So you’re paying top dollar to get your name out there: lovingly crafted banner ads and compelling copy – all designed to tempt people into clicking through and finding themselves on your company’s landing page where you can flaunt your wares. But despite thousands of clicks, the sales just aren’t materialising! Why?
Check out this list of Landing Page Sins and see how many you might unwittingly be guilty of. More importantly, find out how to fix them so you can convert those clicks into all-important sales.
Yawn… Will This Page Ever Load?
In this age of super-fast broadband, with its HD streaming and all-you-can-eat Netflix, it’s easy to fall into the trap of over-adorning your site with HTTP-intensive hi-res images. It’s forgiveable – visuals sell after all. But a bloated site takes longer to load and, when it comes to Conversion Rate Optimisation, every second counts, quite literally. This is the generation of Snapchat, not snail mail – people don’t have the patience to wait anymore. In fact, did you know that 40% of Web users will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load?
That’s right – if your page takes too long to load, almost half of your potential customers will click that back arrow without even giving you a chance. It gets worse – Google have found that even a difference of 250 milliseconds in loading time – less than the blink of an eye – can cause a visitor to favour a faster site over that of a slower competitor.
How Do I Fix It?
Take a leaf from Lotus’ motto: add lightness and simplify.
In web design terms, this means streamlining your site to minimize HTTP requests. Try using CSS (Cascade Style Sheets) instead of images that might take time to download. If you must use images – and let’s face it, you must – use fast-loading JPEGs when appropriate, or otherwise use compression tools such as https://tinypng.com/ to reduce their size.
If you use a CMS such as WordPress, try to minimise the amount of plug-ins you use; these can slow load times considerably. And definitely enable browsing caching, so that the next time your lead deigns to visit you, your page loads faster still.
Every unnecessary line of code on your page will add valuable milliseconds that you just can’t afford, so it’s crucial to nail development first time around. Because of this, an astute developer is integral to your landing page keeping visitors on board.
To check your own page for possible issues that might be hampering your load times, why not try using the Google Page Speed Tool.
This Doesn’t Look Like the Right Site… I’m Outta Here!
Imagine you’re hunting for some new shoes – you walk into Wilson’s Fine Chaussures, but the first thing you see is a basket of bargain basement Jean-Claude Van Damme DVDs. Nonplussed, you leave Bloodsport behind and walk straight back out. The shop two doors down gets your business instead.
This is precisely what happens when a visitor lands on your page and doesn’t instantly see something relevant to the link or ad that brought them there in the first place. It’s been found that visitors are extremely likely to leave your website within the first ten seconds of browsing it.
Why is this?
Because in those crucial opening seconds they haven’t found what they’re looking for!
If a customer clicks on a link for a pair of headphones, it should take them to those headphones. If it takes them to the main page, they’ve now got to search for it themselves. Most people won’t take that extra time. Most will click away.
How Do I Fix It?
Have your value proposition up front. Make it clear that you know why the lead is there. If you’re offering 20% off shoes, make sure the first thing they see on your landing page is shoes with a fifth off. Have a clear and catchy headline to hold their attention, with short, to-the-point copy explaining your proposition and a clearly visible CTA button so they know where to click.
Whatever images you’re using, too, should tie-in with the theme. Selling headphones? Better have some headphones on clear display. Continuity between the ad link and the landing page must be maintained if you’re to keep a customer engaged.
Elements That Distract From Your Unique Selling Point
You’ve got them on your site, you’ve held them for that crucial ten seconds. But the longer your visitor stays on your site without clicking those all-important CTAs, the greater the chance that they’re going to find something else to draw their attention. Outbound links, whilst useful, are an exit sign. Think of late-night browsing sessions on Wikipedia and how easily one can drift from topic to topic before forgetting what one was looking for in the first place.
How Do I Fix It?
First and foremost, draw attention to your CTA. Big arrows. Plenty of clear space. If you have pictures of people, have them look towards your CTA rather than staring into space. It sounds silly, but studies show that your visitor will instinctively follow the gaze of faces they see. If your images look at your CTAs, so will your visitors
Next, try to keep outbound links to a minimum. Obviously not all links are bad. You want links to your own social media.
You also want Trust Indicators to put your visitor’s mind at ease: PayPal, WorldPay, McAffee, plus any affiliates or partner sites you may have. But the key is to keep these in a passive area of the page, so that the primary focal point is always the CTA.
A good way to have your cake AND eat it is to keep your outbound links below the fold. Out of sight, out of mind. If the visitor really wants to check out your Facebook page, they can. But they’ll have to scroll for it.
Speaking of scrolling…
Too Much Information. Cannot Compute.
Be delicate with data.
A wall of text is a daunting thing to face. It brings back memories of English class at school, with mountains of encumbering Shakespearean text to work through. It can turn people off.
Going hand-in-hand with this are Lead Capture Forms. Everyone feels that dread in the pit of their stomach when they shop online for car insurance, filling out information field after information field. Hence the popularity of comparison sites. Reading and writing are too much like hard work for most people. And if you’re asking your visitor to work, you might as well be asking them to leave.
How Do I Fix It?
That copy you’re so proud of? Halve it. Then halve it again. Your visitors don’t want to search for information, they want it right there, so in the world of CRO, less is often more. Of course, you need to use some discretion; someone buying a high-value item like a car is going to naturally want more information than someone buying, for example, socks. Make the length of your copy relative to the value of the item or service you’re offering.
Information fields are another animal altogether, their length pre-determined by the information you need for marketing purposes and so on. Obviously, you want to be tactful when asking for information – ask for as little as you can afford.
Further, because you can’t really shrink them, focus on making your Lead Capture Forms interesting and inviting, with bright graphics and plenty of clear space around them. Your wording should be informal, every day, rather than robotic and business-like. And if you’re feeling charitable, why not do some of the legwork for them and have it half filled out already?
Why, with so little effort needed on their part, they’d be silly not to complete it!
What Is This? A Website For Ants?
Optimise for your audience’s devices.
2014 was a big year for technology. NASA landed a probe on a comet. Everybody seemed to start flying drones. But the digital breakthrough was that 2014 was the first year in which more people used mobiles to browse the internet than PCs. This is big news for those who ply their trade on the web, as it means that more and more people are viewing their landing pages on the small screen of a phone, rather than a large desktop monitor or laptop.
Why is this a big deal? Think back to rule number one of your landing page: don’t make your visitors work! Few things are as tiresome as having to zoom in with two fingers to try to read copy. And nothing is as frustrating as trying to click that one CTA link but instead mashing your thumb over the wrong one and immediately being taken to a completely unrelated page.
How Do I Fix It?
Know your audience. The goods or services you offer – are the people searching for them likely to be at home with PC or laptop to hand? Or are they on the move? Someone looking to buy a house might be content to take their time and sit at home, view things properly. Someone hunting for a place to eat or a specific shop could well be on mobile.
There’s ways of checking through clever coding. Make sure you have a mobile version of your site available to redirect mobile users to and you will retain visitors. And you will see an increase in sales.