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5 Top Landing Page Mistakes

5 Top Landing Page Mistakes

This article is part of an SEO series from WooRank. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

There’s a lot of discussion in the digital marketing space about various marketing channels and their effectiveness in producing conversions and sales. You’ve got SEO, retargeting, paid search, content marketing and display advertising. However, there’s one thing all these channels have in common that will play a huge role in the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns: The landing page.

Unfortunately, optimizing landing pages is often overlooked when setting up and executing marketing campaigns. Below we’ll go over some of the top mistakes people make on their landing page and how you can avoid the same fate.

Lacking Calls to Action

Your website really has one goal: Turn visitors into conversions. In order to do that, you need clear calls to action (CTAs) on your landing pages. Other landing page elements, like content marketing, attractive visuals and a good slogan are helpful in convincing people to become customers, but they need that CTA to draw their eye and get them to start the conversion process (whether that be ordering a product, completing a contact information form or signing up for an email newsletter). When adding a CTA to your landing page, make sure it is:

  • Visible: This sounds obvious, but you might be surprised by the number of landing pages that bury the CTA below the fold. Users shouldn’t have to scroll in order to find what they’re looking for, so make sure the CTA is one of the first things they see when they click through to your site. If your CTA is already above the fold but still not getting a lot of clicks, it might not be optimally placed. Use a heat map tool such as Crazy Egg to record where users click on your site — if people tend to click links on the right side of your page, try moving the CTA over there.
  • Distinct: Calls to action should stand out from the rest of the page content, to better attract visitors’ attention. The most common way people do this is through the use of color. Choose a bright color that contrasts with the overall design of your page so it stands out, but not so much that it clashes. You don’t have to use just color — some pages get a little more obvious by adding arrows or other animated elements. Use this tactic with care; if you get it wrong you could make your page look spammy, which is not good for usability or SEO.
  • Clear: CTAs need to be easy to read, but that’s not all we mean by ‘clarity.’ What’s really important is that there isn’t any ambiguity about what clicking the CTA will do for the user. Craft the text around what the end result of the action will be: signing up for a newsletter or free trial, adding a product to a shopping cart, sending contact information for follow-up communication, etc. Avoid generic language like “click here,” “buy now” or “submit” — users will scan it without registering it.

In the case of CTAs, more is definitely not better. Having multiple actions on your site will only overwhelm and confuse readers. Which offer is the right one? Should they be signing up for a newsletter or submitting their information for lead generation? They’ll end up leaving your site and doing neither. So if you’re lacking calls to action on your landing pages, don’t swing in the opposite direction by adding more than one for each page.

Cluttered or Ugly Design

It’s no secret that design is incredibly important for landing pages: Visitors form their opinion of your site and business in the first half second of looking at your content. Put your best foot forward by using a clean, attractive design. 95% of those first opinions are formed based on the visual design of the page.

When designing a landing page for a particular marketing campaign, use one principle to guide all of your decisions: do not make people think. Get your messaging across in as few words as possible and use visual elements readily. Rely on these page elements to communicate with visitors effectively, without burdening them with the requirement of too much thought:

  • Primary CTA: We just talked about this above: make your CTA clear, to the point and enticing. If you can, make the CTA the focus of the entire landing page — put it front and center and make it large and in charge so it’s obviously number one in your page’s hierarchy. If the call to action is more than just a button, consider options to visually set it apart; change the background color for a signup form or use paler colors for the rest of the page.
  • Headline: Again, the guiding principles are clarity and brevity. Try to boil your value proposition down to just a few simple words. For example, a consulting firm might use “Business Solutions,” while an HVAC company could use “Keep Cool” (or warm, depending on the season). If you’ve got a special offer, create a sense of urgency by adding the expiration date, or maybe even a countdown timer, as a sub-head.
  • Product/Service Information: At the risk of repeating ourselves, make any product or service information you have on your landing page as short as possible, and don’t make people think about what you’re telling them. Focus on how your product will help customers achieve their goal and then tell them in a few sentences. Remember, this isn’t your homepage so you can get a little bit wordier here. Break up sections of text using illustrations or other images so you don’t burden your readers.
  • Visuals: Images are some of your best friends when building landing pages dedicated to marketing campaigns. Use them incorrectly, though, and they can depress the conversion rate of your campaign. One of the best things you can do for your page is to avoid stock images — using custom images can increase conversion rate by 35%. They can help show what sort of industry or niche your product is in, but not how it works to add value to their lives. Instead, use custom photos to show your product in action or illustrations to show off a bit of your company culture or values.

Inaccurate Messaging

Matching your landing page to expectations set in your ads or search snippet (the title, URL, link and description of your page displayed in search results) is vital to maintaining your audience’s trust in your business. Losing their trust will hold back your marketing efforts in multiple ways:

  • High Bounce Rate: Promising a product or offer without delivering immediately when the visitor arrives on the page will cause them to exit the page without engaging with your site. This is bad for your SEO since it tells search engines that your site is either irrelevant to the keyword or provides a bad user experience.
  • Low Quality Score: Quality Score is Google’s secret recipe to determine an ad’s relevance to a keyword. Landing pages that don’t back up what’s in the ad severely lower your Quality Score. This will require you to bid much, much higher to get your ads to appear in search results, if at all.
  • Retargeting: Retargeting is a great way to recapture people who don’t convert the first time around. However, if your site doesn’t jive with the ads that bring people to the landing pages, they won’t trust your retargeting messaging and will be much less likely to come back and finish converting. Even worse, if you follow people around the web with an offer you don’t have on your pages, you’ll look like a scam and risk damaging your brand.

If you advertise any discounts or other deals, reinforce them prominently at the top of the landing page where visitors can’t miss it. Don’t advertise any features your products don’t have (or don’t do well enough to retain customers). If you do talk about specific product features or services, explain them quickly in your landing page content (remember to do it in a way that your users won’t have to think too hard about).

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