic goal purpose. Therefore, avoid unnecessary links, navigation bars or anything else that could take your visitor away from your page. If you must include links, try to keep them unobtrusive and below the fold.
7. Imagery. Use an image, but make sure that you choose one carefully. Do an adequate amount of research to make sure that your image:
- Guides user eye path VS paralyzes/stops their eye flow. Images can distract instead of support (e.g. test!)
- Provides relevancy to your goal, content, CTA
- Compels and encourages the visitor (e.g. test!)
8. Actionable. Make your call-to-action follow a predictable eye path. This is a key component to the success of an optimized landing page. Positioning your goal actionable that follows a user’s expected line of sight will make the CTA obvious and easy.
- Make your CTA button stand-out. Test studies show, over and over, that using a relevant, descriptive, stand-out call-to-action button increases conversion. So why do we continue to see grey ‘submit’ buttons everywhere??!!
9. Trust. Giving your visitors the necessary assurance of trust and credibility is so important to the page actionable – and whether they take that action! Displaying trust icons is an element of landing page optimization often forgotten. Position trust symbols/icons clearly and within the eye-path of your CTA to assure user-confidence.
10. Track, Test, Tweak. It’s not build-it and forget-it. Prepare for the long haul. Track and analyze your landing pages, test the various elements of your landing pages and then optimize them some more!
Optimized Landing Page Bonus Tips:
- Keep the '5-Second Rule' in mind: if you don't interest your visitor in five seconds, they're probably going to bounce
- Use trackable phone numbers on landing pages so you can track call conversions
- If using forms, remove unnecessary fields and keep them as short as possible
Optimized landing pages are not JUST for paid ads or paid online search marketing. Optimized landing pages can be targeted organic pages on your website - such as product pages or lead gen pages - so be sure to give your organic site pages the same strategic thought for the goal objectives as you would a landing page for paid search!