Landing pages best practices

By , last updated April 26, 2016

We have recently encountered a problem with a huge drop-off from our front page. We didn’t have a lot of useful information on our front page – just a technical blog with lots of technical, and sometimes, difficult stuff.

Recently, Google Analytics showed that there were many visits, starting from the front page – all kinds of traffic from direct links to referrers social media and other sources. It became clear that if you don’t follow some clear best practices and set clear goals for your landing pages – people will come and leave your site without being hooked.

Landing pages are not just a frontpage. It can be anything that gets the most of the traffic to your website. For really huge websites you can easily see these pages in Google Search – they appear like Site Links.

site links example twitter

Site Links are pages that Google sees a lot of traffic to. They say you cannot cheat your way to these links – they are being automatically generated by Google Search engine out of your traffic data.

A website can have multiple landing pages. They can be a very powerful tool for you to get even more visitors and grow your business.

High-converting landing pages are pages that hook visitors to perform some actions on your site. The more people do what you want them to do – the better the outcome.

Answer the following questions and you will be ahead of most businesses.

Clear Goal

What should people do on your page?

Setting a clear goal is critical for your page success.

Consider these two pages:

Yahoo search website

Yahoo search

Google search

Google search

Both these pages have the same goal – search. One of them is super popular and the other one is not. Image that you don’t know what these companies do. Would you be able to guess what goal the Yahoo webpage has?

Here is the action plan:

  • Choose your goal.
  • Decide how you are going to measure the result. A good metric is a percentage of visitors that achieve your goal.
  • Set preferable conversion rate. For example, how many visitors make a search. Should it be 5% or 95%? Do research.
Read also  Java volatile vs atomic variables

Many experts advise to make a clear Call to Action. Tell your visitors what they should do. Don’t make them think.


Who is your customer?

Don’t focus your landing page on your product. Most of your customers don’t care about you, your company or your product. They want one thing – solve their problems. If your product helps them with it – you are a winner.

But how do they know if your product is a solution to their problem? Communicate it!

Compare the following example of a product description:
“You can take all kinds of photos with our camera. You can take pictures from close or far away, in the dark and during daylight.”

To this:
“Make killer photos for your Instagram!”

Those are not very bad examples and both could work. You just need to know your customer. Is it a professional photographer or a teen with an active Instagram profile?

In this step you should gather as much information about your customer as possible:

  • What is your main customer type? Choose one.
  • What problems does your typical customer have?
  • What does your customer want to achieve? The result should not be more than 2 clicks away.

If you don’t know who is coming to your webpage – you will struggle to get their attention. Your landing page should make your target customer stop and pay attention.


Why should people choose you instead of your competitors?

A lot of startups fail to get this simple rule. Explain to your potential visitors why are you better than others. Especially if there are some big players that you are trying to compete with.

Stand out:

  • Make it easy to follow
  • Provide a valuable Free sample
  • Give something unique
Read also  Image grid layout with css example

Dedicated Landing Pages

Do you need several landing pages?

Many businesses tend to gather all their information on a frontpage and hope for people to see all that. The only problem is that an average visitor doesn’t read frontpages, but rather scans it in an “F” form.

Use dedicated landing pages with one single purpose on each of them.

Consider also different pages for each traffic source: ads, social media, email etc.

If you are sending an email with a camera lenses promotion – send those who click your links in emails to a landing page with camera lenses with promotion. Nothing pisses customers off more than an email with a totally unrelated link.

If you are creating an ad with beautiful red dresses – send them to the page with these dresses! I was really annoyed last time by a store that showed cool evening dresses on an ad and when I clicked it – sent me to their frontpage.

Here is an example:

An ad at Facebook shows me that cool t-shirt.

An ad at Facebook shows me that cool t-shirt.

Landing page. Now I need to manually search for these shirts.

Landing page. Now I need to manually search for these shirts.

Compelling headline

How long does it take to read it?

There is no single formula for writing a great headline, but there are a lot of best practices that you should follow:

  • Get to the point!
  • Be relevant to your target customers.
  • Clearly explain the benefit of your product.
  • Use sub-headline to explain the mechanics

Cut out all the words that don’t need to be there. Could you make your point with just 3 words?

Or maybe even with only 2? Like Evernote frontpage.

Clear graphics

Can I see your product without scrolling the page or reading anything?

It takes less than two-tenths of a second for someone to form a first impression when they visit a website. Many people leave websites that look poorly to them.

Use a professional designer or make your best effort to create your webpage. Take a look at our checklist , follow others design rules and remember:

  • Try to make it action driven
  • Emphasize the benefits
  • Clean design.
Read also  CSS tutorial: div over div and z-index

Optimize Page Performance

Does your page take more than 3 seconds to load?

Amazon found out a long time ago that 100 ms extra load time reduces sales by 1%. If you don’t sell anything – think in a number of conversions. Chances are, you won’t get many if your customers leave because of the page that needs 10 seconds to load a slider video.

You need to do only one thing – test your page in Google page speed. It will tell you everything you need to improve and how.

Test it

How is your page looking on iPhone?

Thorough testing is always boring, but you can’t leave it out. I personally hate it as it takes almost as much effort to properly test something and fix all the bugs as to create it in the first place. And there will be bugs! They are always there. We can choose to not see them. This technique cost us a good paying customer once.

Don’t want to do all that boring stuff yourselves – hire professionals.

Otherwise, take a simple approach to the problem – follow a list of tasks:

  1. Check technical stuff:
    • Check validation
    • Check page speed
    • Test for different browsers. Is your page responsive? If not – make it. It is a requirement these days.
    • Check all the links and buttons. Do they do what they are supposed to do?
  2. Check for spelling errors
  3. Show your page to at least 5 different people. Gather feedback.
  4. Set up A/B testing

And remember 20/80 rule – 20% of your efforts give 80% of the results.


Be the first to comment.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>