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Landing Page Optimization in 17 Easy Steps

Published: September 5, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

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Today’s post is by , CEO of Clickthroo.

Remember those landing page changes you were supposed to implement at the beginning of the week?

Of course you don’t. It’s been four days now, and you’re not the same person you were when you first said you would do it. That other person wore a fresh shirt, was well groomed, and above all else, still had a clear head full of bright ideas. It’s been a tough, grueling week in the meantime, and the only blinking light above your head is a result of bad wiring.
What you need right now is a list of quick, easy tips that can help optimize your landing page performance straight away. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 17 of the best landing page practices that can be implemented in the time it takes to put another pot of coffee on… almost.

First impressions

1. Message should match your headline

As the first thing a visitor will see upon arriving at your landing page, the headline needs to be – above all else – absolutely relevant.
Chances are that most people will arrive at your page by clicking on an ad or banner, so make sure your headline copy corresponds exactly to avoid any confusion, uncertainty, or doubt that could increase your bounce rate.
2. Streamline your headline
You should know by now that when it comes to landing page fundamentals, time is everything. Focus your visitor’s attention with a clear, concise headline that gets straight to the point. 
If you can’t communicate what you want to say in seven words or less (3 to 4 words for a mobile landing page), you seriously need to rethink your headline. Remember, you can always elaborate later…  
Example: Headline too long?

Long Headline 

Example: A streamlined headline will usually result in higher conversion rates

A Better, Streamlined Headline

3. Try placing your call-to-action at the top of the page
Really? We’re going to discuss this now? Well yes actually, this would be a great time to start thinking about where you could place your call-to-action, seeing as most people tend to skip through the bulk of your content and go straight to the element of your page that gives them what they came for.
By placing your CTA at the top of the page – above the fold – and limiting the number of actions a person must perform, you increase the chances of a successful conversion greatly.
Moreover, by placing your CTA on the right hand side of the top of the page, it follows nicely from your initial headline – giving the visitor the offer description they were looking for, immediately followed by instructions on how to get it.
4. Provide a consistent experience throughout
This is kind of a re-iteration to what I’ve already said before but goes a long way to improving your overall conversion rate.
From ad through landing page and onto the destination site, design, messaging and tone should be consistent with the expectations your visitor had at the time they clicked the link/banner.

Functionality and design

5. Remove clutter

Surely your landing page has already been stripped back to the bare essentials, but it’s still good to give it a once-over from time to time.
As you carefully build your landing page, step back now and again, look at it from a distance and see how many things are vying for your attention.
The answer should be: one.
6. Remove navigation 
Likewise, your landing page needs to flow in a single direction. Imagine your visitor is on a journey and the CTA is their destination; they need to get there swiftly without any detours on the way.
Each navigation option you provide dilutes their attention. Get rid of any links that take them anywhere but to where you need them to go. If they want to find out more about your company, your primary website or anything besides the message you are promoting, then they can search for that information in their own time.
7. Devil’s in the (lack of) details
Like we said before, the most important part of your landing page copy comes right at the off. Anything else that follows is simply there to aid the user towards your CTA and if it’s buried within paragraphs of endless text then they’re going to miss the mark completely, lose focus and get the hell out of there.
In short, keep reading to a minimum.
8. Tighten up your sales pitch
When it comes to landing page copy, you’re really only selling one thing: what comes next. If visitors aren’t hooked from one bite of information to the next, they’re going to leave fast.
You should always highlight the value or your offer for emphasis, deftly woven with action-oriented language that motivates the user to continue through your copy and prompts an action when they get to the element of your page that requires them to do so.
9. Reassess your choice of graphics/images
Whatever your offer, make sure you choose an image that is relevant so that people know they’ve arrived at the right page. A visitor spends just seconds looking at your landing page, before determining its usefulness and relevance to their needs. If they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, or if you somehow miscommunicate what it is you are offering, they will abandon your page altogether.
10. Pick a color scheme that works
Have a bad rep for interior design? You might want to reassess your choice of color use. With so much real estate dedicated to visual space, it is crucial you decide which colors to use carefully and configure them well. Take color association into account – how colors can make people feel and the different reactions they evoke – and implement them in places with other colors that aren’t just complimentary, but are also contrasting and make important text easy to read.
Read my recent article on color association here:
11. Make your call-to-action compelling
Your call-to-action is the last stop before your visitors decide whether or not to go through with completing a conversion – so make sure to leave them with a lasting impression that supports their decision to act by using strong, convincing copy. Avoid the ‘submit’ button for form submissions at all costs!
12. Make your call-to-action attractive
As the most important element of your page – and the only one that requires any action to be taken from your users – your call-to-action needs to be inviting. Big, clean, contrasting buttons are the most inviting, and just beg to be clicked, scrolled over, or prodded on a touch screen.

Which call to action would you be most likely to click on?

Attractive Action Buttons

13. Remove any unnecessary form fields
If data capture is your aim, then keep forms short and simple. Most people are willing to provide some of their information in exchange for the products/services they require, but there are limitations. Each form field is another grate on the visitor’s patience, and another excuse for them to leave before completing a successful conversion.

Trust and security

14. Include testimonials for social proof
Nothing establishes trust better than a certified endorsement. Not only will it reduce any doubt visitors may have about the legitimacy of your business, but it will also help secure a purchase/sign up (required action) based on feedback from real people. 

Social Proof And Testimony Done Very Well (from Conversion Rate Experts)

Social Proof and Testimony

15. Include social tags
Integrating social media into your landing page, such as Facebook Likes, embedded Tweets and Google Plus, is an ideal way of expanding social proof on a much larger scale. It also allows people to make a purchasing decision based on the ‘approval’ of their friends and contacts – the most influential kind of testimonial there is.
16. Have a clear understanding of where your traffic is coming from
Break down your traffic reports into meaningful segments using URL channels, custom channels, or DFP ad units. This will help gauge how changes to traffic sources or implementation can affect your ad traffic, and give you a better idea of how your ad traffic would normally look. This means any abnormal behavior outside of your own intervention (invalid activity) will be easier to spot, and picked up much sooner.
17. Avoid partnering with untrusted or low-quality parties
Invalid activity can often come as a result of partnering with low-quality ad networks, search engines, or directory sites in efforts to increase traffic to their site.
This means running your ads on high-value sites ONLY. Make sure your ads are being run on the sites you have specified and avoid the types of websites where unethical revenue generating may occur.
Avoid advertising in countries which are considered high-risk for online fraud. You can check here for a list of those countries.

Oh yeah, one last thing…

We said we’d give you 17 quick tips, but here’s one for free: Test, test, test! 
To achieve real insight into what works best, you need to implement your changes and put them to practice; report your findings and do it again and again. There’s absolutely no room for complacency in the business. Every idea you have is potential to tweak, tinker, and test.
dave-bird– Dave Bird is the CEO of Clickthroo, a landing page marketing solution that allows marketers to easily build self-optimizing landing pages and then show personalized content to each landing page visitor based on who they are and what they are looking for. The platform is primarily used by advertisers, agencies, and affiliate marketers. Follow them @clickthroo.

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