What is a landing page?
A landing page is any page that a user sees first when they arrive (or land) at your site.
If you are directing users to a specific page, perhaps through linking opportunities or advertisements, you have a great opportunity to create a landing page to get users to take a specific, desired action on your website.
Types of landing pages
According to Unbounce, there are two main types of landing pages; click through and lead generation.
Click through landing pages try to “warm” users up towards an idea and direct them to another page. One main use for these types of pages is if you were selling something. The click through landing page could be used to portray the item for sale in a good light and give some of the product benefits before directing users to a sales page.
Lead generation landing pages are those that collect user data, perhaps using a subscription form or contact form. This kind of user info can then be used later to get in touch with the user and even to reach out to them again and again.
When should you create a landing page?
Some times when you might want to create a landing page and optimize it could be if you are going to be running an advertisement or campaign, if you have an opportunity to get a link that will send a lot of targeted traffic, or if you have a page that already is getting a lot of specific traffic that you want to try to convert.
Let’s say that you have decided to run an ad, perhaps on Google and Facebook, to bring users to your site and try to convert them.
You would of course want to create a landing page to give yourself the best possible conversion rate, so that the ad money you are spending is going to good use. In fact, 48% of marketers say that they create new landing pages for every marketing campaign.
Getting a link that will send targeted traffic
Another time when you might want to create a landing page is if you get the chance to get an awesome link, or you know that a link you can post will get a lot of traffic. If you direct that traffic to a plain post, readers will probably skim or read the post and leave, with maybe a small portion (1-3%) joining your email list, filling out the contact form, or going to your shop page.
By setting up a landing page, you can instead work to optimize the conversion rate from this traffic, just like you would try to optimize a page that paid traffic is landing on.
Specific page that is already getting traffic
My final example of when you might want to create a landing page is if you already have a lot of targeted traffic hitting a page. Depending on the page, you could optimize that page to try to get the traffic to convert.
A good example of this might be this very blog. It used to be that we used category pages to just show all the posts in a category. Those pages got a lot of traffic by themselves. That traffic also was not converting at all. By instead setting those pages up to convert users by getting them to fill out a contact form (and also giving info and showing some posts), we started turning that traffic into leads.
Landing page design
How to design your landing page is tricky, as there really are a ton of ways to do it that might work.
In this section, I thought we’d take a look at some of the landing page formatting issues that seem to be debated a lot.
Text vs Images vs Videos
First off, you should decide whether you want your landing page to have images, videos, or just be plain text.
Some people prefer plain text for the faster load times, which is a big deal on mobile. If you want a minimalist design where readers are forced to focus on the text, then going without images might be best.
In many cases, I think it makes sense to use images. For instance, if you are selling a physical product (or even a digital product) that has an actual appearance, then it makes sense to show it. You also might want to show someone using the product.
If you are using an image purely for aesthetic reasons (aka for the look), I’d recommend split testing the same page without an image too, as the non-image pages seem to do a bit better.
Using a video can be an effective method for landing pages, as people seem to just love videos, although they usually watch less than 5 minutes before getting bored. You could even use special software so users need to opt in to see the video.
You hear a lot about how certain colors effect conversion rate. There was a study at one point which “proved” that orange was the most effect CTA button color. However, if you search the web and view a lot of landing pages, you’ll notice that just about every color is used and can work.
It might be important to use color to make certain elements stand out. For instance, you could have your button be a contrasting color. So if the whole page is mainly blue, then an orange, yellow, or red button might be best.
You could also use color to match the mood you want your user to feel. For instance, blue tends to have a calming effect while red is stimulating.
Whether to have social sharing buttons on your landing pages seems to have become a hot topic lately. I think it makes sense that, if you have those buttons, you’ll get shares which might bring in more traffic and also could boost your page in the SERPs as shares are a Google ranking factor.
The other side of that, which some people argue about, is that if a user is clicking a share button, they aren’t doing the action you want them to do, which is to convert into a subscriber, lead, or sale. I tend to think that people that will share the page are likely to also convert, but don’t have research to corroborate.
Number of opt ins
Research has shown that having more than one opt in on a page leads to increased conversion rates. As such, I’d recommend using two opt ins. However, this does kind of depend on how you set your site up. If it is just an opt in with a heading, then two opt ins doesn’t make sense. However, if you have a heading, opt in, then a bunch of copy, I think it makes sense to add another opt in at the bottom.
Maintain ad “scent” or design
Your landing page that is reached via a campaign will convert slightly better if the landing page maintains the same design from the ad. This is called the “scent,” aka the two things smell the same.
So if your ad has a big image of a girl on a bike, and the colors are purple and pink, your landing page should use that same image and colors, as well as at least similar copy. It should be clear that the ad and the landing page go together.
Keep it simple
I’ve really found that a simple landing page design works the best. By only including the necessary stuff, you avoid users getting confused or clicking something else. That means you probably don’t want a header or navigation or footer links. Just use the landing page copy and make the action you want the user to take be the only option on the page.
Sometimes, when confronted with a choice, users just leave. Give those users just one option and make it clear what you want them to do.
When it comes to landing pages, probably the most important thing you can do is to split test, or A/B test, your landing pages. Usually the best way to do this is to make similar pages with small differences, then filter down to the best pages.
An example might be starting off with three copies of the same page, but one is plain text with a white background, one is plain text with a colored background, and one has an image background. It really is kind of guesswork when you first set the page up, but you can use the tips from the last section
Some builders to use to create a landing page
Divi by Elegant Themes
I use the Divi theme a lot, which includes the Divi builder. That builder lets you setup landing pages fairly simply. All you need to do is make a new page and choose to use the Divi builder. You then get options for hiding the navigation and you can use the builder options to setup the page, including call to action buttons and subscription forms.
Divi also has a split testing feature that you can use. Just hit the settings button (three horizontal lines) from the top of the builder and enable split testing. You then can test different elements on the page.
One of the more popular landing page builders is Lead Pages. Starting at $25/month, you can use Lead Pages to build all kinds of designs with their easy to use builder. They also have a lot of prebuilt templates you can create a landing page from, many of which look great. They also are pre-optimized. They integrate with services like MailChimp, other email subscription services, and many CRMs. Lead Pages is easy to use with WordPress, as you just build your templates and they generate a plugin for you to install.
Another popular landing page builder is Unbounce. They are kind of pricey, starting at $49/month. They are really pretty similar to LeadPages, with tons of prebuilt templates to work from and integration with a lot of services. I haven’t used Unbounce too much as I prefer to pay half the cost with LeadPages, plus LeadPages is a Minnesota company. One nice thing about Unbounce is the free trial.
I should probably mention Instapages as they are the other big service like LeadPages and Unbounce. Starting at $29/month, they are just slightly more expensive than LeadPages. They have over 100 templates for you to use to create a landing page from (so not as many as LeadPages or Unbounce) and the templates look pretty similar to the other service’s templates. They connect with various email and CRM services. There is a 30 day free trial, which is great.
SumoMe isn’t really a landing page builder, but they have their “welcome mat” feature that essentially turns every page into a landing page at the top. You then have to scroll down to see the content. This feature is really effective at getting conversions, and you can start using it for free!
I hope this article was helpful in introducing you to landing pages and giving you some ideas of when you would want to create a landing page and some tools to use to make them. Let me know if you need any help!