Ahh, the Landing Page, love em or hate em they are everywhere and for good reason. Businesses can target a specific audience, product or keywords and then plaster it on social channels, optimize it for search results, pay for that coveted keyword click, the list goes on. The landing page offers us an opportunity to connect and convert with audiences – provided it’s done correctly.  The end goal here is results, time is precious, dollars are limited and you can’t afford spend either on landing pages that don’t deliver. So when you are planning that next landing page effort, we want to make sure you are on the right track for positive results and maximum ROI. Here are some of the problems I have encountered over the past 12+ years of developing successful landing pages – and of course, how to fix them.

1. The Landing Pages URL is not relevant

Let’s start from the top here. In my massive amount of perusing I have come across countless pages that have an URL that’s something like ‘biz.com/hipps-1222345-huuFF553=ste?nHHHH=?22’. Seriously? What the hell is that? I don’t know about you but I don’t speak droid (and either does Google).
Make sure your URL uses your main keyword, this is so important for so many reasons. If your landing page is about hungry hippos then your URL should read ‘biz.com/hungry-hippos’ or ‘biz-hungry-hippos.com’. If you are using a WordPress Site make sure you’re using appropriate names for your pages and your Permalinks are set up correctly (Settings > Permalinks). Here you can set up how you would like URL’s displayed. For more information on setting up permalinks in WordPress you can visit this guide.

2. Nobody took the time to do keyword research

Find a keyword that is relevant to what your page is about. If you plan on spending some dough on Google AdWords then you have a little more flexibility here but if you want to optimize your organic search you need to be a little creative. I like to start with Google Keyword Planner (Make sure you sign up for an account if you don’t have one already) Here you can enter the keyword(s) you have your heart set on and click ‘Get Ideas” Google will toss out some relevant ideas along with Avg. Monthly Searches and Competition Rating. Typically, I like to pick something with a decent number of monthly searches (say over 1500) and competition score of medium to low. This isn’t always the case but it’s a decent guideline to set. Moz.com is another great resource to have, you can analyze competitor pages to see what makes them tick. Another keyword tool favorite of ours is Ubersuggest. If you really want to dig in on the subject a decent book that will get you up to speed is “Keyword Research” by Nathan George.

3. The page was not properly optimized

You have to make sure your landing page has been optimized for search engines. Once you have your keyword(s) all baked up and ready to go it’s time to put it in the appropriate places. As mentioned in 1. Make sure it’s in the URL. Next up make sure it is in the title of your page. Then you will want to add it in the meta tag of your page (this is where Google pulls your pages description) Don’t just throw it in, make sure it reads exactly how you would want your viewers to see it in Google. So if your keyword is ‘Analog Guitar Effects’ have the meta tag read something like ‘We have some of the Best Analog Guitar Effects on the Planet. Come See for Yourself’. You’ll also want to add it on the page in a respectful manner. Don’t just shoe horn it in everywhere it might fit, Google may penalize you for this and your viewers will feel the fakery. Use your keyword(s) appropriately, you can bold them where they require bolding, you can use them wisely in your H1, H2 and H3 Tags (Those are your header tags in code speak). Lastly, all your images should have Alt Tags inserted on them (please don’t overlook this step). You can use your keyword as the Alt Tag for the images on your page, maybe just finesse each a bit so they are a little different. That just about sums up my two cents on this but if you want more information on search engine optimization definitely check out the MOZ blog, you will find every optimization trick in the book here, for reals.

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4. They never made it to any social channels

Two-thirds of Americans are using the major social channels, make sure you utilize them. It is getting harder for businesses to be heard in channels like Facebook but that doesn’t mean we won’t give it a go. Honestly I think it’s worth a few bucks to give my post a boost to the appropriate targets but that totally up to you. Building effective facebook posts is it’s own subject and something we will post about in the future but for now this post will be quite sufficient. Use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else your target is. Make sure you are creative with your posts, have it answer a question or fulfill a need. Try different messages and log your results. Again, be respectful of your audience, do not spam channels with ‘Buy This’ all you will gain by doing that is a bad reputation. Personally I keep my promotion posts to 2x a week tops, the rest of my posts are informative, providing insightful information about my key subject.

