How to Strengthen the Design of Your Landing Pages
- Rob Toledo
- March 19, 2014
There are a lot of ideas floating around the web on how best to approach landing page design, but the best landing pages are those that put a premium on how every element on the page speaks to the viewer and interacts with the rest of the design.
In essence, a landing page is a finely tuned sales pitch. That pitch can be almost anything, depending on the site in question. But whether it’s signing up for a new product or newsletter, subscribing to a service, or joining a community, the intent of the landing page remains the same. Everything on it should be working harmoniously to convince viewers to convert: sign up for a newsletter, join the email list, register an account, etc. That’s a tall order, but if you break it down piece by piece, you’ll find that there are quite a few strategies that can be effectively employed.
A Checklist for Your Landing Page Design
Many of the examples below have number of elements in common; this is due to the fact that there are elements that almost any landing page can benefit from. Keep these elements in mind when you build your landing pages, and you’ll create a smooth user experience and a higher likelihood of conversion.
Focus on your Headline
the perfect headline has a combination of the four U’s: urgency, usefulness, uniqueness, and ultra-specificity. Although you may not be able to hit all four, you should at least be able to get in two or three.
For example, Mixture’s headline (“The perfect front-end development tool for Mac & Windows”) is both useful and specific, but not particularly unique, and not urgent at all. But those two qualities are patently less important to the landing page’s audience; it’s promoting a system for front-end developers, not hawking tickets for a sold-out event. Your headline might not all four U’s either, but it can still be very effective as long as it makes a good case for the product.
Use a Strong Visual Hierarchy
In order to make a strong statement, your visuals need to be just as coherent as your writing. This means that you need to arrange your landing page in such a way as to guide the eye from your selling point to your call to action, without any unnecessary distractions. Variations in type size and color are two of the best tools for creating this hierarchy.
Allow for Further Explanation
There are some members of your audience who won’t need much convincing to give your product a go. But others will want to explore more, and be given proper time to consider before they choose to follow through. Satisfy that half of your audience by providing them with links, videos, or further information below the fold.
You may wonder how you’re supposed to keep your call to action front and center if you’re allowing users to move away from it the page. One great solution is demonstrated by Falcon Social’s page, which lets you scroll down for further information, but keeps the navigation bar, with its eye-catching “Free Trial” button, always in site.
Write Concise, Appealing Copy
You probably know that any copy on your landing page should be meticulously edited so it’s as simple and clear as possible. But you may be surprised to hear that your content shouldn’t put a focus on how great your product and company are. Instead, it’s nearly always more compelling to describe how your product can benefit the user.
Balance Text, Imagery, and White Space
Space is precious on a landing page, so it’s tempting to cram as much persuasive copy as possible into each section. But (tying in with the previous tip) that’s the exact opposite of what you should do. Your landing page needs to be just as visually appealing as it is conceptually convincing. This means that you need to follow the example of sites like Demand Force, which breaks up its copy points with images, icons, blocks of color, and plenty of white space.
Show That You’re Trustworthy
One of the easiest ways to increase your conversion rates is to provide evidence of your site’s dependability. Two of the best ways to do this are featured on Benchmark’s landing page: it has both testimonials from satisfied users and logos from respected businesses that use their product. Another good way to gain your viewers’ confidence is to display badges, awards, or certifications from other respected entities.
Be Careful With Forms
Forms are an unavoidable conversion point for many landing pages, which is too bad, because they’re automatically off-putting to almost any web user. Because of this, it’s very important to make sure that yours is as inoffensive as possible. Too many fields are a real conversion killer; only ever include ones that are absolutely essential.
Look to examples like Gridset, which has just four fields (really only three, given that one is just a repeat of your chosen password), a compelling headline advertising a free trial, and a descriptive button that goes a step beyond the generic “Submit”.
Cater to Your Audience
A lot of these examples have featured a fairly minimal aesthetic and a restrained copywriting style. But that doesn’t mean that that’s the only way a landing page should look; it just means that the audience for those pages has responded positively to that type of design. Other target audiences, such as the one that Hipstamatic caters to, have a different character that’s expressed in the vibrant and colorful design, decorative typefaces, and more casual phrasing.
Compare yourself to other relevant websites to get a good glimpse into what they’re doing. Try to look at it from the perspective of a customer, what do you like? What do you not like? When it comes to improving your landing page, the list above covers the most important things that you need to be aware of. But if you want to really delve into the topic, there’s a lot more to learn. But really the most helpful thing you can do for your landing page is to test it, and test it again. Only by engaging with a live audience will you be able to determine the particular difficulties and successes that your landing page is likely to encounter.
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