Site owners typically spend a great deal of time optimizing the site’s home page, as well they should. The home page should be optimized, both for search engines and conversion optimization.
But not all of your site visitors come through the front door – the home page. In fact, a visitor can enter your site through any number of portals – any number of site pages. The page where a visitor lands after clicking on either an organic search result, a link from another site or blog, or a paid link (AdWords, for example), is called a landing page.
So, indeed, optimize that home page to the max but also recognize that a site visitor may land on another page of your site and never even see the home page. So what does this mean to a web-based business?
Steps On Creating A Perfect Landing Page
Well-crafted landing pages are critical to site success. Get it right on your site’s landing pages and web success is much more likely.
1. Every landing page should act as a home page.
Because you don’t necessarily know on which page a visitor will begin his or her site experience with you, treat each potential landing page as a home page.
Now, this doesn’t mean you start from scratch and repeat the same information that appears on your home page over and over. The information has to be framed within the context of the landing page itself.
For example, if you designate your SERVICE OFFERINGS page as a potential landing page, that page should include basic contact information and more detailed descriptions of the goods or services you provide. It’s called context of search.
2. Make sure the visitors know where they are.
First, make sure they know what site they’re on. Easily done with a company logo, banner or some other identifier that tells the visitor, yes, you’ve reached AcmeRoachControl.com.
Second, make sure the visitor knows that s/he is NOT on the home page but, instead, has landed on the SERVICE OFFFERINGS page. Highlight the visitors location on the nav bar or use a big, honkin’ 20-pt. header to identify the page on which the visitor now rests.
3. Make the home page accessible from any landing page.
The site visitor, after reading about Acme’s bug control services, may want to learn more about the company itself and, more than likely, first time visitors (the best kind of visitors) usually go back to the beginning – the home page.
This is a simple matter of accessibility. The easier and clearer you make navigation, the more useful your landing pages.
4. Make each landing page a lead capture page.
Check your site’s bounce rate. If it’s up around 70-80%, folks are stopping by but they aren’t sticking around. Why? You’ve got less than 10 seconds to convince a web searcher to stay on your site.
Use big headlines on each page. The headline should be designed to inform the visitors where they are and, more importantly, convince them to stay on your site and explore. The longer a visitor stays on site, the more likely you are to make a sale or get a phone call via contact information.
Charts, graphs, photos and other visual aids are also excellent ways to (1) provide a great deal of information in an easy-to-understand format and (2) provide visual interest.
Big blocks of text – especially in a small font – are like death to a landing page so design every page to be simple, easy-to-absorb and visually interesting.
Bullet lists, highlighted text, headers and subheads, all direct the visitors’ eyes as they scan the landing page.
5. Make the content relevant to the link.
If a visitor reaches your site via an AdWords cube offering Pest Control, they better not land on a page describing your E-Z PAYMENT PLAN. The link that brought them to your site advertised Pest Control.
Make sure the content fits the link. Make sure it’s relevant to the visitors’ search or they’re going to bounce for sure.
6. Place a trip wire at every access point.
A trip wire, on the battlefield, sets off an explosion when a wire is broken. On a landing page, a trip wire can be anything from FREE SHIPPING to 30% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER.
The trip wire is designed to push the visitors’ buttons – to save money, to find solutions, to find the perfect products or service providers. Each landing page should employ a trip wire – an attention grabbing headline, pix of people like them (identification with your client base), a special offer (LIMITED TIME ONLY creates urgency) – something – ANYTHING to keep that visitor from bouncing.
7. Paid advertising and landing pages.
Some SEOs define a landing page more specifically as a page upon which visitors land after clicking on a paid advert. I don’t disagree. These are, indeed, critical landing pages but to me, any page that can be accessed and indexed by a search engine is a potential landing page.
And, most certainly, a landing page accessed through an AdWords link or paid link from another site should be highly optimized for conversion. After all, you’re paying for that click or that pricey block of pixels on another site. Most SEOs agree that needs-driven buyers use paid links more than browsers who bounce from one site to another.
So, optimize any landing page to the max to convert visitors to buyers. I hate hype, but these visitors have a need for your products or services so a slightly harder sell works in closing the deal.
Once again, let me mention the importance of simple, intuitive navigation so once visitors have absorbed the landing page sales message, they can easily learn more about you.
One critical tip:
Include contact information on every page – or at least a link to the CONTACT US page on every landing page. Easy accessibility closes more sales.
Don’t spend ALL your time optimizing the home page. It’s important, for sure. But any page accessible and indexed within a search engine has the potential to be the start of the visitor’s experience with your web site.
A well-crafted landing page kicks-off that experience on a positive note.