In the second of our new weekly series, we’ll be moving naturally on to another fundamental in getting your business set up to thrive online. Here, we’re looking at how to design a landing page – and why they’re so essential to get right.
What exactly is a landing page?
First things first – effectively, a landing page is where a person (or ‘user’, following on from our first Web Wednesdays article), is sent when they click a link in an advertisement, promotion, or find your page when using a search engine. The landing page itself could be linked to anywhere else online, but will usually link to key pages over on your existing website.
It is a common misconception that a homepage qualifies as a landing page, simply because it is a good place to begin when someone is first introduced to your business. However, a landing page is different. It is specifically designed to sell a product or service, generate leads, or establish trust between you and the people who land on it.
While every page on your website may be doing this to some extent, a landing page is created solely to accomplish these key business goals. It is a standalone page, carrying a specific message and a prominent, relevant call to action (CTA), often to a specific audience.
There are generally two kinds of landing pages; Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pages, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) pages. While we’ll look closer at the differences between these two different kinds of pages shortly, there’s something essential to establish first, that’s relevant for both of them.
What does a landing page need?
Imagine you’re looking for something online, or clicking on an advertisement and are taken to another site. What do you need to see? A landing page needs to simply guide the visitor to what they’re looking for, and provide clear guidance on how they get it.
This could be making a purchase, enquiring further via a phone number or contact form, or visiting a more informative page on a linked website to learn more. Subsequently, a landing page shouldn’t contain too much information, or be in any way complicated, as the visitor is likely to be put off.
So, the content on the page needs to be precise, highlighting exactly what the visitor is looking for, and not overwhelm them with unnecessary information. It has been estimated that having multiple offers on a single landing page can decrease conversions by up to 266%, so be selective with your content.
Other text on the page could include headings, that would usually state the primary benefit of what you’re offering, and subheadings, that shed further light on the offer and guide the visitor visually through the content.
Crucially then, a landing page needs to be well-structured, with a straightforward layout, and a relatively effortless journey from ‘landing’ on the page, to responding to your CTA. Last week, when we talked about UX Design, we stressed the importance of the user making as few clicks as possible when navigating your website. The same principle applies here, and this is why the design of a landing page is so imperative to its success.
How to design a landing page
First of all, stick to a clean, unobtrusive design when designing the layout. How the page looks should reflect how it reads, so you’re looking for minimalism primarily, and don’t need to overload the page with unnecessary visual elements.
Choose a reasonable-sized font that really highlights the headers, subheaders, and call to action on the page. As above, be selective with your imagery, and choose those that really portray the positives of what you’re offering. Like headers and subheaders, images can help a visitor to visually work their way quickly through the page quickly.
Video, as always, can also help to engage customers, so an engaging, short clip of your product or service could be added here. If you do decide to add several images and a video, make sure to test the page’s loading time yourself. A report by Imperva Incapsula found that almost 60% of consumers will give up if a page takes more than 5 seconds to load.
You may also wish to also add a number of customer testimonials or the logos of reputable, affiliated brands to the page. Again, this shouldn’t take up much space on the page but could help to visually build trust with a visitor as they scroll or read through the page.
You or your designer may choose to design the page using clear, defined blocks of text and imagery, which should always adhere to the simple layout you’re going for. If you feel you’re squeezing too much information into one area of the page, then go back to simplifying your text, or selecting fewer visual elements.
Finally, make sure the page is responsive, for mobile visitors, and you could also add social icons that encourage visitors to share the page online. As this is a CTA in itself, ensure that this does not overpower the more important CTA on your landing page – the message that engages visitors to purchase, learn more, leave their details or get in touch.
SEO and PPC Landing Pages
Fundamentally, the main difference between a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) landing page, and a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) landing page is how it is found. An SEO landing page is designed specifically to generate more traffic organically (or for free), usually by directing visitors to your website, while a PPC landing page will usually focus more on sales straight away (after all – you’re paying for visitors to see it!).
Subsequently, SEO and PPC landing pages, despite following similar principles in terms of simplistic design and clear calls to action, are designed slightly differently. Here are several additional tips on the differences between the two:
SEO landing page best practices
As people will only find your SEO landing page if they search for it (or what it’s offering) online, you’ll need to include keywords throughout the content on the page, plus the Title Tag, Meta Description, and Image File Names on the page.
Crucially, the keywords will also need to be in the Header Tags on the page, which means working them into the headers and sub-headers of your content. By doing this, when Google and the other search engines read the page, they’ll recognise the relevance of the content and rank your page appropriately. In effect, the design of an SEO landing page is as much about optimising it, as it is making it clear, simple and engaging.
PPC landing page best practices
Similarly, with a PPC landing page you would optimise the content to suit the keywords you have bid on. However, overall, the content of a PPC landing page needs to be more focused on a specific audience.
Whereas an SEO landing page could be found by anybody online, the link to a PPC landing page will only be found by someone searching for something very specific. This means images, text and call to action need to talk to a specific person with a specific interest. It’s therefore essential that the design reflects the person reading it – they want to see what they’re looking for, and get to it as quickly and simply as possible.
Want to learn more about designing landing pages?
Now you know the essential elements of how to design a landing page and populate it with concise, relevant information for your customers (and Google itself!), you can get started on building your first page.
However, if you do need a little professional guidance in choosing the right keywords, optimising your pages, or designing your first landing page, we’ve got a few people to help right here. Give us a call on 01455 367 100 to get started, and we’ll happily talk you through how to guide more visitors to your website, or boost sales and revenue for your business.