5. That Call-to-action is feeble man

Different folks are influenced by different triggers. Some people may like a big button that says ‘Click here to Learn More’ while others prefer a simple text link that says ‘Get your free demo now’ Use multiple call-to-actions on your page and make sure they stand out. Also make sure the viewers eye is led to them. Have one at the top of the page and another at the bottom, if you have a sidebar make sure there is one there also. If the goal of your page is to fill out a form then have the form mentioned a few times. Use arrows, simple animations whatever it takes. I’m not a ‘cheesy’ designer but when it comes to landing pages I always pull out my bag of tricks and I use them all (I do try and keep it tasteful though)

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6. Your page is too complex

‘Keep it Simple’ is my motto when it comes to any communication design. If it’s not simple and direct, it sucks… period. People have way too much going on these days and deciphering your message is not on their priority list. Keep your message as simple as it can be. Cut off all the fat and burn it, your viewers will thank you for it. Keep your design minimal and straightforward. Use three fonts maximum and make sure they are legible. If you have forms keep them as basic as you can (Even if you just capture and Email address you can always follow up for more info later on). Use a few bullet points and keep them fairly short. Maybe you want to add a quick 30 second video, that’s cool, just… you guessed it, keep it simple. Don’t confuse simple with boring, I’m not saying it should look like we’re selling hospital beds. Definitely be creative, have a hook and use color and style to create emotion.

7. I don’t believe a thing you said

Don’t fake it, your audience is smart enough to see through your bs. Try and keep your page and all the minor details thoughtful and relevant. If your story sounds honest and genuine people are more apt to trust the page enough to follow through. Try and use images that make sense and that viewers can relate to. Try and use stock photos that don’t look so ‘stock’. A simple portrait of a smiling face is one of my favorites, it connects with the viewer and might even get them to smile. Use real stats and testimonials.

8. You gave them an out

You can click here any time you like, but you can never leave. Seriously, do not provide outside links. If you have 10 links on the page have them all go to the same place, your conversion stage. Have enough information on the page that they know what they are getting into but never, ever send them away. When I first started doing this I was amazed by the conversion drop off just by providing a link to the businesses main website. Now I save all that stuff for the thank you page, after they fill out my form (or whatever our goal is) I send them to a thank you page that has the main website, helpful links whatever else I was itching to get on that main page.

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9. This does absolutely nothing for me

Make sure whatever you are trying to sell solves a problem or answers a need. If it doesn’t do anything for me then what good is it? Know you audience, know what their challenges are and show them how you are going to solve them, easy enough right? It might be a bit challenging but it’s very important that you clearly demonstrate the usefulness of your product (and do it in 2 sentences… just kidding, but not really). This might mean you have to create different landing pages for different audiences but that’s the name of the game. Develop detailed personas for all of your targets and use them to help establish your message. If you need a little help developing personas Bloom Media created a handy little eBook you can download for free here. Another fantastic resource for creating personas is this book by Adele Revella. We all want something different, so it’s definitely worth it to take the time to know and understand your audience.

10. It looks like crap on my iPhone

Something like 30% of all web activity comes from mobile… that’s a lot of failed opportunities if your page is not mobile friendly. Once your landing page is complete make sure you test it on all the latest devices and it work’s properly. Also make sure it still reads correctly and looks good. Again we would like to keep things simple and clear, avoid a cluttered screen. Make sure your call-to-actions stand out and are easy to spot. Try to minimalize scrolling also (at least for the important stuff). I always test on actual devices but in the devlopment stage we’ll use Chrome plug-ins like ‘Mobile/Responsive Web Design Tester’ and ‘Resizer’ or the emulators included in the Adobe design suites.

Your landing page should be in great shape if you avoid these common pitfalls. Even if you follow all the rules remember to test, without tests we would never learn anything. Simple things like changing the CTA or adding a benefit callout can increase conversion rates. When you do A/B testing make sure you only test one revision at a time otherwise you’ll never know exactly what gave you the lift. I wish you the best of luck in all your journeys and if you have any questions please contact me here or if you’re interested in a free marketing consulation fill out this form.